Few moments in life are as difficult to process as learning that one has cancer. That moment can be feel paralyzing. Isolating. But, as with any hurdle in life, hearing that one has the diagnosis often leads to discovering what helps one keep going.
Because not everyone has found their path through yet, we wanted to start a conversation about how those of you in the community ease the burden of bladder cancer. To start, we asked on the BladderCancer.net Facebook page: “What is the one thing that has made your cancer journey a bit more bearable?
Here’s what you all had to say about what keeps you going.
“When I get great news”
Positive news from the doctor brings such a great feeling — of relief, and hope for the future. Going to the doctor can be a challenge for some of us, but frequent visits can be a huge help in early detection, and in building rapport with the person who is going to look after your health as you move through this.
“That everything is OK. I’ve been bladder-cancer free for almost 12 years. But it nearly cost me my bladder almost 12 years ago. They got it just in time. Great doctors and the Lord above. I’m checked once a year just to be sure. Doing great!”
“Talking to other survivors”
For most of us, connection is key, and connecting with other cancer survivors is a wonderful way to feel heard, seen and understood because they know exactly what you are going through. This connection can lead to not just understanding, but also support—someone to talk to before or after a doctor visit for emotional support. Or, it can help to check in with other survivors to see what treatments and medicines worked for them. And as far as side effects go, sometimes we need to vent and commiserate with someone who also knows the pain and hardship of what we’ve gone through.
“Talking to other survivors has really helped me and gave me so much hope!”
“Whenever a procedure is done”
Being on the other side of a difficult part of treatment, such as a procedure, is a huge relief. Thinking about that positive feeling that comes with being done can be a great motivator to help you get through the next doctor visit or procedure. “Whenever a procedure is done and I’m driving home.”
What a gift it is to have family, partners and friends who love and show up for you. It’s our community that helps get us through trying times. And for those of you reading this that wish you had more folks showing up, know that often our loved ones want to be there for us, but don’t always know how. Part of the journey is learning to ask for what we need, whether that’s a ride to a procedure, or asking a friend to bring over a healthy meal after a treatment. The more specific we can be in our requests, the more likely our friends and family will be able to meet them.
“My family—they are amazing!”
“My husband. I love him to bits!”
We want to say a special thank you to everyone who responded to this question in the community. We hope that our questions ultimately bring people together for greater overall support.