Some resources if you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis
After getting a cancer diagnosis it can be very challenging to navigate all the medical appointments, new information and insurance concerns. It can also bring up profound and frightening feelings about our mortality. It may cause shifts in the family structure or dynamic. Many clinics that provide care for people with cancer also employ social workers and/or counselors. With so much to navigate, it can be helpful to have someone affiliated with the clinic or hospital you can ask for assistance and support.
Social workers and counselors can help if you have concerns about your insurance, if you are struggling financially, if you feel like your doctor is not a good fit for you, if you or a family member is experiencing depression, anxiety, or having thoughts of suicide, if you want a therapist and don’t know how to get one, if you need help filing for disability or early retirement, if you or a family member don’t have insurance because of immigration status, or if you have questions about your treatment and don’t know who to ask. If you or a loved one is a patient at a clinic or hospital, find out if there is a social worker or counselor you can speak with.
Do I get a second opinion? Getting a second opinion is commonplace and encouraged in the medical community. You get to make your own choices about where you receive care, and your doctor should talk with you about what your options are for treatment. If you feel like you are not getting the kind of care you want, you have the options to change doctors or to transfer your care to a different clinic.
Support groups in the area: Providence hosts a support group for patients and caregivers called Living with Cancer, you do not have to be a providence patient to go, but they do ask that you let them know if you are planning to attend. Call 360-493-7960.
Help Kids Cope is a 6 week emotional support program for children ages 6-11 who have a parent, grandparent, sibling or significant bond with someone who has cancer, call (360) 358-3348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for screening and registration.
There are also phone and internet based support groups through https://www.cancercare.org that are led by oncology social workers.
Providence Regional Cancer System puts on two educational events that are open to the public:
Cancer 101 is a 2 hour event that brings in Pathologist, Medical Oncologists, Surgeons, Nutritionists, Palliative Care Specialists, Physical Therapists, Massage Practitioners, Social Workers and Spiritual Care to speak and answer your questions about the process of cancer diagnosis and treatment. Upcoming dates April 13, June 15, Aug 17, Oct 12, Dec 14, 6-8pm. RSVP at www.provregister.org, or call (360) 412-8949. A complimentary dinner is provided.
Living with and Beyond Cancer is an evening of resources, connection and support with Cobie Whitten, Ph.D. Cobie has extensive experience working with people with cancer to adjust to the many changes that follow a cancer diagnosis. She will be providing information and assistance for people at all points along the cancer journey. 6:30-8 May 5 and Nov 3. Call (360) 412-8949 or email or visit www.provregister.org to sign up.
Some other resources:
National LGBT Cancer Network https://cancer-network.org/ with LGBTQ affirming information and self-screening tools
The MayDay Foundation serves Thurston County and can provide financial assistance for families with minor children at home if the parent or child has cancer. They can help with rent, mortgage, utilities, groceries and transportation: https://maydayfoundation.org
Harmony Hill hosts wellness retreats for those affected by cancer and for healthcare professionals. Anyone who has had, or has cancer can go to one of their 3 day retreats with a companion at no cost. Registration fills quickly, see their website for more information https://www.harmonyhill.org
American Cancer Society has a lot of information about specific cancers, treatments, and resources including smoking cessation resources and a rides-to-treatment program called “Road To Recovery.” Check out what they have to offer at https://www.cancer.org
For emergency childcare support: Maggie’s Crisis Nursery https://www.ccacwa.org/margies-crisis-nursery
LiveStrong provides support, information, and runs a fitness program through the Brigg’s YMCA for cancer survivors to get customized exercise support from fitness instructors https://www.livestrong.org
This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you have other resources you’ve found helpful, or if you know of other resources specifically for the LGBTQ+ community please get in touch! The more connected we are, the more resourced our communities become.