OCAM - Sharing Experiences

Date: 19 March 2016

I’ve already written about the benefit I’ve gained from reading about the experiences of others living with cancer.  I was privileged to be able to attend the sessions run at my local hospital by Boots Macmillan Beauty Advisors trained to advise cancer patients on managing the numerous side effects of treatment.  These provided an opportunity to meet others, many of whom were more unfortunate than me in terms of their experiences of cancer treatment and its side effects. These sessions provided an ideal forum in which to share experiences and coping strategies. 

Going through this experience has made me think about those many people affected by a whole variety of long term illnesses, some of which are less common than cancer and not as widely understood as cancer; and consequently lack the vast support provision available for cancer patients.

As a relatively young person with ovarian cancer I was keen to talk to other cancer patients of a similar age. Online forums were an obvious place to make such connections but I remained all too cautious about what I would unearth about ovarian cancer on the internet.  Some of the various cancer experience books I read did go some way towards making me feel less isolated as a 40 year old living with cancer and undergoing treatment, although I’ve yet to discover one that is specifically about ovarian cancer.

The BBC drama, “The C Word”, portraying Lisa Lynch’s experience of breast cancer was shown over the May bank holiday weekend in 2015. I was slightly apprehensive about how it would be portrayed and how emotional I would feel watching it. Like many viewers I was enthralled and deeply touched by the drama. This only served to affirm my desire to share my cancer experience. Not only to help those affected by cancer but to demonstrate cancer doesn’t care how old you are/ how busy you are/ that you’ve got two young children to care for/that you have a promotion opportunity that you’ve been working towards for years.   

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