One way I have found to really help the "healing process" is to give back to the doctors, nurses and support staff who took care of me when I was so ill.
I have found a few ways to do this, some I did while I was still getting treated and some afterwards that continue to today.
The first way I tried to "give back" or help was to try and be as pleasant as possible to the staff. Anyone who works at a hospital has a hard job, and for the most part, they do try their best. As such I figured I would make their lives as easy as possible. It is easy to complain when you are that sick, but I found it would probably not help anything.
The other ways I started giving back was through raising money and volunteering for the BCCA (BC Cancer Agency). The fundraising I could do while I was sick, the volunteering not so much.
My plan for fundraising started by signing up for the "Ride to Conquer Cancer" (I know I post about this all the time, but it is important to me, www.conquercancer.ca/goto/eamonnc). Just by sending out emails, which I could easily do from the hospital where I was getting treated, to people I knew, I could start raising money to support cancer research. Within just a few short months, I was able to raise almost $5000 which was pretty exciting for me. And I could tell when I would talk to the staff, that they appreciated what I was trying to do for them. Putting money in their hands to help them do their jobs.
I have continued doing this event this year. Last year I rode as part of an already established team named "Riders for Ryders". It was a great success and the team raised about $480,000. however, this year , I have started my own team named "Team Phoenix". We are a much smaller team (only about ten so far) but we have already surpassed our first $1000 in fundraising. Pretty exciting stuff. I had the opportunity recently to say a few words at a ride orientation and it was great, people seemed really interested in helping out. Many were already signed up. I had trouble holding back tears when I talk about things like this, I know the money raised really helps people, and the event itself is a lot of fun, and easily one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I am looking forward to finding more ways to raise money for the BCCA and top my efforts from last year.
I also volunteer now to give back at the BCCA. I help out in radiation therapy and the funny part is, I actually work for my radiation oncologist, by complete accident. It is quite nice to work their, everyone has been really nice, and I feel like I am making a difference with patients, although I cannot say too much due to confidentiality agreement!
Most recently, I have started helping out with F--K Cancer (www.letsfcancer.org), an organization based out of Vancouver that promotes early detection of cancers. This has been a large amount of work, analyzing data from medical journals and reports to tabulate how successful treatment is in stage one of many types of "common" cancers in Canada and the USA. the people their have been great and I really encourage anyone reading this to check their site out, their is lots of great things on it! Soon I am hoping to help out with the "board" that is run from their as well, not sure what is fully entailed in this but it should be interesting!
These are just a few of the things I do now, it really has been a lot of work, but it has been really rewarding, more so then my actual job! I feel like the people who are trying to help out in these fields deserve all the support in the world. I am doing my part now, and hopefully it will give me some good karma at least!