I’m a pretty independent gal. Learning to ask for help wasn’t easy for me. A few friends told me, probably more than once, that they all wanted to help. They needed to help. Cancer brings a sense of helplessness to everyone involved, and I really do think that letting my friends help me helped them, too. (At least I sure hope so!)
But I’m so glad to be moving out of that phase. Sure, I’ll still need back up child care for my last surgery and maybe an appointment here or there, but for the most part, I don’t need a lot of help anymore. I’m entering the pay it forward phase. I’m thrilled to be able to type this while watching my kiddos play legos with some friends whose mom is at an appointment– friends whose mom was a go-to anytime I needed to leave early in the morning or miss an afternoon bus stop. Having tried to arrange early morning schedules for doctors appointments, I know that not having to worry about my kiddos was such a big deal, and right now I’m seeing the flip side, having a few extra playmates isn’t hard at all.
This blog started out as a check-in, maybe once a day, maybe once a week, to let friends and family know all the new treatment details and how I was feeling without me having to retell the same story over and over. I know they appreciated the blog, but really it was for me, a way to manage the information people received and lessen my email load. But now I’m ok, there aren’t new treatments, side effects, or decisions every week. So this blog has moved to more of a pay it forward phase, too. I’m so delighted when I hear from friends who have been reading this from the beginning, telling me that they are passing it along to a newly diagnosed friend. It is such a good feeling to see a comment from someone I don’t know or to have the privilege of talking to a newly diagnosed stranger to give her a some insight, a doctor recommendation, or just a little encouragement.
I really do have the very best friends and family. I am so thankful for things that I could never even begin to name here. I’ve gotten a lot better about asking for help when I need it, and while I try not to take advantage of my friends, I also try not to worry about asking. But I am so glad that I’m at a point where I can see when others might need help and offer it. It feels good to be able to pay it forward.