I was living in Gainesville, Florida when I got diagnosed. I hadn’t made very many friends there and always felt like a bit of a non-Gator outsider. That said, I also couldn’t help but think that I was meant to have lived there to have my cancer there. How rare is it to find yourself in a town with stupendous hospitals plus be in an area where the cost of living is lower so you could sustain yourself without work longer? I saw it as one of the greatest blessings / meant to be things in my life.
Just after my diagnosis, some local people checked in with me but that trickled out very quickly. I was alone pretty much all the time. But I was also supported from a distance by many. Hence alone but together. I do need to give huge credit to social media. I was vocal about my situation and gave updates when big things happened. I remember the first time I posted, it was just before my first surgery and I reached out and fessed up to cancer and to being a little scared. Oh my word, I heard from 700+ people from every walk of my lifetime, wishing me well. Talk about feeling enveloped in love – even if it’s not in the form of physical embrace. I will never forget all of those who supported me. Look – they sent stuff too!
Kind Words and Actions
I did get some good actual embraces, by the way. My mom and good friend, Amy, were always there at each surgery and my good friend, Mary, took great care of me after my double. My friend, Dave, made sure I got out or had company at least once a week. My kitties were a constant presence of unconditional love. And, you’ve gotta love where your knights in shining armor come from. I lived in downtown Gainesville. Where I parked had a car wash and those guys checked in on me every time they saw me. They helped me carry groceries, washed my car for free a couple of times, and were just there with big smiles and words of encouragement. There were valet guys who stood outside my building who always got the door for me and asked how they could help. There were also the managers and chefs at Dragonfly, a fantastic sushi place, who always checked in on me and gave a smile or wave or kind word.
As I’m now nearing the end of my reconstruction and treatments, I’m hoping to find my days of isolation are infrequent as I kick myself more in the butt towards putting myself out there. That said, I still give huge credit to social media as not only is that lovely base on Facebook still there but so are you lovely people. Your comments have meant the world to me. Yes, I may be typing this alone and you may be reading this alone but – Together. 🙂