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Hospital Didn't Provide Support Resources

jlclmn
Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2008

Yesterday I learned that a dear high school friend had been diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer. I'm very worried about her. One of the most troubling things I learned was that the hospital did not provide any resources to her when she was discharged. No support groups were suggested and when she told one of her doctor's she might be getting a little depressed, the doctor said, "don't you dare." The message seemed to be "buck up and deal with it--depression will just make things worse for you." She is also having insurance issues--they have gone back and forth a few times about whether they'll cover $20,000 of bills or not. She needs professional mental health care, but again insurance is a significant concern. Anyway, I told her that I was going to find some advocates and some resources for her. I found this website, this messaging thing and now I'm asking for your help---how can we get started? She's withdrawing and doesn't want to go anywhere for help--I'd like to get something in place where she can get support online or by phone--she doesn't want to leave the house. Her job is also in jeopardy. I'm so worried--please help.

Cindy54's picture
Cindy54
Posts: 454
Joined: Aug 2006

Hello, I am glad you are trying to help your friend, you sound like a very wonderful person. The very first place I think I would start is the cancer society in your town/city. Tell them the same things you've told us and they should be able to steer you in the right direction. Another would be the place where your friend is getting her treatments...do they have a social worker there? Above all, please don't stop asking questions or trying to get help for your friend. Does she have a church that could help? Is there a local agency that can help. Does her workplace offer any options. Can you tell us what stage she is in and her type of treatment? Would she be willing to come here and post? Don't stop asking for help. Cindy

soccerfreaks's picture
soccerfreaks
Posts: 2801
Joined: Sep 2006

jlclmn: You might start by showing her the post previous to your own (by someone named maureengirl, I think it is) and the responses to it, which will perhaps illustrate for her that SHE IS NOT ALONE in her feelings or her predicament. And, as Cindy advises, get her to come in and look at some of the post in the areas of concern to her, again confirming that she is not alone and also giving her some assurances about the future.

With respect to resources, the ACS is an obvious one, both online and at their sites throughout the country. For counselling, you might also consider the local YMCA/YWCA, which I have heard offers low-cost support, although I have not personally confirmed this.

In addition, try this site: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Support/financial-resources.

It is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, an adjunct of the National Institutes of Health. It offers some alternative funding opportunities at the very least.

Good luck with your efforts on behalf of your friend, and best wishes to her as well!

Take care,

Joe

TereB
Posts: 288
Joined: May 2003

I sympathize with your friend's feelings. She is not alone. I became very depressed when I found out my tumor had grown back and I thought there was no hope. I sat on a chair doing nothing all day for a while. It was one of my cats who got me out of the chair, made me jump and I went straight to the phone and called the psychiatrist that had helped me before. She held my hand and told me she would not force me to "get out of the chair" until I felt like it. Needless to say, she gave me the help I needed at the time.

Being depressed happens to many cancer patients. It is OK to feel bad for a while, the trick is not to stay there too long. Many oncology depts. have social workers to help the patients deal with depression. Check with her oncologist. You didn't mention what stage is her cancer and if she already has had treatment besides the surgery. I had ovarian cancer and when I left the hospital after surgery nobody said anything about support. Perhaps they do not mention it unless you ask.

Check the discussion board here under ovarian cancer. Most people are very nice and supportive and understand what you go are going through since we have been in the same boat. At the moment the chat room is not available, it is being fixed. This section is for cancer patients and caregivers.

Here are a few places where you can find more information:

Cancer Care, a non-profit org., offers free support and counseling for cancer patients by oncology social workers. They have face-to-face counseling and counceling on the phone. Support groups on the phone are available too and are moderated by an oncology social worker. Call 800-813-HOPE. They can also give you info about financial resources. Check their website, they have a section for friends of patient. www.cancercare.org

Gilda's Club - www.gildasclub.org - they offer free social and emotional support.

Live Strong - www.livestrong.org - offers one-on-one support.

American Cancer Society (here) can also give you financial, support, etc. information available in different cities.

If your friend lives in a city where there is a university, you can check with them about therapy because many of them offer escalating fees based on the person's income. Many of the therapists are psychiatry, psychology or social work residents. They can be very good. The first psychiatrist I saw was a resident and I think she was great, really helped me.

I hope your friend decides to get some help, it really works and if you are feeling better emotionally, you heal faster. If she is not comfortable with a particular therapist, she should try another one and not give up.

Hugs and prayers to both you and your friend,
TereB

TweetyGirl's picture
TweetyGirl
Posts: 5
Joined: Jun 2005

I didn't get the emotional support from my hospital either. I was pretty much left to my own devices. But I found this site and another support site that helped me. What I really needed was to talk to people that had been through something like I had, but considering my age at the time (30) that was hard to do. I was to young for some support sites and made to feel even worse. I understand that your friend is having a hard time, but she needs to vent and get out the anger and frustration. I cried alot, and yelled, but talking helps too. Let her know that there is a whole community here that will be there for support when she is ready. That is the other thing that I have learned in the last 3 years, talking won't help until the person is ready to talk about it. Just be a friend, let her yell and cry and scream if she has too, just know that it is not aimed at you personally.

If she has to have a hysterectomy there is a wonderful site that will offer support before, during and after her surgery. Tell her to go to www.hystersisters.com and register. They were a tremendous help to me.

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