October 4, 2009 · 4 comments

Since the moment I was diagnosed through as recently as 5 minutes ago, my friends and family, as well as strangers, have come out of the woodwork in my support.  Virtual hugs, my own personal cheering section, offers of help, flowers, gifts and food have continued to arrive surrounded in a cloud of love and hope.

My husband has been nothing short of amazing (see, that In sickness and in health vow really does mean something!) in his care for me, our boys and the house.  It’s been a learning experience for him – he’s been to the grocery store 4 times this week and another list has been started on the fridge; Matt gave him a hard time about something today and he spoke the truth: “Hey, I’m new at this!”.  And it’s not that he hadn’t previously pulled his weight around here, but with me home most days and him at work, it became easier over the years for me to handle so many of the little day to day things that we both took it for granted.  But he’s learning – quickly.  He hasn’t quite figured out that there is no need to ask the boys what they want for lunch, that it is easier for him to just make it, but he’ll get there.  And he doesn’t quite know whose clothes are whose when it comes to the boys, but I figure the boys can set him straight on that if I don’t.

I hate having to make him do everything for me…not that I don’t want to let him, and not that I don’t believe he’s capable or anything like that, but it’s that I can’t do it myself.  He knows how hard the lack of control is on me, and he treats me accordingly; he’s quite the gem, that husband of mine!

It’s really the little things that mean so much when one is going through something like this – not just the recovery from surgery (on top of which I finally succumbed to the cold that Matt, Mike & Preston have been suffering with), but the emotional rollercoaster of being diagnosed with Cancer. The offers of help, the text messages, the tweets, the food (oh my goodness, the food!), the little envelopes of joy in the mailbox….it all makes it just a little easier to keep breathing, to keep going.  And I am thankful.

My mom came by today to clean up the house a bit for us and give Mike a break; she and Preston made the kitchen sparkle! I know it sounds silly, but I think she was a little excited that I finally said yes to an offer of help.  Even if it was to clean the kitchen and vacuum my floors!

She had stopped to have coffee with a previous rep (employee) of hers, who had a gift bag full of things for me and Mike.  As I opened this card, signed by 6 or 8 people that I have never met, I couldn’t help but get a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes.  People I’ve never met sent me a card, some chocolates, homemade baked goods, a blanket and a gift card for Applebees (so we could use the carside to go) in an extraordinarily large amount.  People who have never met me and couldn’t pick me out of a lineup of 2.

Here’s the thing…I don’t have many friends.  Mike and I have always been more of a couple who spent our time together as best friends, and then we had kids…and well, if you have kids, you know how limited your time with other adults can be.  I have friends locally that I can say anything to, that I can call on in good times and bad…but the thing is? I don’t always.  I don’t like to ask for help, I don’t like the idea of burdening people with my problems, my issues, my concerns. Perhaps it’s the result of growing up so independent as the child of divorced parents; always making sure everyone else was ok.  Perhaps it’s because my dad always made me feel like feelings were a weakness growing up and made damn sure he never showed them. Or perhaps it’s just my own inadequacy. For whatever reason, my friends, though few, are solid, but I don’t ever reach out to them like I could. Or should.

I have cousins who have been like sisters to me over the years; sadly they live eleventy states away and not even near each other.  But I know I can call them for anything, any time, any place and they will be there for me.

It’s funny, because my mom has always been a veritable model of friendship.  She has had such amazing friendships over the years – those that have lasted through time and distance. Growing up, I was witness to their get togethers and conspiracies and their amazingly strong bonds.  Clear as day in my head are the sounds of them laughing hysterically at jokes I was too young to get, and later, jokes I was embarrassed to get.

My mom has always made friends easily; I have not.  I suck at small talk (unless it’s over twitter or email or chat), and I’m totally insecure when it comes to starting a conversation.  I can’t ever seem to figure out why people would like me or want to spend time with me, even though I am awesome.  Some of the best people I have ever met I have met online in the last few years; maybe one day I’ll suit up and meet some of them in person.  Because if they can be kind through a computer screen, I’d bet they could like me in real life, too, right?

Anyway, as has been proven over and over in the past year especially, there is still kindness in this world – from the people I can reach out and touch to the people eleventy million miles away.  And for that I am thankful.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathryn October 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm

:Hugs: I totally get the not asking for help…I’m so guilty of it myself. But you, my friend, are eminently likeable, and I’m so glad to have gotten to know you in this virtual space we all share. You can bet that the next time I’m in Michigan I’ll be hitting you up for a face to face. I hope you’re feeling better every day, and so glad you’ve got so many people looking out for you.


Clara October 4, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Beautifully written Dawn… you are always in my prayers!

I too, don’t deal well with giving up control… heck I was in denial when I went into labor with my last one, because everything wasn’t just so in the house (she came early). And I never asked for help when my hubby went back to work 3 days later. These are hard times for you and your family, and I hope it passes quickly for you… or maybe these hard times might bring life into a better prospective? That what doesn’t break us, only makes us stronger… right!!!!??

I, also had the most outgoing mother… who can make a friend with someone at the fruit market… and I struggle to make friends… I certainly hope I can change that… it’s not a fun way to live (being so shy) and I hope not to pass that trait onto my kids.

It’s not such a bad thing to have “virtual friends” sometimes they are the most kind, unselfish people we know. I’ve always found it easier to talk online than it is in person.

Take it easy… enjoy the internet… enjoy time with your friends and family…. thanks for keeping us all posted!


Marilyn (A Lot of Loves) October 5, 2009 at 12:02 am

It’s difficult for me to make friends in the real world too. Always has been. It’s not that I don’t want to but I never seem to know what to say to start a conversation really rolling. It’s easier for me to talk in the virtual world. Perhaps that’s why I’m drawn to blogging and twitter.

I hope things start looking up for you really soon.
.-= Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Socks =-.


AndreAnna October 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

I SUCK at not being able to do things myself. I’m such a control freak and so fiercely independent that it makes me insane when – in the few times I’ve had surgeries – I was unable to do things for myself.

Hang in there.

We’re all here rooting!
.-= AndreAnna´s last [bit of blogging genius] ..Growing Pains =-.


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