I’ve always been very independent by nature, so I never think to ask for help when I really need it. After the fact, people are always telling me I should have called them for help, but I don’t want to be a burden. And I finally realized I needed to look at it like they want to help me, not like I am a burden. One thing living with cancer has taught me, is to accept help when it’s there. I’m a little on the stubborn side (shocker, right?) It’s hard to accept help, it feels like I failed to support myself. But the reality is that we have mountains of doctor bills and I am no longer able to work. No one will hire a Cx patient that has daily doctors appointments, not very reliable. We lost half our household income when I got sick, so I needed any support available.
I have met some very kind people offering their help, because they wanted to, I never asked. But it does sometimes make me feel like a charity case. Especially when people broadcast that they did something for us, just to make themselves look like they’ve done a good deed. It’s not a good deed when you post all over social media about bringing dinner to your sick friend as an accomplishment. You are basically saying that bringing food to a friend is such a difficult task, and it’s not within your realm of capabilities, but you’ve accomplished it. You are making me feel like you only did it for the attention, not because I needed a friend. And you are making yourself look like a jerk. Another one of those Dirty Details of Cancer I’ve had to deal with is how people want a billboard made in their honor because they want recognition for their help. Only offer help if it’s not a burden on yourself, or you will make your friend feel like a burden too.
I run myself into the ground trying to be a wife, mom, run my businesses all while battling cancer. Then, I would spend two days in bed because I over did it. My energy runs out so fast. This makes it necessary for me to stay in bed all morning, just to go to an afternoon doctor appointment. When we went out for my birthday, I stayed pretty still all day in order to save my energy for the evening. But I can work online so it works out.
As I mentioned in my blog about How to REALLY support your friends with Cx, Donna is the leader of my village and helped at home during my treatment. I had treatment on Wednesdays and I had a 8 month old baby at home, with my kindergartner at school. Donna has a portable career, and would come over before I left for treatment and watch the baby, help with household tasks, and stayed after I got home until my husband arrived. Then would come back on Thursday and Friday so my husband could go to work. All this as I slept on the bathroom floor. She was amazing and IS still amazing. We have the strongest bond two friends could have, in my opinion. She never left my side, and would come over every chance she got, just to help with whatever came up throughout the day. I have no idea what we would have ever done without her. She never batted an eye, just has been here for me. She keeps me in mind with all her decisions, in order to be available to me, like her own family. I owe her everything. And I know she would say, “that’s what friends are for.” Donna’s family has welcomed us with open arms to all holidays and family functions. The Means family have supported us in so many ways from giving us fresh farm produce, to inviting us to be in the family picture. We are forever and deeply grateful for all they have done and continue to do for our family.
It’s been much easier to change my diet with Donna’s support. Being organic and natural was not enough. I’ve always been very healthy, no fast food, no processed foods. But I needed to be free of all sugar, soy, gluten, dairy, preservatives, additives, gmo’s and corn. I will talk more about why in a future blog. Getting the right nutrients into my body is key to beating this. Donna was right there with me every step of the way, eating the same way and learning how things affect the body. We removed everything for 30 days. So my family ate like this by default, and this was how I figured out that my children had more than a gluten allergy. My husband had more than a nut allergy. I have discovered the dairy was the culprit for my head congestion and allergies, I was always congested and clearing my throat. No allergies anymore.
I feel I have been able to pay it forward because of my best friend, as well as all who have supported me. Going on my fourth year of battling, I decided it was time to help others. I am helping so many of my friends with clean diets with Wildtree, and finding alternatives to their normal diet. Once you do it, you don’t ever want to go back to eating the junk. It’s just amazing how much energy you will have. I also help my friends with fundraisers. I’ve also been able to pay my friends back with my social media help within their businesses.
I want to keep helping others, even though I’m going through my own battle. I’ve been so lucky to find the strength to make this far so I can continue to pay it forward. I want to help other people living with cancer, and tell them it doesn’t have to take over your life. I have to believe that anything can be turned around if you work hard enough for it. This is my life, of course I will not give up. I hope to inspire others to make the most of what they have, no matter what. If I can start a business while battling cancer, the sky is the limit!! Especially when I have my supportive husband and best friend by my side. Everyone needs someone to lean on, even if it’s just for a little while.