This week, I heard an absolutely heart-breaking, tear inducing, mind-numbing story involving a person who had just finished a chemo treatment. While driving, this person had a bad reaction to a just-received medication, and this reaction caused a fatal car crash. Unimaginable and truly horrific, I know.
This incident automatically made me think about my own situation. After my double mastecomy surgery and during chemo, I drove as often as I could because it gave me a feeling of normalcy and independence (that breast cancer robbed from me every chance it had); however, there were multiple times when I couldn't remember where I lived. Literally. I did not know how to get home. The silver lining was that I remembered my address and was able to put it into my GPS system to deliver me safely to my home. I realize that use of the word "safe" is a stretch.
Another time, I remember swerving (screeching might be a better description) across three lanes of traffic to throw up on the side of the road (rather than all over my steering wheel and front window). Many people honked at me, but the silver lining was that I made it to the side of the road "safely," which is, I acknowledge, another questionable use of this word.
Hearing about this fatal car crash sent shivers up and down my spine... because that could just have easily been me. Wow. As much as I wanted (needed!) the independence and freedom of driving myself, the truth of the matter is that driving after surgery or while taking any medications has the potential to be dangerous.
I wish that I had heard this information when I was sick because I know that I would have made different decisions.
So, what to do?
NOW is the time to engage your resources. The truth of the matter is that cancer doesn't just happen to you. It happens to your family, your friends and your community as well. So many people are looking for opportunities to help you, but often do not know how. Here is a perfect opportunity.
You can ask them to drive you to and from appointments or to the grocery store or to the library. Asking for help during cancer treatment is a sign of strength not weakness. Truly. Your loved ones will feel so glad to be asked and able to help, and the best silver lining of all is that you (and other drivers) will be kept safe!
You can still feel independent by asking your "driver" to simply drop you off and then pick you up at a designated time. Assure them that as much as you appreciate their driving, that you need the time by yourself to shop or go to a movie, etc.
The most important thing is to stay safe. Always and in all ways!
To read more about Hollye's holistic and often humorous journey over, around, above and below breast cancer, please visit her blog, The Silver Pen. You may email her at hollye@TheSilverPen.com or follow her on Twitter @hollyejacobs, Facebook, or on Google+.
Hollye's book, co-authored with photographer Elizabeth Messina, The Silver Lining: A Supportive and Insightful Guide to Breast Cancer will be published on March 18, 2014.