Last night, I had dinner with my good friend Sharon, who has twice been treated for breast cancer. She's well now but we got to talking about asking for help during treatment.
We both had teams of people, providing all kinds of support during our health care crises. We were fed, entertained and accompanied to appointments. My kids were distracted and cared for, my dog was walked. My friends even paid to make sure that someone would come and clean my house while I was recovering from surgery.
To me, feeling healthy and strong again means requiring a lot less help. I speak with my oncologist over the phone. I breeze through echocardiograms. I walk or ride my bike to appointments. I even go to my regular Herceptin treatments by myself most of the time.
I feel fine about all this. I like being independent and I don't want to ask people for support when it's really not needed.
But sometimes it is.
On May 2, I have a brain MRI. These are always fraught with anxiety for me. My head is wedged into place and then encased in a small tube. And it's unbelievably noisy. I'm reasonably good at self-soothing and yogic breathing but as I force myself not to mind the physical discomfort, I start to worry about results. What will the radiologist see in my images? What can the technical staff see, as they test is being done?
There is not enough meditation or Ativan in the world to make this a pleasant experience.
Tim has come with me to my last few MRIs but on May 2nd we have a child care conflict. I was contemplating going alone when I was reminded by my conversation at dinner that there was another option: asking for help.
When I got home, I logged on to Facebook:
Within minutes, I had a friend who offered to go with me and someone who said they'd be backup. And there were so many others who couldn't go but who sent their love and support or said they'd be there with me in spirit.
And they will be.
Note to self: Ask for help, even if you think you don't really need it. You'll be very glad you did.