I have a Cancer Wall. Yep, it’s in my room across from my bed, and all of my cancer paraphernalia is hanging on it.
The Cancer Wall motivates me and keeps me going. There are pink ribbons, signs with inspirational words, a framed painting of a ninja-honey-badger throwing swords, even a vintage vinyl record single of Eye of the Tiger by Survivor (hey, everyone needs a theme song).
Speaking of vintage vinyl, I was thinking about those thank you dedications inside the record covers. Each band would thank those who supported the making of their album.
And then I started to think about how I have received so much support over the last 2 years and how the least I can do is say thanks.
Obviously, a blog post isn’t an ordinary thank you note or record dedication. Mine is really just a “You Know You Have Support When” list that gives credit to the things and people that brought me happiness during dark times.
Read it as my (awkward or awesome?) way to say thanks, or use it as a list of ideas to support a friend in need.
You Know You Have Support When:
An email thread that began as “How was your day?” ends up turning into a conversation about Fight Club quotes, Suicidal Tendencies lyrics, and hillbillies in general.
You receive a postcard in the mail every single day with “The Word of The Day” on it. Each card has an inspiring word like Pow!, Love, Heal, Inspire, Breathe, Family, Light, or Strength.
You have a text group called Homies. Your homegirls text you with random thoughts, articles from The Onion, Spotify playlists and homemade videos all throughout the week.
You have a Boobie Buddy who creates a “VIP Walking Club” for the two of you at a flat park with lots of benches so we can rest if we feel exhausted.
“Hardcore!”, “Cancering”, “Badass,” and “Queen Honey Badger (aka QHB)” are now common words spoken by the people who know you.
Signs about your husband are hung in neighborhood windows. And they’re nice signs.
Teachers at your kid’s school send YOU gift cards and not the other way around. WTF?!
People are stoked when they see the word “spleen” in a text thread. You begin to receive stickers of human body organs in the mail – including a spleen.
You receive a special delivery of essential oils on a warm towel in the hospital, turning the ER into a spa-like environment. Puzzled by the scent of lavender, the doctors are looking around for the diva in the room. (Pssst! Over here!)
The medical professionals at hospital registration start crying when they talk about your smile and grace – (what about theirs, OMG).
You get a freezer delivered to your house.
You get meals delivered to your house to fill the freezer.
Your Amazon Gift card includes the words: “Get Better, Kick Some Ass and Get Better Some More” – and it contains “A Can of Whoop Ass” as a gift suggestion.
Someone offers to filter your emails and research all the overwhelming, yet important cancer suggestions sent to you by friends.
Your friend starts a care site for you and arranges all the members, meal deliveries and “Walk/Visit with Christi” events on the calendar.
You receive a Mary Kay package in the mail. Yes, Mary Kay with lipsticks and exfoliants to help you feel pretty.
Your friend cooks from the giant eat-right-cancer-cookbook that was given to you as a gift from another friend… and delivers the meals.
People knit things for you.
Your neighbors bring you flowers every week for two years straight.
A nurse at the hospital asks really loudly “Where’s Your Ninja Costume?”
Your friends draw faces on the masks they have to wear while visiting you in isolation at the hospital. They also write important information on your chart like, “Goal: shrink your spleen.”
Your homegirls make a music video dedicated to your chicken named Lady (think Lionel Richie). Then they make a video about the making of the video.
Friends walk the 39 Mile Avon Walk in your name.
You make a playlist for a friend who loves light 70’s rock. Mmm Hmm. Why? Because she stayed up late texting you and keeping you company – and that’s her fave kind of music even though she’s only like 20 something.
Listen to the “Songs For Lawren: Light 70’s Jams” playlist here.
Your in-laws (who are 70’ish) play with your kids, support you and your husband, cook meals and stay overnight every week without a single complaint.
Your sister who is a working single mom of 3 and who also takes care of our dad, takes off work and flies up every three weeks to go to Club Chemo together for an entire year.
Friends bring dinner, groceries, words of love, offers to go for lunch and walks and coffee and invite you places just so you feel like you matter.
You receive care packages with a copy of Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend this Never Happened”, smut magazines, honey badger jewelry, bracelets, healing crystals, tee shirts, cozy blankets, water bottles, socks, pj’s, ginger chews, chocolate tea and cards that say ridiculous things.
Your husband starts a podcast just so we can connect and communicate about things that are so difficult to talk about.
Your husband rides a motorcycle across the US to encourage women get checked and stay healthy, and to find a cure for breast cancer.
Your husband’s giant-teddy-bear-biker friends text and offer to help you while he’s gone.
Your husband takes care of everything.
Your boys call you a soldier when you are bald, and wear pink because they love you, and write songs, and make cards, and walk with you, and cover you with blankets when you’re asleep, and bring you a Star Wars comforter in the hospital because they know these are things that are healing for you.
A friend gets a pedicure and paints her big toes like cute Halloween characters so that she can introduce them to Chemo Toe Joe.
People offer to shave their heads in honor of you losing your hair (and I was like “No way, Jose”).
Friends text a series of one liners about not having hair, like “No hairs no cares”, “Hair today gone tomorrow”, and “Hair’s it goin?”
Before breast cancer, I was a very private person. I was a person who thought I could do everything on my own and never burden anyone. After I was diagnosed I had to decide, did I go through it alone or did I open up my soul and admit I needed help? I decided to open up – and the floodgates of support opened with me.
From all of this I’ve learned that asking for help doesn’t make me a weak person. I still struggle, but I’ve learned to reach out when I need to.
I’ve learned that y’all are incredibly selfless and compassionate. You were there with me during the hard times, you were patient, you sat with me and listened to difficult conversations in my house, on the phone, and on the computer. You made an effort with my family and me – even if it was just for a minute – and it totally counted.
I’ve never felt so loved in my life – and I am so thankful.
Now that’s a quote for my Wall.
Thanks, you guys.
PS. If you’re interested in other gifts that bring happiness to those with breast cancer, check out my Gifts for Survivors Pinterest Board. I haven’t really edited it to my liking, but thought I’d share for the holidays. XO
I’d love to hear an awesome (or awkward) story about giving or receiving – pretty please? You can tell me in the Comments.
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