When you’re first diagnosed with cancer, you’re still learning the ins and outs of the disease and treatment. One of the biggest hurdles is identifying your support system and figuring out how to communicate with them as you navigate the upcoming weeks and months.
Because we know it’s hard to break the news to people you love and care about, we’ve taken the experiences of patients and supporters who have been there before to create a roadmap for you to make it a little easier. Here is collective wisdom from our community about how to build and nourish a community that will help you through your cancer mentally and physically:
Pick your “cancer team.” After you’ve told your inner circle, use our organization tool to make a list of the people in your life that you want to keep up to date about your treatment. This should be friends and family members, colleagues, and anyone else who you think will want to know how you are progressing and help you with your needs as they change during and after treatment. If they’re not sure what role they are playing in your life and treatment, have them take our short quiz!
Have the tough conversations. Some people find it easier to schedule one-to-one conversations with everyone and others prefer to send everyone an email at once. It all depends on your relationship with the group and your communication preferences. Remember, there is no right answer on how to deliver this message, so you should go with whichever option is most comfortable for you.
Collect your team’s contact information. Use our tool to collect your core team’s contact information. This will be handy to have all in one place as you begin to build your team around you. Simply input contact information into the sheet yourself, or share it via email for everyone to input their own information and areas they’d like to pitch in with.
Give everyone a specific task. Everyone is going to want to help when they learn the news, it’s human nature. When someone asks how they can help -- which hopefully they won’t because they would have already read our article on “why what can I do to help doesn’t help” -- give them a specific task or responsibility that would be helpful to you. Allowing friends and relatives to help when they have asked will be beneficial for them, and hopefully for you as well!
Create a WishList. Creating a WishList is one way that you can make sure that friends and family are helping you with exactly what you need. Depending on your current life situation you might find it helpful to register for Uber credits so that you can easily make it to appointments or donations for your favorite charity, or a range of other things in between. This easily shareable list will help you easily let friends and loved ones know exactly what would help you the most.
Build your Village. Using our handy onboarding tool you can easily add the friends and family that you want to stay up to date with your progress. Adding members to your village will allow them to see updates that you post, sign up for tasks on your care calendar, and view your WishList (coming soon!).
- Establish a regular update cadence. Many patients find that they naturally fall into an update cadence with their cancer teams, and research shows that individuals who have support systems can experience improved mental and physical outcomes. Whether you update your cancer team every day, once a week, or just on treatment days, having a routine for posting will help your community stay in tune with your progress and how your needs are changing.
Learn More About How to Build Your Village
Regardless of where you are in your cancer journey, OneVillage is here to help. OneVillage is dedicated to providing the support, information, goods, and services that cancer patients need. Whether you’re wondering how to build your village or how to find a community of people like you, OneVillage is here. In addition to highly personalized recommendations and checklists to help you navigate your new normal, through our WishList feature we also allow supporters to contribute to a fund for your medical trips and other expenses. If you have any further questions about what OneVillage offers and site features, don’t hesitate to contact us.