Are you kidding me? Yesterday I was talking on the phone with one of my new survivors. We are just getting to know each other, but we have became fast friends, she even called me her new bestie by the end of the conversation – YESSS!! Guess what people, you can have more than one Bestie, BFF, whatever you want to call them. If you connect with someone on an amazing level – own that connection. Bestie I will take any day from anyone. I NEED MY PEOPLE and it is a good feeling when I know they need me just as much.
She is almost to the end of her treatment and I had a feeling she needed a little pep talk, so I gave her a call to check in. She was so caught up in the frustration of not being able to do her second to last treatment due to low counts. Nothing is more frustrating than delaying treatment to a survivor who just wants to BE DONE. Add another week onto her treatment schedule.. What really sucks is that her last treatment now lands on her birthday. And while it is her last, who wants treatment on their birthday…
The CRAZY thing was, as I shared some of the similarities between the path she is walking right now and the one I am on, she said, “I am so glad I am not you, I don’t think I could handle it.” PAUSE, THINK and SPEAK of which I said, “are you CRAZY, you are in the middle of treatment, feel horrible, lack energy, try to keep up with your kids, and try to please all your people by being strong and positive.”
You see, we all have our own CRAZY – the question is how do you handle your crazy? My new “bestie” struggles with trying to stay on top of things and focusing on being positive. Why does she do this, because that is what others expect of her. But what I shared with her is that it is not HER coping mechanism, it is what is expected of her. So, when she tries to please others, she is not allowing herself to process in the way that she needs to – which adds stress to her life – stress feeds the cancer – we don’t want that.
In order to cope herself, she needs to step back, breathe and spend time in reflection and prayer. To be alone and allow herself a few “woe is me” moments. It is okay to feel whipped at times and cry, to be mad and to scream – we just can’t stay there. But we very much need to own the feelings we have – take time to feel them – then move on.
Something we both share is others thinking that they know best what we should do in our current situations – in fact she said she is challenged because she has to stay home to protect herself. Her numbers are so low which puts her at increased risk of illness, when she turns down a friend invite her intent is often questioned. They actually make her feel bad because they are hurt that she does not want to see them. Seriously people, why do you question a woman who is just trying to survive – she said she often wants to say, “I am already trying to deal with how to live, I don’t need to deal with you right now.”
Think about that last line. How often do we put on others and what WE think they should be doing or saying? I know I have gotten way to much unsolicited advice from people who claim they know my heart. If they did, they would not feel the need to quote me scripture or tell me what I should be doing. They truly have no idea the situation in which I have been put in. Whose heart do they really need to evaluate? I thought it was bad enough that they do it to me, but to realize that they also put their own judgement on a survivor… What is wrong with us??? We really need to stop and think before we speak, especially when someone is struggling.
You see whether it is my new “bestie” fighting cancer or myself navigating a path I never WANTED, neither one of us choose this for our lives. It blows my mind when people think I did. So how about this new way of thinking? Give us both a little grace. Next time, before you start giving advice to someone, evaluate if you are doing it because you feel your need to, or if it really is in the other person’s best benefit. I can already tell you what the answer most likely will be. Because right now all we need is love, myself and my friend, not direction, not guidance, just love. Just sit with us and listen, that is the best way to support anyone who is dealing with trauma.