About 5 years ago I had been experiencing a period of chronic chest pain...the pain was also located in my shoulder and Google told me I had lung cancer, more specifically I had a pancoast tumour which was notoriously hard to diagnose. As I had crippling health anxiety this symptom and subsequent worry continued for month after month and despite a clear chest X Ray I finally got an appointment with a specialist. As I was in the waiting room a couple, probably in their early 50's, left the consulting room with the husband in obvious tears and his wife alongside him holding his hand and holding him close. I recall thinking to myself that the poor chap had probably just been diagnosed with some terrible cancer...it never entered my mind at that time that it may have been his wife who had received the diagnosis. I had my consultation...it was fine, that symptom was gone within a week. My step father was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The prognosis was originally quite good but unfortunately it progressed far quicker than was originally expected. Whenever me and my wife used to visit my mother and step father my step father would be in the garden doing sudoku puzzles, reading the books he loved or just sitting with the daily paper and a glass of wine. He loved to chat when we visited...he never ever once mentioned his cancer. If you asked him how he was he would say he was doing OK and that would be it. During these visits my mother would be either sat in the front room just thinking and pondering or she would be almost obsessively cleaning the house over and over as if she was having to busy herself. All she wanted to talk about was her husband's cancer...what was strange was when you talked to her about his cancer and the situation she would then say she didn't want to talk about her husband's cancer and she would then change the subject...literally within a minute she would then steer the subject right back to the cancer and the situation and how unfair and how hard it was. Her husband would be sat in the garden, in the sun, drinking a glass of wine. There was no compulsion to do...all he did was be. I have no idea why I feel compelled to share these stories today but on some level they seem to convey to me the nature of both ego and perspective in the role of illness be this mind-body or organic in nature. It is funny how we see faulty patterns of thinking and actions in others but all to often fail to see it in ourselves.