The Social of it All

Last updated: December 2020

Here we are at full speed of everything surrounding us. In our particular case, it's cancer, emotions, and technology. Yes, technology because where would we truly be without our phones to call loved ones to assist us at those doctor appointments, or receiving emotional news on our developments. For many of us, this new wave of technology helps us share and record our many emotions about cancer. Though it could be debated that these dependencies to our devices could be the cause of our predicaments. Well, for the sake of argument, let’s just say on this “C” walk, one partner that doesn’t stray is the reliance we have when it comes to our technology.

I think I can speak for many when hearing the words multiple myeloma, lymphoma, or leukemia, you become lost. The direction from your oncologist can be confusing, taxing, and perhaps too clinical. Many of us usually turn to that tech partner to look up what it is we’re going through. That phone, tablet, desktop computer, or laptop is how we do our own research as to what is going on here. Now, where do we look first for that extra understanding? Well, Dr. Google is usually not very far, in helping us search and understand our diagnoses.

The benefits of technology for people with cancer

It’s actually quite normal for people to turn to these sources for quick wrap around to the devastating news. Most times, we don’t have to wait until the next doctor’s appointment to get a vague idea of what is entailed with a bone marrow biopsy; we can turn quickly to our handy resources to get further understanding in the good and bad of what is about to happen. Many people say how lost they would be without technology, especially a cell phone. As patients deal with their new reality, it’s quite evident most of us would be lost without some of these toys.

Okay, maybe it’s not so important for a few, but speaking for myself, my techno tools have been another partner of mine in coping with this stuff. I’ve used a keyboard to chart and list my experiences with cancer that should have taken me out in year 5, but I’m still standing 11 years later. My tablet has taken me through my studies as a CPT all while being infused with Kyprolis and Velcade. My desktop and laptop assisted me in writing that 2nd book on what it’s been like with multiple myeloma. The biggest companion has indeed been my phone; our connection is very special as it has a list of all my doctors programmed in the case I fall out in the street, which has happened a few times. It’s also been these handy companions we've used to share experiences at the moment. How else could we all connect from Kansas to Texas, or New York and abroad then with our computers or phone?

Social connection made easier

The bonding of many people can be shared with a click of a button. It is that connection we need in those gloomy times of uncertainty or hunting for someone in the same boat as you. Cancer 101 doesn’t supply a list of things you should know, and sometimes we learn along the way these simple coping tools. Whether it’s getting those trusty lab results and tweeting good news or not, or taking and sharing that Instagram photo with you holding up a copy of a positive PET or MRI. It feels good to share, advocate, engage with strangers usually with positive responses on shared journeys. Many use social media as a way to do just that, socialize with a shared cause, and that is seeing another day amongst strangers- as we all walk together.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

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