If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have, whether good or bad in itself, is our own and enough for us.
C.S Lewis, The Problem of Pain
For the three years I've been living with this condition I have experienced mostly human kindness and compassion, and this has been at its very best. At its very worst, I've had people avoiding me - and I can live without those people. But last Saturday, when I explained to the woman who recently moved to the house at the bottom of my garden and was berating me about the sight of my builders' heap - only exposed by her illegal felling of some ancient trees - that I was (a) not aware that the builder had left an old loo seat there, in view of her window; and (b) that I was not up to clearing the large items slipping out from under the pile of leaves because I was living with secondary cancer and tired easily, her response was:
I DON'T WANT TO KNOW THAT....
There then followed several abusive fishwife style charges, too silly and petty to mention here, although they left me reeling in amazement. My tendency (a bad one, since it always puts me on the wrong foot) is to feel sorry for such people because they are well, let's say, uneducated LOCAL people (Cornish peasants...) who probably haven't had a quarter of my advantages, etc, etc. But that's politically incorrect of me. Probably illegal even to THINK such things these days...(I hold my hand up, guvnor...) Probably some mental illness there - even if its only a pathological lack of compassion; but isn't that a definition of a psychopath? Oh God - and at the bottom of the garden, too!
Thing is, though, if you live with cancer, you can pretty much live with anything.