If you’ve ever had the pleasure of going on Trip advisor you will see some terrible reviews left by some very angry/critical/dissatisfied people. We love to complain about things, it’s just what we do. People rarely bother to take the time to give that great positive feedback, maybe because people have high expectations and expect things to be great as standard.
I’ve had enough experience with cancer and communications to know how many of the online users on cancer forums operate.
Online forums are a lifeline for those worried about cancer. Many people get their test results back only to find out they don’t have cancer and their journey on the rollercoaster ends quickly. You never really hear from them again. Why would you want to stay on a cancer forum once you’ve found out you don’t have the disease?
Then there are the people who do have cancer and post all through their treatment until eventually they get busy living and kinda forget all about cancer. They no longer post online and they close the door on it and move on
The people who are stage 4 though tend to post frequently. They talk about death and other stuff which many people in remission won’t always want to hear because it’s frightening. (That doesn’t mean those with terminal cancer should not post and shouldn’t be supported by the way).
The problem occurs when people like me (the people who haven’t quite moved on fully but aren’t stage 4), are looking for good news stories and that reassurance but we don’t tend to find any. We only tend to hear about the people who sadly died, (to put it bluntly the bad news stories). This is because those with stage 4 weren’t fortunate enough to be able to get off the cancer ride. They didn’t move on or close the door because cancer never left them. My brain is then tricked in to thinking that most people die because they are the only stories I hear about unless I track those down that moved on with their lives.
So I threw it out there on a reconstruction forum today. “Tell me your great survivor stories” I said. And they did-they came in abundance. There were women 10 years clear, women who’d had cancer 3 times but still going strong. Ladies who had large tumours and lymph nodes affected. 97 year old ladies who had far less advanced treatment 40 years ago who are still going strong with their gravity defying silicone boobs!
All at once I feel uplifted and more confident re my own prognosis, just from a few words on a screen.
What if we took the time to report the small stuff and the good stuff once in a while? What if we took the time to praise someone or write a lovely online review? Our words have so much power!
“When words are both true and kind they can change our world.” I couldn’t agree more.