Second: A Search for Connection
Even though I am writing these posts back to back, I wanted to keep this one separate just because it really has a specific theme that needed to be addressed individually and not mixed in with Andrew W.K. and babies and heaven forbid, BRONIES. (Normally I would link to something, so that you could easily educate yourself on one of the things I talk about that my varied audience may not know about... but I don't want to subject myself to even a single additional viewing of a brony ever again. So that's on you, shoudl you choose to google that shit.)
AS I WAS SAYING...
This is a post all it's own. It started with the Cancer Retreat, but has really grown into something that I have definitely been sort of ignoring for a while now. My need to connect with someone else "like me."
In the beginning, I was set up with a mentor through a program called 4th Angel. I thought it was going to be helpful, but really it was not what I was expecting. The girl they set me up with lived in Wisconsin or Minnesota or something. May as well have been Guam. I was expecting someone I could sit across a table from and laugh over tea and cupcakes. I don't do the phone. I hate that thing. It's difficult for me to call my parents, my best friends, even my husband when he's on tour for months at a time! And she did not seem one for answering emails, so we were useless to one another. I visited The Gathering Place in the beginning as well, but was SO not emotionally ready for a support group situation. So that was another dud. And then after the fact, there was CrazyPreachyChrist Girl. She had my same cancer, my same treatments, even one of my same doctors... but she was in no way someone I'd have been friends with without the common thread of cancer, and I knew it the minute I saw her picture on Facebook. Which may sound shallow. But when you look at someone, it is pretty easy to know they're just not... for you.
So, as I've moved further and further away from the end of my treatments and further beyond my remission declaration, I have had more and more questions about lingering side effects, emotions, fears, all of that. Things that no matter how supportive my friends or family or employers might be, they cannot really understand.
The retreat was the first step toward finding that. And it was really good. I met all of these beautiful, amazing people. One of them, whom Mallorie and Ryan have both named "Cancer Camp Chris," is now on my daily text message roll. He even came out and met Ryan and I for drinks at Stone Mad (one of our favorite bars) a few nights ago. He is hilarious and fantastic and we had a really great time. And he's been through cancer. And we can talk about that. AND we have other things in common and we can talk about those. He makes me laugh and I want to spend time with him and that is so cool. And I know I will be seeing the others from the retreat when I start attending the Young Adults Group at TGP. Which is really great and I am really looking forward to.
But there was STILL something missing. No one in the group was my age. No one in the group had had any sort of gynecological cancer. And despite being people I instantly liked and felt a connection with despite our differences, no one in the group was really "like me" in a way that I guess I have been hoping to find.
Strangely, however, several weeks ago I got a friend request on Facebook. I did not know the girl, but we had more than a dozen friends in common, she was fucking adorable, and once I poked around on her page a little bit, I got that she was a cancer survivor as well. So I accepted her request. I watched her posts and always enjoyed her positivity and cuteness. And then maybe just because there is something going on with me right now and now seems to be "the time" for this... I sent her a message today.
We began texting and what the fuck do you know... she is my age. She had my same cancer. And she is a sassy, tattooed pile of cute whose online photo albums are full of photos I love of things I love (not to mention clothes I want to steal). AAAAAAND... we have a dinner date tomorrow!
Put it out there and it will come, that's all I can say. First it was the Gathering Place retreat. Then the awesome group of people I met there. Then drinks and laughs with Cancer Camp Chris. And now... Michelle. Squeee!
I could not be more grateful.