Living with Cancer: What I Wish They’d Told Me
If you were a fan of The West Wing, you may have come across this story* before, but it’s worth re-telling:
“This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out.
“A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
“Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole. Can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.
“Then a friend walks by: ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me. Can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.'” *
We, as cancer patients, have been down in that hole. We are here to help you find your way out through sharing the lessons we’ve learned. As part of Healthline’s Living With Cancer series, I was asked to contribute my own hard-earned lesson. You can read it here, alongside the lessons shared by other cancer patients. Do also read the comments section for more pearls of wisdom.
Let’s help each other out of that hole today.
*Sorkin, Aaron (Teleplay). Parnell, Peter (Story). The West Wing. Season Two. Episode “Noel” (#210). December 20, 2000.
First of all, let me say, The West Wing got me through chemo! For real! I watched the whole series after I was diagnosed and I remember that quote. Second of all, congrats on this! What an honor to be asked to participate on this!
Hi Carrie — yep, a big fan of the West Wing too and it’s a great quote. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – much appreciated.
I love this. It’s very true…as a survivor I’ve found that other survivors have been able to help me and I’ve been trying to help others as well just from having been there before down the same path.
Great story! When heard from the doctor in charge of my case that my being emotional was disrespectful and had used up more time than 3 normal patients I should have shut up then. But I’m slow to learn so it took me months to realize it the other patients were the people to consult with. Doctors were just there to be disappointing in you.
When I was diagnosed a friend gave me a gave me the west wing box set. She didn’t know what to say or gave me but boy did I enjoy it. I do remember the quote and glad to be reminded of it. Only those that have been through the cancer can understand what it does to us.