Sunday, May 2, 2010

Friendships

Chemotherapy negatively affects one's immune system, and patients are highly encouraged to stay away from crowds. However, I found that isolation from friends was not an option. Not attending one's own church you are the pastor of was never considered. Not attending our annual District Council was never under consideration either. The positive benefits of friendship activities, especially church attendance far outweighed the negatives. Simply adopting a no hug policy and no open handed shaking really helped. Only a few people were initially offended, but quickly understood as I explained why I didn't shake hands open fisted. Only knuckle to knuckle helped reduce any possibility of catching someone's cold. Assume that no one else washes their hands, and it is easy to not shake their hands open fisted. I still would rather knuckle to knuckle handshake. Following good hygiene practices during and after chemotherapy drastically reduces the spread of anything contagious. Being in the presence of people who like/love you has a positive healing/restorative affect. Generally people don't know how to approach a person who is on chemotherapy and therefore lean towards avoidance. I would advise the opposite, for friendships are very vital for recovery. Treat everyone with respect by practicing good hygiene. Respectful hygiene is good whether or not the person is a chemo patient or not and is a sign of friendship. Chemo patients need the love found in group settings, especially those found in places of worship. It is a Sunday morning, and tonight is our annual District Council. Last year, I was bald headed, blurred mentally, with a very low immune system. However, the group dynamic of worship with friends brought such positive healing benefits that far outweighed the risks.

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