March 19, 2009

Been there. Know what it's like

A wonderful email from Randy David - a friend of Byron -

Hey Byron and Friends-Made-of-Gold,

I think I'm qualified here to speak from experience (patient-side) about Leukemia, Breast Cancer, treatment (operations, chemo, radiation, medication) consequences and the complete spectrum of associated emotions. I understand and will never forget "that deep abyss" and complete feeling of helplessness and sadness after a cancer diagnosis. Those first silent trips to the hospital always lasted an eternity. Everything seemed so black.
Let me assure you though, even though the battle has just begun, that you as parents, your family and friends are doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS! After the initial shock, BUILDING and STRENGTHENING your support group is what will get everyone through this. Please don't make the mistake of blaming yourself or trying to solve all problems by yourself, which is a natural (guy) reaction. Allow yourself to FEEL pain and sadness, but don't let it overwhelm you. And when you're feeling weak or down, LEAN and RELY on those closest to you. That's what we are here for.
One sobering aspect of dealing with someting like cancer is confronting a mountain of information and having to make decisions. My tip here is to listen carefully to your doctors, but double check everything for youself with resources AWAY from the hospital. Ask Aggie, jump on the internet and trust your instinct as a parent. Do your best to become an ACTIVE (not passive) PARTICIPANT in this battle. Don't be embarassed to ask lots of questions, even the simple one like "Doctor, WHY do you recommend this?". Sometimes this is easier said than done. It's like having to motivate yourself to learn a subject in school that you didn't choose, but Byron it's important. Not just for Lauren, but knowing that you've done everything in your power is something that brings you peace of mind.
I'm also pretty certain that Lauren will often surprise you with how resilient and good-natured she can be despite some pretty rough times. I often DREW STRENGTH from these unexpected moments and connected them in a mental chain to get through the toughest phases.
We're all here for you. Though we can't all physically be next to you through this, know that we collectively are your SAFETY NET ready and willing to catch you WHENEVER you need us.

Be strong.
Love and prayers to you all,
Randy, Carmen, Paul and Philip

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