Today's post is about quality of life for survivors and those who are affected by cancer in any way -- family, friends, caregivers. It is extremely important to be healthy, happy, and surrounded by those who love you and care for you. It is also important to be surrounded by those who understand what it is that you are going through.
When I was at the beginning of my cancer journey, I felt like I was the only one. I knew no one else who had thyroid cancer. It was 2006, and I had no one to turn to but friends and family who could sympathize, but not empathize. This is a big deal for anyone with an illness, especially a chronic or long-term illness. It can be very hard to cope when people listen to you, but can really only give words of encouragement or affection (which is also crucial).
My sister, however, had gone through cancer about a decade or so prior to my diagnosis, and she helped me through a lot of what I went through. Without her, I would have gone insane. I love her to pieces, and I wouldn't be who I am without her.
I'm a talker, in case you didn't realize. I talk about everything and anything, and have always been extremely open about my cancer journey. I need to be. I can't keep things bottled up. I wear my heart and emotions on my sleeve. Anyone who knows me (or doesn't know me well, really) can vouch for this. I also am very passionate about making sure my voice is heard for the sake of others who may need to hear what I have to say. When I was first diagnosed, I called everyone who wanted to know my results. I must have called about 10 people. The more I said it, the more real it became. I thought it a
If you are reading this and are not a survivor, please do not misunderstand me. I needed my family, my friends, and those around me who were there for me. I needed that comfort and that support. If I didn't have them, I do not know where I would be. However, part of me still felt alone and completely isolated. I needed someone who was going through cancer, someone who at least had some understanding of what I felt and could take the journey with me.
There are so many people out there right now who feel as I did back in 2006. However, there are now endless resources and support networks out there that can help those going through cancer not feel so alone. Stupid Cancer, Imerman Angels, Friend for Life Cancer Support, Hope for Young Adults with Cancer, to name a few. Go to this page on Stupid Cancer's website for countless more resources and websites.
In addition to these amazing resources, there is something new that will change the world of cancer for all. Survivors, caregivers, family, friends, let me introduce you to Instapeer. Instapeer - developed by the fabulous people at Stupid Cancer - is an app that will connect you to others who are like you. It is available on iPhone and Google Play. It is extremely specific, and will match you with others according to age, diagnosis, location, cancer stage, etc. The possibilities and options are endless. Even if you use it periodically, know that it is a place where you can go that will help you not feel so alone. You can message people privately, participate in the chat room, and create friendships and connections that will guide you and support you throughout your journey. Just know that this is there for you, and those using the app are there for you, as well. Including me.
As always, friends, I wish you love, happiness, and -- most importantly -- good health.