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There have been other times that I have reached out. In my mind I question if anyone close to me ever had a need that I ignored. If there was, I have selectively forgotten it. In general, I wish I had reached out more now. Countless opportunities for me to help strangers passed. But there were times I definitely did what I could, even if it was just to try to spread the word, and the need for help.
In packing and moving things around I have found things that I tried to get moving years ago, too. Ideas I still think are good. But trying to get them implemented would be difficult at best.
When I was diagnosed, I was terrified. I was terrified more about needing help than I was about the disease itself. I have seen countless people over the years tell me how great the things I did and do were, but then proceed not to do anything about it themselves. And it didn't matter if it was $1 or more, and with an offer of a refund if not satisfied. So if they were like that then, I thought it possible me being in need might not be much different.
When I think about this, I think about how this type of thing "justifies" for some the need to covertly affect people and to manipulate them. It is for their own good, after all.
I wish I believed that. There is a good chance I wouldn't be sitting here now trying to figure out how to write something that I know is a touchy topic. No one wants to be called on their shit. I know I don't like it, and wouldn't have liked it if someone had done that to me before I have the perspective I do now. There seems to be an inherent understanding that we have amongst ourselves not to discuss these things. I can't help but imagine there are others like me who are blue in the face, politely - urgently - asking for help.
But you know what? Those who have been helping know how grateful I am. At least I certainly hope so. And those who haven't? Well. I don't know how much of a risk it is to offend anyone at the moment, given that they haven't given, and perhaps have no intention to. So if I offend someone who reads this who hasn't helped, I haven't really lost anything have I?
Not that I want to offend anyone. I just don't want to tip toe around this topic. I have tried so many different ways to ask for help - including begging and pleading. I have also asked for help to find clients and sponsors. I have done as much as I can think of. Am I doing it "right"? I don't know.
But how do you do an urgent need for help right? It actually pisses me off to think that the reason I am not getting help is because I am somehow not doing it right.
I FUCKING NEED HELP.
It doesn't get much clearer than that. I am standing in front of people screaming, and many are watching, and then proceeding to ignore me. I would like to think that someone would come up to me and say, "You need help? What can I do? Who can we talk to? It is apparent that those around you don't seem to be able to help, so who do I know who can help you? Maybe so-in-so knows someone who could help. Let me talk to her." And more. Much more.
Is this a function of the world we live in? I don't know as I cannot speak to those who don't speak up about this. Maybe it is my karma. Maybe there is something I am supposed to learn here. It makes me sad to think that. After all, part of me getting help is for me to be able to help others. I want so desperately to be able to do that. It is in great part why I wanted to take that Journey 2 Becoming trip with Ayngel.
Last night Ken Newman and Company did a fundraiser for me in San Francisco. He and Michael Banks and others, including myself, spent a lot of time telling others about it (500+ flyers were physically distributed). I asked people to please share. I know it is not easy. I know it is awkward. I know that it might go to people who are in NY and not SF...but you just never know who knows someone who can help if only they knew. A person in NY may be from SF. Maybe all of his or her friends and family are there and would appreciate knowing about what just happened. (I understand the event was awesome, but there was low attendance. I do not yet know what came out of it, but it sounds like it wasn't much). Plus it wasn't just about an event. It is about a very real need I have.
I think I can now understand and appreciate how people really lose it.
They are ignored by too many for too long.
I keep telling myself, "It just takes one. It just takes one. It just takes one. It just takes one." It just takes one person who has a connection. One person who gets to know me and has the means to help. One person who has the belief in me and what I want to do. One person who has the money to help. It just takes one.
It also just takes one moment for me to snap.
If you have known me and my situation, have you told others? Have you asked for help on my behalf? Did you share about the fundraiser? What, if anything, have you done to try to help me? Have you just sat back and watched, cheering me on? Have you thought about the fact that if you - those who care about me and know me - aren't helping, who is going to? So many are told these days to not help strangers. Have you thought about how difficult it would be to need help and find that many will disappear on you? Have you thought about how difficult a situation like mine is? Do you know how many people send me the same links over and over, thinking that in the year that I have been dealing with cancer I don't know about them? If you're one of them, I know that you were trying to help, so please know I appreciate it. I share this with the intent to educate others about how it would be to be standing a year outside of a cancer diagnosis with no real options and having others only show you the dead ends you already knew about. I share because of the (widely unknown) suckiness of the situation.
People don't get it. They think there is some magical fairy that is going to come and help people like me. That a fairy is going to help those who are without jobs and without money. That same fairy is going to help the veterans. That fairy is going to help all of those that no one knows how to deal with, and therefore doesn't.
Well that Fairy, sad to say, does not exist.
