Sunday, 17 February 2013

Connecting with Survivors

One thing that has really helped me get through some tough times with cancer is connecting with people who have "been through it".

Not everyone goes through the same things, and not everyone has the same experience. But everyone understands what it means to be told you have cancer. It sucks. It changes your life, and the lives of the people around you. 

For me, one of the biggest connections I made was simply through email. My oncologist put me in contact with another oncologist who had actually had Ewings sarcoma a few years prior to me getting diagnosed. He used to be a colleague at the BCCA.

It was great to talk here and there with him. It wasn't often but it was often enough. He had Ewings sarcoma in his shoulder. We were on the same drugs, the same radiation dosage, and a very similar life situation. We had very similar side effects, and same concerns of life, with regards to family planning, future goals and so one.

I still have never met him face to face (he lives in New Zealand) but it made a huge difference for me. We were talking recently and he told me he had just passed his seven year anniversary of being diagnosed. He is doing great. He is married (to the lady who stood beside him) and has two little girls now. I remember him telling me when he was sick he was worried he would never be strong enough to lift his baby. Not only can he do it, but he has a second now too. They are all doing great and he is really my inspiration.

Connecting can be difficult, and intimidating to do. But when you find those connections it really can be meaningful and helpful. They sure did for me.

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