What I can never forget is that my friends and family live with this disease too - from literally saving my life in one case, to providing laughs and shoulders to cry on. I've got the best support group I can ask for, without asking.
Being diagnosed has given me a new appreciation for all those people in my life. I'm closer to my sister and brother than I was before. I hope I'm more patient and understanding because heaven knows they all are. We've all learned a lot about renal cell carcinoma, and in the process I think have learned a lot about ourselves. We are stronger than we thought.
My friend M faints when she sees blood and swears that she's "no good in a crisis", but she stayed by my side the day I almost died last December. My friend CD is half a world away but we talk and share our lives as if we were still living in the same town. My friend C2 gives me house space to be near my doctors whenever I need it, and advice and laughs and hugs anytime. And Monka - and Nant - and Anne - and C3 - and, and, and ...
Above all, there's Saint H, who used to be just plain H. A wonderful man in his own right, he battles through this with me every day. He makes it possible for me to go on.
So, where would I be without friends and family? It's a question I don't think I can answer, beyond saying that I don't think I'd be here at all. We are all survivors.