I have a ton of support in my life. I do.
I have the normal stuff like family and close friends… but I have a few extras because of some choices I’ve made and some of my own circumstances. These extra’s include my sisters in Chi Omega, my friends from Sloss Fright Furnace and my Camp Smile-A-Mile family. I think these last three have been greatly underestimated in my life… Probably because they aren’t something everyone has. They don’t come up in normal conversations about who is there to support me, unless I point them out.
I want to do that right now.
My sisters… let’s start there. You know all that cheesy stuff you see in movies and on TV about how they are always there for each other? That’s true. It really is. (The other stuff? Not so true.)
I’m not really going to go into detail here with specifics, but I am so grateful for these girls… and I am lucky that I’ll have them for the rest of my life.
Sloss. You wouldn’t think that working at a haunted house for two years would result in what it has. I didn’t expect it. I’m still slightly shocked. BUT LET ME TELL YOU. These girls started a group to surprise me and help me with my recovery and such. They got the ball rolling for a paypall donation site. They are signed up to bring meals and they are constantly giving me words of encouragement and adding people Ive never met and getting THEM involved. I didn’t even know they liked me. Hell, maybe they didn’t! or don’t? I don’t really care. They are freakin’ amazing, though. I’m so full of gratitude for these girls…
And last, but certainly not least… is my camp family. For those of you that don’t know, Camp SAM is a camp for kids who have or have had cancer. Not too long ago, a lot of us aged out of camp and our only choice for involvement was to be a volunteer councilor. Well, for some of us, that’s not an option as we get even older. So, the Young Adult Retreat was born. There are over 30 of us that go to this weekend and I have known 99% of them since I was 12 years old. We have a bond unlike any bond that exists because we have seen each other puke, have nose bleeds, wash banana’s with soap and water in order to eat them, and cry. We have also watched so many like us pass from our disease.We have gone through break ups and marriages and divorces and cancer and remission and relapse and bone marrow transplants and… Well. EVERYTHING together.
These people know more about me than ALMOST anyone else knows about me. And you know, we see each other AT LEAST 5 days out of every year because of camp dinners and YAR. I talk to some of these people at least once a week and see a few times a month. The ones we ONLY see those 5 days are no less supportive than the ones we see outside of camp functions, either.
Since diagnosis I have had an even bigger outpouring of love and devotion and support from these people than anyone. My friend Amanda came and saw me almost immediately after I was diagnosed. Since then, Ive had cards and emails and texts and more visits from these people than I know what to do with.
Yes, there is something they know and understand about me that no one else does- because they also had cancer as children. That changes us. We are some weird people. But on another level, when you have been through cancer and survived it, there is this weird perspective… and I think you guys are probably gathering that in this blog… that needs to be shared.
I talked to Clifford, a friend from camp, yesterday, and while it was very serious and very support driven, there are very few other people that I can laugh with when it comes to discussing chemo and radiation. But we did. We laughed while talking about chemo and radiation. He kinda made fun of me for pointing out how bad it would suck if I lost my hair because it would make a huge mess (“Well, isn’t that some woman thinking if I’ve ever heard it…”) And I needed that…
I need all of them and for some reason I’m surprised by this? What the crap. They ARE my family. I’m surprised at myself for underestimating them when I KNOW how important they have always been in my life.
I needed Amanda to come over 2 days after diagnosis and poke my cancer and make a face! I needed Valarie to come over and remind me of this woman on an airplane that asked if I had a skiing accident and to share stories about her recent adventures. I needed Clifford to remind me that (dare I say it??) cancer CAN be funny. (I mean, one time Kevin told a story at camp about puking so hard that part of his esophagus came up. YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN 15 YEAR OLDS LAUGH SO HARD. I will never, ever forget that.)
I’m the luckiest girl alive.
Even if, and maybe because… I had cancer when I was 12. And I have cancer now.