Not long after I went public with my diagnosis, I was talking with a guy at church who had undergone cancer treatment. We were commiserating about the various aspects of our journeys. At that point, I had no symptoms, and was new to hormone treatment. My main impression of life with cancer then was the outpouring of love and support that I had received. I said this to my friend, and he replied, "Oh yeah, the love part's great!" The rest may be tough to deal with, but The Love Part makes it all worthwhile.
That's certainly been my experience so far. I've talked about it a lot. I keep experiencing it in different ways. This past week has been a prime example.
I've talked about the financial support that came as a real surprise to us a week ago. We've received additional support since then from a close friend. Someone who I haven't seen or talked to very often for the past 35 years, but who wants to do whatever he can for me now. The Love Part.
I've made new friends since I began blogging about my cancer. One lives close to me, though we still haven't met face to face. One lives in Michigan. We went to high school together, but never actually met. The other is a couple in Arkansas. The love and connection I feel with these new friends is a constant source of encouragement to me. I hope I am the same to them. These are friendships I would not have today were it not for cancer. The Love Part again.
Reconnections with long standing friendships has been a running theme in this blog since I started. Almost all of my friendships have gotten closer since my diagnosis. I used to be able count the number of close friends I had on the fingers of one hand. Now it takes both hands and at least one foot. Good thing it's sandal season.
One of my best friends (who only recently became a "best" friend by being a nonstop source of encouragement since my diagnosis) gave me a very frank description this week of what I was like before cancer. It wasn't a very flattering picture, and it was spot on. What amazed me is that she loved me anyway, in spite of the fact that, to paraphrase, I seemed to only care about myself and my music. She knew me well. That pretty much was all I cared about before I got hit by God's 2 By 4.
That's why I've been so blown away by the love that I've received. I don't deserve it. As I said in my post, "Reconnecting," I haven't given love in anywhere near the amounts that I'm receiving now. Who could deserve this amount of love? Mother Teresa, maybe? I'm no Mother Teresa. But just like my dear friend, you loved me anyway. Many of you had never met me, and probably never will. But you loved me anyway. You show it with your prayers, your encouraging comments, and the calls, texts, messages, and cards that continue to come. That's what I call The Love Part.
One of the people that I love most, who lives far away, is in town this weekend. We're meeting for brunch on Monday. I'm so excited about it that I can hardly stand myself. Also, I got some very exciting news from another very dear friend yesterday. Just about the best news I could have gotten from anyone. I was feeling sorry for myself about my inability to see certain friends, and then I got that call. The exact call I needed at the exact right time. God is good. The Love Part comes from him.
Before I wrap this post up, I should update you on my situation. My appointment with my oncologist on Tuesday, June 7th has been cancelled. I haven't heard anything about my Medicaid status yet. Since no treatment was planned for this visit, it's better to wait until I have some kind of coverage. I'll reschedule for sometime in July, after my insurance is worked out and in place. That's a bit disappointing to me, but only because I wanted to have actual medical news to tell you about!
But while those kinds of issues are frustrating to me, even my struggles bring out The Love Part. The expressions of anger, frustration, and genuine concern I've received from some of you have really lifted my spirits. When I'm angry about something, somehow, it really helps when others are angry about it too! Not just angry at the issue, but angry on my behalf. That's The Love Part again.
I keep saying it, and I won't stop until I something stops me. Thank you for all of the love. It's undeserved favor, which is the definition of grace. I don't deserve it, but you keep giving it. Cancer is bad, but The Love Part's great. #waroncancer