6 months. 6 months since I had seen my support group members. That was when Faith moved to McKinney and when our little group sort of stopped making it on Thursdays to Gilda's Club. The post-treatment group that we joined was so different from what we'd had when we were all in the active treatment group, and so slowly, we all dropped off.
Lucky for us, we have a tradition of "Celebrate Us" dinners. Sounds cheesy, I know, and it probably is, but it's good to see these people who listened to me whine every Thursday the entire time I was doing Interferon. It's good to be able to see friends that are different from any kind of friends I've ever had. It's good to know that when no one else understands what I say about cancer, these girls do. And they KNOW. When I say I won't do treatment again, they don't try to talk me out of it. They are friends- the ones who called me when Oscar died. They were there at his house every time I went to see him. They called and came to see me and brought food when I was in the hospital last June for surgery. These girls know. They've been here through it all.
And it's not weird to see them and say, "How was your last scan?" It's not weird to them to have a cold and think you've got a recurrence. And they know SO much more than my gp. Is that bizarre? Yes, that part is bizarre, but true. And it's so good to have them to ask things to. And hearing them talk about how cancer still affects them every friggin' day, even so long after treatment- well, it's just reassuring to know you're not the only one. When I listen to them, and hear their words, and feel their pain, I also see that I've grown a little, too. I really empathize with what they're feeling, when, in the beginning I was so wrapped up with my own drama, I couldn't even get past my own fears to listen to someone else's. At the time I beat myself up for it alot. Now I look back and am see just how messed up I was from everything that was happening to me. Now I am actually being a really friend to them. And it's good that now I can make it through a conversation without crying.
See the thing is, these girls (and 1 guy) and I, we have so little in common. Sure, there are things within all of them that I can relate to, but in general these would not be a typical group of my friends. And I guess that is the beauty of this group, is that even though we are so different, these people are so important to me. And more than that, their presence means that I can take peace from the fact none of us are alone in this. I've been dealing with a lot of melanoma stuff lately that I'm still not quite ready to talk about, but I will tell you that my Gilda's family has made me able to face it. Facing it is not quite talking about it or writing about it yet, but it is a step in towards having some faith in myself and my capabilities in handling the tough stuff in life. I dont' know if any of you have felt that lately, but it is truly a gift to have people bring that feeling to you, or out of you, or whatever. I hope that I can do the same for them someday, because that was a just about the most wonderful gift I could've gotten this Christmas.
Sending that same gift to all of you,