Over the last, well, coming up for 12 years, I have constantly been astounded by people’s kindness and generosity towards me. Especially from those who don’t really know me. You sort of expect it from those you know, or when you get sent something from someone you know, it’s very special, but it’s just re-affirming that you have amazing friends. But when things appear out of the blue, from those you don’t really know... well, that’s when it really makes an impact.
Finding support in an online community
I have made genuine real-life friends through Twitter who I meet up with, talk to, and hang out with. For those of my family and friends who don’t use Twitter, they found the concept of friendship with strangers on the internet a very weird thing. But I had a very special corner of Twitter where I was listened to, support was given, and people checked in to see how I was doing.
During my Naturopathy degree days, this was a life saver. It’s not the same now with people closing their accounts. The vibe on it has become different. I’m also now in a different place. I don’t need it as I did before. I miss the old Twitter...how it used to be. I’m just thankful I was on it when I was and stumbled across the people I did.
Kind strangers and pizza
When I was studying at college after my diagnosis, I was too exhausted to socialize and study. I was miserable. So unhappy. And these people listened. The people who lived in my phone who I knew through a particular photograph or Twitter name. There often wasn’t even a photo of them or their name, but that didn’t matter. They were always there. And then some of those that I chatted with regularly asked for my address and I gave it to them.
Care packages would arrive in the post. Cards would arrive letting me know I was being thought about. And a wonderful pizza chain sent me a pizza in the shape of a heart with a drink and a salad because I really wanted one of their pizzas, but I was too exhausted to go and get one so I tweeted about it. They didn’t normally deliver, but they put this meal in a taxi and delivered it to me. I have also had a care package from a wonderful Bloodwise ambassador. We haven’t met. They read my blog. They sent me some things. And whilst we haven’t met and we don’t know each other, they got it spot on.
New connections with old friends
Recently, I spoke at an event about living with cancer and someone who I know through work had no idea about the diagnosis I'm living with heard me talk. And they gave me something. Something so special and wonderful. It was so incredibly kind and generous of them.
I am so lucky to have been shown so much love and kindness over the years since my diagnosis, particularly by strangers. It’s really quite phenomenal how kind and caring people can be.
Did you ask yourself "why me?" when you were first diagnosed with blood cancer?