As time has gone on and our lives are becoming much more complex, I have found that my work is getting much busier. Of course the cancer campaigning has increased. But I’m finding that my private messages are filling up with patients and NHS staff who would like to talk to someone. My position of course is quite unique. Not only am I a cancer patient, but I am involved with charities and the NHS. So I have an inside view from most perspectives. It’s certainly hard to avoid the fear mongering going on across the country, but I am speaking from personal experience.
Two of the biggest legacies of Covid19 will be cancer treatment delays, and mental health issues. In many cases both linked. Of course our immediate focus must be on the virus but not at the cost of ignoring all other healthcare! We will be living with the fall out for many generations. But as I say in my personal life we must deal with things in the right order. It is certainly difficult to think about life in 10 years time when we are trying to ensure that the world survives the physical and economic meltdown we are witnessing.
Due to my personal health situation I have never involved myself in any work, planning too far into the future. I like to deal with what’s in front of me, and can make a tangible difference. Besides there are now too many moving parts, to even try to predict what will happen next month let alone in a 5 year plan. There is no point of worrying about things that may not even happen. As we all know, fear/worry is one of the most destructive emotions we have.
Now is the time to focus on kindness! I have never experienced so many people wanting to talk privately in my nearly 10 years of doing this work. It is now changing the way I work too. Much more Zoom etc, and less Internet/social-media etc. But also very emotionally challenging. Many are struggling to see any positivity. Admittedly difficult but it is there if you search hard enough!! I have no paper qualifications but I have 50 years of dealing with people daily and 13 years of working with people on all sides of the cancer spectrum.
Many of us in our community are seeing it and want to help. I am doing a wonderful project with Dr Fareeha Faisal about putting the CAN into cancer! Focussing on any positives we may have found during our experiences. We know the world needs more fun, positivity and laughter, which is easier said than done of course! But we know how much difference a smile and some laughter can make to people. Our work is done inside a community, where dying early is unfortunately all too common. It is a fact of what we do. Most patients are aware that it is likely to happen to them at some stage so are very realistic.
Everyone in the community finds incredible help from each other and most are there to give or receive support and share experiences. Since the pandemic I have also experienced more professionals from the NHS creating a support hub on social-media, with rather mixed results due to the privacy issues etc. But as the fallout from the pandemic increases, so the support must too. We are all only human beings and can deal with so much before we break. Even before Covid I never really saw professionals getting the support they required, so I’m sure that situation has only got worse. They deserve better than this! Also many staff working in our charity sector being put out of work. This is impacting so many of us.
So my offer is open to all, if you have something on your mind, “how can I help you?” But please bare in mind I don’t have a large pot of money, and can’t cure cancer!! Many people have stepped forward to help me over the years and now I am in a position to do the same. Maybe I can help you find some sunshine you couldn’t find yourself?
This is a totally new project, finding and focussing on positivity’s rather than the gloom we find ourselves surrounded by daily. The incredible Dr Fareeha will be helping me and we have many other people that are joining our team. We know the world is in a difficult place, but experience shows us that everything is temporary. Of course we will never see our old normal again, but we will find new ways of overcoming our current challenges. As humans we are incredibly adaptable as many have already experienced in the last few months.
“When we listen, hear each other’s stories, we get closer to understanding each other.
We might find we even feel connected, through some shared experiences. We don’t have to think the same; in fact there’s richness in our diversity.
We do need to care about each other, though.”
This sums things up nicely I think! Thank you so much to Brigid Russell for this quote.
Please feel free to get in contact via any of my social-media channels or drop me note in the comments section and I can get back to you privately. I will certainly do my best to bring a smile back to your life. My very best to everyone, Chris
The impact of Covid on charities, in particular in our case cancer charities and those doing medical research is seriously scary. As a newly appointed political campaigns ambassador for CRUK and an ambassador for PCUK I’ve just written an article about the cost of Covid on medical research. Hopefully it will be published soon.
Hi Anthony. Thanks so much for all you are doing, during such difficult times! Thanks for letting us know this and please feel free to share the publication when you can. I know the community would be interested to read it. Take care!
Hi Chris, how might I help? Deb X
Hi Deb, thanks so much for asking! You have been an incredible supporter of my work, almost since I started I think? Please just continue to share so that we can reach more people. We are in unprecedented times and need to share more kindness instead of hate and division.
