Cancer Support Groups

It’s a lovely sunny day today and I am just about to go out to enjoy it, while the floors in my house are being repaired. Before I start walking on sunshine, I thought, I’d pop in here with a few thoughts that have been lingering in my mind of late. So, sipping coffee, with ‘The Wright Stuff’ on tv as a white noise, here I am getting my mental bazooka ready to shoot! Brace yourselves! ;))

Last year, when I was diagnosed with that mysterious, scary invasive, ductal carcinoma, I knew that I would need some support, even more so that I knew I would have none at home. So, the first website I visited was the one run by Macmillan, probably the most known charity in the UK that helps cancer sufferers and their relatives. I joined their online community and indeed learnt a lot about various types of cancer, treatments, side effects and all from people who either experienced all this first hand or witnessed their loved ones go through the mill. 

I then joined a few groups on Facebook and other online services, dealing specifically with breast cancer and my age group. The first thing that struck me in those groups is the amount of pessimism, negativity and fear fuelling chats, let alone resentment towards the people who don’t have cancer and have no clue how to communicate with us, the ones that have been struck by the nasty disease. I have to say that I am not sure I have felt supported reading discussions there, posting my thoughts or photos….. It seems to me that having a positive attitude while battling cancer is not particularly welcome among many cancer sufferers. How, on earth, is one to get support, which means help preventing one from falling (into despair, fear, depression, etc….) when any attempt to point the positives in life, despite the illness, is being frowned upon?! I truly find that weird. 

‘Tell it like it is’ they say. ‘That’s a horrible experience’, ‘I’m sure you feel rubbish’, ‘I know how it feels’, ‘I’d be angry too….’….. I am sorry, but for me a lot of those chats is just a kind of group pity party. For goodness sake, cancer is horrible! The thought of dying and not being there for my children is scary. Knowing they would be brought up by their rather immature dad is even more worrying…. Not having anyone here that can practically help me in times of trouble is sad and alienating…. BUT, why should I focus on these????? Why should I add the inner turmoil, unrest and torment and feed them, on top of having to bear with an enormous assault on my body, which is a cancer treatment?! How is feeding my fears, worries, etc, going to facilitate the treatment and me recovering from all the cancer battles?! I find it hard to understand.

All cancer sufferers once were cancer free, also cancer fear free. Most of us didn’t even know anyone who suffered from cancer before we fell ill ourselves. Did we know how to comfort cancer patients, how to speak to them? I feel most of us had no clue whatsoever. Why then, after being diagnosed we expect the whole world to be empathetic with us and know what to say, when to say it and how to say it?! 

In the ideal world, I would love people to give me the moral and practical support that is so needed while battling cancer. But, I know in reality, only a few people here and there will have the sensitivity to predict how I may feel, what I may need without even asking, or be able to ask in a tactful way. Seriously, having unreasonable expectations towards people around me and their response to my illness will never help me in anyway, on the contrary, it will add the heartache of disappointment. I did not get the support I needed and if I concentrated on it, I would have sunk in depression and given up the treatment all together , having convinced myself that there’s no point since nobody cares anyway…… Instead, I felt sad, acknowledged those thoughts, shared them with a long distance close friend and moved on to focus on the treatment and getting better, AND tried to enjoy life in the process. Crazy isn’t it?! Enjoying life while battling cancer – I must be a total weirdo! 😉

I must say, I have completely gone off those support groups for the time being. I noticed the negativity and constant whinging influencing my joy of life. It is enough I have my two lovely boys who treat me with their constant conflicts and whining, I don’t need any more …. it does not support me in any way…. it brings me down. My positive posts tend to annoy many who love feeding their resentment, so, I think I will now just focus on enjoying life. I am not going to let the fear of cancer returning make me a prisoner of horror, mental images and dark emotions following them!

‘Tell it like it is’ =>> Ok, here you go:




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