A port in the storm

This weekend I am off to camp….with my kids….and my husband….and 20 other families dragging their bags of chemo and immune-suppressed kids into the wilderness.

**  snort  **

The “camp” has private suites and there will be nightcaps. This is how I roll the wild.

But the 20 other families? That’s the best part.

It’s a support camp, a weekend away for families with children in treatment for cancer. Sounds fun, no? In all honesty, its things like this that kept us sane over the past two years.

There is something truly amazing about meeting “your people”, finding a niche in the world that comprehends what your life is like. Not the smile you put on for outside world. The real life, the one that invades your every thought and keeps you awake at night….the one full of fear and uncertainty…the one with frustration and anger…THAT real life is lonely.

I felt so isolated and alone when Peyton got sick, because no one around me had any way to identify with what we were going through. There was a lot of love, sympathy, comforting….but no real understanding. They wanted to, but unless you’ve been chest-deep in it, you can’t.

The day I walked into my first support group meeting, I was quiet…NO, for real, quiet!…just soaking in the people around me, listening to the stories, looking at the sea of tiny bald heads playing as if the world was normal. I left support group that day determined that I would never darken their doors again. The last thing I needed was to sit around and TALK about their cancer, to get to know other families, because why would I want to take on their emotional burden as well? I had my own daughter to worry about, what was the point of getting to know these other children and risk getting attached to one who might die. NOT FOR ME.

Yet, the next week I found myself with Peyton’s hand in mine, standing outside of those doors again.

Because something in me cried out for understanding and the knowledge that I could spill it out…the good, bad and ugly…and heads would nod, they would get where I was coming from because they’d been there and back already. It healed a raw, gaping wound inside of me.

Two years later, support group is just as much a part of our lives as church, school and grocery shopping….though less formal that the first, less work than the second and less expensive than the third. I recommend it to any newly diagnosed parent I meet. There’s no way to express how important it is to find the hands that will hold yours with encouragement and support.

I think that’s one reason I was so drawn to 5MFSN. It was one great big, unlimited support group. It’s arms reach wide and encompass so many. I imagine a parent out there searching the internet for information….cause, really?…who of us hasn’t played Dr. Google?…searching for answers, comfort, understanding….and stumbling across this site.

Welcome to your port in the storm, my friends.

Where do you find your support? Has there been a special group that reached out for your child’s specific needs? Share them, you never know who might be in need of your information.

You can also find me at Hope4Peyton, you come by, it’s nice…we have cookies! Feel free to email me at Anissa.Mayhew (at) gmail (dot )com.

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