Going in and out of doctors’ offices, lying on radiation tables, and sitting in chemo chairs can all be dehumanizing experiences. You feel sick, your medical team may not know you, and you may be having a hard time doing the things you want to do because of side effects, but once you settle into your routine the rhythm of cancer becomes almost normal.

Yeah, you are still afraid, but life goes on around you, and you can find resilience in this experience.

Treatment is the time to marshal your advocates and allies, and tell them clearly, ‘this is what I need right now’. Most people want to help, but they are often just at a loss as to how to help you. It’s your job to tell them clearly what you need.

Thinking tools to try:

One-page Profile

Try this if you want to give others a picture of your life and the support you need now.

Good Day Bad Day

Try this to figure out how to cope, take action, and get help. It’s good, for example, if:

Communication Chart

Try this if you want people to know better how to support you on bad days, and how to help you through treatment. It’s good, for example, if:

  • I want people to pick up on my moods and needs so I don’t feel I’m always asking for help
  • I’m inundated with people wanting to help
  • I don’t know how to say no to friends and family
  • I don’t know how to communicate with friends and family about my disease


What’s Working – Not Working

Try this to work through specific concerns. It’s good, for example, if: