When Cancer Meets Community

Cynthia Bailey, MD|March 3, 2016

Cancer Community_MainLife is a series of journeys up one hill (sometimes, a mountain) and down the other side. Some roads you choose, and some are chosen for you. One of the greatest things you have going for you in this life is that each one of the 7.4 billion people alive on this earth in 2016 has had their own hills and mountains that they've traveled. Chances are, there are people who have walked your path and who can empathize with your journey. When those who have walked similar paths come together, they are a community.  You might be one of those people who keeps your thoughts and feelings within your small circle of family and close friends. Or, you might be someone who chooses to be part of a community that coalesces around a social media group to share similar experiences, and where advice and emotions can be shared and understood. Dr. Bailey chose the latter option, and if you do too, then you understand that putting your journeys and learned experiences together can create a powerful community where you don't have to feel so alone. It's empowering to know others have walked your path and have survived, even thrived! Whether you hold your feelings close to your chest or you work best when you experience them in a larger setting, reading about other people's steps on their journey can be healing. The following blogs are from women who have walked that cancer journey. Their written - and in some cases, spoken - words have brought many people together and helped those who haven't been there grasp what simply can't be known without going through the experience. Maybe their writings will help you feel less alone or help you understand someone who is going through it themselves.

NY Times Living with Cancer

Susan Guber, writing for The New York Times, pens her experience in life with ovarian cancer. Her articulate and personal insights touch deeply on subjects that someone who has never been there might not otherwise understand. For instance, in her post, Living With Cancer: Shedding Tears, she writes:

"Several years ago, debilitating infections threatened my life. Depleted by chemotherapy and a series of drains inserted into my body by interventional radiologists, I could barely creep from the hospital parking garage to post-surgical appointments. During the ordeal, I managed to put one foot in front of the other, but only by shutting down my emotions. "On one trip, when it turned out I had to be hospitalized, a nurse practitioner patted my arm. 'You’ve really been through it,' she said. Summoned by her words of commiseration, tears coursed down my cheeks. Curiously, they were a relief. I needed her sympathy to experience my own sadness."

Bumpy Boobs

Now in her early 30s, Catherine Brunelle is published author, vlogger and cancer fighter living in Canada. Her honest thoughts are reflected in her forthright writing as she takes on awkward cancer topics like sex, forced menopause (and the expensive medicine that goes along with it) and exhaustion.

"Part of this whole ‘dealing with cancer’ business is being an advocate. And sometime, I guess that means not caring that you are potentially bothering others." (...) "And then there’s just plain denial. That is my responsibility, and my comfort blanket (until it’s really not so comfortable anymore). I have put off getting this eye thing checked AGAIN because it’s actually easier to do nothing. Every time I do something is (sic) takes a whopping load of effort and determination. The idea of having to repeat advocacy moments over and over and over until answers are found is just so . . ." "It is just so very necessary." "I don’t like it. But it is necessary."

One Wig Stand

Based in Lebanon, One Wig Stand began in 2010 to raise awareness for breast cancer for young women (45 and younger) in a world where just the word cancer was a taboo. Nearly 6 years later, One Wig Stand speaks at different venues (a Ted Talk, for instance) to build community and raises money and awareness (and blood) for cancer patients.

My favorite blog post they have discusses when they used lemons as a visual for what breast cancer can look like. It is quite simply brilliant. For more, check out the complete post "Lemonista: A Breast Cancer Awareness Booth with a Zesty Twist!"

The Accidental Amazon

Any blog whose tag line is "Symmetry is highly overrated" has to have a good sense of humor, or at least delves into the snarky side of life. Kathi started her blog when she was first diagnosed with  high-grade Ductal Carcinoma In Situ

"I was treated — if you can call amputation, radiation burning & oral chemo poisoning a treat. If they don’t kill you, then you get to live & the cancer dies. I got to live, keep my hair, and get my insurance company to buy me a prosthesis. That’s whzere I’m at now. Oh, plus still trying to recover from the long- and late-term effects of treatment."

After blogging through the diagnosis and subsequent treatment, along with her snark and sharing of helpful information, Kathi now writes poignantly about life after cancer. Want more? If you just can't get enough of the community these blogs build or you'd like more reading options, check out Healthline's page The Best Breast Cancer Blogs of 2015. It's definitely worth a look! If you're looking for a supportive community for a breast or ovarian cancer diagnosis, you can visit FORCE, an organization that helped support Dr. Bailey immensely as she faced her cancer diagnosis and treatments. For more on helping victims battle cancer through FORCE, click here. Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit If you have questions about skin care while going through chemo, Dr. Bailey has been there and has plenty of advice to help you along the way. In fact, she's created a complete Chemotherapy Skin Care Kit for anyone going through treatment and suffering skin issues. How's that for community? It is the only dermatologist-designed skin care specifically for chemo patients, developed by her experiences both inside and outside the battle. We'd like to hear from you! What blogs or forms of community give you encouragement? Do you have a blog about thriving through cancer? Let us know!   This email was brought to you by Dr. Bailey Skin Care, LLC, a company that specializes in skin care products. To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe below. Disclaim Medical Advice: The information in the Dr. Bailey Skin Care web site, and related links, articles, newsletters and blogs, is provided as general information for educational and advertising purposes only. The information is the opinion of Dr. Cynthia Bailey, or other indicated authors. Consult your physician or health care provider for any specific medical conditions or concerns you may have. (This also applies to Dr. Bailey’s patients in her medical practice in Sebastopol - the information is not a substitute for, or an extension of, the medical care she provides her patients.) Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. Use the information and products referred to in this information at your own risk. Use of the Dr. Bailey Skin Care web site, and related links, articles, newsletters and blogs indicates your agreement with these statements and the Terms and Conditions of DrBaileySkinCare.com. If you do not agree to all of these Terms and Conditions of use, please do not use this site.

Copyright ©2016 Dr. Bailey Skin Care, LLC – All Rights Reserved 7064 Corline Ct., Ste. C, Sebastopol, CA 95472

Add Your Comment