Friend:a person whom one knows likes & trusts.
It is no secret, the last few years have been one big rollercoaster of ups and downs for me as I have tackled this new world of mine full of Cancer treatments, scans, aches & pains &; my own fears that have developed because, lets face it, when faced with our own mortality it take a lot to put on our super hero cape and face each day ready to tackle each & every bad guy that crosses are path!
I have gone through phases and they kinda go like this:
5 years ago: Shock, Flight, then Fight - "You're to young, you are the wrong gender & you don't smoke or drink, but I'm sorry but YOU GOT CANCER." I couldn't breathe. I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. And then I thought about my children and my husband. I didn't won't to wreck Christmas. As I Mom I wanted to protect them. I wanted to run to my Mom & Dad. I wanted them to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. But, I couldn't. Cancer had just destroyed their lives a few years before. i wanted to hide. I called my SIL & she convinced that my hubby would want to know. After talking & many tears..... i got ready for the fight of my life. Surgeries and treatment followed.....and followed .....and followed. I also learnt that my Cancer was different because it had a high reoccurrence rate. They couldn't just take it out, treat me and say congratulations you done. I was told that i would have to go in every 2-3 months for an invasive treatment for the rest of my live. I didn't give it a second thought. 44 years old, how bad could that be....I had given birth to 4 children. I could do it.
4 - 3 years ago: Still determined but a Monster appeared under my bed - I kept driving myself to my appointments which were 2 hours away. A year of this time my husband had to live six hours away because of a new job and the fact the we couldn't sell our house. I thought to myself, No Problem, I can do this. I can be tough. I certainly didn't want to bother anyone because, well, everyone has things happening in their life and i didn't want to be a burden. If you are reading this and you are going through anything....even if you aren't....you just need someone to talk to or a friend, PLEASE BE A BURDEN TO SOMEONE, BECAUSE you AREN'T BEING A BURDEN! I am starting to slowly learn that people, especially your friends really do want to help. I know that I love helping and being there for people when I can. I just had it in my head that I was being a burden. I was raised & told all the time to keep a stiff upper lip and to be independent. Well, there is a time for everything. As I drove those long 2 hour drives, often having to stop on country roads because I felt so sick to my stomach I felt something else growing inside me. Something that scared me to death. One night, as i tried to fall asleep I suddenly realized the I had let a childhood monster move back in under my bed. I had become scared. I wasn't the same person that a couple years before had flown by myself to New York to have my artwork shown at Surtex just a couple months after being diagnosed & having surgery for Cancer. I had allowed the pain, and all the treatments consume me. I was SO worried about not being able to preform at 100%. I was so worried about pain. I was SO worried about those little tiny Cancer cells moving around my body and not having control. I had raised 4 beautiful children, and gone through all kinds of things of having a family alright....but all of a sudden I felt like I didn't have control. But, when everyone came home on weekends I did what a Mom does....make super, listen to problems & smile. Life goes on. The problem is...when everyone left at the end of the week-end....it was just me and that monster who seemed to like living under my bed. I certainly couldn't tell anyone about that....could I? So I thought.
Present: We all need friends & a little help sometimes - This past fall the physical pain just became too much for me. I needed answers and I needed a better quality of life. I also wanted my family to be happy and healthy. For me my faith and my creative outlets have always beens so super important but i was so weighed down by pain and anxiety from the pain and all the treatments and surgeries. I was getting angry or upset or sad so easy....and I knew it was from my pain, frustration & fear. However, it was SO hard to communicate that with me those around me. I don't blame them, because I wanted to smile and feel better too. We have no way of truly understanding what another person is feeling or going through but I have found that by simple gestures of a smile, a hug, or even a kind word it can make such a big difference in someone's life. My treatments created nerve damage all over my body which we are trying to unravel right now. Even just talking can cause such pain in my face and headaches. When I felt really sick...I felt scared, lonely: I almost let that monster take my HOPE from me. I was and still am fighting for my life. LIFE IS PRECIOUS. Months before we knew my Dad had Cancer he became grumpy and that man had never been grumpy a day in his life. I was so concerned and thought maybe he was working too much. Now I understand. He wasn't feeling well, he also was scared and he didn't know how to communicate it. When you are in constant pain, you just want someone, anyone...especially someone you care for just to tell you its all going to be ok. But, I know how hard that can be for everyone! I have been now on both sides of the fence.
I do have to say....that I am blessed to have the family that I do have because I know it has been hard for everyone. I know that I might never be in recession & I think I am finally coming to peace with that. That doesn't mean that i am not going to fight like heck still! It also doesn't mean that sometimes I still get sad....or even kinda mad for a moment. the I say a prayer and try to refocus my energy. I have a long way to go...but, really, don't we all. aren't we all always growing and learning? Thats called life and we make the best out of it! It really can be SO beautiful!
And WOW am I ever blessed to have such amazing CREATIVE friends. My design team behind the scenes the last couple years have been so incredibly supportive. I really do love those incredibly talented gals! Also all the amazing illustrators through Lilla Rogers and the designers & companies I have met through crafting and art..... I just love them all. Rhonna Farrer, Unity Stamp Co, Tim Holtz, Canvas Corp have been so amazing and I will never be able to thank them enough! You all ROCK!
ART is SO HEALING!
It is my life and it always will be! Creating and designing lets me be free! It is amazing! It lets my mind escape and heal. It lets me meet amazing people! The colours, the shapes, even the feel of the brush or stamp or pencil in my hand is so therapeutic! plus....all the incredible people I meet and all the stories they tell me and the art I see them create with my designs....It brings me SO MUCH JOY!!!!
Thank-you ALL for your AMAZING support! Make sure you give someone a great big hug today....