A life-changing experience like cancer can make or break relationships. Some friends or family become supportive in ways you never imagined possible. Others are surprisingly absent or simply not comforting like they once were. Usually, it’s nothing personal. It’s just life, twisting and turning, and shaking up your relationships in the process.
As things change, you may discover that connecting with other cancer patients, families and caregivers is comforting. You have something in common and building a new relationship can seem almost effortless.
Social media offers many opportunities for making these kinds of connections – helping you understand you don’t have to face cancer alone, and offering some unique benefits:
- Share your experience with others – Many people with cancer share similar frustrations, fears and challenges. An online community, like a message board or a Facebook group, can help you make sense of your experiences and transform your experience of cancer. These networks are available anytime, and they may feel less stressful than face-to-face interactions. You reach out for the support you need, when you need it.
- Explore treatment options – Eddie Dwyer, a 28-year-old colon cancer survivor, travels from Florida to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia, where he feels he found better treatment options. He has taken to Facebook, Twitter and a daily blog to share his treatment experience – part of the hospital’s “real time” campaign to share their patients’ daily journeys through cancer.
- Keep family and friends up to date – Jenny Scott started a blog when her infant daughter, Allie, was diagnosed with leukemia. She shared her feelings, and also updates about her daughter’s treatment, which meant she didn’t have to return as many phone calls and emails. This can be a particularly draining part of cancer to manage. If you don’t have a blog, sites like caringbridge.org allow you to set up a free webpage to keep family and friends informed.