Do you feel alone, lonely and angry that no one really gets what you’ve been through and what you’re still struggling with as a cancer survivor? Wouldn’t it be great to get the emotional support you need and deserve?
I’ve got a word of advice for you: Communicate!
During the first six and one half months of my cancer experience, I did nothing to get support. This was despite the fact that I knew about a wonderful organization that would have taken me in with open arms. But I didn’t contact them because I didn’t know how to ask for help.
Once I found resources at my cancer center, I learned important support truths. I had to show up and communicate. I had to share. I had to be vulnerable. I had to hear others, even when their stories scared me. I had to feel the pain and let it move through me. I had to trust.
Because I communicated, amazing people came into my life and formed my circle of support. One of them, Terri Wingham of A Fresh Chapter, is a fellow breast cancer survivor and blogger. We first communicated through our blogs and Twitter and met in person about a year ago. Tonight, she is staying with me on the last leg of her most recent journey. Without that initial communication, I never would have met a woman capable of giving up her home and job to volunteer on several continents. Now, Terri is forming a foundation to bring that experience to other survivors.
The gift of these friendships is why I can’t stop communicating. Putting it out there wouldn’t mean a thing if I didn’t hear back from you through your comments, emails, and on Facebook and Twitter. That back and forth between me and you is the best part of WWGN.
During my recent Cancer Survivorship Symposium, I met two WWGN readers with whom I’ve been exchanging emails. We hugged and were thrilled to be together in person. I also met a man who approached me with a shy smile. He hesitantly told me about his wife’s oral cancer and how he was taking care of her. I asked who was supporting him and he answered “No one” with tears in his eyes. Of course, that made me tear up too. We talked about why it is vital to get individual support for him and his wife, and how they are both in pain and unable to fully support the other alone.
Despite his shyness, that man bravely walked up to me and communicated his story. Because he did that, I heard him, related to his pain and connected him with support services at the cancer center.
Speak up. Ask for help. Tell your story. Don’t let silence rob you of the connection you need with others who “get it.” We all need to be heard and supported and all it takes is the courage to show up and communicate.
Survival > Existence,
P.S.: It’s already October and the holiday season will shortly be here. Despite all the craziness, I’m determined to take a little time for myself and focus on gratitude this year. Join me by signing up for the WhereWeGoNow Gratitude Gems Series. For each of the 30 days of November, I’ll send you an inspirational gratitude quote and a short message. Don’t miss it – I’m really looking forward to communicating with you about one of my favorite subjects – Gratitude!
Image courtesy of Tim Green