As you leave your doctor's appointment your head starts to spin. How will you ever survive this? Will you be able to work? How do you care for your child? What do I tell my friends and family? The list of questions goes on and on, you start to consider the worst while trying to stay positive. Finally, the moment comes when you need to tell your family, to be as gentle as you can as you are already in shambles. The family sits down and they know something bad is happening but could never fathom this. You tell them that you have cancer and the crying starts, they bombard you with questions and tears. You cannot answer most of these questions since you don't even know the answers to your questions. Your stress level just hit a new high you didn't even know existed.
After a week or 2, you get a call from your specialist and they are setting up your appointment, you try asking the receptionist questions that you need to be answered but they are not able to provide you with any details. You have so many questions and your stress just continues to increase. You constantly have family asking if you need anything or how are you feeling today, these are questions you can only answer so many times in a day. After some time you stop replying to people as you cannot stress about how they feel.
Once your appointment happens all the doctor can tell you is that they are going to start you on a chemo regimen. You have heard the horror stories of chemo and so many new questions start to come up. The doctor tries to explain to you what he can but ultimately everyone responds differently to the treatment. You get some questions answered but you leave with so many more unanswered than you came with. You get some dates of initial appointments, blood work requests, and scan requests. Your new life is being poked and jabbed with needles and having chemicals put into your body.
You spend months fighting the mental battle you have going on in your head. While simultaneously physically battling the chemo regiment. Your hair is starting to fall out, you have no energy and the simplest tasks have become the hardest of tasks. You have hundreds of friends and family always asking if you need help. Accepting help is a way of defeat, you want to be independent, how can you not simply tidy your kitchen or cook a meal? You are bombarded by people constantly checking on you or asking you how you are….. “I have cancer how the F**k do you think I am”, but you don't say this you think it. You know deep down that they just care and want to help. Your next 6 months are filled with tests and chemicals slowly destroying your body, you can't eat or sleep.
After some time you go from an outpatient to being admitted to the hospital, and now they are sending you to another city that has the required specialists. What they don't know is that they are also ripping you away from your loved ones, left to battle this alone. As the days go by your mental health declines as you stare at the window that looks at another building or just a wall. You sit in your thoughts alone, all day, every day. Since you are not from a wealthy family you cannot afford to have anyone there with you. Your husband is busy working to try and pay the bills so you have a home to come back to, he cannot be with you while you suffer. Your husband calls each night before bed and every morning. He sends flowers and little things to show he cares, but nothing can compare to having him with you, to having that support.
You have been in the hospital now for 4 months, alone, defeated, sad, depressed, and feeling like a pin cushion. A team of doctors walks into your room…. This wasn't expected, why are they here? The doctors explain to you that the chemo isn't working and they have done everything they can. You have 6 months to live the rest of your life. You call your husband in tears, how can you possibly break this news, you start with the good news “Babe I can come home! I am so excited to see you and the cats!!!”. You have to tell him in person how could you break this news over the phone, this doesn't just end your life but his as well.
The conversations happen and the drive home is quiet, you just hold hands never letting go. You make it as normal as you can coming home, making plans with some friends who are close to you, they don't know that you are going to break this news. It's official, I am terminal” you tell them. The tears and hugs fly like fireworks, with unconditional support, and love. All you can think about is how much better you feel having these people by your side, you will never be alone again.
You have no idea how to navigate these final days, what do you do about medication costs? How do I make sure that my family has support? How do I live my final days? Who can I turn to who has been here? Why do I feel so alone in this battle, while being surrounded by love? The Emily Ann Foundation is here for terminal patients over the age of 18. We are here for you! No one should be alone! The foundation will point you in the right direction to get your affairs in order and offer advice and a shoulder to cry on for those moments when you just need someone who understands. Emily Ann Foundation will help with travel and accommodation costs while you're in the hospital. You need your loved ones, you need to be strong, and you need support. With the Emily Ann Foundation, you are not alone!
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