Last June 10th, the day before my son's second birthday, I learned the little frozen pea-like nodule in my collarbone was cancer (Hodgkins lymphoma specifically).
My instinct was to get into treatment immediately. After all, I had a 2 year old and a 10 week old at home who needed a mom. Treatment went well, fear and anxiety were relatively kept in check.
No one teaches you how to live after cancer, though. You think you'd celebrate after the news that your first post-treatment scan is clean, but you don't. All of a sudden, the proficient medical team that has been at your beckon call isn't as readily available. You don't see them every other week to assure you you're doing well. You feel alone and on your own.
The truth is none of those things happen anymore. I'm fortunate that my cancer has a very high cure rate. But, people do die of it and do have recurrences. I hope I am not one of those. Part of me is reserved in anticipation that the shoe could drop again any day.
Imerman's Angels (http://www.imermanangels.org/ and @imermanangels) was one of a few places I felt like I could let the few strands of hair I had left down. They don't judge, but they do try to make you feel like you are not alone.
I'd recommend them to anyone. I also know having cancer becomes a sisterhood - even if your cancers and treatments are not the same. You face the same fears and same realities about your life and possible death.
Cancer has changed me for the better in many ways - even with the anxiety that sometimes shackles my spirit. The best thing you can do for anyone going through cancer is to be there for them. Make their lives as normal as possible, and let them talk about it if they want to. So many people are afraid to talk about cancer, as the patient, you almost feel like you have to reassure them that everything is going to be OK.
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