So many of us have spent way too much time trying to find ways to get into groups, clubs, organizations, schools. I can think back to wanting to be in certain clubs in high school, wanted to be accepted to my first choice of colleges, wanting my sorority to pick me, etc.
When I think back on all of this, I see that some groups had more “criteria” than others. Some were more selective – and some were just thankful someone wanted to join. That said, once you were in, there was a bond that connected you. There was a similar experience, drive, passion – something that connected you to the others in the group. And, that made you feel part of something.
So, here are three groups I have been a part of that I pray others do not join:
Loss of Pregnancy
And, now Cancer
And – I sincerely pray that no one reading this is part of all three!
There is something interesting about these three groups – there is a difference in duration and / or severity. And, with that also comes some judgment. It may not be purposeful. It shows itself in various statements like these:
How long have you been trying? Oh, I know others who have tried longer…
How far along were you? Well, at least you weren’t too far along…
What stage is it? You are so lucky! I know another person who caught it much later…
Now, if you have said those (or similar) comments to me or to others, please know – we get it that you mean it all for good. We know that you are trying to help, trying to find the positive in what seems to be a terrible situation. We know it all comes from a good place. And, please know we always have and always will love you.
When faced with difficult news, there aren’t good answers. There are truly no words that can change the situation and make it not happen. No matter how many hugs, tears, screams, etc – the facts are still the facts. And, the facts…well, they truly STINK!
So, why am I choosing to write this blog? Well, I received a message from a friend in my “cancer club” who joined long before me and is somewhat my “mentor” in this group. She has taken me under her wing, and has shown me how to be graceful in the depths of this terrible condition. She has had a few diagnoses and has beat each one. She just got home from another surgery to hopefully (and prayerfully) cure this round – AND MAKE IT THE LAST ONE (TA – I am praying BOLDLY for that!).
What she shared was from a post on roadkillgoldfish.com. The title of this message is “What your friends with cancer want you to know (but are afraid to say).” When I read it, there were several key points that rang true to me. I will add those (with my comments) below. That said, if you have a friend / family member with this disease, please read this – it is truly well-written and is so very true! Here goes:
- Don’t wait on me to call you if I need anything.
Please know – I have no idea what I need until I need it. And, when it is last minute, I don’t want to call – especially because it is last minute. Don’t worry about asking too much. And, if I say I don’t need it now – please ask again. I know that letting others help is a blessing to them and to us.
- Let me experience real emotions.
Some days, I will be strong – talking about this diagnosis like it has nothing on me! Other days, I will be weak, wondering if the cough I have developed means that it has moved into my chest or the pain in my head is a brain tumor. Know this, I am scared. I will worry until I get the pathology back and know what the next steps are. And, after that, I will still worry about where it might show up next. I need to go through all of this, and I need to know that you are with me through each step – each crazy, insane, not-even-possible & I-am-out-of-my-mind emotion.
- Ask me “what’s up” rather than “how do you feel.”
While this may be different than others with cancer, I physically feel fine. I’m a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, but that hasn’t hit me physically. And, I would much rather talk about my husband, kids, family, friends, work, volunteer work, etc. than this – most of the time. Then, other times, I just want someone to listen. And – I am sorry that I have no idea how to help you understand the difference because I have no idea myself.
- Forgive me.
- Just listen.
Have you ever wanted to share something with a friend and have them just listen – to have them hear your words and understand what you are feeling / going through? Not to solve, not to side, not to do anything other than listen? Please remember – there is nothing you can say to change this diagnosis. Sometimes, I will need a laugh – other times, I will need to cry. Either way, just being there with me lets me know you care. And – I know you would take this away if you had the chance. (and, please know – if the tables were turned, I would pray for the same for you!)
6 & 7. – skipping these – you really should read the actual article!
- My family needs friends.
This is so very true! My husband needs to focus on things other than my diagnosis. My kids need to be around other happy kids & families. All they know is that mommy needs to have a surgery and I will not be able to pick them up for a while. They don’t need to know the specifics of this diagnosis. But, they all need to smile, to laugh, to have fun. So, going back to #1 – feel free to come over & hang out.
- I want you to reduce your cancer risk.
And this is the one that made me think of this post. I don’t want you to join this club. That means, I truly – TRULY – want you to reduce your risk of cancer. In the article, she writes:
- Stop Smoking
- Lose Extra Weight
- Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage
- Watch What You Eat
While doing all of those things may not prevent you from getting cancer – doing those things will increase your risk of getting cancer. And, I pray that NONE OF YOU are faced with getting this diagnosis.
- Take nothing for granted.
Remember, God doesn’t guarantee tomorrow. Today is called the “present” for a reason. Enjoy today. Focus on the amazing small things. We are surrounded by God’s amazing gifts – cherish them.
I know this has been a long one, so I will end with a verse and a prayer.
Matthew 4:23 (GNB): Jesus went all over Galilee, teaching in the synagogues, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom, and healing people who had all kinds of disease and sickness.
I know You can move mountains. I know You have healed many of much more than I am currently facing. Please allow me to PRAY BOLDLY and pray for this to be cured, pray for no further treatments, pray for no further diagnoses.
Lord, I know You have a plan for me. You know my future (You have already planned it). Your plans are greater than any plans I can imagine, and this is just a step in the process. You are building me for great things. And, I fully accept the path.
Lord, I love You. I thank You for Your many blessings – those I recognize and those I do not. I know You love me and that You are with me every step of this journey. I could not take another step without You.
In Your Holy Name,