How Social Media Helped Me Handle Cancer
Social media. Some hate it, some love it. It is a love-hate relationship for many. But what if it could be used as a tool? A tool to sharpen the knowledge of others, a tool to erase the ignorance, a tool to engage needed support? A tool is a tool indeed.
Prior to my cancer diagnosis, I avoided social media with mixed feelings, only drawing out the negativity from it. As much as I wanted to open an account, I dismissed the idea several times.
Upon my cancer diagnosis, I quickly found myself on Facebook connecting with family and friends, posting weekly updates of my cancer journey. It was much easier than trying to keep up with handwritten letters, phone calls and personal visits.
Social media was also a way for me to research my rare placental cancer, choriocarcinoma. Even though my team explained very clearly how I contracted my cancer (complete twin molar pregnancy with surviving twin, a form of Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Disease), I still wanted to connect with other survivors, current warriors, and dig as much medical information as I could. Everything was there before me (some with a little extra digging, like microfiche at the library). All except one thing: support.
Even in a mutual support group, the cancer, chemo and survivorship support just wasn't there. This is the great divide, even to this day, in the worlds of molar pregnancy and choriocarcinoma placental cancer. Before too long, I found myself using social media and taking leadership in this much needed division while searching for my own connections of support, all while lying in my hospital bed, getting my own life-saving chemo cocktail infusions.
Fast forward to today, nearly 3 years since my own diagnosis.
I have embarked this deep road of awareness, advocacy, and leadership --all using social media, extending further out to all the cancer world. I have told, retold, shared my personal cancer story, life after cancer and living with chemo side effects to the world. I have matched up hundreds of other women and their families dealing with this type of pregnancy disease and its cancer through my Facebook support groups and various social media. My advocacy has connected women from all over the world, literally, daily, even hourly to the minute. I have personally mentored so many as a great honour of survivorship and hope, some through philanthropist organizations. Many fundraisers I've held to help bring in funds for continued medical research and development of all types of Gestational Trophoblastic Neoplasia Disease (GTD).
Social media is to our great benefit when used in the first upmost positive matters. It connects others worldwide, making one small person in this big world feel not so small and alone. It can change one outlook from solemn to hopeful. It can push forward much needed support, education, and formality to the misunderstood and uninformed (medical) facts.
Despite our many diverse forms of cancer diagnoses, one thing remains the same for eternity: we are all human skin and blood and need one thing -- SUPPORT.
How has social media affected your cancer journey? Share in the comments below!