Winning a battle against cancer is a major accomplishment. Many people go on to live long, happy lives after surviving their cancer fight.
However, a war against cancer takes a toll on its victim. It’s a hard won victory that can have an impact not only physically but emotionally, as well.
There is also a struggle with the financial toll that a serious health problem causes. Loss of time at work and ongoing medical bills creates a high-stress situation for many families.
Where can cancer survivors get the help they need?
Local Support groups – Many groups have meetings once a week or once a month to share stories and offer support to each other. These are effective because it’s a chance to meet with other people who are going through the same struggles. Only those who are walking the same path can understand the range of emotions you’re feeling.
Online groups – Forums and Facebook groups are also available if you can’t find a local group. Some people prefer talking to others online instead of in person. Do a Google or Facebook search for “Cancer survivor support groups” or “cancer survivor forums”.
Private counseling – Meeting with a psychologist or counselor is a help to many people. Talking about the situation and how you feel is important but sometimes it’s too much to ask your family and friends to continue to listen. They may want to help but they don’t know how. A counselor is trained to know how to help you deal with your feelings and continue to move forward.
Family counseling – Not only are you dealing with your feelings, but your family will also be there to see when you’re down or suffering from depression. They won’t understand why you can’t just feel happy about your cancer survival. They may need help to understand what you’re going through and to learn how to help you cope.
It may help to get involved with groups and organizations that have nothing to do with cancer. In other words, find a way to spend time that takes your mind off your past struggle. Join a knitting group, a church choir, a chess club, or the Toastmasters.
Take a class in photography, start collecting orchids, learn a foreign language or to cook gourmet dinners, or take a creative writing course and finish that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
Find ways to volunteer. This takes your focus off your own struggles and gives you a way to help others. Your local food pantry probably needs help stacking shelves or handing out food. The humane society always needs volunteers to walk dogs or merely give them some personal attention and play time.
Find ways to keep improving yourself. This way you can feel certain that you are doing the best of the second chance you have been given.
Some organizations that can help cancer survivors find help include:
- American Cancer Society
- National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS)
- Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition
- The United Way
Your oncologists should have a list of local organizations that can help you with counseling, support groups, and possibly where you can apply for assistance with medical bills.
You have already fought and won the biggest battle. Don’t be embarrassed to get the help you need to help you enjoy your victory.