Monday, April 19, 2021

Persistent Patience Empowers Perseverance


The person undergoing medical treatment is called a patient for a reason - you need to be calm and patient to overcome any illness. Once we have fought cancer, the ability to accept or tolerate delays, bear pain stoically, put up with insensitive staff, face problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious becomes a part and parcel of surviving through the treatment. The winning card is continuing with patience to get back to the new normal of our lives. We have to understand that patience is not just waiting calmly, but continuing with our efforts calmly. It is proactive and not passive and that point shouldn’t be misunderstood.

People do sympathize when they hear a person has gone through cancer, but only those who have fought a hard battle on different levels with cancer will be able to empathize with a survivor. The emotional, physical, relationship and financial challenges are quite tough to deal with at times. It is easy to become an impatient patient with everything happening around us. Impatience is the biggest deterrent to perseverance and this is the time we have to persevere and come out victorious.

With my surgery (total radical Mastectomy) which was complete removal of my left breast, I had to wait for the wound due to the surgery to heal. The huge scar with a lot of stitches made the spot on my chest unfamiliar and scary. I had to be patient for it to look a bit better and heal.I am not sure about its beauty, but familiarity made it easy to look at. I lost some strength in my left hand. Since my daughter was not even a year old, I had to carry her and I feared dropping her down. I patiently handled the pain I felt in my arm and continued with the effort keeping her safety in mind. In a few months my whole arm and hand had regained most of its functions and strength which it had before my surgery. I lost my hair and patiently waited for it to grow back in a year's time. Perseverance is being relentless about doing what needs to be done for as long as it takes. It holds good in every aspect of our life but more so, when we are fighting life threatening illness like cancer.

We have to move on with the surgery required, chemotherapy, radiation and after effects of the treatment. The loss of a body part may pose new challenges. Honestly speaking it is tough and scary experience.

The trick is do our part to heal and get back on the track. Cook, eat healthy, exercise, get enough water, smile, get outdoors, laugh out loud and set goals to be achieved. Do not give up. Never quit.

Fear, followed by insecurities,are foremost in testing our patience. Sometimes we may give in just when the change is around the corner. We have to persevere through the time, process, and challenges to shake hands with success. When fighting cancer, the result is LIFE- more precious than anything else we can own. No matter how tough your life is, it is definitely worth fighting for and winning over with perseverance.

Being a cancer patient for a few months made me more patient with the happenings in my life. It was a quality that was missing in me earlier. Further it was fortified by being mom of a special needs child. These are few of the blessings which came in disguise.

Nothing good happens in minutes or days. We admire all the discoveries and inventions, but we fail to see how much effort or time went into it happening. We applaud the gold medallist in olympics but fail to peek into the perseverance they had to get there. Though we may not be applauded as scientists or sportspeople, we need the same qualities in us to overcome cancer. Our gold medals are the days filled with joy we spend with our loved ones.

Getting back on track after fighting cancer is going to take time, and the life that will greet us is not going to be the same as before. We will be changed, or precisely we will be an upgraded version of our older self. We have to unlock our new found potential slowly with patience, never giving up but persevering through tough times. Like Winston Churchill said - “Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.”
The fight was worth for those precious time I got to spend with my children
When you persist enough with patience through tough times, perseverance becomes a part of your character and then nothing will stop you from reaching your goal. One of my friends presented me a print of the poem Don’t Quit by John Greenleaf Whittier and it helped me fight it out patiently on those bad days to persevere for 25 years. I am sharing it with you here in hope it will help you as well.

Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns

As every one of us sometimes learns

And many a failure comes about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don't give up though the pace seems slow—

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out—

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,

And you never can tell just how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit—

It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


  1. I like the "upgraded version" approach.
    The need for perseverance is definitely the reason they call a recovering person "patient", and for most of us this is such a tough quality to acquire. You sound as though you did a wonderful job taking one day at a time, putting in your everything.

    1. Yes. Cancer was a curse and blessing at the same time. It helped me get upgraded to a better version of myself, minus a breast though.

  2. So many nuggets of wisdom in your post. I do need more patience, but I hope I won't be a patient again any time soon.


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