I’ve been through a lot in the past 20 years that only a handful of people know about. I have shed quite a few tears, I have held in fear and anger, I have shut myself off from the rest of the world unable to leave my home. Basically, I have dealt with major issues in unhealthy ways and without the support I so desperately needed.
This past cancer scare opened my eyes to a support system I never knew existed and to one that powerfully uplifted me in ways I have never experienced, ever. Don’t get me wrong, I have some of the most amazing friends that will jump on the next plane to Arkansas if I need them. These friends will and have been by my side through the tough times without judgement or critisim. They are true friends.
I discovered that by opening up and publicly sharing something so deeply personal that a support system that I didn’t even know existed came out of the woodwork. I got text messages, phone calls, tweets, Facebook messages, Skype messages, emails and even flowers from my online community. I went from knowing I had a few close friends to knowing I have an online community of hundreds who were sending me well wishes when I went for my biopsy and prayers for benign results. I even learned of others that had or were currently going through the same thing. Others decided they needed to get their breasts checked out as a result of my openness.
Ted Rubin shared this quote in a comment that was all too perfect:
“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” ~Jane Howard
Knowing what I know now has made the realization all too clear that in order to get through life’s troubling times I should share my experiences with others.