Posted by: Cadence Grace
Here is some helpful advice for you or a loved one going through any kind of illness or recovery.
Recovery doesn’t often follow a straight line.
Be prepared for bumps, and even complete detours. Try to go with the flow the best you can and not be discouraged. Have a plan for how you’re going to cope with the unexpected- Who will you call? How will you calm yourself? What can you distract yourself with?
I really struggled with thinking about my future, or visualizing anything positive happening, because so many bad things happened, and the vision I had for my future had completely shifted and was out of my control. I just had to tell myself a lot that things were ‘temporary’ and that I would have a ‘future of some kind. Not being able to picture your destination or a known outcome is hard, and sometimes you must try your hardest have faith that things will be ok, in time.
Ask for help if you need it
My transplant became an incredibly costly issue that would require me being off work for up to a year, and we needed to rent a condo in downtown Toronto so that I could live closer to the transplant centre for the first few months of my recovery. My husband and I had just purchased our first home and we had no savings left. We were desperate. Although I was hesitant, my sister talked me into letting her start an online fundraiser, and my band mates organized a charity concert event. I felt a lot of guilt and shame asking for help, but we truly needed it at the time. I was dumbfounded by the generosity and kindness of so many people and the messages and gestures of support I received filled my heart to the brim. If you need help, please ask. There are so many people out there, that love you, that want to help you.
Finding an outlet to express your feelings is important
You don’t have to share how you feel publicly but finding a way to get out how you feel can be really helpful. You can journal, write music or poetry, do art, or even find gentle movements that feel good to you. I kept an online blog, and it was extremely beneficial to get things off my chest. I ended up finding a huge amount of support by sharing my story that I was not expecting, and it carried me through a lot of rough times.
Get Support however you can
For me, I needed a lot of support to get through everything and my friends and family weren’t always able to give me the support or understanding I needed. I was vocal about advocating for needing therapy throughout my treatment and was provided with a therapist who truly helped me through the darkest moments of my journey.
I also joined a multitude of online and in-person support groups so that I could surround myself with people going through the same things as me. This helped me feel less alone and find other people I could get helpful advice from. Groups can be a supportive way to share how you’re feeling with other people who can truly relate and understand you. You can share as much or as little as you’d like and take it at your own pace. I still attend some of my support groups to this day and I have made lasting friendships there I will always cherish.
Don’t beat yourself up
Recovery can be extremely challenging and sometimes it will feel like one step forward, three steps back. Try not to beat yourself up or talk negatively to yourself. Encourage yourself as much as you can with positive internal dialogue, and positive external support, but remember that its ok to have feelings. You’ve been through a lot. Give yourself credit for everything and let yourself feel how you authentically feel. It’s OK to not be OK. It’s OK to be sad, to be angry or to be confused. However you’re feeling- its ok!
Written By Cadence Grace
If you want to learn more about her journey, you can follow her blog at www.loveandLeukemia.ca.