The “Gift” of Accepting Help

I have always been strong-willed,  ambitious, independent and determined.  If there was something that I wanted or needed it was easily within my grasp.  I have been employed since the ripe age of 13,  I know how to cook, I can change a tire, navigate a hiking trail or unfamiliar city streets.  I have maneuvered my way throughout the many obstacles of life. There was no time to waste, I was married and had completed nursing school by the age of 20.  I went on to raise 4 incredible children working full time as a Advanced Practice Registered Nurse. I had mastered the art of taking care of everything and everyone.  Then came the words that knocked me off my feet, and put me in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable zone of needing help. “You have cancer” were the hardest words I had ever heard, but what came next was even harder. Sure there was the physical aspect of things, testing, procedures, surgeries and treatment however the most difficult part of my journey has been the mental anguish. It started with having to admit that I needed help and I needed it in every way.  Throughout my journey, I required help with shopping, meal preparation, driving, showering, self care, and most importantly, the need for emotional support. The out pouring of love and willingness to help from friends, family and even strangers was mind blowing . Initially receiving the help (even though it was much needed) was difficult for me.  I was still in the mind-set of self-reliance.  Then I realized accepting “help” was as important for me as it was for the care givers and that’s when it all changed.  Cancer has a rippling effect to the ones that are closest to us. They may often feel helpless and out of control, watching their loved ones navigate the physical and emotional battle of cancer.  Accepting assistance empowers our support system to make a meaningful difference and to take part in our healing process, relieving some of the feelings of helplessness. I now remind myself that being the gracious recipient is as kind, important and empowering as being the gracious giver.