Best Cancer Blog

Read the back-story to Cancer Signpost.com

The support what Cancer Signpost offers;

  • a guided tour of the cancer world through the newsletter sign-up, along with
  • referenced informative reading,
  • personal insights into the cancer journey,
  • the opportunity to share your personal story, and
  • the aim of setting up a not for profit cancer retreat

This article includes links which we may receive compensation for if you click, at no cost to you.

  1. My inspiration
  2. Forming the idea
  3. The aim
  4. The need for a ‘Best Cancer Blog’
  5. What is Cancer Signpost?
  6. Getting on with things
  7. Out of my comfort zone
  8. Closing thoughts

My inspiration

Losing my husband at 36 with our two children still in nappies, was a blow in life that I never expected.

Cancer not only stole my wonderful husband and father of our children but it also derailed every aspect of my life.

It took three months for my head to stop the initial throbbing, never mind start the grieving.

I know that I wouldn’t be here without the support of online communities, helplines, local cancer charity and my doctors to whom I turned to in my darkest hours, vulnerable and in desperate need.

A stand-out experience throughout was the seemingly endless support we received from our local cancer charity.

I was left me struck by the generosity and kindness of especially the founder.

Her story was a huge inspiration to me.

Having discovered me one day sobbing in the reception of the charity, she swept me into her office and holding out a box of tissues to me she patiently let me off-load all the pent-up pre-emptive grief I was suffering.

Over a cup of tea, she explained to me that she too had lost her most loved husband in her late thirties, leaving her with two young sons to bring up.

She had my attention.

I took hope from how well she seemed to be doing and how much good she was able to make out of her equally sad situation.

In that moment I knew that I too would love to do something good too for those facing cancer. I simply had to.

Forming the idea

A few weeks after losing my husband to cancer I found myself in a coffee shop.

My every single pounding thought was still so full of the experience.

My thoughts were still spinning from the desperate searching for information, the intensity of the endless stream of visitors, the sleep deprivation of a new mother, the exhaustion from the many hospital appointments and equally from the trauma of a prolonged shock and grief.

I had read everything. From blogs to books and everything in between; research articles, websites, noticeboards. Everything.

Working in a coffee shop

I had fallen down that rabbit hole into the sinking sands of the world of cancer.

Somehow, I needed to let the tension out.

So, I sat there and, in a bid to seek some sort of relief, I emptied all the information in my head into a notebook.

I surprised myself by filling it full of ideas.

Seemingly, I had a lot to say about cancer after it had stolen so much!

That’s when I knew that I had to write up all the information and insight I had amassed.

I knew I had enough to share.

I even felt a responsibility that I should go on to share the compassion I had for those walking similar paths.

In all of my reading, I had never come across any website that offered a comprehensive overview of where to turn next.

The information out there on these topics is so vast. This means that it is so daunting and difficult to make sense of it all.

To even know what to look up or where to turn next can just be too much to under-take whilst under stress.

It is very easy to spend a huge amount of very precious time just searching the internet for hope, knowledge and solidarity.

I wanted to help others research their cancer in a quicker and easier way so that they wouldn’t have to waste any of their valuable time researching.

From our experience of receiving the gift of a stay in a hotel for the only time as a family of four, I felt strongly that others too could benefit from such a lovely gesture.

But, I knew that there could be a more appropriate setting to be able to spend some quality time.

So, I decided that one day I would love to open a not for profit cancer retreat for families like ours to spend time in.

I could see that this entire project could not only help others, but selfishly, it could also help me step me down from the edge of abyss.

Passion wasn’t a problem. Time to do the work in the long evenings alone, wasn’t a problem.

I have also discovered that cancer has the uncanny ability to narrow the goal posts, to focus your energies and your grief.

In that moment I dedicated myself to making some good come out of such a loss.

The aim

How to set about writing anything close to being considered as a ‘best cancer blog’ was a big challenge.

Putting the ambition of writing the best cancer blog aside, the aim was simple; I just wanted to write the best cancer blog I could.

To do justice to those facing this disgrace of a disease.

I wanted to provide the emotional and social support I felt there was a need for.

A passion project which hopefully would result in a place where many could gain the support they need, in the hope that it would connect with you, the reader.

Mental distress after cancer

I certainly felt that my mental health needs were not met throughout and that there was room for more emotional and social support.

In fact, a study by Ernstmann et al. from a journal called, ‘Supportive Care in Cancer’ indicates that almost a third of cancer patients had an unmet need for psychosocial support or were already using psychosocial support services.

I also knew that perhaps there was also a need for better practical support as well.