People need help. So many people. Some in worse predicaments that I am in, although with a lack of help mine can get a whole lot worse. And that is the thing. What if it didn't take a huge tragedy to call people's attention? I have often said I don't seem to have a "good" cancer story. I am not in mounds of debt from my treatments. I don't have a love story. I don't have kids. I still have a roof over my head. Food to eat. Why in the world would you want to help me? I am "just" like anyone else struggling, aren't I?
Well. A BIG FAT NO.
And if you don't know why I say that, I invite you to go back into the archives of this blog and read. I really don't have the energy to say. Plus if as a culture we have come to think of cancer as no big deal, there is a bigger problem than the one I think there is.
Too many people are silently suffering. It is doing the world a disservice. It is doing you a disservice. It is doing my cry for help a disservice. It is a silent epidemic. No one wants to talk about it because no one wants to hear about it. No one wants to help and the number needing help gets greater by the day.
We need to talk about it. If someone like me had come along those times I didn't do anything, I would like to think that I would have gotten past any discomfort I had and tried to do things differently. Of course there is no way for me to know that now. But what I do know now is that I need to speak up. People need to hear and people need to know. It is one thing not to know what you don't know. It is another thing - and a much harder thing - to face the reality behind the reality and still walk away and do nothing.
Perhaps you will walk away and do nothing after reading this. It is your choice. However, perhaps you will consider that next plea for help that genuinely asks for even $1. Perhaps you will consider reaching out to a person in need and getting to know what they have to offer the world. What they have to offer you or someone you love. Perhaps you will take the time to make what seems like such a small, insignificant gesture to you to help a person whose situation has deteriorated to the point that that small gesture is hardly insignificant, and actually QUITE HUGE.
Of course I want and need help. But as I have said from the beginning, this is about a lot more than just me. There is a much bigger picture here. And if I am going to go down, I am going to at least go down swinging.
Talk is cheap. Tweeting is cheap. Sharing and Liking a post is cheap. If you are someone who truly wants to make a difference in the world, or would like to see a difference in the world - it is going to take going beyond where the cultural comfort zone seems to be these days. It is going to take being empathic. It is going to take getting to know others. It is going to take really tuning into your humanity so that you identify with another's humanity. It is going to take going beyond the superficial world and walls that technology has created and getting your hands dirty. It is going to take a lot more than most reading this have probably given, if you are honest with yourself. It is OK, you are in good company, had this been me 10 years ago, I would have been one of you.
I am not perfect by any means, so I am not judging anyone. I am just in the "fortunate" position of having some perspective you - or others - may not have considered.
It is time to ACT. It is time to DO. It is time to CONNECT. If we don't, I really think we are going to keep going in a direction that is going to take us down as a society, and perhaps as a world. Yes, it is dramatic. But isn't that what many people want these days? Drama. Well. Here you go. Sadly, there will be no way to know how dramatic it really will be until it is upon us. And given my experience with cancer, believe me when I say I think I know what I am talking about.
The time to do something is before it is truly needed.
And don't tell me you can't do anything.
We already talked about how even something small helps.
One last thing. I am not big on absolutes. I usually am cautious about staying away from them. I realize that even though I say "no one" above, it is not accurate. However, saying anything else I think weakens the overall point. If you think someone is doing it, it helps to let "you" off the hook. Even if you took the time to question that "fact," at least you are engaged in the conversation I am trying to create. And for that, I thank you. At the same time, please don't let the faulty idea that those like me are taken care of by others get in the way of you doing something. It is thinking like that that takes care of no one.
One more last thing, if you are in any way tempted to help me, you can see options on how to do that here http://anewme515.blogspot.com/2013/05/thank-you-so-much.html
Thank you for your time.
In response to this blog entry, I wrote another one addressing what someone wrote to me about this content. You can read it here.
Tameaka also addressed this on her radio show on June 8th. I addressed that show here, with further comment, and also provided a link. It was only the first part of the show, however her interview with Sandy that follows is pretty awesome if you have the time and/or interest to listen).
PS In case this is your first time to my blog and you are wondering who I am: I am Elizabeth Alraune, and I was told about a 10 cm tumor on my left ovary May 14, 2012. Within a week I had hysterectomy and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, often called the "whispering" or "silent" killer because it is often hard to detect, and symptoms are often misdiagnosed as digestive issues. I had chemo and was done in November 2012, and have recently been told I have a recurrence. I have been blogging since Day One. The name of this blog is "anewme515" because I knew that the person I was at the time ceased to exist the minute I was diagnosed. I had no idea who I would become. The person who existed on May 14, 2012 would never have written a blog entry like this. That is for damn sure. If you have any questions for me or about me, please contact me. Read about this blog.