Setting Boundries

Amy is a minister’s wife and up until she received her cancer diagnosis, was a Mary Kay director.  Because of her ‘people’ personality, she has many friends who know and love her.  She has always been easily accessible by phone and has always welcomed people into her home.

However, when she received her cancer diagnosis, I witnessed a change in her accessibility which I initially respected, but have come to admire.  Amy decided that she could not repeatedly talk to everyone who called about her cancer.  She could not welcome every guest who wanted to drop by to express their concern.   She knew that her number one priority was to beat cancer and conserving her physical and emotional strength is a necessary part of her recovery.

Therefore she seldom answers the phone or doorbell.  She answers emails when she feels like it, and she keeps a journal on caringbridge.com.  If a church member wanted to support Amy and Brent with food, they coordinated it with one person rather that just dropping it by the house.

Let me be clear here. It is not that Amy is shutting people out of her life.  She does talk to people, but she does it on her own terms, i.e., when she has the strength, or when it is convenient.   She keeps people up to date on how she is feeling and how her treatment is going by way of  journal entries.  Amy is still just as much a people person as before, and she totally appreciates all the cards, emails, comments left on Caringbridge, and so many other ways support and love is shown to her.

I appreciate  Amy setting this type of example for us.  We do not have to be a ‘slave’ to the telephone and doorbell.  We do not have to let it drain our emotional and physical strength.  We can choose to walk down the path of cancer or serious illness at least to some extent on our own terms.  We can choose to do what is best for us.

You go, Amy!

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Families Who Have Cancer

You know them.  I know them.  Perhaps your family is one of them.  Families who have been touched by cancer. I think that having small children would make having cancer more difficult.  Not only is just doing the every day tasks more difficult, but the emotional facet of perhaps not seeing your children grow up must be factored into the stress of the situation.

Of course, that is not to say that having cancer is any easier for those of us who have grown children.  There are always grandchildren we would like to see grow into adulthood.  Yes.  Cancer is difficult for everyone.

We are not given a choice in life about what diseases we will and won’t have.  Our genetics and lifestyle can and will influence our health, but for the most part we just don’t get to choose.  Famlies are part of the illness and the recovery.

As we pray for the folks in our lives who are will, don’t forget to pray for their families.

What Do We Need? Prayers and Support

Prayers.  Knowing that your name or the name of your loved one is being lifted up in prayer to our Father during a time of crisis gives incredible emotional support to patients and their families.  Precious friends and acquaintances would ask me, “How can I pray for you and your family?” when we were walking the cancer path.  My immediate response was, “Pray that God will give us wisdom and strength”.  Wisdom so that we can make the right decisions for our parents and strength to face the physical and emotional needs of the day.  Oh, what a difference their prayers made.  As I have written previously, even though I was often the only one standing by my father or mother’s hospital bed in the middle of the night, I never felt alone.  God’s Presence was always there.

Support. More often than not, families need things when they are traveling down the path of cancer or other terminal illness.  They need information.  They need home health equipment.  They need appropriate clothing for  their ill one. They need food. They need transportation. They need. They need.

I will begin a discussion of various organizations that I have encountered which endeavor to meet those needs.  Most of the time these are not for profit organizations which desire to minister to patients and the families who love them.

Feel free to become part of the discussion by way of comment, sharing the names of and information about organizations in your area which seek to meet the needs of the ill.