IN THE THROWS OF A HEALTH CRISIS? PART III
By Stephanie Ortiz
You thought you could get through this illness alone? Not on my watch.
I’m writing this with renewed fervor after my father-in-law died suddenly of a ruptured aneurysm a few weeks ago. As I mourn his loss, I must accept that he didn’t tell us he’d lived with the condition for ten years.
But hopefully, his death can be of value to you and prove my point: tell everyone what’s going on, please.
If only we had known. We could have shown dear Papito how much we cared about him.
He didn’t want to be a burden and for us to worry about him.
I get it. I entered cancer, wanting to be independent. I didn’t want pity. I wanted to be the caregiver rather than the caretaker.
And then there were the horror stories about how people’s husbands left them, or they found out their supposed friends weren’t such friends. An illness can be a scary and lonely road when going it alone.
I remember telling my husband. “Run while you still can.”
He laughed even though I was serious.
He understood what I was too afraid to do; I needed to open my heart.
So I took the first step to learn how to receive love from others–I talked about it with anyone who’d listen.
And that’s what I’m asking you to do, too.
It takes a village–people.
So this is when having your fantastic medical team isn’t enough. Consider who will be your water boy, trainers, cheerleaders, and fans.
Open up to the various forms of healing you will receive from all the members of your support team. Appreciate everyone’s contribution, not just your key players.
Overestimate the power of your teammates, even strangers. My friend went as far as to make up a fantasy football team to help her fight her cancer journey.
Connect with love; the greater the love surrounding you, the more your anxiety will dissipate. Love’s the opposite of fear for a reason.
Let’s dispel a few false myths so we can tap into that love:
Falsehood 1: You can get through your illness without anyone’s help. Please don’t be stoic and think that’s love.
Falsehood 2: Your friends and family can read your mind and know your needs. Remember how clueless you are? Ask and specifically say what you need. Educate as necessary. Healing’s a process of receiving now and giving back later.
Falsehood 3: You can’t air your dirty laundry (what would everybody think?) How else will your support team know how to help you?
You need everyone’s help–even your cheerleaders.
My husband always says, “A relationship’s never 50-50. Sometimes it’s 80-20; sometimes 0-100, but it all evens out in the end.”
So tell people what you need and open your heart to receive the healing love that’ll pour into it–and as Kenny Rogers would sing it in The Gambler, changing the words around a bit, there’ll be time enough for giving when the healing’s done.
Breathe. Grieve. Believe.