Wednesday, April 13, 2011

You've Got A Friend In Me.

"There are people in my life who give me comfort. When the going gets tough, as it invariably does, I can count on them for a shoulder to cry on - they will lift me up when I fall, they will hold me in their arms as I cry and tell me, 'Everything’s going to be okay.' I am so thankful for those people.
They are priceless."

Someone made a rude comment to me today...They said that I need to feel supported in every little thing...that I am, I don't remember if the person used these words directly or not, an attention whore.

It got me thinking...Do I really beg for that much attention?

I put my information out there. I share my experiences with other people. I post updates on facebook that let people into the little life that is mine.

But, you have to make an active choice to read the ins and outs of my mind. No one forces you to click the appropriate link to my blog. No one holds a gun to your head to comment on my status updates. If I annoy you, delete me. It is that easy.

Then I started thinking, do I need the support from everyone?

The honest to God truth is that I do not know how I would have gotten through the last 4 months of my life had it not been for my support system.

If you know me in "real life" I can get shy...I will take a very serious matter, smile at you, and tell you I am just fine...even if I am pinching myself under the table not to cry. It is easier for me to gloss over the scary stuff by avoiding it. It is how I hold it together. Through the internet and this blog, I have been able to share my deepest secrets, say whatever I need to say, without truly caring what other people think. Can you imagine me looking at you and admitting, "I am scared I will not live to see 30. I am jealous of mothers. I hate orange people." People would call me crazy!

The way that I see it, I could write this and not a single person could read it, but I would still feel better. I am a writer. I write. Half of the time, something I write about on the blog is the very thing that will make me cringe if you try to make me talk about it in person. Certain things hit too close to home. I publish this blog because I have no way of knowing who reads it. I do not need to know. I do not want to know. I get my own version of therapy by writing. People have to choose to read it. I get nothing out of you reading it. It is the emails from strangers telling me how I inspired them to show their scars that help me. It is the messages of encouragement that make me smile. It is hearing the stories of your dermatologist appointments and your avoidance of tanning beds that makes me certain I am doing a good thing by sharing my story. It is knowing that I have friends behind me patiently waiting to give me a boost when I sink too low.  

If that makes me an attention be it.

I have a support team like none other & I will be eternally grateful.

I, dear friends, would truly be lost without you.


Anne said...

You are certainly not an attention whore! Quite the opposite I would say. You are being selfless (not selfish) writing this blog and sharing your experiences to help others! Party of my initial reluctance to share about my diagnosis was that I didn't want to be "the girl with cancer". It takes a strong person to put yourself out there and let your situation educate others. So keep doing what you are doing! :)

Mary Z. said...

Thank you from the bottom of my heart and the length of my scar (due to a recurrence of melanoma in July 2009) for writing so thoughtfully and truthfully. I was so enraged by friends and family who posted very tan pictures of themselves on their vacations on Facebook that I have deactivated my account on numerous occasions. I have preached, posted, linked to PSA, participated in the Sunwise Sun Safety poster contest (not personally but my students have for the past 3 years) and I still have people in my life who shrug their shoulders and say, “I really did wear SPF 50.” Really, people???? How about avoiding the sun at those peak hours of 10-4? How about wearing clothing that protects you (broad brimmed hats or clothing with built in SPF)? Expensive yes, not always fashionable-yes but when it’s a choice between my life or looking good I’ll always choose my life because I know what near death feels like. Try 4 weeks of high dose Interferon, 11 months of low dose, and Leukine injections. Hello peeps did you not see me walking around 18 pounds lighter and looking like death? Had I been a cigarette smoker and had lung cancer would you blow smoke in my face when you saw me because that’s what it feels like when I see you all with your “healthy” tans. So Chelsea, keep on writing, preaching about sun safety and the avoidance of tanning beds. Although most people in my life haven’t heeded my warnings (maybe once I’m dead from this insidious disease) I am happy you have made a difference. I have also chosen to not renew my Gold’s Gym membership since they offer tanning, I don’t go to any salons/spas that offer tanning either and because of you I will wear crop pants this spring/summer and display by nasty scar that my students say looks like a piece of bologna (I had a skin graft from my stomach to cover the gaping hole on my shin). I will

Mary Z. said...

Sorry part of my post did show. I will continue to be proud to be pale and protect the skin I’m in. I just pray I’m not too late.

Tina Sullivan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tina Sullivan said...

Wow, I have to say this post made me angry, but also sad for that person. I've know some selfish people in my life, but wow. It takes a strong woman to put yourself out here like you have. A lesser woman wouldn't have even made it this far. Also, I think it makes you a stronger woman to accept help/support from others and not push it away. It took me years to get to that point and look at you. You figured it out at 23! You keep right on doing what makes you happy. The unfortunate part about this diagnosis is you will lose people along the way, but the wonderful part is you gain more than you knew was possible

Rich McDonald said...

I too have written so much in my blog that I could never tell anyone in person-- which is why blogging is so darn therapeutic! And I can't think of anything more unselfish than your effort to help others by sharing your story through your blog. Keep writing!

Susieclues said...

There are rude people in the world. Ignore them, their opinion doesn't matter. Keep doing what you are doing. I agree with all of the above comments, the post made me angry and sad for that person. Don't let those words affect what you are doing. Sharing your experience helps others and you do have lots of support! You are correct...if they don't want to read what you are posting, they don't have to look at the blog!!!!! :)

Chelsea said...

Thank you everyone for the wonderful responses. I apologize it took me a few days...I've been a busy bee!

I've said all along, if I can save one person than all of this is worth it. Writing keeps me sane. I plan to continue. If it bothers someone, I guess they should stop reading the blog! ;-)

Mary Z, Good for you for showing your scar! I would love to hear more about your experience if you feel like sharing. My email is

Rachel Oxhorn said...

Hi! I read your story on Hugs for Strength and I can definitely relate to you. It was so refreshing to hear a cancer story from someone my age! I was diagnosed with non-hodgkins lymphoma stage IV in February 2011. I am totally a wannabe Carrie Bradshaw too, haha. I live in Manhattan, had a job in fashion and then found out I had to lose my hair, stop working, and cut out the dirty martinis! If you ever want to chat, feel free to email I also have a blog,
Hope all is well, take care.

Ranisa said...

Thank you! Thank YOU! THANK YOU! I love your blog, you say all the things that I think and can't get out. I just can't find the right words sometimes. You are amazing, you are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. Going to the Oncologist tomorrow for that 1st follow visit....why am I so nervous...the worst is behind me! Right?

Chelsea said...

Rachel, Kathy from actually emailed me about you the other day! I will be emailing you shortly!

Ranisa, I would love to talk to you. I definitely understand being nervous...I am nervous before EVERY appointment. We want to hope for the best but are scared to expect it! Email me!!! (If you want to, of course...haha)