As soon as you are diagnosed and throughout, most people turn to Google to look for support.

But at first you have no idea what to look up. The terminology is foreign, the challenges that loom are yet almost entirely unknown.

Practical support to help you know where to turn was another gaping hole in the resources available.

I also knew that another form of practical support would be useful. Especially those facing the more advanced stages of their cancer.

To one day be able to provide somewhere where families like ours could spend some time alone without having to put on the pretence of being ‘holiday-makers’.

This ultimate goal drives me.

The idea of one day setting up a retreat from cancer for those with advanced cancer and their families to spend some of their quality time in, is very close to my heart.

The need for a ‘Best Cancer Blog’

I did however worry that the internet may not really need another attempt at writing a ‘Best Cancer Blog’?!

The idea of setting up the best cancer blog is a bit of a big statement.

But even if I were to fall short and build a resource which could help as many other people going through the same, then my goal of building the so-called ‘best cancer blog’ would be, at least in my heart, fulfilled.

I also relied on the fact that I personally have never found a website or blog which provides what Cancer Signpost is aiming at achieving and offers a similar overview.

For me, the best cancer blog out there would support a reader with what Cancer Signpost offers;

Cancer Signpost
  • a guided tour of the cancer world through the newsletter sign-up, along with
  • referenced informative reading,
  • personal insights into the cancer journey,
  • the opportunity to share your personal story, and
  • the aim of setting up a not for profit cancer retreat.

The fact is, anyone and everyone facing cancer will need emotional, social and practical support is now more than ever in these uncertain times.

I am writing this blog post just as the coronavirus pandemic has swept the whole world before our eyes.

In a matter of months, the landscape for all those facing cancer has changed.

The emotional consequences will run deep through the whole cancer journey as vulnerabilities are now hugely amplified.

Social isolation, the threat of infection and the added uncertainty will all bear the scars on everyone’s mental wellbeing.

Going forward, thanks to the amazing medical advancements, this emotional and social support will hopefully be mostly need in the survivorship phase of the disease.

I think there is a need for another attempt at being the ‘Best Cancer Blog’!

What is Cancer Signpost?

CancerSignpost.com is the website and accompanying blog which I expected to find but never did.

In my life before experiencing cancer up close, I marvelled at the courage, positivity and strength of the cancer survivors around me.

Yet until you experience a loved one going through the whole of the journey it is hard to imagine the emotional, social and practical complexities involved.

This website is for anyone facing cancer, the patients, their caregivers, families and friends.

For whom I set out to write Cancer Signpost from the perspective of a knowledgeable friend, giving a positive yet realistic outlook.

A safe, supportive environment where there will never be any claims of treating or curing cancer by any non-conventional methods.

Cancer Signpost offers five main ways to support anyone facing cancer;

  • a guided tour of the cancer world through the newsletter sign-up

Cancer Signpost champions patient advocacy and aims to be the first place to turn when faced with cancer.

By signing up to the newsletters, you will have access to an archive of information which will save you precious time and energy in difficult moments.

In a series of newsletters, you will be supported by targeted, up-dated information which will truly empower and inspire you throughout your cancer journey.

As you navigate cancer world, you will no longer be alone.

  • referenced informative reading

The core articles on Cancer Signpost offer what a book on the subject of going through the cancer experience might have.

These articles offer a real read on the cancer experience, that you cannot find elsewhere, all referenced and supported by facts.

The information focuses upon the emotional, social and practical impact cancer has on your life.

They are a great resource for any cancer patient or caregiver looking for support;

  • having just received a cancer diagnosis
  • going through treatment
  • learning to cope with the psychological impact
  • exploring the big emotions of denial, fear, insecurity, anger, hope, blame
  • dealing with the changes to your body image, world-view, even cognitive changes
  • living in survivorship, and
  • managing fears of recurrence
  • living fully after cancer

The full breadth of the cancer experience is covered in wide ranging topics, for example;

Cancer Signpost will never provide any suggestion of unorthodox methods of curing cancer.

However, there are articles on how holistic, complementary therapies can be used to support your overall mental wellbeing throughout.

Learning how to look after yourself is crucial as many rely upon the likes of reflexology, massage and meditation to help them overcome the challenges cancer brings.

‘Self-care’ is sure to become an important part of your journey.

  • blog personal insights into the cancer journey

The blog articles offer an opportunity for me to share a more personal account of my experience and offer support to others going through similar times.

In the Cancer Signpost Blog, the cancer patient and their supporters are offered; discussion, useful tips, hope and positivity, mixed with honest advice. All this is interweaved with personal perspective on the issues that cancer survivors really want to know, no matter how small.

