When is it time to seek professional support?
Support from other patients who have walked in your shoes can be very helpful. It is reassuring to know you aren’t alone and to know others have had the same concerns and fears.
However, there is a time to consult a professional rather than relying solely on other survivors for support. As helpful as it is to know that others have had the same kinds of feeling, worries and concerns, many patients need help addressing THEIR unique issues and concerns.
Sometimes, well-intended volunteers can be very passionate about what worked for them, and can believe it will work for everyone who is dealing with the same type of cancer they had, but this is rarely true. When my two-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I was besieged with suggestions from others who had traveled the same road. But every family is different and has their unique set of needs, fears and concerns. Cancer doesn’t instantly transform us into cookie-cutter victims. That’s why other patients can only take us so far in terms of the help we truly need.
When my daughter was diagnosed, the words “cancer” and “survivor” were hardly ever uttered in the same sentence. Miraculously, she did survive, and in doing so re-charted my professional path. I decided to dedicate my counseling career to helping others who are traveling down cancer’s emotionally traumatic road.
A professional counselor has the tools and strategies that can help you and your caregivers deal with your fears and concerns and manage your diagnosis, work and family stress. Someone experienced in dealing with cancer patients can also be a resource for figuring out what questions are important to ask the doctors, as well as how to deal with friends who may want to help, or friends who may have withdrawn from you since the diagnosis.
A professional counselor is dedicated to YOUR specific needs and has an arsenal of tools to draw upon to help you and your family deal with cancer’s physical, financial and emotional roller coaster.
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