Asking for help – pushing that little red button

891b0735ef138a9918070e8962caeb5aThe last week has been one of the most helpless and humbling of my life. Following the egg retrieval (of which 32 eggs were retrieved – see earlier blog for a photo), I ended up in the hospital with what has been diagnosed as an arterial bleed in my abdomen. I spent five nights there. Here’s a quick synopsis of my hospital journey and the lessons I learned while there.

My hospital journey

The pain began as I was returning home on the ferry, and got progressively worse through the night. It radiated through my abdomen, back, shoulders, chest, and head. Eventually it became so intense that I could no longer withstand the pain and dropped to the floor. Fortunately my housemate was home and we rushed to Emergency (Thank you Trevor!). It was an excruciatingly painful ride!

Upon arrival at the hospital I underwent a battery of tests to figure out what was going on. I also received regular shots of narcotics (dilaudid and morphine) to help dull the pain. Eventually a CT scan revealed that there was vessel bleeding into my abdominal cavity. Initially, I was informed that they were going to operate to stop the bleed and possibly take out the ovary, yet the doctor instead decided to watch and wait before proceeding with surgery! Fortunately my vitals were relatively stable and my hemoglobin levels were dropping slowly, so the decision to operate was put on hold.

The next day I moved upstairs to my own room, and spent the next four nights there. For the first two days I was confined to my bed with a catheter and copious amounts of painkillers, unable to do much for myself. I felt awful and incredibly vulnerable. Fortunately I received many hospital visitors to raise my spirits. Thank you to Trevor, Mom,Teresa, Tiff, Renee, Rebeccah, Willem, Everest, Deb, Suzanne, Dan, Kelda, Philip, Michele, Robin, Ian and Maggie for coming to visit, the many people who called, texted, and emailed, and the many doctors and nurses who cared for me. I love you all so very much! I also received two units of blood from an anonymous donor. Thank you for this gift!

Fortunately after receiving blood, my condition improved, and on Tuesday I was released from the hospital and returned home. Tuesday afternoon I then received I a call from the Internal Medicine Specialist to inform me that they found a spot on my lung and it may be pneumonia. What a journey it has been!

Lessons learned – asking for and receiving help

As I mentioned earlier, through these five nights in the hospital I felt both helpless and humbled. Given the state I was in, the only choice I had was to ask for and receive help. This was difficult for me as I often think I can do it alone, and feel uncomfortable, terrified, and/or vulnerable asking for and receiving help. In fact, I realized early on that one of the many lessons for me to learn through my journey with lymphoma is to ask for help and graciously receive the support from others.

Laying there in that hospital bed I had absolutely no choice but to reach out and ask – I had to push that little red button. When I did, the response was anything but negative or judgemental. Rather, I was flooded by love and support in ways and means I didn’t even know were available and possible. I felt (and continue to feel) such gratitude and appreciation for these moments, and experiences. I feel incredibly blessed to be held and supported by the many family, friends and strangers who are here with on this journey.

And while pushing that little red button may be difficult for me, I realize that I need to put out myself out there and ask for what I need. I also realize that I can’t walk this journey alone and I need your love and support in any and all ways to learn, grow, and heal from this experience. I need you!

Friends to lean upon_1

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you are. I feel deeply grateful and blessed to have such an amazing web of support in my life.


  1. Bill White

    “Great Creator, Dear Ancestors with great humility we ask that you continue to protect and to surround our wonderful friend and colleague Cheryl. Dear Ones she is someone who has loved and cared for others with immense sincerity. We know that songs protect, that ceremonies protect and surround, and that talk too is sacred – we understood this through our old people constantly bringing forward prayers. Dear Ones, please know that she is loved, please know that she is cared for, please know that she brings joy to many, and has done so for many many years. We know solitude brings light, we know that solitude allows for connections with all living things….we know that solitude, and or quietness holds support and strength.. We ask for continued blessings and may the gentle winds of change, or protection of healing move closer and to protect and surround. With great great love and humility.”

    1. Christina

      I am reading your blog this morning and saying “Yes Yes Yes” to pushing that red button and asking for help. Thank you for telling us that you need us. That is music to the ears dear heart and to your body and spirit on this journey. I just sang a prayer with my drum and my tears are flowing for your courage and presence. I love you and many many people love you. Keep writing- this is exactly what the world needs right now- your exact and powerful voice. xoxoxo

  2. Roisin

    Oh dearest Cheryl, how frightening for you to have to endure such physical pain on top of everything else. I love your lessons learned and your willingness to share yourself in this way. Know that Nathan, Kavita and I love you dearly. You are surrounded by so many caring, loving people who all have your welfare at heart because you have given so much to others without asking for anything in return and you’ve done that for so many years…it all comes back to you. My promise to come see you whenever and wherever still stands. Just say the word! Warm embraces. R.

  3. Kaia

    I am always here in whatever way is needed, even if it’s you just need an ear or a shoulder :)
    You are loved.

  4. Maja

    Dearest Cheryl,

    Thinking of you.

    Much love,

  5. Holly Michalchuk

    I am so happy that you are writing this blog and that you can speak so honestly and openly about what you are going through. Thank you for sharing about pressing the little red button, I too always think I can do everything on my own and never ask for help…then I read this and it was like hitting a wall. You put it in such simple terms, thank you for helping others like myself even I’m the midst of all that you are going through! That is just so you!
    I am praying for your strength, even though I haven’t seen you since high school, please know I am thinking of you and we are here for you in all of this. Feel better soon! Hugs! Holly Michalchuk (Gray)

  6. Juliet

    Dearest My lady

    Reading this break my heart and yet at the same time gives me strength and your taking these trying moment and drawing lessons from them. you have been an inspiration to me, loved me and my little girl unconditionally and been there for us whenever we need you came into my life and blessed my life with so many things that nothing in this world can ever describe my gratitude to you…its hurts so much that i cant be there to hold you and share your pain with you but i know that there are many people there to hold you, support you and walk this journey with you…. keep being strong and no amount of words can describe the woman that you are, from a far we send you healing prayers and love. i miss you so much…. some thing to light up your day, Little Chanti has started making her first steps and she too excited to walk. Be blessed through this Journey.

  7. Renee

    I feel like I am on FB wanting to press “Like” for all the responses. And Bill’s beautiful prayer of love and blessing – how sacred. It is also hard to ask for help when we are strong in spirit and brave, but sometimes our body needs healing and we are here to help with that.



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