Sunday, September 21, 2008

You Are Never Alone Along Your Cancer Journey

I talk about our experiences as patient, caregiver and family on this blog, but for some of you visiting the site, you may be a patient who lives alone. I'm sure at times, it must get very difficult, but I wanted to write today's post to assure you that there's no such thing as being entirely alone when you are dealing with cancer.

I cannot relate personally to how a cancer patient feels but of course, having a caregiver at home certainly must take alot of stress and worry off one's mind. Having said that, any patient who does not have an at-home caregiver, I want you to know that there are other resources available to you.

First and foremost, depending on the severity of your cancer, if you need help, then Ask For It! If you have no immediate family living in your area, then call a neighbour or friend for assistance. Maybe there's no one who immediately comes to mind because you feel you're not that close to your neighbours. Don't just sit there and wonder, pick up that phone and call. You're not going to be a bother. You'll be surprised that they are so very willing to help. Perhaps you need a prescription picked up at the local pharmacy or someone to run for groceries. You might need a drive to your doctor's office for an appointment or even to the hospital for testing. Don't be afraid to ask! All of us at some time in our lives, must rely on others. No one person can do everything on their own, so if now is your time for support, then don't hesitate to ask for it. The worse answer that anyone can give you is "No" and I doubt very seriously that anyone will, unless there are circumstances beyond their control that prohibits them from helping. For the most part, people really want to help those in need, but usually they are also afraid to come forward.

Ask your neighbour or a friend and if no one is readily available, then contact your local cancer society to see if they offer caregiver assistance programs. Your hospital as well, can provide information about healthcare resources and even your doctor has links to people in your community that are available to assist. Religious organizations may also offer assistance to you, but you have to ask. Attend a cancer support meeting in your area and if one isn't available, then maybe you can connect with other cancer patients and caregivers to begin such a support system.

By investigating all possible resources, I'm certain you will find people who truly want to be there for you. Knowing that someone will stop by on a particular day, even for a visit, will help provide that encouragement to a patient who lives alone.

If you are computer savvy, then the internet will be an excellent resource for you. Although it will not provide a physical friend, there are any number of websites that provide chat forums specifically for cancer patients to obtain support and encouragement and all types of invaluable resource information. Many sites directly provide answers to more specific questions and if your computer is equipped with a webcam, then you can directly interact with that physical entity.
Once again, the important thing to remember when you are a cancer patient who lives alone, is that you are not alone. It is your choice, as to whether you seek others to help you or look for varying resources to provide the information you need. Start today by taking action. I'm sure you will be surprised and inspired by the people you meet and the resources you find. Millions of people walk your same road everyday.......You Are Never Alone!


Anonymous said...

What an inspirational post Debbie for people like myself who live alone. I never quite thought of it that way and would never think of calling a neighbout, for fear of bothering them. I appreciate your telling me to just do it.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who lives alone with cancer needed to hear you say this. I am inspired.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post for those stuggling with cancer. Maybe people feel they would be bothering others by asking them for a small favor. They do not realize that other people want to help them, but just don't know how. Thanks for expressing this.

Anonymous said...

Debbie, I posted your comment to my blog and I just read your blog as well, and wanted to say thank you for being there for the Caregivers. As an RCC patient, I believe there should be a medal for all of you brave men and women who stand beside us in this fight.
My wife has been there for me and I don't know that I would be here now without her strength and support.
I would like to add this blog to my blog list for others to find it. Thanks again for being there and sharing your experiences in this.

Anonymous said...

That is very true. None of us are alone when you are fighting cancer.