By nature, humans are social beings. We are meant to be part of a community. Solitude, alone time, and even withdrawal are critical components of our learning and recharging, but the fact is that nobody gets through life alone.
When I received the diagnosis, the first calls I made were to my closest friends and my niece. Those people, along with many others were my most rock solid support and I knew immediately that the most important thing I needed; a strong, love-filled support system; was already in place.
I had one of my closest friends at every scary appointment with me providing humor and support while recording information and asking questions she knew I would want to have answers for. She took me in the day of my surgery, stayed the night with me afterwards and made sure I was okay on my own before she left the next day after helping me strap my boobs up with tensor bandages. You know you’ve got a friend when she’ll run around your body in circles to secure your wounded boobs in place.
I had girlfriends who made and froze soups for me ahead of surgery so I had easy meals. Others who came over and helped cook, brought tea and even gave my stinky dog a bath! My closest people helping me with things in my house, taking me out to get groceries and carry them in because I couldn’t lift anything heavy. Doing research for me to keep me off the internet, grounding me and keeping me balanced. Several coworkers who sent meaningful gifts and thoughtful messages for my recovery. Friends who picked up my dog and took her for walks when I wasn’t able to. Neighbors who carried heavy things in for me and took my garbage out. Another neighbor who also happened to be off work at the same time as me who provided endless support and company. We ended up being exactly what each other needed and she’s now one of my closest friends.
Each time I waited for results (from surgery and resulting scans, ultrasounds and tests), I had someone incredibly special in my life by my side. Some of those days were the worst of my life made better by the best people in my life.
When I was at my worst emotionally, sleep deprived and feeling crazy, my favorite person in the whole world was there in a heartbeat, helped me to become grounded again and push doubt out of my mind.
My dog! Oh my gosh, what a trooper and a comrade she is. Dogs just know when something isn’t right. She gave me so much love and support both through everything. She became very protective of my house after surgery and was extra gentle while my body was recovering. She knew when I needed more snuggles, and when I needed to get out for more walks and out of my head. Dogs are amazing beings and a continuous example of unconditional love and compassion. They should be allowed in every office every day, anyone second this? Yes – case closed! Every day is now Bring Your Dog to Work Day! (*spoiler alert* this is part of my world domination plan)
I have a freaking village! While I’m sure I would have survived this ordeal if I didn’t have my support system, I would not have thrived as I have. I cannot imagine how much more terrifying, lonely and uncertain or difficult to get things done without them it would have been than it already was. Check on your people, even the ones who appear to be the strongest and have their shit together. We often take for granted that these people will be okay, but they still need to know someone is there.
My point with all of this is simply – we are stronger together. Every single person in my village had something special to contribute, and something different than the others in my tribe. When everyone in the village contributes a little (or a lot for some of my villagers), the journey is easier and there’s a greater chance of success . We may all have different opinions or thoughts on how the world should be, but when we band together for the common good the community will thrive.