Almost everyone battling cancer will experience feelings of isolation at some point. Even those lucky enough to have faithful friends and family around can be left feeling alone. It is hard to feel like anyone actually understands what you are going through. For rare cancer patients, these feelings can be even harder to deal with. If you suffer from a rare cancer such as carcinoma or mesothelioma, you may feel even less understood. After all, there are far fewer support groups, websites, and other resources for you to access.
It is crucial for you to know that you can find help and support to help you feel less isolated during your treatment. The most straightforward ways to find support and encouragement include:
Rely on your small group first.
Your small group is comprised of long-term friends and close family. You should stay in touch with them as much as possible. The challenge here is to be honest. Often, those battling cancer feel like they need to put on a “brave face” for their loved ones. While there are times to do this, it is important to have some trusted loved ones that you can share your most painful feelings with. Let them be your support during this rough time.
Look for other people who might be going through what you are
One of the most isolating parts of having a rare cancer is simply that there may not be a lot of awareness around it. It is hard to find others who are experiencing exactly what you are, because there simply aren’t many people with your disease. However, technology has developed to offer many wonderful resources that can help you find connection with others suffering from your condition. Social media, websites, and online support groups can all be ways of finding others who understand what you are facing. You can also ask your doctor if there is a local support group for rare cancer patients.
Seek professional support
Dealing with a major illness can cause feelings of despair in anyone. If you find yourself fighting feelings of anxiety and depression on a daily basis, you may want to consider seeking professional support. A psychiatrist or therapist could help you find ways to ease these mental symptoms, which could make your life easier as you battle your illness.
Be specific in your daily routine.
Fighting cancer can make you feel like your entire world has fallen apart. Everything has probably changed somewhat, and you may find yourself feeling ungrounded. Establishing some simple, daily routines could help with this. You could try waking up at the same time each morning and doing a simple chore or having a cup of tea. The idea is to give your brain some sense of structure during this uncertain time.
Tell people what would make you feel better.
Don’t be afraid to tell you loved ones exactly what would help you each day. Sometimes, you will simply need support, but it is hard for your loved ones to help you unless you let them. If you need to go to the park and get some fresh air, ask someone to go with you. If you need a specific food, or help with a chore, ask someone to help you. Listen to your mind and your body, and then don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
While dealing with a rare cancer can be a painful and isolating experience, there are ways to make it easier on yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support and accept it, wherever you find it.