Resources for single cancer survivors
A cancer diagnosis can be very overwhelming at any stage of life. However, being single during cancer can be isolating and bring unique and challenging circumstances. I have been single all three times that I cleared cancer so I know how hard and lonely it can be. That’s why I want to share resources for single cancer survivors.
Different challenges for different stages of clearing cancer
Going through cancer in my mid-40’s was very different than when I was in my 20’s.
When I was diagnosed with my first cancer, osteosarcoma, at 21, I was a senior in college. I moved back home with my parents. They were there for every step of that journey, from staying with me in the hospital during chemo and surgeries to managing my health insurance and doctor appointments to financially supporting me and more (yes, I am blessed and grateful!).
Diagnosed with melanoma in my late 20’s, I had surgery to remove the cancer and ensure clean margins. I managed the appointments and insurance issues since I was working full-time.
Clearing breast cancer in my early 40’s stunned me and honestly cracked my courage and resolve. I’m not sure that the people in my life really understand how that diagnosis impacted me, and still does. I, of course, picked myself up, choosing to focus on strength, joy and resilience [Learn about my Today I Choose mantra that got me through breast cancer].
My family stepped up again to help me through surgery and treatment. They took turns taking me to chemo infusions and supported me through my journey of cold capping to save my hair. My family and a few close friends were sounding boards for treatment options and listening ears when I vented about cold capping, shedding hair, side effects and more. I am forever grateful for them.
But the reality is that it was a different time of my life clearing cancer as a single 40-something adult female. Everything fell on my shoulders: researching treatment options, potential side effects, cold capping; coordinating tests, treatments, doctor appointments and more; numerous phone calls with insurance; managing bills, cooking, cleaning. And I continued to work full-time because I needed to ensure my income and future career to support myself and keep my medical insurance.
Managing it all alone
I so often felt overwhelmed from managing all of this on top of facing a cancer diagnosis, treatment and side effects that I sometimes just sat on my couch and cried. I experienced many feelings of loneliness, isolation and emotional and mental tiredness.
To be clear, I know no one intended to make me feel those emotions. As I mentioned, people provided support as they could. This post isn’t to get sympathy or make anyone feel bad. Nope, that’s not the purpose. It’s to provide awareness of the challenges of facing cancer treatment and living life beyond cancer as a single adult.
Most of the time these oversights aren’t intentional. People often really don’t know when or how to help others. I fall into this at times too. And in today’s society, so many people are ‘busy’ with their own lives that we sometimes forget to pause to see who might need extra support and care. [Read ‘when busy becomes an excuse‘ for tips on slowing down and focusing on what/who matters.’]
Learning to ask for help and support
I wanted to ask for help and more support from family and friends, but I didn’t know how. That probably sounds funny since I write a blog that shares so many resources, but for some reason it was very uncomfortable to say ‘hey, I could use a friend over here’ or ‘could you help me?’
I’m the problem solver and go to person for positive energy and support. Don’t get me wrong, I like being that person. It’s my natural personality and it makes me feel good to give back to others. But even the strong people have tough days and need support to get through their challenges. And going through cancer is most definitely one of the hardest things to face. Not just during treatment but after too.
If you’re a single cancer survivor experiencing these same emotions, I hope you know that you’re not alone. You don’t have to face cancer or anything alone! Nor do you have to do everything yourself!
Regardless if you have a horde of family members and friends, check out these resources for single cancer survivors. Many of these organizations offer free or discounted services and support to help bring ease to your life.
The following are some resources for single cancer survivors:
We are Here
This company is building a network of service providers to offer discounted or free everyday resources to cancer survivors. The team can direct people to services, such as meal delivery, house cleaning, transportation and counseling, and also help set up schedules for family and friends to assist with certain needs.
From diagnosis to life beyond treatment, Livestrong provides services to navigate the ups and downs of this journey. Fertility assistance, navigation services, physical activity programs and more are available through the “Help Starts Here” navigation feature.
Cleaning for a Reason
In the midst of treatment, cleaning the house is most likely not how you want to spend your time. But having a clean house is important to your physical and mental health. I know I feel better when my house is organized and clean! Cleaning for a Reason provides free home cleaning to survivors in treatment by connecting you to a local cleaning company.
Friends and family
People often don’t realize that you need help unless you tell them. I’m ‘guilty’ of not sharing the challenges that I’m facing at times or asking someone to help. I get it in my head that I sound like I’m complaining and I don’t like that. But it’s not complaining if you need support. If you have a circle of family and friends, take a chance by putting it out there. Consider making a list of what you need done around the house, errands that may tire you out (ask someone to drive so you can enjoy time together while doing errands!) or other small tasks that could be done by someone else so you can focus caring for yourself. Maybe it’s as easy as simply wanting to spend time with someone – invite them to your house, meet for coffee/tea, a walk in the park or somewhere else that will let you enjoy time together.
Imerman Angels helps connect people at various stages of their cancer treatment with someone who has completed the treatment (ideally same cancer, age range and treatment). This one-to-one support can be very helpful in navigating treatment, as well as the emotional aspect of facing this disease.
There are many fantastic support groups for different types of cancer, lifestyles and more. In person and virtual options make it easy to find something that works for you. Many cancer centers offer groups so start with your oncologist or center social worker. I also have had luck with a few Facebook groups (search the topic you’re interested in, such as cold capping), even meeting some women who live near me. It’s comforting and refreshing to find others who experienced similar circumstances with cancer, side effects, lifestyles (single, etc.).
This foundation supports young adult cancer survivors through financial scholarships and more to help with costs related to fertility, college, housing, doctor bills, insurance, etc.
Located in the mountains of Montana, this organization offers a young adult survivor conference and adult retreats. These cost-free programs weave education opportunities in with fun activities and social time with other cancer survivors. I attended a few young adult survivors conferences here, then volunteered as a presenter and board member, providing life-changing experiences for me [Read about my love for this magical place].
This organization provides a wealth of free educations to help with many areas, such as choosing health insurance, understanding disability insurance, work and employment rights and more. Webinars, guides and checklists are great resources.
Get more resources
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8 thoughts on “Resources for single cancer survivors”
You are such a strong, resilient woman! Thank you for sharing your story and for these helpful resources that may help another individual who is single and facing the many challenges of a cancer diagnosis. ❤️
I’m glad that you found these helpful!
Thank you for sharing your story and shredding light on some tough issues that single individuals go through when faced with cancer. It is an overwhelming journey to walk it alone. And thank you also for sharing these get resources. Namaste!
It definitely can be overwhelming journey. I’m grateful for the support and resources that I had so want to help others.
These are very helpful resources you’ve shared for single cancer survivors. Keep up the good vibes!
Thank you! I’m glad you found them helpful.
Such a wonderful post with great info! When we go through trials and difficult seasons of life, it’s more important than ever to reach out and surround yourself with a supportive community. It makes a huge difference in our overall wellbeing to feel supported!
I agree that a supportive community can make all the difference. It’s so important to help each other through good and bad stuff in life.