Kathy Mattea sings a song with this line, "Standing knee deep in a river and dying of thirst." This imagery has always spoken to me - I seem to be in that situation more often than I'd like, failing to recognize the water. During my cancer journey I've tried to receive help when it's offered, ask for help when I need it, and never find myself thirsting. However, I often find it difficult to reach out, via prayer. I'm pretty good at thanking God, listening to spiritual promptings, but asking for help - very tough.
Yesterday was a tough day. I think the hard reality of cancer and treatment hits me every 3 weeks, and the weekend and Monday was that time. On my way home from the gym I tried to think of whom I could speak with regarding my hurting. My thought process went like this, "Hmm, it's 8am, too early to call Sheri, Maria is in Great Falls, so I can't call her or Vicki. I don't want to burden Mom or Jenna, and Scott's carried me for so long; I need to give him a break. Dang, I guess I'll buck up, put my big girl panties on and push through this."
My drive to and from the gym every morning is spent quietly thanking God for my blessings and asking for help for friends and family who are in need. Seldom do I ask for assistance for myself. However, I heard, "Oh Ronda, you silly girl, pray - and ask for help." So I did. I prayed, "Father, I hurt. I may be a boob, but I am worn out, physically and emotionally, and I can't finish this journey alone. Please be with me, please buoy me up, please."
An interesting prompting came - "You have friends who have been with you this entire journey, reach out to them. I don't expect you to carry this pain alone, any more. Reach out."
So I did, via Facebook (public venue for a private concern, but then I'm learning how to "Dare Greatly" and be vulnerable). More than 30 of my family and friends reached out, offering to meet me in the river with life jackets and words and prayers of hope. I was held up - I made it through the days knowing I had support - I felt it, I felt those prayers, I felt the positive energy. I felt - literally, loved.
I made it to the chemotherapy lab at 3:45 yesterday for a blood draw. As I sat down, the oncology nurse said, "You don't look well. Do you want IV fluids as well?" She saw that I was knee deep in the river and dying of thirst. She fed me as well.
I have been hydrated - and I know I don't have to finish this alone - I need to remember this.