The Avoiding Game

I’ve been playing the avoiding game. If I just don’t think about it maybe it will go away.

But it didn’t go away. I still have cancer.

So for the last six weeks I have concentrated on remodeling our shower so I can get in it safely after surgery.

Surgery. Again.

Every once in a while, I don’t play the game well and I start to cry for what seems like no reason.

One recent Thursday was exceptionally hard. I woke up scared about what I am facing and broke out in tears quite easily.

My girlfriend called me for some other reason but as we talked, I struggled to hold back the tears. She asked me what was up and I told her nothing in particular, it was just a hard day.

After our call I went back to working on the shower and trying not to think.

About an hour later I was at the far end of the house working with my husband on the shower when we hear a muffled “hello?” We stopped what we were doing and listened again. There it was…a muffled voice saying hello.

I won’t lie, I had a little moment of panic. Who was in my house? And why were they saying hello? A burglar wouldn’t say hello, would they?

I peeked out to see what was going on and was in total shock.

There was my girlfriend in a full hug suit! The hello was muffled by her mask. When she saw me come around the corner, she didn’t say a word she just held out her arms and I flew into them.

This was only the second time one of my friends had been able to hug me since I got my diagnosis. I just thought having cancer was hard the first time, it is exponentially harder during a pandemic.

As soon as I reached her the flood gates opened and I started to cry. It was a hard, gut wrenching cry that let all my pain pour out in that moment.

Suddenly all the things I had been avoiding started coming out. I found my voice to say the things I had been hiding from. It was the first time I said out loud “I don’t want to have cancer. I’m scared.”

Until that moment I didn’t realize how much I missed having my friends hug me and tell me that things would be alright. Don’t get me wrong, my friends are telling me all the right things, but I miss the contact. I desperately wanted a girlfriend to hold my hand or put her arm around my shoulders.

My husband has always been my rock and may have some permanent water damage to his shoulders from all the crying I have done on them over the years. And I will always need his support.

But support from girlfriends is different. It’s like they say about a Harley…if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.

As my tears started to subside, I worried for a moment that I might have watered her hug suit so much that it was compromised, but we laughingly checked it out and found that no damage had been done.

This was no simple act on her part either. It was July in the desert, and she was wearing paper coveralls over her clothes.

I was overwhelmed by her love and kindness.

Being hit with cancer again has rocked me to my core. I’m still scared. But I’m not avoiding it anymore.

That muffled hello had quite an impact.

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