Thursday, October 14, 2010

That Dreaded Word: Cancer

My heart is weighing very heavy for yet another friend (she's a young mother) who is preparing for the greatest fight of her life. The fight for Amy started several weeks ago and is becoming even greater with each, future treatments, and so many unanswered questions. Breast cancer is her fight.

Other friends, Jen and Tory whose young daughter Ashtyn was diagnosed with leukemia at age three; Kyle, a young boy in my son's school has been fighing leukemia; Angie's dad is fighting lymphona and just went through a stem cell transplant; Angie's mom has aggressive lung cancer. The list could go on!

This fight is especially close to me as my own dad's life was ended by this terrible disease just twenty-one months ago. My grandfather fell victim while I was in college. Other people, relatives,and friends have faced the dreaded word(cancer) while in a physician's office. Further, I am sadly confident that every single person who reads this post has dealt with cancer either in themselves or in someone close to them.

So while this post is for me to reflect on how cancer has claimed and threatens so many people that I care about, it is also to give a glimpse of some great technology tools that can help families and individuals dealing with this process.

The first one that comes to mine is CaringBridge. Several of my friends have been able to use this site to update friends and family about the struggles, the victories, and the losses when dealing with cancer.

Another site that was brought to my attention just yesterday by another friend of Amy's is Lots a Helping Hands. This site is set up to allow friends and family sign up on a calendar to help with meals, laundry, child care, etc... What a great way to offer help without having to call the already exhausted family.

Another site that I just learned about (via Scott McLeod) for young people with cancer is Re-Mission. This is a game- based program that takes young people through the cancer journey. It offers explanations and other ideas about how to cope with and understand what is happening in their bodies.

These are just a few of the sites that I have been made aware of. If you have other great information, sites, or even just a personal story to share, I welcome your feedback. I still believe in the power of human compassion and know that this is a subject that touches so many of our lives. Our support for each other goes far deeper than one can even imagine.