Yes, I put the word support in quotes. Like many things, how one views support is subjective. What one may consider being supportive another may find it to be completely the opposite. Personally, I find online support to be incredibly helpful. Sure I’ve run into comments that don’t feel supportive- I’ve learned to understand that each persons own life experiences come through the keyboard and onto your screen.
When I was first diagnosed with Metaplastic Breast Cancer I did what many have done. I sat down for a visit with Dr. Google. Looking desperately for reassurance that this diagnosis wasn’t a going to be a huge deal. That it would just be a matter of surgery, maybe chemo, maybe radiation and then back to life. Instead I found what you’d naturally find on medical sites. Stats. Outcomes. Abbreviations I didn’t understand. Which of course leads you down the rabbit hole of oh shit research. When I’d finally scared myself good, I typed in the words “Metaplastic Breast Cancer” into Facebook. There I finally found some real life been there done that/doing that support. The group: Metaplastic Breast Cancer Research and Support has been my lifeline. Here are people who get it. The fear and anxiety of diagnosis and everything that comes with it. People who had gone through treatment or were in treatment supporting those just starting. Eventually you’d see those, just as I did, who went from being newbies to supporting the newly diagnosed. Personally for me I feel like it’s the least I can do. Support cancer patients even if it isn’t in real life. To be there as a sounding board when the real life people in your life don’t understand the ups and downs that is this new world of cancer you were unwillingly shoved into. To share my experiences so you know what may come. In return I find new friends, I learn more about navigating cancer and its experiences and more about the world. People everywhere experience their cancer differently based on where they live and the experiences life there has given them. Treatment patterns can vary by country or even by state.
Anyhow back to my point about online support- reach out. Join a group even if you’re only reading posts. Because those posts may answer your questions or make you feel like you aren’t going cancer crazy! However here is my caveat- if it gets to be too much, what you’re seeing, it’s ok to take a break.
Listen I’m not saying don’t find a real life group. For me with a rare form of cancer finding those with my diagnosis was impossible. I have attended support groups for breast cancer that have been helpful. But for me when that late night anxiety hits, I can reach out online and invariably someone is awake somewhere in the group to hear me…..and really isn’t that what we want in our time of need?
To be heard.
I hear you. I’m here for you.
As always #FuckCancer