Living my life with Lymphoma.
I stopped watching the news a long time ago. I used to be a news junkie but one day I decided that I’d been poisoned enough on the evils of society and having to emotionally endure the tragedies of people all over the world. It was dragging me down and I began to feel sorry for the news anchors, reporters, and writers because they can never get away from it. I had to do something to cleanse my mind and return to thinking that there is more good in the world than evil, and justify that notion by thinking that if that weren’t true, we wouldn’t still be here.
I’ve often thought about Mr. Rogers and how he dealt with unpleasant news. He said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” I never returned to watching the news routinely, but looking for the helpers and finding them in any crisis became doable.
Nothing has proven this more to me personally than all of the helpers who have appeared on my behalf to support me, provide encouragement and comfort, to hold my hand, to offer me rides and tag along on appointments, to bring food, to sit with my mother when I’m out, to send cards, healing oils, books, small gifts, and flowers, and to visit and listen to my story.
I’d mentioned to a friend that I loved her cheesecake. A few days later, she was at my door with one.
My cousin has shown up twice with a small cooler full of frozen homemade food. She’s also an Oncology Nurse and has given me sound advice and has gently shared the good and bad of having treatments.
Our neighbors from our old neighborhood have made food for us and are sending it to us frozen for easy storage.
Another friend whom I only met last summer and lives three miles from me shows up at least weekly with prepared food, garden vegetables, I Love Lucy DVD’s, little trinkets, and has sent several cards, text messages, and emails.
My next door neighbor has prepared so many excellent meals for us that I’ve lost track.
My friend in the state of Washington started a small candle lighting movement with some of her friends. The waves of support and healing energy are coming from Washington, Scotland, and The Hebrides.
My boss has made it clear that she and my agency support me fully and has offered numerous times to help in any way needed.
Brian has taken over some of the grocery shopping, meal preparation, various domestic chores, and has been my daily cheerleader by keeping hope alive.
I’ve received things like medals and books from people I don’t even know through my friends.
And my childhood friend who moved to Florida last year dropped everything and came up to stay with me for a month after my first surgery. She went home, and came back up right before my second surgery and is still here a month later. She has prepared medication charts, meals, fed the dogs, done laundry and grocery shopping, taken over being a caregiver to my mother, taken me, my mother, and one of my dogs to medical appointments, ensures that my glass of water is never empty and that I have something to eat. She runs errands, fills my mother’s pill boxes, vacuums, and makes phone calls for me. She encourages me to walk, eat, take “as needed” medications when she sees me slipping, and tries to engage me in distracting activities like watching interesting TV shows, doing crossword puzzles together, and suggesting books for reading. She offers me ice packs when she sees I’m in pain, lies beside me in bed and watches my cry, and made a picnic lunch for us during my first chemo session.
I know that I’m not in great shape at the moment. I’ve lost 25 pounds and a lot of strength and endurance, but I also know that I would be in worse shape if it wasn’t for her constant caregiving and the special attention I’ve received from so many. My family and I are at a loss for words to describe what the outpouring of support has meant to us.
Look for the helpers.
You can’t miss them.