When I became ill and then was hospitalized due to my severe reaction to the “maintenance” chemo, my planned long weekend to South Beach with my friend Jackie, my cousin Mary and my daughter Sara, was the first victim of my illness. It had to be cancelled. Jackie took care of it, and even was able to convince the airlines not to charge us a change fee due to my hospitalization. We now have a credit waiting to be used, and a plan to go to South Beach in early March. There was no debate or concern about the cancellation – everyone who was supposed to go told me that they did not care even if they lost the price of the ticket. They would not go without me, and we would plan another date. They said over and over that the important thing was that I get well, and we then go when we all can enjoy the experience. I was so excited to be going with not just Jackie but my cousin and daughter, but we will go.
The South Beach weekend was planned to coincide with my husband Alan’s annual ski trip with his college friends and our friends. The guys go every Super Bowl weekend, and for the last four years, Jackie and I have done a ski widow’s weekend to the beach. The ski trip was planned with about 10 guys going. They bought tickets months ago, and planned to stay at the house in Utah. Because of my reaction to the chemo, Alan let them know that no matter what, he would not be going, even if I was home from the hospital that weekend, because he needed to care for me. He urged them to go and just enjoy the trip to Utah without him. They refused, and said they would not go without him, that they could plan another date to Utah, even if it was for a summer trip instead, and then they all cancelled their flights and the rental cars. The guys then quickly got to work to recreate their experience and fun when they are together in Utah. Apparently, their tradition is to have Chinese take-out the night before the Super Bowl and then do pizza and salads for the Super Bowl. The e-mails started flying among the guys, who planned to recreate those events. Alan said he could barely keep up with them. Chick, who is in the Philadelphia area, arranged to fly in for the weekend. The rest of the guys are local. Mark and Rena arranged for the Chinese dinner at their house on Saturday night and invited the guys and their spouses. Rena sent me a great photo of all of them enjoying themselves at her house. She also sent her homemade oatmeal cookies with Alan. Loved them and still enjoying them because she brought me more. Marc F arranged for the Super Bowl party at his house the next night, and again I was sent a photo of all of them by text, which made me smile in my hospital bed. Alan said at both places there was an enormous amount of food, drinks and effort that went into the dinners. Chick, who flew in Saturday morning, came with his brother John, directly from the airport to first visit me at the hospital. Every one of them said the only one missing was me, and they wished I could be there. Of course, but/for my hospital stay, they would have been in Utah skiing and I would have been on the beach.
As I heard of the arrangements, as I received the photos, as Alan told me how wonderful it was for all of the guys and their spouses to be together and enjoy themselves, all I could think of was that these were wonderful people, wonderful friends, caring and supportive, and that we were so lucky to have them in our lives. They dropped everything to support us, and then went out of their way to make it a fun weekend for Alan. It was not even an option that any of them would go on the trips planned without us. They simply said in words and deeds, we are with you and we will be with you. This takes me back to my posts about friends and family and the silver lining of having cancer. The love, care and support we have both received from our friends and family are something we both treasure. As I have said before, this kind of demonstration of caring when we are normally in our busy lives and don’t take the time to let people know how we feel is one of the silver linings of having cancer. The effort that went into the weekend, the refusal to go without us, and the food, love and support we received, certainly helped bolster my spirits as I sat in that hospital bed, day after day, wondering when I would go home. Thank you all of you. I love and cherish you all.