HELP is a Four Letter Word
Now that last week is behind us and we have resolved some things, the real work is ahead of us. We have all begun the process of looking at how we can do better; not only with ourselves but on a larger scale as well. And let me tell you, it’s hard to make dramatic life changes when you are going through a dramatic life change already! Schedules are overwhelming, work is overwhelming and there are only 28 days left!
Not only do I have to help my son learn and grow from his experiences this past week/year, but I have to make sure that I am the best role model I can be for him. This is not as easy as it sounds. I’m constantly running: work, daughter’s dance practice, personal training, yet another doctor’s appointment, attempting to be social while I still can. The list is endless! Oh, and I STILL don’t have any bathroom fixtures purchased, but I am proud to announce I have CONFIRMED THE SHOWER DOORS!
Right now, I am sitting in my office taking a break after working for six hours straight (just on paperwork), trying to get ahead of the curve. I wish I had something sexy or salacious to talk about, but the fact of the matter is amputation isn’t sexy. I now understand that I am blessed to have this time as it takes a huge amount of preparation and planning. I can’t imagine what life would look like if this happened out of the blue.
The anxiety kicked up again this week, mostly around the unknowns. I was scheduled to meet with the plastic surgeon on Wednesday, and he was lovely! Back in March, when I met with the orthopedic oncologist, I was confident I chose the right doctor, but his bed side manner is not the best. So today it was like the gods parted the clouds and sent a ray of sunshine down on the plastic surgeon’s office. He was a dream! Kind, caring, soft spoken and supportive. He laid out all the potential options and obstacles which helped lift my spirits again.
However. HOWEVER. Even with spirits lifted, I’m still not sure I can get everything handled, so it’s becoming increasingly clear I’m going to have to use the dreaded four letter word:
I’m going to let you in on a secret…I am shit at asking for help. I will risk breaking my leg again just to not have to ask anyone for help. I don’t ever want to be a burden on someone. Fortunately, I’m surrounded by amazing people, family, the people I work with and my amazing fiancé and kids who are the unlucky few who have to help me put on my socks and help me clip my toe nails *GASP* which is absolutely mortifying.
I had my first taste of asking for help back when I first thought of doing this very blog. Even though in my head my words sound poetic, when I read them back to myself it sounds like my diary from second grade. So I enlisted the help of a one Christopher Downs, expert blogger, (who calls me his “Friend-Sister-Mom”, which I guess makes him my Friend-Brother-Son?) to help inspire me with these posts and make them sparkle. (Editor’s note: I swear she wrote this of her own accord and I didn’t just add it after she left the room.)
With only 28 days left and anxiety levels registering somewhere at mild panic, I knew it was time to figure out who would be with me on the day of the surgery. At first I considered just having my fiancé there, but I realized that wasn’t going to cut it. He is an amazing soul who takes wonderful care of me and two kids that aren’t even his, but he’s a socially awkward, lovable nerd type (he admits this so I’m not being mean) who will literally drive me mad with his “Dr. Acula” bit as I lay in the hospital bed complaining about needles.
And I knew I couldn’t just have my mother there alone, because she will also do something to embarrass me (she’s a mom, that’s apparently all we are put on this earth to do, a lesson I have now learned first hand).
No, it was time to call in the big guns. Starting with my Aunt Nancy. I knew my support team would not be complete without Nancy (aka “Hand”, but that’s a whole other story). I need her with me more than I need air: she is an aunt and a sister all rolled into one: she’s the Lucy to my Ethel.
There was one small issue with needing her: she’s in California. This meant I had to make a phone call and ASK that she drop everything because I couldn’t do it without her. Instantly, my guilt kicked in! There would be travel, time off work, logistics: the cost alone had me wanting to flagellate myself! You have to understand: in my family, one does not simply ask for help. They sit in the dark in the fetal position until someone notices they are missing, like a normal person.
But if I wanted to do this the right way, I had no choice. I had to call, and ask for help. I needed the Aunt and the Friend-Brother-Son and the Soul Sister (my delicious friend who is the perfect blend of funny and sensible) to keep the group balanced and in check.
And I did it! I made the call and told her I needed her. I asked for help. We laughed, we cried, it was settled.
She will be by my side along with my mom, my loves, my soul sister (who I thought would be in Asia) and my friend-brother-son. It will be a perfect combination of emotion and well timed jokes which is what I need because if you can’t laugh before having a leg removed, then when can you laugh? (At literally thousands of other times, I suppose.)
The rest of it will have to unfold as each day passes. I know the support system is there: there are far away sisters, dance moms, hockey moms, and even an ex-husband. I’m now sure if I can get up the courage to ask for more help, they will be there.