I’m learning to say yes

Everyone says that it’s hard to learn to say no.  To put limits on your time and committments.  To focus on the things that matter most.  I like to think that I learned that long ago, way back in high school, when I was president of a half-dozen clubs and more kept nominating me (to do the work).  I got really good at saying, “No, thanks.”  I had to.  I had to pick and choose where to dedicate my time so that there would be some left over for me.

Well, I got really good at it.  Although high school and college found me with a marked-up day-timer and cluttered resume, by graduate school, I had limited myself to one activity.  Student government.  (Those of you who knew me then can now proceed to laugh in my face, because I took that one rather to extremes, didn’t I?)  After graduation, I concentrated on work and family, saying no to happy hours and alumni clubs. 

Then, I joined one stay-at-home-moms club and dived into it with both feet.  It’s been wonderful.  We have a really cool group, formed through MOMS Club International, and I just love being part of such a great group of educated and dedicated moms.  I’ve said no to joining several other local playgroups, because I wanted to form those close friendships with a small group of moms, and this seemed like the way to go.  It was, oh, it certainly was.

And now, I have to learn something new.  I have to learn how to say yes.

The cancer is making me tired.  For many reasons, I am tired.  And I need all my energy to fight this.  My parents and husband have been incredible around the house already, encouraging me to just use my energy to care for and cuddle Widget and Little Bear.  Because that’s what’s important.  Not the dishes.  Not the laundry.  The babies in my life.  Family.  Friends.  That’s the good stuff.

My friends are coming out of the woodwork to help.  Every day, I get more emails and calls offering playdates, cooking, cleaning, whatever is needed.  I want to tell them, “No, thanks.”  I want to be proud, and hold my head high, and take care of things like I always have.

But the simple truth is, I can’t.  I’m so tired.  It’s worse than when I was on bedrest already.  I’m hoping that once the chemo starts, the cancer hurt will start to decrease, the inflammation will subside, and the heaviness will lessen.  I’m hoping that the red angry breast that I carry around with me will calm down and let me relax a bit.  I’m hoping that it will be easier to sleep, and then I can keep fighting it with the renewed strength.  But now I’m just fighting it without any chemical help, and it’s making me tired.

So I have to learn to say yes. 

I said yes when they offered to make me dinner.  I said yes to playdates.  I said yes when a friend offered to coordinate the offers of help, and I am grateful.  I am so grateful.

Canape is teaching me to say yes.  She is the adult daughter of a three-time cancer survivor with a recovery last year that was nothing short of miraculous.  She has told me to relax, and to let people help. 

It is so not like me.

But for now, it’s something I have to do.  To say yes.  To say yes, please.  To let friends help.  To let family help.  To let people into my blog for updates.  To let bloggers into my soul, and to be honest enough here that they feel they know me and my struggle, even though we’ve never met.  To accept nice words and heartfelt wishes, and to add them to my strength, to bolster me when I feel down.

Today, I just want to say, thanks.  Thanks to Canape, to Lisa, to all of you who have left comments and prayers and helpful ideas and inspirational anecdotes and your own web pages — thanks.  And a special thank you to the first members of the just-created Team Whymommy.  These ladies are building a Wall of Support to encircle me and lift me up through my fight.  I am overwhelmed with your generosity of spirit.  It makes such a difference for me to log on in the morning and see that people have been here and wish me well.  Wish me strength.  Even go to the trouble of writing about me on their own blogs.

You all are amazing.  Thank you.  Thank you.  And … yes.

10 Responses to I’m learning to say yes

  1. tori says:

    When I was struggling with all the tiredness from my cancer, the hardest thing I ever did was to let people cook dinner for me, clean my house for me and take care of my kids for me. It was also the wisest decision I have ever made/best thing I learned how to do. You need to focus on you right now, and let other stronger healthier people focus on the details. I will be thinking of you, and if there is anything I can do, please let me know!

  2. canape says:

    Yea! I’m so glad you mentioned it. I didn’t want to hijack your comments (yet again), so thank you. That makes me proud of you 🙂

    So yes, if anyone is willing to add the button for Team Whymommy to their blog, either just lift it from my page, or email me at canapesun AT yahoo DOT com, and I will send you the code.

    There will be no pom poms, but we will still be the best cheerleaders ever.

  3. lifewiththeothers says:

    Wow. That’s a difficult thing to learn so fast! You’re gonna race through this like a superhero! And, might I add, remember that it helps your friends and family too, when you say “yes”. They want so sincerely to help, that your acceptance is a favor to them as well.

  4. Saying yes to offers of help has always been hard for me, too. But I believe I’d learn the lesson if it were important, as it is for you now.

    Good for you, you quick study, you.

  5. whymommy says:

    Canape, you jumped the gun! I was already writing the next post, about my angels on Team WhyMommy. I think you all are so cool.

    And thanks, Tori and Lifewiththeothers. Your experience is hard-won, and oh so very useful to this cancer newbie. 🙂 Thanks for sticking around.

  6. Dawn says:

    Good for you – and I’m so glad that you have such a supportive team around you, both physically and emotionally. 🙂

  7. Mrs. Chicken says:

    YOU are amazing, my dear. And Canape is right. Ya gotta say yes.

    And I went bald two years ago due to an autoimmune disease. My hair is back now, but I know a thing or two about wigs – and how it feels inside. I’m here for you!

  8. Binky says:

    Ah, a fellow MOMS Clubber. It really is indispensable to have a network of people close by to count on. And then you have the blogging community to send support from afar.

    Lately, all my 2 year old daughter seems to say is “no.” In order to get her to use the opposite term, my nephew kept telling her to “say yes!” When prompted, she’d immediately belt out “yessss!” with gusto. So we learned from my nephew, and now that’s a constant refrain around here. We ask her to “say yes!” And she does 🙂

  9. Ally says:

    The great thing about saying yes is that you get the help you need and the people offering their help also get the satisfaction of being able to DO something for you, which is what everyone wants. This is how we fight this thing, by caring and doing. Hooray for yes!

  10. Irv says:

    Dear Whymommy,
    I am a former colleague of your father (actually, he was my boss, and one from whom I learned a great deal and to whom I owe much). Yesterday, I learned of your illness, and of your blog, from another friend from that era. My thoughts and hopes are with you. Best wishes for complete success in your fight.

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