It’s A Wonderful Life

I knew at the start of this that a big lesson for me would be learning to accept help.  I mean, I practically assigned the meaning of getting cancer in part to my need to learn this.  I have held onto an immature sense of pride since I was fourteen years old, both for safety and because I could not wrap my head around allowing anyone else to sacrifice anything for me.  I figured I must’ve gotten myself into whatever mess I needed to get out of so I should be responsible, accountable, and fix it on my own.  And for all the ways I have grown and survived, this lesson just wouldn’t get through my thick head – That no one who wanted to help me minded any more than I would mind helping them, and that (Yes I actually believed this) just because I needed help didn’t mean I was not worthy of it.

One of my Christmas traditions is to cry tears of joy every year as the townspeople of Bedford Falls pour into George Bailey’s home in a rally to save him from the repercussions of Mr. Potter’s scheme, coming from far and wide to give whatever amount they could. Well, these days we could rename my cancer Mr. Potter (it’s just as much of an underhanded jerk after all!) and let me tell you, the townspeople have rallied.

The generosity of loved ones, acquaintances and complete strangers has left me speechless and continually overwhelmed with gratitude.  And I mean overwhelmed.  A race and gofundme fundraiser was held to finance alternative treatments not covered by insurance – the goal was met and I truly believe that everyone who contributed is literally saving my life. (I have more faith in these treatments than the chemo.)  Friends are holding another fundraiser here in Michigan to help with my 13,600.00 in insurance deductibles, and my Philly family is holding another! (The damn hospital and surgeon will not perform my double mastectomy until I pay them half the 6800.00 2016 deductible, and then my restoration will be in 2017 – new deductible.)  Vendors, businesses, strangers, friends and loved ones have all donated services and items to these in ways I never would have imagined.  And then the little pick me ups sent in the mail to brighten my day. And the thoughts and prayers. And the random texts and check ins.  And my two girls, Patty and Kristina, who have put up with me staying over every Tuesday night and getting me to chemo, sacrificing their day for me. And Michelle and Jan, hopping on planes and actually hoping to help me through treatment during their vacations.  And the hugs.  Complete strangers, walking up to me asking if they can give me a hug (This has happened four times now).  Telling me they will pray for me. Can you imagine?  Tears, lots of happy tears.

I see people all over the net calling cancer a “gift”.  Cancer is no more a gift than any other life-threatening event and I can’t get on board with this.  What I will say though, is that every situation in life presents you with the choice to embrace the positive things that happen as a result (even if that is just personal growth), or to dwell on the negative.

I do love the way Gilda Radnor put it;

“If it were not for the downside, cancer would be the best thing and everyone would want it.”

I love you all. So much.



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