With a Little Help From Our Friends:

Support is an Important Part of Healing


One moment, one word, changes your life forever – cancer.  Here’s one word that can help you map your new direction – support.


It’s important to make support part of your recovery plan.  Although only another warrior can come close to knowing how it feels to fight the monster, there are so many ways to engage others in your battle, each as unique as you are.  It’s difficult to organize a support plan when everything feels so out of control at first.  Here are some steps you might find helpful:


1.       First, gather your family, friends, and colleagues around you.  I was comfortable sharing my condition and progress, and asking for help when I needed it.  People were also helpful by being there both when I asked and when I didn’t even know I needed things.  The key for me was to let people know what I was going through; in many cases they did the rest.

2.       Find out what services your treatment center offers.  Mine had some complementary therapies available, like Reiki and counseling.  Use the ones that interest you, and try some that you’re not sure about.  You may be surprised!

3.       Look for community services close to home.  In addition to your treatment center, look for local services geared toward cancer patients and survivors.  It was helpful not only to have a break from “cancer world”, but I found comfort being among other people that knew the fight.  It was through my exposure to a local art therapy class that I discovered a creative side I never knew I had, and eventually led to my volunteer work with Hearts United Against Cancer making handcrafted cards for other Cancer Heroes once I was well.

4.       Search for cancer organizations.  Many offer free services such as information, phone counseling, makeup sessions and hair loss tips.


Whether you’re the cancer warrior or a supporting member of her/his team, realize that “support” can mean so many different things and take on many different forms when you are diagnosed with cancer.  Below are some examples of things you might reach out for, offer, or accept:


·         A helping hand after surgery or treatment (cooking, cleaning, grooming)

·         A ride to treatment, doctor, store, anywhere

·         Someone to talk to or laugh with

·         A shoulder to cry on

·         A visit or outing

·         Cards, notes, texts, calls


I had great medical care for my body.  I am positive I would not be where I am now had I not simultaneously worked on healing my mind, through the support I sought and found in family, friends, and colleagues.

Best of luck and health to you, as you travel your life’s path.  No one needs to fight alone, and every day beating back the monster is a good day.


Sharon Civa is an ovarian cancer survivor, and a volunteer with Hearts United Against Cancer.


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