I'm wondering if a portion of it is stress, these issues, or the majority for that matter. Another thing that I don't tend to write about is that I get contacted daily via email, text, phone, by other friends with cancer, and also several times a day new people find me. Right now two of my closest cancer friends just found further metastasizes. And that was just in the past 24 hours. Those two girls, along with another of my closest friends who also has active stage 4 cancer, need me. And I adore them. I love them. Then I get other people that need help and direction, and I'm happy to do so; those emails are a joy. I want to help people survive, but then I get other emails, so so so many of these emails, of people that don't tell their husbands, their parents, their siblings, their children, that they are battling cancers, and tumors, or diseases, and they come to me for camaraderie, and to vent, and to find a source of support. But the thing is that I am only one person, and I am already exhausted, and scared, and trying to remain healthy. Stack on top of that, my friends whom I adore, whom I want to save, whom I want to cure, whom I want to be around for decades and decades. I want them to be around for a lifetime. And I'm virtually helpless. I'm stuck here. I'm just me. I research for them, I brainstorm, but it's not enough. I want to do more. I want to be there. I want to take it away from them. I want to be the superhero that snags the ticking time bomb of cancer and flies it away at supersonic speeds to another galaxy, returning in the nick of time so that we can all be saved. (Sorry neighbor aliens.)
I want to help everyone. I want to give you strength, but each time I give my strength I have to be replenished too. I can not continuously give. I can not be everyone's rock. From the time I was young I have internalized other people's plights. I was one of those kids who would cry for starving children. When I read your emails, when I hear people's fear, I feel it. I can not live removed. So what I have to say right now is that I am asking those of you who reach out (and as you read this please know that there are tens of people daily, this is not singled at any two or three people) and are carrying the burden in the dark to open up to your friends, and family. Not only will you need that strength and love and support, but also, as my dad recently reminded me, it makes them feel better to be a part of the journey. They appreciate being involved. They want to help us. Of course, you don't have to do anything you don't want, but I guess this is my cry to you, I can not carry everyone else's burden. I can carry a few, but this is not normal stresses. This is life and death, and my friends are a high need group, and in order for me to be a good friend, and be able to handle the reality and research and emotional support to help them, I have to focus and know my limits.
I feel horribly guilty that I can't be everyone's friend, that I can't have relationships with everyone who reaches out. I hear the fear in your voices. I feel what you feel. I want to help. I want to fix. I am so sorry that I can't do it all. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. Even though I'm writing all of this, I hope that you still feel comfortable reaching out if you have direct questions. I really appreciate it when they're short. It's especially the long emails that get me. It takes so long for me to read and think and analyze - it zaps me. I am incredibly capable, but I have limitations, and I have to be able to triage. I can't be attached to my computer and phone all day, it isn't healthy. And the subject matter is so heavy, so dense, so dark.
I'm sorry that I had to post this message. There is nothing more that I want than to help, but I am only one woman. And I'm not trained for this. I'm not built for this. And my heart, which thankfully is quite large (probably big like my huge noggin), is reeling. It is deeply bruised, and hurting for my two First Descents camp friends who have had such horrible news. Fucking cancer.
I'll leave you with this quick video, it's about angiogenesis and cancer. There aren't any great anti-angiogenesis drugs for brain cancer that will cure, but don't forget that food does matter. We can eat things just because we're hungry, or because it makes us feel temporarily better, or we can make our food serve a purpose, to make it count. There are all these little things that we can read up on and learn about to take charge. I'm not trying to imply that diet is enough. I'm only imploring you to get curious, read up, research, Google stuff, and find what empowers you. There are so many times with cancer when we feel helpless, and scared, but there are actions that can help. Never give up. You are capable just within yourself. In any moment you can make choices to change. It's all in you.