Building Your Support Network: "What do I need to get through this?"

Written By Nour Alkazaz

Editor’s note: On May 9, ELLICSR hosted For Me With Me: A Forum for People Affected by Cancer. We invited people who’ve been impacted by cancer to come share their experience, learn from others what helped them, and work with us to begin to revolutionize the cancer experience. Late in the morning, we broke into smaller groups to share experiences and build a toolkit to help others. ELLICSR bloggers sat in on each session. Here’s what they experienced.

Image of a zen-style sand garden
Participants created a zen garden with stones marked with the things
they needed in their support circle.

I was blown away by the discussions that happened at the "Building Your Support Circle" breakout table.

One of the many things I learned that really stood out for me was the idea of introspection: asking yourself "What do I need to get through this? And who can help me with what I need?"

While it may seem intuitive, hearing this suggestion was such an “ah-ha” moment for me. Learning you have cancer can be overwhelming for you AND the people in your support network. The people around you might have an overwhelming desire to help. Taking a moment to really think about what you need and want is a wonderful solution.

Some of the participants in the group found taking a moment to really think about what they needed helped them ask the right people to support them. They said that throughout the journey, their needs changed and so the people in their support circle changed too. And that is okay.

So, what are some of the things you may need? It could be a ride to your appointment, someone to keep you company, or someone to respond to all the emails and calls from friends and family. Really, it could be anything.

When you know what you need, it may be easier to approach the people who you think can help. For example, if you need assistance getting to and from your appointments you can approach those in your network who have a driver’s license and access to a vehicle to see if they can help.

What were some of the things that you needed support with? If you are a caregiver, what were some of the things you did to provide support? Share via Twitter or Facebook.