“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

― Lao Tzu

My Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Community

I have mentioned my family, friends, neighbors and community a few times but probably not enough.  I am so lucky to have as much support as I do.  I know that there are other people that don’t have any.

For me, my immediate family is my core strength.  My husband Erik is extremely supportive, holding my hands during meetings with doctors or before procedures, allowing me to cry or scream when necessary, he does the grocery shopping and wipes down the packages/groceries we receive, helps with cooking/cleaning, driving the kids and going with me to every treatment until  he was unable to come with COVID regulations-  he does an unlimited amount of things!!  Our 3 daughters are so precious and caring and will do what they can to help me manage at home.  With such a diagnosis and having 3 teenagers/pre-tweens, we have let them help us navigate the conversations about my CANCER.  The internet can be a blessing and a curse.  Teenagers believe what they read on the internet to be “always accurate and correct.” and us, as adults, we don’t always know what we are reading, so how should they?  We have tried to keep off the internet as much as possible, feeling like it may only add to our stress levels and will not be beneficial.  In addition, we don’t constantly talk about CANCER and have tried to keep things as normal as possible for them; like going to school, doing sports, playing in high school games, etc.  Before COVID, I was practicing social distancing so unfortunately, we aren’t flying to any places or going to any places with a lot of people. We do get away as long as it’s within driving distance.  They have been troopers during all of this.

Besides my immediate family, my extended family (brothers/sister, in-laws, brothers/sisters in law, aunts/uncles/cousins) have been wonderful. They have held me while I cried, done research, sat with me during some chemo treatments and brought goodies to my nurses during those treatments.  They have sent cards, emails and texts.  Some even came to visit and help me organize closets and paper work.  Words can’t express how much all of it has meant to us – they have been a tremendous support to me with words and gestures and I am grateful!

My friends, neighbors and communities have given me so much strength with their cards, motivational memes and sayings, meals, flowers, baskets of “spa” goodies and food, grocery shopping and running errands when needed. I love getting those texts or email to say “I’m thinking of you”.  One neighbor set up a meal train for us for the first 4 months and that was a great way to show support and help us to get situated into our new normal.  It was a relief to not have to worry about cooking and meals when we had so much other stuff to manage going on.  It really helped us to get situated and to lift some of the everyday burden and it helped our friends to know they were doing something to help our family. People very often want to help and are not sure how to do it so this was great for friends and family to come together and to help and for them to feel like they were doing something substantial to help us.  It was a win-win for us and for the people who wanted to be able to do something. Other friends also came to visit and helped me in getting organized with going through stuff, buying paper goods and plastic wear, sending info and pointing out to me nutritional items as well as introducing me to essential oils.  I have had others encourage me to try Yoga and to help to achieve that zen feeling. I also spent a lot of time walking with them and that’s been great both mentally and physically.  We’ve discovered new paths as well as some old ones! It’s amazing how much I love the beauty of nature and treasure everyday beauty!

I can’t express how important everyone has been to me and my family!  Every gesture no matter how big or small has been cherished and appreciated.  Support is so key in this battle and we are so lucky to have the support that we have and we do not take any of it for granted!!! 

Having courage during such a difficult time requires not only your own strength, but the strength and support of those who care about you.  A solid support system is critical during your battle with cancer to ensure that when you are feeling beaten, someone is there to remind you about the warrior that you are.