Updated: Feb 7, 2021
After the initial shock of being diagnosed I was desperate to find someone, anyone who was in a similar situation. It was the first time in my life I really felt alone, in every sense of the word. Everyone would say we were in this together and I don’t have to do this alone, which I was EXTEREMELY grateful for, but I didn’t know anyone as young as myself with cancer. Nor did I have anyone in my family who had gone through this. My grandma was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 62. She choose to not have treatment and within a month passed. And incase anyone is wondering, like I did, they said brain cancer has no link to breast cancer, meaning our two situations were completely unrelated.
I knew right when I was diagnosed I needed a few things. To speak to someone completely unrelated. My first two thoughts were a chaplin, a counselor or both. I needed someone I could talk to who would have no emotional connection. I needed someone who would be truthful with me even if it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The second was I needed someone like me. Someone who was going through treatment or someone who had already gone through treatment. Someone who was military and understood our lifestyle as well as someone who had small children. Because lets be honest we are all just winging it with our kids. We didn’t get a manual on that one.
In swooped my knight. He went straight to his work found a chaplin, counselor oh and our co-founder for me to talk to. Setting up the appointments with the chaplin and counselor were easy. Trying to reach out to Mary Alyce was something entirely different. I had her information for two weeks straight. I wrote email drafts, started text, etc and didn’t have the courage to hit send. How do you write to a stranger and say “Hey I heard you went through this horrible thing called cancer. Can you relive it with me and give a play by play? That would be great!” In short I felt like a crazy person reaching out to someone who probably had their crap together.
If I knew then what I know now I would have emailed her that first day. From the moment I made contact with her my feelings of being alone dissipated. As much as it sucks being in the cancer club its nice to be able to talk to someone who gets it.
Another way I connected with people was through the Breast Cancer Healthline app. I was scrolling through social media and came across one line that led to another that led to another. The app can connect you with women based on your diagnosis, age, area or all of the above. It also has forums based on different subject areas so whether you’re new to this world or seasoned there is a place for you to chat with others. One of the best features is that you don’t have to chat at all. You can read the conversations and gain knowledge without being involved or saying a word. And best of all it is FREE. Follow the link for more information.