When you are ill, you often do not have the energy to be around people – even those you are close to. Visitors can take a lot out of you. This is one reason that people with cancer begin move into isolation.
Another reason is the concern about picking up something. Cancer treatments weaken your immune system. They stop bone marrow from making blood cells that help fight infections like the flu or even a common cold. Brenda is at greater risk right now of getting an infection. When her immune system is compromised by radiation and chemotherapy we have to be careful about who she is with. Our family and close friends have all been subjected to getting flu vaccine shots and encouraged not to visit if they are feeling sick in any way. We are thrilled with how healthy Brenda has been this entire journey. Not one cold, flu or fever episode.
Despite all these cautions, Brenda made the decision early on not to hide away in total isolation during her cancer journey. I understand this. Brenda has always lived life by sharing herself fully with others. Just because this is an awkward and highly personal season doesn’t mean she would hold back from trying to help others by her authentic sharing of what she is learning on the journey. Now we still do have visitors come to physically see her, but as public people we as her family are having to be careful not to overdo it and yet still provide Brenda the interaction with others that she desires.
So, our ‘daughter’ Kristin, her mother Sharon, and our ‘adopted daughter’ Steph became her communications team and set up a site and system where Brenda could share her journey via a blog and interact with many people whenever she wants and is able. Caring Bridge was selected for her journal and it has served us well. Brenda is able to post when she can and perhaps more importantly, read and reread the comments of visitors when she wants to.
Brenda has written about her experience with a lung cancer diagnosis. She is authentic and profound. Her faith and outlook have inspired people literally around the world. A friend from church, Tim Cunningham, began collecting all of Brenda’s writing and the vision is to one day create a book for cancer patients.
Thanks to all of you who have followed Brenda on this journey. Your comments and support for her mean more than I am able to express. This past week Brenda surpassed over 100,000 visitors.
That is a lot of visitors! Sure glad they were not all lined up at the front door. <Big Smile>