Written by Julie Taylor
My hat is off to all support groups for cancer! May hat is also off to all young people having to rebuild their lives after cancer – and other serious traumas. This includes me!
Thank God for young people’s youth – which makes suffering trauma at this age especially tragic but also also makes it possible for them to overcome and survive. I so appreciate the determination and attitude that seems to come with youth and is so apparent in their support groups.
When I was lying in my hospital bed, unable to move, I was told that ‘the perfect age’ (what wording!) for serious trauma was between age 22 and age 32. Thanks?! I was 28 at the time. Apparently young people’s cell-age is ‘mature’ but still ‘young enough’ . Which makes them resilient and the best candidates to heal. However, the oldest cell in our body is only a few months old due to regular replacement. So something else is going on here. (It could be ‘energy medicine’ or the fact that by our 20’s we haven’t yet collected too much emotional baggage – which could be behind much disease and healing. Energy Healing/Total Biology are two of the things I am looking at now – because they are pretty successful.)
You may not want to have to heal in the first place! But at least studies show you can. And support groups for cancer are an absolute ‘must’ in the healing process.
A few years ago I had a minor trauma which brought back some of my earlier symptoms and from which I still have not recovered. I feel older and tired and ‘things’ seem slower generally? So, hard work that it is at any age to rebuild your life, I really appreciate the possibilities that being young presents. I still feel ‘young enough’ and question ‘how on earth can this happen again’. I don’t believe in coincidence and I’m absolutely sure there is a reason for everything that happens in life. We just may not be aware of it yet. I am also quietly grateful that it’s not one of my kids or grandkids – or anyone younger – that’s in my shoes.
Perhaps because most young adults are busy building their lives for the first time. There are few support groups for cancer to connect young cancer ‘graduates’ so they can share companionship and tips. (I hesitate to use the more popular term ‘survivor’ because it doesn’t feel ‘right’ to me? Like school and college, I’d worked incredibly hard and graduated. Not just passively ‘survived’. Somehow the term ‘survivor’ sounded almost like an insult? I wanted credit! My ‘survival’ was down to me and was directly proportional to my effort.) It wasn’t just fate or the skill of the doctors and nurses, it was me too!
There are a few websites – like http://baldylocks.blogspot.com/ for young people who have overcome cancer. Although that brings up so many questions for me too. How old is a young person? By years alone, I’m definitely excluded. Yet this is the group I still feel part of – and excluded from? And baldylocks herself is now too old, technically. Does that mean she has to go out and find new groups? Hmmm…
I love the vision of Young Adult Cancer. websites: “To eliminate the isolation for young adults with cancer (in Canada) by providing inspiration, information and support.” Great! It’s worth searching and finding support groups for cancer because it’s one of most helpful things you can do to heal. There was no internet when I was in hospital, recovering. I have discovered, while I was housebound much of the time again, how incredibly wonderful the internet and the community it provides is. I can’t imagine life without it.
If you can’t find one (support groups for cancer) – there are internet versions aplenty. Or if you want something a little different or ‘more’ than the blogs you find, start your own! Blog to your heart’s content – like my close friend aka Baldylocks. She has voiced what cancer has meant to her in a brilliant cancer-sucks rant… There’s been no stopping her since she started using her Mac laptop! She fell so in love with it that I was jealous! Eventually I bought one – they are even warm and make great bed-partners (at a pinch)!
Seriously, the most useful thing you can get for someone undergoing cancer – especially if they’re young and computer savvy – is a laptop computer (I have an article about difference it makes to the life of someone who suddenly finds themselves in hospital. There are zillions of things you can do if you have your own laptop and life can become meaningful again way sooner).
Connecting with people going through the same ordeal as you really helps. Don’t understimate it! They will almost certainly have heard of the issues that are bothering you and will be able to share ways they have found to deal with them. Just to be able to talk about them is a great help. I don’t know about you, but I had to be so careful not to ‘bore’ – or worse still, lose – friends who were important to me but who just don’t ‘get it’. This suddenly-being-plunged-into-a-whole-unwelcome and-awful-world.
Do yourself the biggest favour: Connect with a support group today, online or in your hometown (via your beautiful new laptop!). I’ve seen firsthand so many times how much difference it makes. Every time. Groups online can be anywhere in the world. They’re also available 24/7 – and of all the people in the whole world, there’s bound to be someone you bond with?! There were days when my friend was at her wits end and one of her friends were always online – either in New Zealand, England, Boston or Vancouver. A funny comment or a heartfelt good wish, often from a stranger who’s in the same boat as she is, left on her blog would cheer her no end and help her face doctors’ appointments, tests, examinations. For me it was pure magic too: I knew how badly she needed contact and it was such a relief to know that someone was there for her when I had my own job/family to deal with.
Check out Baldylocks blog – and her rant! Let her know that you found her through ReBuildingYou. I think you’ll enjoy her! And, difficult as it is sometimes, every day of life is for enjoying. Somehow…
Make ReBuildingYou your own website – you can even start your own closed group in the village forum that only your invited members can access! If there’s something I can help with – or you have an idea about how I can make this website better – please EMAIL ME. I was a 28 year old single mom with 3 sons when I found myself in hospital – after being in a coma for several weeks. (You can read my story on that website.) ReBuilding after cancer is similar to ReBuilding after other serious trauma and if I can offer you any help, I would be really pleased to to be able to. I love the idea of ‘paying forward’ the help I’ve had.
Chemotherapy and ‘chemobrain’ cause many symptoms similar to stroke and brain injury. The thought of anyone having to go through the same loneliness that I felt is what prompted me to create www.ReBuildingYou.com. I believe I can ‘show you a way that works’ to ReBuild your life – I look forward to hearing from you! We all need every bit of help we can get to rebuild after cancer as well as after any other serious physical trauma!
With a hug,