Tuesday, March 18, 2014


When I was kid, we had a bathtub/shower combo with three knobs jutting out of the tiled wall (and wall-to-wall purple carpeting in the bathroom, but we won't go there, 1970s). The left was for hot, the right for cold. For an embarrassingly long time I thought the middle one was for decoration (there was no label on it), and I couldn't figure out how the heck to turn on the shower. When my mom gave me the option of turning on a shower for myself instead of a bath, I chose bath, bath, all the time, bath, because I refused to ask for help.

With the latest diagnosis I'm getting big wet, warm reminders that everyone just wants to help, whether they've known me for 41 years or met me last week. It runs the gamut, too, from advice, a shared story, a lasagna, a latte, a walk or just an ear at 4 in the morning. I love the gestures and I know it's not really about me but about a feeling of needing to do something useful in a terrible situation, but I'm okay with that. The problem is, I still find it difficult to accept the help. Which makes me a big fat jerk.

So I'm trying to include help as part of my House of Yes approach to life.

I'll ask for your pull to get me moved up the queue in the system and not feel like a user. I'll admit that getting dinner ready some nights over the next six months is going to be ballz after waking up from a three-hour chemo nap. I'll let you come with me to a scan and make jokes about the nurse hairdos. I'd love to have you look after my kids while I go on a date with my man while I still have my mofo hair. I'll take that decaf mocha with almond milk. I'll answer my door in the middle of a work day when you come to just give me a hug. I'll let you pay for breakfast or dinner or the trip to Vancouver, even though I can cover it.

I'll let you nudge my leg over and over again to let me know you need attention, too, and you're not one of those dogs who nudges the spot where there's cancer, you just like to bloody well nudge.

And I'll take your encouragement to write this shit (or any shit) down and use you for free editing.

It's all unbelievable that someone like me, who's generally neglectful of people, can garner such crazy warmth from friends and strangers alike. So I'll take the help and promise not to ruin it by asking you to shave my corns (if I get them), give me a sponge bath (is it 6 o'clock already?) or buy me a nose hair toupee (because you do lose that business during chemo).


  1. Ok ... first of all, the purple bathroom carpet was all the rage! Second, you don't have to get cancer for us to babysit, we use it as an excuse to see our grandchildren ... Third, you are probably the best friend anyone could have, you can be counted on to be there for any of your peeps when they need you so why can't we be allowed to do the same thing to you ... Slurp up all the good will when it comes your way ... it is good for all of us!

  2. I'm there for the scan, the corn-shaving and the sponge bath. AND anything else you need, want or are secretly wishing for. Bring it on. We are here. I am here.

    Love you, doll. xo

  3. So sorry to hear you're back in your battle gear, Carissa. Am thinking of you and sending lots of healing thoughts your way. Take care!