28th August 2014: London, United Kingdom
A topic that were considered yet overlooked yesterday, with specific reference to the big C word, is relationships. Such a huge area, surely, one entry will not even touch upon the array of factors to be discussed. When talking about relationships, use of a social work tool, namely an eco-map seems the most relevant format for portaying my thoughts. The eco-map is a multiple of circles surrounding you as the focal point; the next circle is likely include your partner/spouse, family or close friends; then a wider circle may involve other friends, colleagues, team mates, co-members of a club/faith/community. Is the picture becoming clear? The wider the circle, reflects a greater distance for people or servives/support in your life. There are many variants of how an individuals eco-map would be completed, and I’m aware the writing of this is from a white Australian male perspective. Thus, many other individuals may have multi people within inner circles or none at all. Other outer circles may entail organisations, government services, the hair-dresser, local market stall owner or whole clubs, faith groups, etc.
So the purpose for someone with Cancer in adopting the eco-map into their lives, is the possibility to place emphasis on any person or group within one’s life, and have an understanding of how closely they feel connected to that person/service/group. To quickly expand on this, many readings will state that a person experiencing Cancer will either strengthen the relationship with their loved one, be that a husband/wife, partner or girl/boyfriend or on the other hand, cause an unrepairable rift in the dynamics causing the relationship to cease. Of course this can be expected as with any signifiant change causes a ripple effect, impacting those around you and many others.
Just to mention, I use the term significant change not tragedy nor any term with a negative connotation. I am well aware, many opponents would object to this view, questioning how Cancer be viewed in any way other then a clear injustice, especially for loved ones and young children. In response, I do not dismiss those who feel this way as it can be seem very unfair and questions such as, ‘why me’ are sure to happen. Also, I greatly emphasise with those individuals, parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends and community members who are currently facing Cancer in some form, however, the point that will be proposed and expanded upon is that Cancer, although terrifying as it is can also force positive changes in one’s life. Changes that may not have been possible without the immediate need to make amendments and in some cases completely redirect the thinking, behaviours and actions of people. This idea will be followed up, that is of course dependent on my thinking remaining on a similar path towards finding a position for Cancer in my life.
My intention of introducing the Eco-Mao was to explore the close relationships in your life. It was also deemed necessary to reflect on the relationship held with doctors, alternate health professionals or anyone contributing to the maintenance of your health. Also, the eco-map is useful as personally I have found those within the inner and second circle holding strong opinions about your health, including the level of contact with those professionals involved in your life and the decisions you make in your life. I think the perception of others towards my interactions with professionals would be considered rather passive. My personal opinion greatly varies, placing me as the main person directing my treatment, and of course showing extreme gratitude from the professionals and support around me. The difference stems from the process of normalising my circumstances, and although those in my inner circle may consider me not assertive enough, at the forefront of my thinking is remembering that yes I am important but so to is the attention Abdul, John and Stacey all are demanding who are in similar circumstances. Furthermore, I prefer to come across as understanding to these demands of the doctor as I feel this will greater increase my chance of receiving the needed information, scan, results, next appointment or anything I deem essential at times of distress?
It again seems the paragraphs were disjointed, the point of mentioning the differences with relationships, be that with the closest person in your life or the professional treating you, is to place value on the importance of communication whislt ensuring you are equipped in advance with some knowledge about your condition to make rational decisions. To conclude, another point to be discussed about relationships is the need to possibly revisit the circles surrounding you to be clear that all those involved in your life are bringing something positive to support you in the journey. The process may be difficult, requiring some pruning of old relationships that may have served a prior purpose, however, no longer has a major role to play in directing the life you are now to live.