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It was a long time ago. We were yard jumping after dark. Pretty innocuous compared to some of today’s hi-jinks like cyber bullying. We’d reached the end of the run of fenced yards and so we sat there. Perched high off the ground like birds on a wire. Life was good. No major decision to make, no bone rattling wake up calls coming in.

When something like a cancer diagnosis hits home, there is no time to sit on the fence. You are plunged immediately into a world filled with its own terminology and deadlines. My dive into the deep end was like jumping in for a polar swim. Cold and shocking. Without warning, I was told while my late husband was still in recovery from his biopsy that he most likely had Hodgkin’s.

It gave me a weekend to do what I do best…dig into research and start making a plan. Just in case. I could have stayed sitting on the fence that weekend. But I jumped right in. Just in case. If our trip to the doctor resulted in confirmation of the surgeon’s suspicion’s I wanted to be sure I had a list of questions in hand. Doing something practical and getting educated helped ground me while emotionally I worked through shock and fear.

Caregivers, patient/caregiver advocates, and those diagnosed with cancer cannot afford to sit on the fence. As good as any medical team can be, in my experience and in talking with others affected by cancer you have to be your own advocate. Sometimes Gary could be this on his own behalf and sometimes I had to step up and be the one to help get what he needed.

A cancer diagnosis (or any chronic or life-altering disease) can feel paralyzing. Those are the times to get support and come up with a plan to can get you moving forward. There is a difference between sitting still or quiet consideration and staying perched on the fence or being paralyzed. When you’re facing a diagnosis and treatment you want to be thinking clearly, making conscious informed decisions.  Who can help?

  • Your family doctor, oncologist and the rest of your medical team
  • Peer to peer support
  • A counselor or therapist
  • A life coach
  • Someone you trust

There is a vast reservoir of resources available today so reach out for help and support. You don’t have to navigate through the tough times alone.

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