I have been going to a coping with breast cancer support class and we usually go around the room and talk about different subjects. Our support circle came up, and we were supposed to talk about how we feel about that. Several people said that friends started dropping out of their lives, even family members. I was shocked. I looked down at my piece of paper with several family members and friend’s names written in each respective circle…would these people start to drop out of my life?
So, I say with tears in my eyes and a ball of angst in my heart… Please don’t forget about me.
This has been the hardest year I have ever had to face in my life. I need my circle…my village…my people.
I know this is difficult. I can’t imagine if my close friend told me she had cancer…and stage three at that. I don’t know what my reaction would have been. But I know for absolute certainty that I would not have fled…at any point on her journey. (I probably would have gotten out my cookbook and went to work! J )
On this journey support is truly the most important aspect. Without support hopelessness can creep in, sadness, isolation…and those feelings already occur, but are fleeting.
I know it can be hard to know what to say, what to do, how to act. Trust me, I get it. And I also get that a huge part of my village are young moms like me, trying to survive motherhood the best we can (hoping for a shower, a glass of wine, a few minutes alone, and the secret removal of singing toys).
Here are a few tips from a cancer patient:
You don’t always have to say anything, many times it is great to just listen.
You can always ask questions about what is going on with the patient.
Sometimes it is nice to break away from constantly talking or thinking about cancer…so some other common interest subject is MUCH appreciated.
Show up… that’s what we want most. Sit on our couch and visit. Watch a movie with me. Have a cup of coffee with me. Just don’t stop coming around.
Many ask me how they can help… there are so many things swirling in my head that I need help with. Just take initiative, come over and do dishes, or help put away laundry, help organize, help take inventory of what is needed at the grocery store, offer to take the girls to the park…ANY of these would be lifesavers for us right now.
If I don’t text, or call, or if I don’t verbalize that I need help, or tell you that this is hard, or express that I am in pain, or that I am emotionally drained…please don’t assume I am fine. Don’t assume that everything is okay and I can handle this on my own. Again, please don’t forget about me.
Husbands- bring Ev a beer or come take him out for a bit to take his mind off the constant that his wife has cancer. His load sometimes seems heavier than mine.
This road is long…it has already been three months and it seems like I have been on this road for MUCH longer. I still have nine rounds of chemo, recovery, then my first surgery, recovery, six weeks of radiation, rehabilitation of my body, reconstructive surgery, and a long recovery/rehab. My body has much more to endure. My emotional state will be challenged like no other. I need my people. So people that I love and cherish, please don’t forget about me.