The world certainly seems to start speeding up, when you are diagnosed with cancer! It also makes you slightly selfish, as it is all consuming, and difficult at times, to see anything other than your own health issues. My areas of work, mean that I meet some very interesting people, either face to face or online, and very frequently a conversation will really make me think about other peoples problems.
My ‘light bulb’ moment was about a year ago, when I was guest speaker at a support group meeting. The regular members were ‘silver surfers’ much like myself, but a young lady who was newly diagnosed, was attending for the first time. I was able to speak to her briefly afterwards, but although her diagnosis was the same as the other members, her problems were very different.
You regulars, will know that I work very closely with my hospital charity, and in recent months I have met people with children, diagnosed with cancer in our hospital.Having spoken to those people, and also health professionals I am starting to understand some of the problems that they face. Even during a fund raising evening, I was approached by parents who’s son had been diagnosed with a cancer similar to mine, seeking advice, as they were struggling with his issues.
This got me thinking, and looking around in every cancer environment I enter. Wherever I go, be it hospital, clinic, having treatment, or even surfing websites, everything I see is adult orientated. Obviously, I am not referring to specialist children’s wards or hospitals, but more general areas.Maybe it is that I am not involved with younger peoples care directly, so I won’t see it, but just looking around I see very few facilities that might be young adult friendly.
Even things like going for treatment. I have spent a big chunk of my time having some form of maintenance in hospital. You very quickly form a bond with your fellow patients, mostly because we all have very similar stories.If you are at uni or similar, I can see that it might be difficult for you.
Relationships, appearance, education, dealing with treatment, even down to trying to find someone who is going through similar things to you, are all very difficult when you are young.Who can you talk to?
Well, we know that it might not be perfect, but we have social media! Through this blog, I now connect up with people in every country in the world.I have learned many things since I have been writing but the main thing is that we all have a common bond, and that is cancer. No one cares, about your sex, colour, religion or age, and why should they?
On this platform, you can be yourself, or anonymous. you can contribute or not. Join the blog or follow at your leisure, the choice is entirely yours. There are no awkward questions, to answer, and no talks to do. That is the beauty of this medium. Together with Twitter, we are managing to reach a lot of people, including a younger audience, and help remove that feeling of isolation that we have all encountered.
The way that support is required these days is changing dramatically. We are used to having things, as and when we want them, generally in the palm of our hand.Social media can provide an element of support, as and when you need it. It can be a great tool for signposting you to either information, or a fellow patient, thousands of miles away
From my experience, young people are generally very proficient in their use of social media and to most it is second nature, it therefore seems logical to use it to offer various forms of support, of which this blog is only one.
If you feel that you would like to share,young or old, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I am always around on Twitter, or feel free to leave a comment