Thought I would take the time to give an update on what is happening with me. I have regular hospital visits but I’m still here posting and sharing your stories.
I first started blogging to tell my experiences and to share the tips I had picked up on the way. I had hoped it would help others, because I was amazed at the lack of help for Indigenous people. Then you the reader and others started sharing your experiences and had the same story, no one was there to help, I thought this deserves more than an approval tick in the comments, I started to get in-boxed on Facebook with stories and questions. The most logical thing to do was to honour your stories and post them, I only take out the names of people and places, not just to protect the innocent/guilty but to protect myself from any backlash. I think even taking out those details the stories are powerful and show their is a gap that our people are falling through. This gap is part of the reason why so many of us die from cancer when we shouldn’t be.
Being able to share your story of loneliness is important too, to show that you are not alone, we know as Indigenous people that cancer is a shame thing in the community. That shame stems from the great numbers of our people who die from cancer, who go to hospital and never return. Our community doesn’t have the education out there explaining the complexities of cancer and its treatments, so we fear it. That is one thing that I have been trying to change, that fear that not talking that loss of hope with cancer.
My mother died from cancer and she was misdiagnosed for years, she was told she needed a hip replacement, but in fact she had cancer and needed that treated, when she fell and broke her hip, they found the cancer and she passed away not long after that. I don’t want that to happen to any more of our people. I want us to be able to get the help we need. I want us to survive cancer.
I get calls from people many that I don’t even know, who are given my phone number by someone else, I go and visit people, take them to treatment, sit with them through treatment, go to medical appointments with them. I also try to get these people to help others that are going through the same thing. I don’t get paid to do this, I do this because some one has to do it. Okay I have to admit that I don’t do it so much now, as my health has been a bit iffy for the past 6 months, but I try to help the person get assistance in the travel or what ever. I can’t always talk on the phone, because I get head aches or my jaw starts hurting, so I have long rambling email or text conversations.
So, I’m still here if you want to share your story or experiences with me the email is firstname.lastname@example.org I’m always willing to help if you need someone to talk with, need some help in finding assistance or how to navigate the medical system. You can also find me on Twitter. I’m the one quite often having a rant about the lack of services for Indigenous people with cancer. I’m Proudblacksista
Join me in the Facebook group Aboriginal Cancer Connections, this is a closed group and its a nice space to feel safe and ask questions and get a variety of answers from different Indigenous people around the country. We also ask that no one come into our group to use it for research or study purposes, this is space for us as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share our journey and help each other. The group is open to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are or have been affected by cancer, we also welcome non Indigenous partners or parents into our space.
The reason I started the group was that I shared information with a another Aboriginal woman on Facebook a mutual friend connected us, as she was in the same position as me. She found no help for herself and a system doesn’t bother with Indigenous people, all the services out there ignore us. So we helped each other via Facebook in different states and we also helped others around us. So the next step was to have a page for all of us to share our journey and share our advice. So if you are Indigenous please come and join us.