Be a Friend not a Doctor- Embracing your network

It is so important to embrace the support that is being offered to you.

Now that seems simple doesn’t it. But it isn’t as easy as all that. Not everyone finds it easy to accept help or support. Everyone will deal with situations differently and some people will accept help and others will want to find their own path through whatever they are dealing with.

Cancer storms into your life and it brings change. Suddenly normal is so different. Normal every day things like getting the kids to school, shopping, working even keeping your house tidy seem less important than just eating and coping with the treatment effects. Now is the time when the support network around you really becomes important.

During this process I have found that some people really shine, others simply don’t know what to say to you or how to cope.

Firstly you have to decide how much to tell people. Who to tell and how to say it. Then you have to deal with the reactions of people. Some people will suffer from their own shock or feelings that might be connected to their own experiences others will be able to simply focus on you and say ‘how can I help?’.

It will be up to you to decide how much support or help you want. What is practical or just supportive.

I chose to come out and talk about my experience. I chose to share and vent my thoughts and feelings. For me that decision was partly completely selfish. A cathartic act that meant I wasn’t holding the thoughts and feelings inside. I had a vent for them. If someone else reads my blog or watches my video’s and relates or thinks gosh I felt like that then that is a terrific bonus. Not everyone will choose to tell their story or share their feelings or even tell everyone. We all choose what is best for ourselves.

In my job I am quite visible so I knew that simply disappearing wasn’t an option and that is not my way but that doesn’t mean it is right for everyone. I must admit though that I have found a lot of strength in the massive outpouring of love, support, strength, prayers and encouragement.  I am glad I reached out to tell my story.

Some of my support network have simply been amazing. It goes without saying that my family have been incredible. My parents have had to step in with the practicalities of getting my children to school and keeping their lives as normal as possible. Other friends have accompanied me on Chemo treatment days and suffered long days sitting in uncomfortable chairs to keep me preoccupied which has been amazing. It is great having someone there on the day, chatting and keeping your mind busy. It makes the day pass so quickly. I have other friends who have dropped supplies off, home made meals along with treats and hugs which is more wonderful than you could ever imagine.

In all this you simply want support.

I found a really interesting article entitled be a friend not a doctor which really struck a chord with me. I have a very big inner hippy and love the world of nature. I believe so many modern medical treatments are routed in natures remedies but …. here is the but …. I believe that modern science has improved on all those things, made them better, more accessible and in so many ways modern medicine and thoughts about health care are making us live longer, curing ills that were previously un-treatable and making us healthier. Cancer is a scary word but it doesn’t have to be the terminal sentence that it has long been associated with. In fact so many cancers these days are 100% treatable. Sure the treatment sucks and I sincerely hope it improves over time (I believe it will) but for now for me and many like me going through treatment right now today it is rough !

Really rough.

You have doctors, consultants, medical teams and so much advise and amazing care from the professionals. I know I am happy putting my life in their hands. They will save my life. I simply have to get through the treatment. Getting through is easier with that amazing support network. With those friends who bring soup, hugs, send messages of positivity and care.  Those family members who help with practical things or simply just send you a message now and then to see how you are and tell you they love you are all invaluable.

Be a friend don’t be a doctor. There are enough doctors. There is enough medical advise. What is needed is love and comfort, hugs and positivity. Positive mental attitude really will keep you strong and fighting. That support from your network will really help. Funnily enough I talk about the importance of your support network in business all the time. I didn’t ever realise that I would be seeing the strength of that in my personal life during a crisis where it really would take on a whole new meaning.

This weekend a very good friend, one of my oldest and best friends drove down to simply be around and cook a few meals. It was wonderful. It was my little girls birthday and she took her out to buy her a present which was lovely. These moments of people stepping up and shining really are worth their weight in gold.

Those people that fan your flames, that give you strength are worth holding close at times like this.

Those people that don’t feed your strength keep them at arms length. Some people won’t be able to cope. They will drain your energy and drain your positivity. Like no other time in your life you will be able to see those to keep at arms length and those that shine. I have been surprised by some of the people in my life. People that have truly shone who I will be sure to keep close in the future. Others that I thought would be brilliant who actually I have found I want to keep my distance from because their own negative thoughts and fears are not helpful to have around. We have to be aware sometimes that when people are being doctors, flooding you with fears and thoughts they are talking about themselves not about you. Do what is best for you always.


4 thoughts on “Be a Friend not a Doctor- Embracing your network

  1. Tonya this blog really resonated with me.l was equally shocked and amazed by the various reactions to my diagnosis.l have forged closer bonds with people who were barely acquaintances before and lost long term friends.l had people messaging or calling me,purely to ease their conscience,just in case l didn’t make it.l always respected that some people just didn’t know what to say or do,but l’ll freely admit l just didn’t quite understand it.l hadn’t changed in any way.l was still me,except l just wasn’t very well for a while.Luckily,the people l had around me were worth their weight in gold.As l was in isolation for most of my treatment,l was never short of visitors,no matter which hospital l was in at the time.You described it perfectly well – you really find out who shines and fans your flames

    1. Hi Samantha.
      It is funny isn’t it how you find the people that shine & those that don’t. The people you need near you and want to draw close and those you don’t. They are not always the people you expect. But it is important to pull close the people that fan your flames because let’s be honest this is exhausting. You know you have to fight and that is fine & actually we are total badass at that but its also exhausting and we need people who help us and bring energy. I like to laugh so I really enjoy having the people visit who make me smile & laugh. Thanks for the comment. I am glad it struck a chord xxxx

  2. I think of you often…just want you to know that…all the way over here in Oz…sending good vibes to my awesome good vibe friend across the seas…much ♡ Dee

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