As you know from my other posts and my communication book, I believe in the benefits of focusing on positive thoughts and not giving a fear permanent home in our heads.  I’ve put in overtime practicing this during the past year while my husband Doug has been sick with penile cancer, but holy moly, when it comes to money I struggle! 

Last week, Doug and I faced the reality that he could no longer work.  His cancer treatments and complications had taken a toll on his body and mind and it just wasn’t realistic to expect him to focus on complicated IT work and heal at the same time.  Once we’d made the decision for him to take an extended leave from work he sank into his recliner, closed his eyes and said, “I actually have hope now.”  

I was certain it was the right decision but I also felt twinges of panic deep in my belly, wondering how we’d make it without his income.  The next day I helped Doug complete applications for various benefits, like long-term disability, and wracked my brain searching for additional resources that I might be forgetting.  I held myself together, more or less, for a few days...until…a man at Social Security told me that there was a five-month waiting period and Doug had earned too much for any of his year-long illness to count toward that.  That’s when Annie lost it. 
After the meeting I sobbed in my car for a while, then I made my way to a drive thru for a sugar bomb coffee drink (my high calorie alternative to Xanax) and drove around hyperventilating, wondering if the other drivers could see me crying, and cursing the bureaucratic red tape that seemed to have all the power.  

I’ll admit it; I threw myself an all-out pity party. Then, as I swallowed the last drop of my sugar bomb coffee drink I saw my mantra, “Support is all around me,” in my mind.  I pulled my car over next to a beautiful park, took a few deep breaths, repeated that mantra and slowly dried my tears.
Ever since this cancer saga started last fall, I’ve repeated my mantra, “Support is all around me” probably a hundred thousand times.  It’s my way of staying sane when my mind wants to run away with fearful “What Ifs”.   I know that my thoughts are my choice.  

It’s easy to say that my thoughts are my choice, but it’s difficult to apply in those moments when my heart is breaking and I can see “evidence” of reasons to worry.  Even so, my thoughts are my choice.  I might need to allow myself a meltdown first, but when I eventually give my mind the job of repeating “Support is all around me,” I free myself from anxiety for a moment, calm my racing thoughts and bring a little ease to my heart.
When I got home I told Doug what I’d learned at the Social Security office and we agreed to trust that we would have what we needed, even though we didn’t know how that would happen.  (It’s so much easier to stay positive when my beloved is there practicing the same thoughts with me.)

Less than three minutes later my phone alerted me to a text message.  It was from my coworker Brigette, letting me know I was on her mind and in her prayers.  I called her and that’s when she told me that she had donated some paid time off to me – that very day!  While I’d been having my panic-induced, coffee-fueled meltdown, she had been completing the paperwork to donate paid time off to me.  Twenty-four hours later two more friends announced they were organizing a benefit for us and donations started pouring in.
This is why I believe that support is all around me: Every time I choose to believe that we will have enough, my mind calms down, my emotions settle, and then I receive news of someone donating paid time off or donating to our GoFundMe campaign or planning a benefit for us or something else wonderful. Every. Single. Time.

I still don’t know “how” we will have enough; I just choose to believe that we will.  My job is to focus on the experience I want to have, like spending time with Doug, and then trust that our angels/God will arrange the “how.”  That’s what I believe, anyway, and it’s what I’m practicing right now, even as you read this.

Support is all around me.  Support is all around me.  Support is all around you. 


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