We all have a bestfriend, that one person we know we can call at any moment, for any given reason. Some of us, we may have two or three. Having someone like that is crucial for life’s moments, especially a cancer diagnosis. The thing about cancer, is you need to have a support person, someone that you know you can talk to. For many, it may not be a best friend, it could be someone completely separate from your current life. Perhaps it is someone from a support group, a caregiver, or your spouse. Five women share who they turned to for support when they were diagnosed with cancer.
“The interesting thing about this disease, is that you can be surrounded by the most amazing, well-intentioned people on the planet, and you can still feel so alone,” expressed Lydia. Often cancer patients try to hide their emotions by crying alone in the shower or in the closet, because they don’t want to be a burden, attempting to be strong for themselves. One of the hardest things cancer patients face is asking for help or support, especially when they are not used to it. It is easy to withdraw, just as easy as it is to feel depressed after chemotherapy treatments have come and gone and all the support has disappeared.
For so many cancer patients, the natural choice to turn for help and reassurance, is parents, children, and/or spouses. For Sally, it was her sister. Both diagnosed with breast cancer a week a part, Sally was able to converse with her sister about her diagnosis and what was upcoming for her treatments, creating a stronger bond between the siblings. Amy, was in a different boat. Having recently finished mediation from a divorce, she leaned on friends and her parents- trying to stay in a positive place for her daughters. Ginger, was diagnosed on two separate occasions, first leaning on her mom for support, followed by leaning on herself and her faith.
Sometimes we have several people we lean on for different things. It is not always the same person. Whether we need to talk, need help in taking a shower, or need a ride to chemo, many can play a different role. It is important to understand your needs, and know when you need alone time and when you need a friend. The people around you often don’t know what to say or do. Even when you want to withdraw, it is vital to keep a circle of close people you know you can count on for help.
Toni, found strength in her Tai Chi students and her own personal teacher. They gave her strength and a foundation, bringing her back to her center. “Before I lost my hair, I knew I would lose my hair, but knowing and experiencing are two different things.” Toni continued on to enlighten, “When you say NO to people who truly want to help, you block their giving.” In the video she provides insight into chemo support- knowing who is the nurturing type that can be there for certain things.
We all need champions in our daily lives, and when we have cancer we need them even more. This is not a disease we want to go through alone. As a patient you have to be willing to let people in, and as a caregiver you need to be sensitive to a patient’s emotions, needs, time, and space.
It is a balance. There is not a one size fits all for the right amount of support or who to call for what.
To view Cancer Horizons Breast Cancer Realities: Everyone Needs a Champion, watch below or click here.