Living with cancer is not always easy. One day we can appreciate the minutest details of daily life; the next day brings feelings of loneliness and distress. Did you know that there are several resources available to bring some sunshine to those overcast days?
Taking the lead
Learning that we have cancer can upset our universe, our daily life and our emotions. The disease often changes our perception of life itself, allowing us to appreciate all of life’s little pleasures that much more. It can also fill our head with a multitude of questions. And sometimes, it can fill us with a feeling of fear, sadness and loneliness that we want to quash as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, there are a number of resources available to us. They can help us overcome the most difficult times and find answers to our questions. But first we have to locate these resources! This brochure is intended to introduce some of the resources that could be useful to you.
What to do if you have questions about your illness and your treatment?
- Call the cancer info service set up by the Canadian Cancer Society. An information specialist can provide you with reliable information about your illness and treatment, and provide you with the means to cope with your cancer. This is a free, bilingual service. You can also consult the organization’s website at www.cancer.ca.
- Call your pharmacist, who is available during the day, evenings and weekends. He or she can give you valuable information on your treatment. As well, your pharmacist can offer you simple methods to help manage any secondary effects of your medication.
What to do if you feel alone, sad or distraught?
You can call the free Peer Support Service offered by the Canadian Cancer Society. You will be paired with a volunteer who has already fought the same cancer as yours. Your peer can encourage you and you can learn from their experience. This way, there is a good chance you will feel less lonely as you navigate your course.
What to do if you no longer have the strength to cook your own meals, do housework or drive your car?
Visit the Canadian Cancer Society’s website to consult the Community Services Locator (CSL) for your region. You can also contact the local offices of the organization to obtain this information. You will then be able to learn about the organizations in your area that offer the following services, among others:
- help with household chores;
- home delivery of meals;
- transportation for medical appointments;
You can also contact your nearest CLSC to learn about the wide range of services available in your region.
What to do if you want to look better?
The Look Good Feel Better program offers free 2-hour cosmetic workshops designed to meet the needs of women and adolescents who are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy and who want to look good and boost their morale. These workshops offer a multitude of tips and advice on makeup and skin care, hair care and nail care. Who said we have to suffer to look good and feel better?
A few useful tips
Here are a few additional tips that we hope will help you to find the right resources:
- When you go to your medical, chemotherapy or radiation therapy sessions, establish contact with others who are dealing with cancer. Not only will it make the wait time more pleasant, it may help you to learn about other resources you had not thought of yet. There is strength in numbers, so start networking! Who knows, you may also gain a new friend as a bonus!
- Plan on joining a support group that will allow you to discuss with other people who are going through a situation similar to yours. Again, you can contact the Canadian Cancer Society for more information.
- If you are not too familiar with or are intimidated by the Internet, ask someone in your group who knows more about it to help you search for available resources.
- Ask your consulting physician, pharmacist, or a member of your healthcare team to tell you about the resources that are available. Often these people have valuable information to help you with your questions.
If you are currently dealing with cancer, or someone near to you is affected by cancer, don’t wait for help to come to you. Be proactive! Being better informed will allow you to find the strength and courage to continue and win your battle. And who knows, after all, you might be one of our future volunteers!