Hopefully the topics of ‘conversation’ will offer emotional support, personal insight and that connection for those on the rollercoaster need.

Cancer Signpost is on your side and there for you.

Areas that the blog will cover are;

  • how cancer affects a person’s life
  • the impact of treatment, side effects and body image
  • coping with stress and emotional distress
  • managing your mental health challenges such as; anxiety and depression
  • surviving the marathon ups and downs
  • financial worries
  • relationship issues
  • battles with reoccurring cancer
  • being in remission and getting your life back
  • healing your body and mind in survivorship
  • adjusting to the ‘new normal’
  • returning to work
  • quality of life
  • living with a chronic illness
  • coping with advanced or terminal cancer
  • end of life issues
  • healing after loss
  • share your stories with the Cancer Signpost Community

I felt so connected to the first-person accounts I read in books and on the internet.

Knowing that someone else had already been there and had shared their experience was so comforting in dark times.

Positive personal stories are always welcome as amazing personal accounts of resilience can provide hope to anyone affected by cancer.

But, even if there are hard times and you want to share the struggles and fears you face as you ride the emotional rollercoaster of emotional distress, there are always to help others.

Cancer Signpost invites you to share your personal story, give your perspective on your own experience and by doing so, help the wider cancer community.

Get in touch. Email: mystory@cancersignpost.com

  • the aim of setting up a not for profit cancer retreat

Everyone knows someone with cancer. This disease impacts so many people’s lives.

It is not only the person with cancer who suffers; the caregivers, family and friends are also wrapped up in the emotional journey.

When facing terminal cancer, the emotional crisis can be entirely overwhelming.

People in this situation deserve an escape, to find a moment of escapism and spend some crucial quality time away to make memories together.

I’m working every day to be able to one day give this gift to others.

Getting on with things

Although I was left paralysed by grief on the inside, on the outside I had no choice but to carry on.

From that day in the coffee shop on, I never stopped. By day I packed in the kid-oriented activities and by night I read and wrote.

In grief, night after night, I poured my heart out on the page.

Yes, I had plenty of first-hand experience but I knew that with cancer, you can’t just write of the top of your head.

If I were to write the best cancer blog I could and provide some useful core articles, they would need to be based on research and facts.

So, I started reading, researching then writing.

I was submerged for years. I reckoned that the baby years were tough for any parent, especially a single parent, so I wasn’t too worried about missing much when they went to bed.

Honestly, all the while I was really clinging to the writing, in a bid to self-counsel my way out of real mental health trouble.

Not only did I need the focus and the routine of writing but it also gave me a sense of purpose and optimism for the future.

It is how I found the ability to put one foot in front of the other.

Out of my comfort zone

Writing this blog takes me out of my comfort zone completely.

I am a truly accidental bogger as I never set out to become a Cancer blogger, let alone a cancer influencer.

So naïve was I that I didn’t really call it a blog for a long time, let alone have the goal of writing the best cancer blog I could.

I was just so focused upon writing the core articles.

Never did I think that one day I would set out to write a blog that would appear upon the Best Cancer Blog lists.

I just felt compelled to compassionately share what we had been through and not to waste all the knowledge I had of the experience.

Hopefully go on to help others get through such a challenging time in their lives.

I’ve never been into social media or posting photographs of my family. I have up until now been quite a private person, shy to publicly share any part of my life.

I still am that person, so forgive me for being slow to open up and being open with anything more than just my words.

I’ve not even told many my inner circle about Cancer Signpost.

Those whom I told initially of my writing were worried that by not letting go of my cancer story, I would become forever frozen in time.

They worried that I would be prevented from truly moving on from the experience.

But I’m glad this blog has evolved.

Creating Cancer Signpost has given me a chance to talk about the emotional and social impact cancer has on those affected by this disease.

All in a self-soothing attempt at writing something worthwhile.

Closing thoughts

So, this is the legacy of my husband’s death.

But please take the idea of writing the best cancer blog as a tongue in cheek ambition which keeps me focused.

At the very least the very idea of writing a cancer blog which could even come close to being ‘the best cancer blog’ has got me to this point.

You can be the judge of that and I’d appreciate your comments below.

I dedicate this website to the memory of my husband, our kids and all those whose lives are affected by this disease.

From the bottom of my heart I wish you the best.

Katharine from Cancer Signpost.com

If you think the information on this new website would be helpful to others, please like and share the word.

Recommend to others facing cancer, on support forums, social media, in person or by email. Thank you.

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Related Topics

Ways to cope with cancer

How does cancer affect a person’s life?

Stress and cancer

Living life with cancer

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