From One Patient to Another ~ The support we seek

24 Aug 2021

My lovelies,

A cancer diagnosis feels as though the ground has opened beneath your feet, and suddenly your life doesn’t feel like yours to control!

Looking back, prior to a diagnosis, our perception was often one of “life is ours” to lead and plan – but then a significant life event comes along and changes all that.

Your self-esteem, confidence and autonomy can all feel so deeply impacted…almost as though they’re robbed from you.

It’s natural to want to regain some semblance of control and direction, rather than feeling like an unwilling passenger on a journey you wish you could ditch.

I’m a big advocate for patients advocating for themselves. Our role as patients does not have to be a passive one – and one area we can very much direct and take charge on is the area of support modalities.

No doubt we have all heard of numerous diets and allied support offered to cancer patients during and after active treatment has completed.

Below are just some of the different avenues who may decide to seek support in:

  • nutrition;
  • emotional wellbeing;
  • physio therapies;
  • Physical fitness and wellness;
  • Coaching and/ or counselling;
  • Mediation and massage support (including lymphatic support);
  • Peer support and connection; and
  • Home and financial assistance.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I do hope to encourage you to feel what you need and what will be supportive to you. There’s likely to be support out there that will alleviate some of the stress, anxiety and overwhelm of diagnosis and treatment.

I’m also a firm believer that the act of taking charge, however small the act may feel, helps us immensely emotionally and even to regain our fragile confidence.

With every cancer diagnosis, there are a unique set of circumstances and needs that ought to be taken into consideration. We are all individuals, as are our situations – this is important to keep in mind when researching online platforms (in particular social media) and taking advice from well-meaning friends and family.

What works for one individual, does not necessarily work as well for another. If you feel called to investigate alternative therapies, I would strongly recommend speaking to your specialist first and / or an integrative GP. Sadly, all too often we hear of detrimental situations that could be avoided had more factual evidence/ information been made available.

Several reputable organisations, like Pink hope, seek to provide fact-based information to inform the community of options available to them. As you will see, this information is provided to you in ways that facilitates you hearing directly from experts in the field, and even engaging by asking your own questions.

I can’t recommend strongly enough to always speak to your doctor before deciding on a particular avenue of support – this is especially important during active treatment.

Always research and seek information from trusted sources. I can tell you firsthand that the support we require post active treatment is so important to ensure we maintain a healthy life. I know that I will always require a qualified and trusted physio and lymphatic masseuse to support the lymphedema I have from my breast cancer surgery. I speak to trusted friends and seek their opinion from professionals they’ve engaged with, and I speak to trusted professionals in the field for recommendations.

My lovelies, above all else be informed – you know your body and your needs best.

I wish you much joy, love and good health.