|The jacket was inherited years ago from an uncle who died of cancer. When I wear it I think of him. The scarf was a gift from dear friend M - thank you, love!|
You won't catch me referring to cancer as a gift. No way around it, cancer sucks. There are many many more fun and exciting efforts I would rather be rallying my troops around instead of the effort to save my hide.
That said, it is quite amazing how people will come through for you if only you dare ask. These last few days I've been doing just that. I've decided to face this one last round of Adriamycin/Cytoxan and do it in style - with plenty of support of all kinds - hand-holders, soup-makers, distraction-deliverers, dog-walkers, etcetera. And I have been asking for all that I need and want. From everything I hear, this is the worst part coming up, so I'm pulling out all the stops.
I am a champ at facing challenges solo. It feels so hard to ask for help, and to be clear about what's helpful and what's not, I'm often so discouraged that I convince myself it's a fruitless pointless effort and I don't even try. It's easy to think that going it alone is better. But it's not. I promise you it is not.
|This song was sent to me today by my friend G. It's a good one, don't you think?|
Now, for those of you who aren't in my immediate world and are asking what you can do, here's something: join me in fighting for your own best life.
I dare you: whatever challenge is on your plate at the moment, ask for support. Even if you think you don't strictly need help, even if it feels embarrassing, even if you feel guilty doing it. Help is good. Not just for you, but for the helper too. We all need excuses to be closer to each other. Isolation sucks.
A few ground rules for the dare:
1. Choose something small - company on a long drive or a challenging hike, a follow-up "how was it?" phone call after a high-stakes interview, someone to go with you to the doctor's appointment you dread. Envision it exactly the way you want, and set out to fulfill that vision. Be very specific about what you want and when you want it. Make it a one-time thing (for now) with clear and realistic parameters.
|Salad was my challenge today! It's not a pleasure to eat like it should be, but I found I'm well enough finally to almost enjoy it.|
3. Offer nothing in return but your undying gratitude. It doesn't mean you can't ultimately pay back, or that you won't one day pay forward, but challenge yourself to trust that whomever you're addressing will be pleased to do something for you, simply because it's you.
|Mix and match soup: the last of my Mom's borscht plus a scoop of my own plain squash and mushroom concoction. Delicious!|
4. Be gentle with yourself. If asking for help is a skill you haven't developed, don't expect to do it perfectly first time out of the gate. Consider this a practice round. You'll make mistakes, you'll feel awkward. But that's the only way to learn.
5. Share your experience, your failures and successes. When have you asked for support? How did you feel? What happened? Post a comment below. Do it anonymously if that feels better. Let's inspire each other!
If all of this seems overwhelming, you're thinking too big. Start with micro-steps. Ask for directions, for help carrying bags in from the car, a glass of water. You can do this!