LYMAN (NEWS CENTER Maine) – It’s a natural thing to do – you get a medical diagnosis and you immediately take to the internet, hoping to learn all you can about your disease or condition. But breast cancer patient Kelly Roy says your quest for quick answers can backfire.
When Roy was newly diagnosed and feeling bewildered and scared, a well-meaning friend added her to an online support group. But instead of feeling supported, Roy says she felt overwhelmed and scared. “Women are posting photographs of their journeys and some of them are graphic and scary. And when you’re first diagnosed, you think this is you,” she says, “And it’s not you.”
That’s not to say there’s no value in support groups – in person or online. In fact, Roy says she has received tremendous support from cancer survivors she knows. She has also found some local groups online that have been a source of comfort and support. But she points out that there are many different types of breast cancer and many different outcomes. “All the components to breast cancer are completely different for everybody,” she says. So, until you understand the details of your own situation, Roy recommends that you stick to one source of online information: The American Cancer Society.
As you get further along in your treatment, Roy says you may want to venture a little deeper into the world wide web, but she still cautions that you are careful of what you expose yourself to. She says, “Your story is your story. And you have to write the pages of the book. You cannot rely on somebody else’s story to fill in the gaps for yours.”