So one of the other things we are very lucky to have in Hendon is Chai Cancer Care, a place where Jews can go for cancer advice, lectures and alternative therapies. I first registered in 2004, which involved proving I was Jewish - slightly offputiing - when I was initially diagnosed, and never managed to get back, because just coping with the disease takes up all your time. But finally, getting some alternative treatments is right at the top of my "to do" list, and so I trotted round to Chai yesterday, having made the phonecalls, the appointments and so on, to arrange not to have the treatments there (because I know I'll end up cancelling when some other thing intrudes) but to see which of their therapists would do a home visit.
I had, therefore, a very specific mission, and one which, moreover I'd been really specific about on the phone several times. What happens when I get there? Well, without wanting to moan too much, because they have very kindly fixed me up both with a reiki practitioner (no, no idea either, but I'll report back) and a physiotherapist, I have to report that I did also have to put up with the usual half-hour of stuff about counselling.
As in, "so, how is your husband/ the children/ family/you?"
Me: "Well, you know, fine thank you - given that the circumstances are what they are, everybody's coping well, it's not the sort of thing you can do much about."
Chai: "You know we offer counselling, anybody can partake."
Me: "yes, thanks, I do know - we're fine thanks."
Chai: "It can be very helpful for the extended family."
Me: "Well, kids, husband, all fine actually. I mean, obviously, it's like living with an axe over your home, but that's not something that anything can be done about, it's not something any counselling is going to help."
Another fifteen minutes of this, and what leaflet does she give me to go away with? The counselling ones.
Anybody who watched Tony Soprano through all six series of The Sopranos, or has watched Woody Allen's life, has got to know by now that counselling is no kind of solution to anything - it's not even transformative - let alone a solution for something which nobody can predict. like how long one will live.
So what is this obsession with counselling cancer patients? Is it the people working in these resource centres who are in desperate need of counselling? Are they projecting outwards (as I believe the correct phrase would be....)
p.s. just had another phonecall from Chai, to confirm the physiotherapist, and the conversation ended with, "do please come in and feel free to talk anything over at all."