At the end of February 2018 I was diagnosed with Metastatic breast cancer. I went from sitting on a gymnastics bleacher watching one of my kids have a blast, to being in a neck brace in a hospital room talking about my surgery for the next day. All within 3 hours. Once I went into surgery it was kind of all over for me. My family was left in a waiting room for hours trying to process what just socked them in the gut. The baby of the family had metastatic cancer with an as of yet unknown prognosis. I was blissfully sleeping while they wondered how bad the bones of my neck had been eaten away by the cancer. How many layers would be fused? How would I be affected by the surgery? Would I have permanent damage to my spinal cord? I was gone for about 8 hours. That’s eight hours of constant worry and unknown after a night of basically no sleep. Who was that worse for? The one who was sleeping for what seemed like 5 minutes, or the family who had 8 hours of worry? Obviously the family.
Cancer is not one person’s diagnosis. It is a diagnosis for the close friends and family. They worry about every ache and pain. They worry about not making you worry. They worry about what if…? They care for you when you cannot care for yourself. Shoot after the surgery I had it fairly easy. I lay around for a few months while my family picked up all the slack. My in-laws watched the kids so my family could be at the hospital. My older kids helped cook. My mom cooked, cleaned, and drove us all everywhere! My husband cared for the kids and was a rock for everyone while he attempted to maneuver around everyone who was helping or wanted to help. Shoot the whole east mountain community came together to help support me! This is not a individual disease it is a community disease.
As you see the ads for wonder drugs that help happy cancer patients and you see the support breast cancer research signs, think of the families and friends impacted. Support the families and friends who are at the center of this disease. Give a hug. Lend a hand or a shoulder. Make sure they are taken care of too.