Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The value of a core support group

For 89 months I have fought this disease. For the first year, I did it alone. That's not to say my family wasn't there for me, My parents, my children, my wife, and for a time even my Grandparents all were there for me. Any of the aforementioned would have done anything for me at any time. Still, I was alone. It is hard to talk about terminal illness with persons who are emotionally attached. They keep crying. It is hard to talk to your wife when you are worried that you will never again have a libido. It is hard to talk about the "what if's" to your children who fall apart for days after the conversation. Cancer is a burden that in many ways must be carried alone. If you do not have a positive outlook people assume that your lack of faith is the reason you are getting sicker or that a treatment is not working. (paraphrased from a post by a healingwell member) " sorry beejane, I liked it" To express fear or doubt is to show weakness. One night during a graveyard shift that seemed like it would never end, I began surfing the web. I simply googled a question. "How long was I going to live with advanced prostate cancer?" I was not encouraged by the results of my query. I was basically learning that I should already be dead. I even called a number for a cutting edge treatment facility that said "sorry there is nothing we can do for you." .....NICE!!!
I continued to surf the web until at around 5a.m. I clicked on a website called healingwell.com. I read some of the posts and decided lurking was for cowards and signed up as a member. I again typed my question.... The replies were not what I had expected. I don't even remember what they were to be honest but it doesn't matter. My battle with cancer changed that morning. I found a place where everyone was to one degree or another, in the same boat as I. I found a place where we all shared the same fears and faced the same demons. I found a place where I could vent or rant without judgement. I could share my dreams and my struggles and not worry that those I shared with would have a breakdown. I found a group of people whom over the years have become closer in many ways than my family.
    It is this group to whom I dedicate this post. My friends and my family. To date, I have met four of them face to face. In a month I will have the privilege of meeting several more. I honestly do not believe I would be here without them. They have carried me when I could not walk. I have been there to carry the load for them as well. We are a band of brothers and we will leave no-one behind as we battle this disease. Thank you so much for being there and being my friends.

If you have a chronic disease, please find help to deal with it. Nobady should carry the burden alone,. Todd