Very few positive thoughts come to mind when a cancer diagnosis comes your way. However, the cancer community you come into contact with is an incredible silver lining. Those who have battled cancer before you were lifted up by those who came before them - and now they are paying it forward. Lucky you!
Knowledge shared by those who have been where you are is, in my opinion, the single most helpful thing to guide your healing journey.
Their insights are helpful not just with brass tacks and tangibles, but also the emotional and mental journey that accompanies the physical one. Cancer can feel isolating. Your family and friends love you and want to support you, but they won’t ever truly understand what you’re going through. Additionally, maybe you don’t want to share some of your darker thoughts or fears so as not to concern them. I didn’t. A survivor is the perfect person to confide in and learn from. Because, remember: they’ve been there.
Just a note: cancer support groups can be wonderful, but I was warned early on that a large percentage of those attending support groups are having a tough time or dealing with a devastating diagnosis. So beware, they can also be mentally draining and cause unnecessary fear or sadness. Just make sure the group leans positive and hopeful. If you are doing well, keep going! Trust your gut.
Now where do you find these magical beings? See below for a few ideas:
Friends, colleagues, neighbors – start asking if they have any connections to someone who had your type of cancer.
These are hopeful stories about what survivors did, and are great for absorbing information and advice from cancer survivors of different types of cancer. Read them here.
Your oncologist, surgeon, therapist, etc. will have a vast network of cancer survivors. Ask them if there are any that are available to support patients.
Remember: don’t feel bad about asking anything and everything - people are eager to help and share. You’ll soon be on the other side of this, helping those in need.