August 9, 2016

Cancer And Relationships: They Can Carry Hope

By Guest Blogger Crawford Clay, Certified Patient & Family Support Navigator and Advocacy Coordinator, Colon Cancer Alliance

Getting a diagnosis like colon cancer is devastating. You feel like you’ve been cast adrift on a sea of despair. The Colon Cancer Alliance wants you to know you don’t have to go through this alone. We can help you find hope.

Emily Dickenson famously said, “Hope is the thing with feathers.” While I don’t know if hope has feathers, hope certainly is the belief that things can get better. Hope comes from three sources: faith, loved ones and experts.

Faith is a belief in something bigger than you. Faith lets you give the things you can’t control over to your higher power to worry about. Faith doesn’t have to be a belief in God. It’s a belief in something outside of yourself that can bring good into your life.

Friends and family provide much needed emotional support. They can also provide you a distraction from your worries. Getting out of the cancer world is invaluable at times.

Experts come in two types. You certainly want access to medical experts—they are your best shot at getting better. The Colon Cancer Alliance can also help you by exploring treatments options. Call our free Helpline (877-422-2030) and speak to one of our Certified Patient Navigators to find out more.

You also want to meet people who’ve been there and done that: survivors. Nothing lifts your heart like meeting someone who has successfully been through what you are going through.

You can find survivors a couple ways. One way is the Colon Cancer Alliance Facebook page.

We have two closed Facebook groups for survivors: Blue Hope Nation, which has almost 7, 000 members and Colontown, an invitation-only group with many specialized neighborhoods to help you find someone talking about your specific issue or answer questions about side effects, clinical trials and more.

You may also want to talk to someone one-on-one. That’s why we have our Buddy Program. The Buddy Program allows you to connect with a survivor or caregiver and talk via phone or email. Your buddy will be glad to discuss side effects, poop or whatever else is on your mind.

I wish I’d had these resources when I was in treatment. I was lucky enough to meet a stage IV lung cancer survivor soon after my diagnosis. Meeting Fred was definitely a turning point for me; I thought if he could make it, I could too.

Let me close with a final thought from Desmond Tutu: “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”

Editor’s note: Join Crawford Clay and learn more about relationship-building resources during the web event “True Help Claiming Power to Improve Your Relationships,” Aug. 18. Click here to register and attend live or on-demand. Share

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