Helpful Support Resources
Last updated: January 2023
My cancer journey has felt like a mental, physical, and emotional battle. I am always looking for additional support resources to assist me along the way.
On my skin cancer journey, I have tried lots of things to get the support I need to push ahead on this journey. Some things have proven to be very effective, and others, not so much so. I will share some resources that I have used to get the support I need with the hope that it can help you also. You can walk a skin cancer journey alone, but why would you? There are many resources out there to assist, and most are free.
Counseling has been helpful to me because it gives me a safe space to speak and be heard about my skin cancer without any sort of judgment. We all need to feel like we are being heard about our skin cancer feelings.
I have used Sondermind https://www.sondermind.com to find a counselor. This is a company with a huge database that connects patients with several counselors who specialize in their specific need, such as assistance with a health issue. I have tried several counselors that purported to specialize in medical issues, and one even claimed she had a background in skin cancer.
I am a patient at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and they have a mentor program, which connects patients with another patient with a similar medical background. I was connected with a middle-aged guy who has had an extensive battle with skin cancer, and he almost died in 2020. He is a real fighter, and a true inspiration. He has been immensely supportive of me.
M.D. Anderson is not the only organization to provide free mentors to those with skin cancer. See Cancer Hope Network and https:/www.4thangel.ccf.org/, a matching program offered through the Cleveland Clinic.
I recently reached out to the American Cancer Society, and they provided me with a list of relevant, free resources. For example, they connected me with a cancer support group five miles from my home that meets pretty much on a daily basis. They can be conteacted at American Cancer Society, 1-800-227-2345 or cancer.org.
My work schedule prevents me from attending the daytime events, but I attend at night and on the weekends. So far, it has been a huge source of support to me. Everyone in the support group understands cancer and how it feels to live with a cancer diagnosis. I am among like-minded people, and it feels really good to be where I am understood. It is a safe space for someone with a skin cancer diagnosis.
Having the support you need to make it on your skin cancer journey is critical to your success. When I got my original skin cancer diagnosis in June 2018, I was under the delusion that I really did not need support, as I had it all under control. At that time, I thought skin cancer was going to be a real quick trip for me, but that is not how it has played out.
Four plus years later, I will gladly accept all the support I can get. How about you?
Feb 4 is World Cancer Day. How Are You Feeling About the Progress in Treating Skin Cancer?
Do you sunscreen in the fall?