Don't Go It Alone; Connect with Others on Social Media

Woman writing a journal.
Woman writing a journal.

I recently heard from a woman in South Africa that really took my breath away. We originally met each other on Facebook when I first started my weekly musings and although I haven’t heard from her in awhile, I was so pleased to see her name when a message from her arrived. I have learned over time that if I don’t hear from someone after communicating on a regular basis, it may signal that the person may have lost her battle with cancer so I am very careful about trying to reopen communications after such a silence has occurred.

Happily this was not the case this time. Here is a portion of her message:

“Here's a trillion hugs to you from me for all the times you came up with some supporting information or comment when I was down and hopeless whilst going through breast cancer treatment a couple of years ago. Thank God I'm all better now (except for only having one breast left) but I often remember what a great support you have been to me in my 'hour of need' you might not have realized this at the time, but just knowing that there were people all over the world who helped me pray for healing, helped me tremendously to deal with that problem in my life.”

I did not realize at the time that I apparently was making a difference for her because it was women like her who were communicating with me that helped me to understand I was not alone. They reminded me that there were others in the world who cared enough to take the time to send me a message of encouragement and support.

This made my own battle an easier journey. When I first started writing, Facebook and MySpace were the only social media sites where we could “meet and correspond” with others who were dealing with the same issues.Twitter arriving shortly thereafter.

When I received my friend’s message, I was reminded of the importance of knowing that when you are dealing with breast cancer, you are not alone.There will always be people who reach out to let you know that they are praying for you or who want to share their experiences when they find that they are similar.

Quite often, if you are willing to provide just a bit of information about the specific type of your breast cancer and particular issues that you are having, you will hear from others who are willing to provide all sorts of suggestions and ideas about how they dealt with that issue.

What is important to remember, when corresponding with others who have had, or currently have breast cancer, is to identify with, but don't compare your situation, symptoms, or reactions to treatment. Breast cancer affects each of us differently, and comparing can only cause needless anxiety.

Don't recommend or take medical advice or begin taking supplements or over the counter medications recommended to you. Even the most innocent herb or food item may interact with the medication/treatment that you are receiving.

No matter your needs or your level of involvement with your own care, it helps to know that assistance and answers and people who care are just a quick social media or personal outreach away. Reaching out to others when things seem rather bleak will help you even if it is just in the sharing of your feelings.

Always remember that you are not alone no matter what you are facing and how great or small your problems or issues may be.

I want to thank my friend who provided me with that reminder which has pretty much become my mantra and that is we are all in this together.

Edited by: Jean Campbell

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