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I recently had a milestone birthday. I decided to celebrate it to the max and to my heart's content, and did I ever! It was everything that I had prayed it would be and more.

The most important thing about it to me was that it brought together all the people who have touched my life one way or another. As I was looking at the party pictures, I realized that I had people from every area of my life; my family and friends, school mates, work mates, my babysitter and Avon lady, my family doctor and church family, my mechanic, acquaintances I had picked up along life's journey like Larry and his drumming group, Caucasians performing Ghanaian music. It was truly amazing!

It reinforced what I know to be true. We are not created to fly solo. There are many clichés and sayings which speak to that truth: "No man is an island", "There is strength in numbers", "a threefold cord is not quickly broken".

Community was a great part of my recovery and surviving my challenge. I gained strength from knowing that there were people ready and willing to help me, make things normal for me and my children. I was encouraged when I felt so bad I wanted to give up. It is totally unnecessary to face potentially life shattering events alone. "Flying solo" isolates you. You have no perspective but your own so that when things are not going well, you may be tempted to give up.

I joined a support group to help me cope with the isolation of being a newly diagnosed cancer patient going through treatment. It was very helpful. It gave me other perspectives other than mine. I met a three decades cancer survivor who had survived cancer diagnosis multiple times in thirty years and lived to "tell the tale". Survivors and patients shared coping mechanisms, best practices on how to communicate with your health care providers, resources for many things a person who has not had cancer will have no idea about. We got free make overs from top make- up artists and loot bags filled with high end products. We got to try on exotic wigs and scarves. There was lots of laughter and hope. It was not all gloom and doom.

I remember, a lady who had given up. She was refusing treatment because she had no one to care for her pet whiles she was in hospital for a prior surgery. She did not want that to happen again so was refusing life saving follow up surgery. That was so sad to me. She was encouraged not to give up and given advice and referred to agencies that would keep her pet whiles she was in recovery.

Being African, I found it quite difficult to understand why someone would rather die than leave their pet alone. I had so many people around me, I found it hard to believe that some people had to endure such a terrible ordeal alone. I believe however that I was surrounded by all those helpful people because I reached out for their help. We gain strength from each other. The bible tells us that God created Adam, saw that it was not good for him to be alone and so he made Eve to be his companion. He blessed them to be productive. Family and thus community came to being. We need each other to truly enjoy life and survive.

Lessons Learnt

It is totally unnecessary to try and go through a cancer or any other challenge for that matter alone. As a species, we gain strength from interacting with each other. We do not thrive when we are isolated and alone.

We should reach out to those who want to help us so that we give them an opportunity to contribute to our journey back to health. We give hope to each other.


Deut: 32:30 - How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had shut them up? (KJV)

James 5:14 - Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.(KJV).

Matthew 18:19 - Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth concerning anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in Heaven.(KJV)

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