Support takes many different forms.
Financially we’ve been blessed to be supported in a couple different ways. In 2008 when I had my lumpectomy and was out of work for three weeks, my coworkers collected some money to help defray the cost, since the company I worked for had no “sick leave”. Then in 2011 when I was diagnosed metastatic, I actually received several gift cards from The Cancer Card Xchange that allowed my husband and I to enjoy a night out that didn’t involve cancer and we weren’t spending money that we’d need for the upcoming bills.
Emotionally, well, let me share a conversation I had last week with a friend from high school, a woman I haven’t seen in person in probably 25+ years since I now live a thousand miles away from where I grew up. Here’s some of what she sent me:
“I bought a special shirt to wear… It says ‘I wear pink for someone special’. When I get it I’m taking a picture and message it to you because you are a special friend and a fighter and mean a lot. If you don’t want me to send it, I won’t. I will respect your feelings.”
Oh WOW! I read it out loud to my husband as I teared up. Look, the emotional support is every bit as important as any other type of support. For me, to know that I’ve educated another person about #thinkbeforeyoupink shows me my life still has purpose.
And another way you can support is by helping. My mother-in-law has kept up with all the medical bills since 2007 when I was initially diagnosed. Just imagine for a moment. When I initially started, I had IV chemo treatment every other week for 4 months with two shots after each treatment, then surgery, then radiation 5 days a week for 7 1/2 weeks. Then it was followups, every three months for a year, then every six months for a two years, then METASTASIS. Back to treatments, two weeks out of three for a year with labs at each treatment and a shot every 4-6 weeks. Oh and in the middle of that, a merger of my cancer clinic with a major hospital chain when they BOTH started billing me for the same treatments. THANK GOD she caught that, or I’d STILL be paying those bills. Then, a change in treatments, with an oral chemo, lab and doctor visits every three weeks with a shot every 4 weeks. Not only has she kept up with the EOBs and bills and telling us what to pay and when, but now, she’s found that our pharmacy provider was charging my insurance company the name-brand price and shipping me a generic form of the drug. Yep, that’s invaluable, because I would be sooooo stressed out by all this craziness!!!!!
We are meant to live in community. Reach out to your neighbors. Meet them. Help them if you can. Allow them to help you if they can.