Just keep doing what you’re doing and stay safe! Big love to you all, Chris
As the situation heightens the need for interaction, especially among people living with cancer Chris. You really don’t need qualifications to listen to people. As you share similar stories you can inadvertently be reminding them of resourced they may be able to tap into for the support they need.
I love the ‘can’ in cancer
Be mindful of how much you personally absorb without filtering for your own wellbeing. Who listens to you? I know you have a wonderful family.
You’re so right with everything you say! Most people just want to share their problems and need someone to listen. The odd smile and laugh wouldn’t go amiss either! Unfortunately we also find ourselves in time of great conflict too.
Yes the CAN in cancer is a project we are working on the bring HCPs and patients closer together. To remove the us and them, because in the current circumstances we need to be working as one!
Thank you for your observation about my personal circumstances. I am surrounded by an incredible team who are able to support me well. I will never let it become too much for me. These situations require something different, so we have to try!
Always thinking about you and your family. Stay safe lovely lady XXX
Chris you’re a bright shining light in an environment of darkness and fear. I can only speak for the US but I will say that the smile I would flash and the hellos and the offers of assistance have been put under the cold ice of distrust and derision in our country. People are suffering from Covid fatigue – but I know they’ve not experienced Metastatic cancer fatigue. We are about to lose our electricity for 2 days – those Santa Ana winds are about to whip up and take down a lot of trees and the public utility company filed for bankruptcy to allow themselves to continue racking in profit while under the us bankruptcy protection laws. Our world will not be the same again. I was hoping our humanity would take over for the infighting and ugliness our current administration has encouraged through its own political desires. But we can globally help to love one another and help by just listening with intent and directing people to resources. I’m supposed to start my healing circles training tomorrow by zoom so I’ll do it in my car to keep my devices charged but if you go to commonweal.org and look for the short videos on how to run a healing circle I think you’ll find a group of huge hearted people who thinks love and listening can help people heal. ❤️ Ilene
Hi Ilene, thank you so much for sharing what you are encountering in the US. Of course we see new etc but of course it is always slanted one way or the other. Unfortunately I find politics in general the one thing that halts human progress. I agree totally that this is the time that I thought people would come together but we are not seeing it here either. The one positive about our Community is that we are all working together for a common goal and at the moment politics is very much in the way of that too. Wherever we are in the world!
I will check out your work, and please don’t hesitate to get in touch if I can help with anything! We are connected to many incredible people.
Stay safe Ilene, Chris
I enjoyed reading this post Chris and love the CAN in cancer project. You have helped so many people through your posts and made people really soul search deeply for how we are living with cancer, the good and the bad. Thanks Chris for all you do for us.
Thank you so much for your kindness too Dianne. My work can’t happen without the incredible people like you, that support and encourage me. We’re all part of a bigger team pulling in the same direction. Unlike with many sections of life currently! It is strangely ironic that it was cancer that showed me I could write coherently and add some positivity to people’s lives around the world. Thank you for everything you do too, it is much valued! Chris XX
Always happy to share! Look after yourself. X
I believe we have met, but even after racking my brain, I just can’t recall where or when! I wanted to respond to this post as I have recently read a number of books and one of those books highlights the work of the great psychologist/philosopher Alfred Adler. In the book the author paraphrases something that Alder highlights and which I realised that it was something my father, Dr Sidney Bindemann, a leading light in the field of psychosocial oncology, wanted to be: “To be of use to someone”! Sadly he left this world in Aug but he did leave behind a resource which you and your followers might find helpful. It is a website/blog, which I’m hoping to keep going, called http://www.coalfacecaring.com. He also wrote a book, which thanks to the tireless work of my brother we managed to get published in time, earlier this year. Again it may well be of help. You can read about all this on the website. All the very best, Neil
Hi Neil, I get to meet a lot of people in many different settings but my memory is poor! Thank you so much for sharing this information which is really interesting! Your father summed up my personal feelings well. I have been given extra time in my life and I wanted to be of use to as many people as I could.
Before my cancer, life had been kind to me. I have an incredible family and had a job I loved which paid me well. After I got sick I felt unfulfilled and with my new experiences, am able to help people daily now. Now I can’t wait to get up and see what life has in store for me. Time is now the most valuable asset I have.
Very best to you and please stay in contact and let us know how the website is going, Chris