It truly takes a village to raise a family. It MOST certainly takes one to do so when also dealing with chemotherapy and all that goes into cancer clean up! The outpouring of love and support during my diagnosis, treatment, clean up and even my current every day life continues to touch me and amaze me in ways I doubt people know.
I have always been pretty self sufficient and feeling like I was taking so much from all of these people who obviously cared immensely for me was a very hard pill to swallow. Whether they were bringing me and my family dinner during the 7 days after my treatment so I did not have to worry about anything – set up by Christa and supported fully by my friends in the Morgantown Board of Realtors, my work family and the castle, just stopping by to visit and check in on me, or calling to check in, I had a hard time accepting all the love. You know hindsight is always 20/20 and I shouldn’t have been that way.
Speaking of the Castle (this is where my kids went for daycare – it is a private, in home, amazing blessing that very few are lucky enough to experience)… they had a First Thursday Surprise Pink Party for me where everyone brought something that was pink for my journey into chemotherapy and my battle. Rayanne, the Queen of the Castle, has always been a blessing to my life, but I can not begin to explain what she actually has become to my family over the years. She is truly one of my biggest cheerleaders – the one that reminds me that I am lovable, worth it, not alone, adoptable in a moments notice when I need some Morgantown family, and most of all that those who know me, know me. She was also the driving force behind the Elimination Dinner that was held in my honor to help me pay for my medical bills in 2014 – so much more on this later, I promise. Some moms, Rayanne and I went to dinner at Texas one evening and I remember Heather telling me to just get over it and let Rayanne be Rayanne – trust me, there was no stopping her.
Amy participated from afar so very often. The day before each long chemo day, I received a care package in the mail. In it, activities for me to take for the day and a t-shirt for treatment day. She had one too and wore hers too – even to work. My left arm (the side my port was on) said Take That on each one – her left arm said For Linz on each. They said Wake Up, Kick Cancers Butt and Repeat, Bee Strong, I am a Warrior, Keep Calm and Fight On, and Chemo Grad – it of course was blue and gold! I got a picture of her each morning of treatment with hers on, showing that although she couldn’t be here in real life, she was definitely with me in spirit. Amy also organized a t-shirt sale that sold a ton of shirts that said “I support Lindsay”. When I went into my last office meeting after chemo and before my mastectomy, everyone had on pink – 90% of them in an I Support Lindsay t-shirt. The days I had surgeries for years to come actually, I got pictures posted on Facebook with my friends and family from all over the country wearing these t-shirts for me on the days of my procedures. It was crazy and still amazes me that people from high school, college, adult life – all over the place were wearing pink just for me. I know that this support, whether the thoughts, prayers, willing, and love got me through the toughest times of my life. This was definitely part of what kept a smile on my face through the hardest battle I had ever faced.
I was never alone for a chemotherapy treatment either. Jan came in to go with me to the first one – the first big unknown. She seriously came all the way to WV to sit there with me for 8 hours or so all the way from Alabama. Jennie took me to number 2 – I can tell you all that this was something for her to do. It isn’t fun for many to relive this day, but she wasn’t going to let me do it alone. Shannon brought me to number 3. She drove up from Grafton to get me and took me home too. Angela took me to number 4 and came bearing fun magazines and stuff for us to do to pass the time. My ex-husband took me to number 5 and we had visitors – Christa, Connie and Shelley Moore Capito…because why wouldn’t that happen. My last full day of chemo was unfortunately after my dad had passed, but my mom was able to be there with me and Michele brought us lunch. I was also poisoned (that is totally what I said they were doing to me) by the best in the business. I would not have wanted to have my port accessed by anyone else than the caring and amazing staff at Mon General! Heather, Rachel, Trish and all the other nurses honestly took an active role in my treatment and still do to this day. To say they are amazing is an understatement – even when I was an annoying type A patient requiring my poisoning to take place in the exact same sequence each time. LOL
The Community Service Committee of the Morgantown Board of Realtors all chipped in and brought be an early Christmas present and came to visit me after one of my surgeries. They brought me a card with money to help me have a wonderful Christmas for my girls without worrying about money. I can never repay them or thank them enough for saving Christmas that year.
My girls actually though that 2014 was the “best summer ever” because of everyone who helped make it that way for them. When I was very down, they would be taken out to do something fun so they wouldn’t have to watch me suffer. And Lord knows, my patience was at an all time low during the period, so it was a great thing to have the girls out and about, living life with their friends while I was in my road rage periods (we will talk about all that sometime too).
The Osman/Wunderlich clan and “framily” came up to save the day more than once too. Whether it was to kidnap all of us and take us to Deep Creek for a day off of life or to storm my house with reinforcements to help get all the laundry sorted, washed, put up/folded…and all I could muster was sitting up kinda to say which kid that outfit belonged to. Of course Tiffany was always there for me. She checked on me daily and waited to get off the phone with me to ever shed a tear. I know now that many times we would get off the phone and she would fall apart. I knowing what it took for her to remain so strong during those calls – she is definitely a cry when she is angry or sad type of person and I believe she was really both at this time.
Michele made it her mission to almost never let me come to any more of my “mini” chemo/infusion days alone. She was also with me on surgery days – if you know her, you understand what this means. She doesn’t…or didn’t lol…do hospitals. She let me fall apart on her many times and picked up all the pieces. When I started radiation, she found my car in the parking lot and left me an envelop with 28 scratch off lottery tickets so I had one to scratch each day before or after treatment. I won $12 on them actually and looked forward to that bright spot each day for 6 weeks.
I am not sure I adequately thanked all of these people who touched my life during this time period…actually I know I didn’t. I also know that I have left people out who stepped up and helped create this village that I honestly don’t think I could live without. I have to just hope and pray myself that they know how touched I was by the visits, gifts, love, support, thoughts, prayers…I felt them daily and I believe that this was actually what made this time in my life bearable – it was so rough, but again, hindsight being 20/20 one of the hardest, saddest, scariest and best time of my life. I hope each and every one of them know that I would do anything for them. To feel love like this from so many is something I never though was in my path and I thank God every day for showing me I am worth it.