One of the biggest things that I have learned, since I was diagnosed, is that outside your circle of family and friends, it is extremely difficult to find emotional or practical support to enable you to start living again.Once you are diagnosed, you have a new ‘life companion.’ If you are lucky enough to get into remission, it is very difficult to feel that you have completely broken your association with the disease.
I have been talking and blogging about these issues, as I feel that they are rarely mentioned to patients.Cancer has totally turned my life upside down, and I was a very competent and confident person, before this process started. It now feels that I have been thrown into a pool without being taught how to swim.
Yes, everyone has sympathy with my situation, if it was a currency I would be very wealthy! But without the support of family and friends, I really don’t know where I would be. Once your health becomes unreliable it is very difficult to live anything approaching a normal life.For example, holding down a demanding job. Finding a job that suits your new circumstances or even gaining employment at all.
I was interested to read an article in The Telegraph that is now talking about these issues, and how our N.H.S needs to change. Apparently there are 1.8m people living with cancer in the UK but only 25% of those felt they had adequate support.
Research also found that cancer survivors are 37 per cent more likely to be unemployed than those who have not had the disease.
Under the new plans, those recovering from the disease would also be given access to information regarding employment rights and benefit entitlements.
Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of charityMacmillan Cancer Support said: “We need to change the way we respond to people going through cancer: all of a sudden the treatments stop, and too often people are left feeling they are on their own, and fearful about the problems they are left with.”
He said cancer survivors, especially men often found it difficult to discuss the impact of the disease on relationships and intimacy, but were often relieved if the opportunity was offered to them.
At last it seems like our society is beginning to understand the issues.In many respects, I am lucky, I am in the autumn of my life, not seeking a career, my boys are independent, and I am able to get by financially. But how would I see things,if all of that was in front of me?
I featured Samantha’s story of diagnosis and treatment, a few months back. The issues for young adults are totally different.We need more awareness of the issues that our children face, and it was great to hear in her own words how she felt. Now, there are different issues facing Sam!
“What next? – 20 years old and facing the world after cancer.
I have my college degree in sport, few credible GCSE’s and never held a job past the trial period due to my health.
I have considered that I want and maybe need a quiet office job with a steady wage once I’m the right side of remission. My grammar isn’t top notch but I like being behind a keyboard and I like writing. I’ve considered working for charities in any payable positions they may have, because charity has been one of my main focuses during treatment. I’ve considered that I’m a fidget and I don’t like to sit down for hours on end so maybe a desk isn’t ideal.
What problems have you faced whilst trying to get your life back on track, after receiving a cancer diagnosis? Old or young, we all face different issues. I would be happy to feature your story if you would like to share. Please just leave me a comment below or catch me @christheeagle1 on Twitter.