I will never forget the comment that I received many years ago on one of my blogs from a woman from South Africa that really took my breath away. She and I originally met each other on Facebook when I first started my weekly musings and although I hadn’t heard from her in awhile, I was so excited to see her name when her message arrived. After all, I have learned over time that if I don’t hear from someone after communicating on a regular basis, it may signal that the person is no longer able to communicate for any number of reasons so I am very careful about trying to reopen communications after such a silence has occurred. Happily this was not the case this time and want to share a portion of her message:
No matter your needs or your level of involvement with your own care, it helps to know that assistance and answers and people who care are just a quick social media or personal outreach away. Barbara Jacoby
“Here’s a trillion hugs to you from me for all the times you came up with some supporting information / comment when I was down and hopeless whilst going through breast cancer treatment a couple of years ago. Thank God I’m all better now (except for only having one breast left) but I often remember what a great support you have been to me in my ‘hour of need’ you might not have realised this at the time, but just knowing that there were people all over the world who helped me pray for healing, helped me tremendously to deal with that problem in my life.”
Well, needless to say, I did not realize at the time that I apparently was making a difference for her because it was women like her who were communicating with me that helped me to understand that I was not alone and that there were others in the world who cared enough to take the time to send me a message of encouragement and support that made my own cancer journey a bit easier. When I first started writing, Facebook and MySpace were the only social media sites where we could “meet and correspond” with others who were dealing with the same issues with Twitter arriving shortly thereafter.
Therefore, when I received my friend’s message, I was reminded of the importance of knowing that when you are dealing with breast cancer, you are not alone. There will always be people who reach out to let you know that they are praying for you or who want to share their experiences if they find that they are similar. Quite often, if you are willing to provide just a bit of information about the specific type of breast cancer with which you are dealing and perhaps a particular issue that you are having, you will hear from others who are willing to provide all sorts of suggestions and ideas about how they dealt with that issue.
Of course, no one is suggesting that you ever take any medical advice and use it without first discussing it with your own doctor as each of our situations is as individual as our fingerprints. But, I know from personal experience that it wouldn’t be the first time that information provided by one cancer survivor, when shared with another patient’s physician, turned out to be a perfect solution. There are so many things being tried and researched around the world and we are so fortunate to have access to information from so many sources that we may never even have considered were it not for such sharing.
No matter your needs or your level of involvement with your own care, it helps to know that assistance and answers and people who care are just a quick social media or personal outreach away. Reaching out to others when things seem rather bleak will help you even if it is just in the sharing of your feelings. And most of all, I want to thank my friend who provided me with that great reminder that we are never alone unless we choose to be and that if we reach out, there is always someone there who is willing to help us in any way that they can. After all, we truly are all in this together.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.