“One of my best medicines is the family surrounding me …. For them all I am truly thankful. We continue to realize that coming out here to live with our children and be with the grandchildren was the right decision. The little ones keep us smiling.” (I wrote this in one of my blog updates during cancer treatment.)
It was over Christmas holiday with our sons and their wives and families that we had to tell them our news of my cancer diagnosis. Our sons and daughters-in-law expressed their desire to be a part of the whole process of my cancer treatment; they wanted to help as much as possible. They asked us to keep this in mind as we made the decision of where I would have treatment because their personal involvement would be impossible if we were a continent away from one another. Our home was in West Virginia, in the east, where we had lived for 12 years but our sons and their wives and families lived in southern California, where we had previously lived and where our sons grew up.
In the final analysis, after much prayer, thought and research, we decided to go to one of the premier cancer centers in the country which was also minutes from the homes of both our sons. Instead of our children being a continent away for us, we ended up a continent away from our own home and work in West Virginia, but in the right place for me to be for this long, difficult journey of cancer treatment.
A community of support is tremendously important to one in need, whatever that need might be. My need was physical; I needed good medical care. But I also needed loving support. I got the best of medical care and the best of love and support from our family.
Not only did I have the best care from my husband, children and the added benefit of little grandchildren full of life and unconditional love; I had many, many friends who supported me by prayer. Some who lived far from me sent cards and gifts sometimes, too, just to encourage and cheer me during those long months of not feeling well, living under the cloud of cancer treatment. During a difficult stretch I wrote in my blog:
God has been good to me, to us. I have been bolstered by prayers and love from many people, and grace and peace from God. I admit I’ve had some emotional times the past few weeks but nothing earth shattering. I’ve learned over the years to rest in the Lord a lot more than I used to!
It was a great comfort and strength to me to have my best friend and companion, my husband Randy, at my side, helping me make decisions, yet not running ahead of me. Rather, he walked with me step by step. His love and support cannot be measured. It was and is much more than I can ever put into figures or words. Really, that is what love is all about. My cup overflows with blessing because of him.
Though I will not do other postings from this chapter on “A Community of Support,” in the published book I will share from my own experience what I have learned over the years about the importance of having a community of support around one, especially in times of need, with suggestions on building one if one doesn’t have such a support system in place. We are not designed by God to go it alone, we need others and it is never more evident than when we are in need because of some trial we are going through. I hope you will pursue these thoughts with me as I share them in the published form of my book, Brokenness to Beauty: Transforming Your Brokenness into a Beautiful Life.