My left leg after surgery for melanoma in October 2009

*Today’s blog originally ran as a column shortly after the second bout of melanoma in late 2009.

Lately, my sense of humor has been slipping just a little. Two bouts of cancer in six weeks have left me feeling a little snippy. I find it more difficult to make a joke over something serious or easily relax back into serenity when something doesn’t go right.

Thank goodness my halo has gone in for repairs. It is only when we are really exhausted and exasperated to our limits that our true self gets a chance to air out a little. My true self had a few cobwebs clinging to it.

It is so easy to know that the world likes me when I’m not asking anything from anyone. It’s especially true when I can give wise, profound answers to other people’s problems and can say just the right thing to bring a little comfort. However, that’s not always life and while being able to be calm, collected and witty is admirable, we were given the emotions of anger and anguish for a reason.

Each human being is so unique that asking others how we should lead our own life is a recipe for disaster. We don’t do things the same way because we all have different motivations. Therefore, we have to learn to trust ourselves in concert with the faith of our choosing. However, there are at least five times a week when I’m in a pickle about which way to turn and it’s then that the full array of emotions can come in handy.

A surge of anger lets me know my boundaries have been crossed or at the least that something’s not right and to question, question, question. Anguish tells me to slow down and recognize the loss. The deeper I feel either emotion the more I know I may need some help to get a better picture of what’s happening to me.

I’m not looking for someone to make a decision for me. That would be disabling and we can only give counsel through our own set of beliefs anyway. I’m looking for a different view at a time that I’m lacking clarity, that’s all.

But so many of us were raised to be independent to a fault and as adults we’re finding out that it’s not only a harder road, it was one we were never meant to take.

People who can ask for help and accept it are more likely to have lower stress levels, better health and live longer. That’s why the areas of the world where people live the longest, the blue zones, are full of interconnected families. Not necessarily low-fat diets or a lot of outdoor activity.

My left leg now with the beginning of some new running muscles

The one characteristic they have in common is that the residents share their lives with each other. They offer and receive appropriate assistance from each other so easily that they don’t even wonder how they would handle the smaller details of an illness or a job loss. They know there would be a lot of helping hands and things would get worked out.

That’s where being exhausted can suddenly become a blessing for the rest of us. I’m too tired to act like I can do it all. I need the people around me and have to stand back and let them help me. Thank goodness I have had to admit I am not a superwoman after all.

Sure, it’s true that if you ask for help there will be people who say no, but they probably don’t belong in your circle of friends anyway. Let them go and understand that if you keep asking with your hands open there will be assistance and it will be more than enough.

I have spent years being on the other side of things bringing by the casserole and sitting by a hospital bed holding someone’s hand. The truth is I felt honored to be able to play some small part in someone’s recovery or passing on out of this life.

Now that I’m on the other side of things I feel even more blessed to know that every bit of assistance no matter how small it may seem to the giver has not only helped me to heal my body but has gone a long way toward healing my soul. More adventures to follow.

Q: What have you had to recover from that showed you blessings along the way? How are you doing now?

%d bloggers like this: