Many people would probably describe me as a really good listener. I’m usually pretty quiet, I don’t talk a whole lot in large group settings, I just take everything in. I actually don’t mind listening, I love finding out about others and hearing their stories. I like to know what makes others tick. If I’m really comfortable, I’ll open up a lot more and be more chatty but that’s usually in a really small group or with those that I’m really comfortable with.
Something Kacie said during our last circle really stuck with me, we’ve got to let others love us. We’ve got to share both the good and the bad. I think this really stuck with me, because I’m not always the best at sharing, both the good and the bad. I’m not sure why that is, maybe I just don’t want all the attention. I specifically remember when our second son was born, more than a few people were surprised because we never made a huge announcement on Facebook that I was pregnant, only that he was born. When I was diagnosed, I kept that pretty private. It even took me a few days to tell my immediate family that I was going in for a mammogram, at the time I wasn’t too worried about it, I just thought my PCP was covering all her bases and I didn’t want my family to worry for no reason. When I got the phone call we told family right away and friends as the timing was right. I never made a huge announcement on social media. I think I just didn’t want everyone else to feel sorry for me, I was already doing a pretty good job of that myself. I only made a caring bridge because a few friends asked that I did, just so that they would be updated when I wanted to update them.
Not only did I not want to broadcast my diagnosis, but I had a really hard time accepting help. My family was really the only group that I felt comfortable with helping during treatment and they had to tell me they were doing it because I probably wouldn’t have asked, even if I needed it.
I think the turning point for asking for help was when my neighbors found out months later that I was going through treatment. Fortunately, I was diagnosed at the end of November and I had most of my chemo treatments during the winter months. We weren’t spending hardly anytime outside and I also had a winter hat on, so they didn’t realize it. I had my surgery in April and a few weeks before, a couple of the neighbors had noticed my lack of hair because it was warming up. I am so fortunate that they cared enough to ask what was going on. Once they knew, they got right to work. An amazing care basket was put together with all their phone numbers and a meal train was started right after surgery. At first, I had a hard time mentally accepting the help, but it was worth it. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those smiling faces with a warm dinner were just what we needed after surgery. It definitely gave Matt a little break on those nights. Their kindness helped in more ways than one. We got to know some of the neighbors better, but they helped me learn that it’s ok to have help from outside the family.
This is still a bit of a work in progress, but I’m hoping that sharing this journey with all those amazing women will help push me a little further along. Some have already helped me more than they know, I appreciate it when I’ve been too quiet, that they call me out and hold me accountable to contribute more and share more of my story.