and so true! Learning you have cancer may put you in a tailspin. My post, “In An Instance”, shares how that one moment changes your life forever. Not the way you anticipate your life to go, but hey, we all have our challenges. With all the change in my life, I’ve had the education of a lifetime, literally. Having a go-to person for all the medical melee is essential. And remember, your caregiver’s life has been rocked forever, as well.
Do you have someone to take you to appointments, surgeries, scans, etc? This is a critical part of your healthcare. Learning about my melanoma was tough, but easier to deal with in the comfort of my own home, my own life. I thought I was also ready for the medical world. Ensconced in the ‘idea” of cancer, I was ready to deal, or so I believed.
Going to appointments, with the wealth of information and limited options, threw me for a curve. A great listener by nature, I now found myself half-hearing. A family member had said that a support person is essential as somehow the patient mind checks out. He was so right with this! Our minds protect us when trying to process any trauma or difficult information. Instant processing doesn’t happen for most of us, and so we catch some of the medical conversation, not all. At times, I feel as though I am an object being discussed while I observe from above….crazy, right? It might just be my way to try to have some objectivity.
Location, Location, Location
Having someone with you is critical to your whole health plan. Don’t consider this an extra to your cancer care; you need to have someone help you. For one example of the challenges (and minor in the whole scheme of things), with two people you are able to navigate actual physical challenges such as finding your medical facility, planning your day, acquiring wheel chairs, local parking, and actual location of your scans, doctors, etc.
Finding your way may sound easy or tough, but when you add that layer of cancer angst, everyday things become more challenging. Two people can each use their strengths to pull a full day of cancer related appointments. This is not where we want to be but figure out what works best for you and appreciate that support. Finding our way has so many layers!
Get It Together
At my last CT scan, I overheard a gentleman on his phone, saying he came by himself to the hospital as it is too hard for his elderly father to bring him to Boston. He was there alone, nervous, and scared. All too often, cancer patients have no one to support them. Find resources that work for you!
Help is out there, and Dana Farber Cancer Institute is one example of Patient Navigator support. Cancer patients have so much to contend with and these health care professionals are there to provide services and inspiration. Whether flying solo, needing travel information, needing language translators, or wanting additional support, consider these options as part of your plan. All cancer facilities have options for navigators, social services, counselors, and more. “Together” has many faces and please find the services that make your cancer journey easier.
What support do you have in place? What is working well for you? I’d love to hear from you! And a HUGE thank you to all of you in support and caregiver roles. Hope lives through you! #melanoma #melanomatheskinwerein #cancersupport
We Can-Cer vive!