Since Covid became the new ‘big C,’ I have never been so busy! Spending most days communicating with people from right across the cancer world. Including charities, healthcare professionals and of course patients. Everyone concerned about the delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment. That is the one common thread. It’s quite unusual for all sectors to be talking about the same thing at the same time. Which is the one ‘positive’ I can currently take.
After my last piece about not hiding away during difficult times I received a fabulous message from her mum Tochi, who was telling me about her wonderful daughter Toni, who features in the video below. Which set me thinking about how most of us can feel isolated at some stage whilst dealing with the disease. As an adult having lived a very full life, it was difficult to deal with but there were always other people who I could talk to. Many who I had met on here in this wonderful ‘Cancer Community.’
However at the age of 11 or younger how would you deal with it? Education messed up, alienated from your friends and parents very anxious. Who could you turn to? Receiving treatment during many visits to the hospital must be very scary at that age. Hearing that word cancer every single day, when all you want to do is get on with your education and see your friends. But now we have the Internet and mobile devices. We can be connected with anyone around the world whenever we want to.
Toni and her generation know how to use them properly too! Even after nearly 9 years I haven’t really started my own You Tube Channel yet. I’m still trying to get to grips with Instagram too! Of course this doesn’t ever replace face to face contact but it is a long way better than it was before social media existed. Thinking back to when I have my transplant there was only Wi-Fi for the staff. I was 6 weeks in isolation with only just texts, calls and emails to keep me occupied.
Things have moved on so quickly and I believe that technology overall has been a massive positive to the way we communicate. Certainly when it comes to young people. When I think and talk about cancer I sometimes forget that it affects so many youngsters too. Their requirements can be very different to what most of us need. Unless you are on a specially dedicated ward, long term stays can be very challenging. Being in hospital as an adult can be quite scary, but I can’t imagine how it must feel if you haven’t even reached your teens.
Not only is it terrible for the child, but how about the parents? Feeling so helpless watching your loved ones go through something so challenging. All you can really do is to encourage and be there when they need you. Helping them to stay ‘normal’ when you are all entering ‘uncharted waters.’ Cancer does not discriminate, race, colour, age or sex. It affects us all differently even with the same tumour type and treatment. Even when you have been diagnosed it is almost impossible to make any type of plan.
So I would like to dedicate this blog to Toni and her family and others in a similar situation. Thank you for sharing your experiences, to help us understand the issues unique to you. I know Toni would love it if you could subscribe to her channel, and follow her journey!