This week, I received a letter from her husband with a 'Livestrong' wrsitband enclosed. He's sent letters and wristbands to 100 people who know his wife, with the thought that she'll know at any moment that at least 100 people around the world have her in their thoughts and prayers. He asked that we send photos of ourselves wearing them, on holiday or in exotic locations for example. I think it's a really caring, thoughtful gesture. His letter also explained more about the cancer, the treatment and how she's expected to feel as a result of it, as well as letting us know what they have told their oldest child (age 4) about the cancer. The last sentence of the letter ends on a great positive note:
Annie is determined to rejoice in her life and I hope you will do the same. With hope, love, faith and a large amount of medicine we move forward.
It's not everyone's approach to be open with friends about something like cancer but I find it easier to know how to react when they are. Now I've been told exactly where she has the cancer and that it hasn't spread anywhere else in her body. I know how it's going to be treated medically and how they are dealing with it amongst their immediate family. Maybe most importantly, I know the outlook Annie is aiming to have - one of optimism and determination. All possible questions have been answered and I don't feel like I have to tip-toe around the subject or feel uneasy talking to her about it.
She's certainly not the first person I know to have cancer but she's the first person I know with it who has a young family. Whilst I can in no way imagine how one would cope with a situation like this, I can appreciate that it's an especially difficult one with two young children.
However, I've been asked to keep up the postive thoughts and prayers for Annie and that's what I'll most certainly do! Providing love and support is what friends are for. I feel honoured to have received the letter and wristband and to have been asked to help in this small way. Annie has got through other struggles in the past and fought on to achieve things important to her so I know she can do it again. She's a wonderful, warm, fun person to be around. We share a love of home-baked cakes! We used to work together a few years ago and her thoughtful leaving gift to me when I moved on was a collection of her favourite baking recipes that I use to this day. She sent me a box of clothes when our son was born, that her children had worn briefly and grown out of. Such a helpful gift to new parents! I'm trying to think of something I can do or send to her on a regular basis to help keep her days bright over the months to come. We don't live nearby unfortunately but I'll come up with something. I too am determined to 'rejoice in her life'!
Do any of you know other mothers close to you and young families who've had to deal with something like cancer?