While it may be tempting to “go to that dark place” when feeling the isolation that comes with metastatic breast cancer or a pandemic, Stephanie Walker shares her tips for how to emerge and connect with others.
While it may be tempting to “go to that dark place” as a result of the isolation that comes with metastatic breast cancer or a pandemic, it is important to come out and connect with others, says Stephanie Walker, a patient living with metastatic breast cancer.
In a recent interview with CURE, Walker, who is helping the community of people with this disease by getting involved with Facing MBC Together, shared her tips for how to manage the isolation of cancer and COVID-19 by connecting with others on sites like Facebook, reaching out to health care teams for help and placing an emphasis on self-care.
CURE: Do you have any advice for other people who are dealing with isolation because of COVID and/or advice for people with metastatic breast cancer?
Walker: My advice is: Everybody — everybody — has bad days. And everybody wants to go to that dark place all the time. I have no problem if you need to go to that dark place. Go there, wallow around a little bit, slap yourself around a little bit, then come out. You have to come out.
So, if you feel like … you're having trouble coming out, there are phone numbers, there's resources, here are support groups on Facebook. If you're not a Facebook person, pick up the phone and call somebody. There are numbers posted — I mean, I don't have them at hand, but there's numbers posted all over (the internet) for help. Or, just venting on Facebook will help, you know. Some of those metastatic breast cancer groups are wonderful to just allow you to vent because, see, they're in the same boat that you're in. So, they're not going to pass judgment on you. They're there to listen. And believe me, if there are resources and if there are things that you need, I would bet my life on it that somebody in that group would know how to connect you.
And your cancer centers: They are there to help you. Talking to the social worker or financial counselor, your oncologist: They should be able to steer you in the way to where you can get help and you're not feeling isolated.
I’ve even hosted happy hour Zoom parties with some friends. I didn't know who was going to show up, but the requirement was you had to have a drink in hand. I don't care if it was a water, juice, milk, coffee, wine, a mixed drink. But, you know, you have to do something for yourself. You have to do self-care.