Let's talk about the next three players on my squad.
Third: Playing the position of shooting guard - The Mental Health Professional
- The magnitude of the importance of a mental health professional is crucial. See the thing is no one tells you when you're diagnosed with a chronic illness, is how important your mental health is. Now, whether you choose to get a social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor, social worker or seek the assistance of a support group, having access to someone who can and will listen to you, is priceless.
- Your choice of a mental health professional is key. The person you choose to take the ride with you should be licensed, experienced and trained. Don't be afraid to ask them questions. Have the candidate tell you a little about their background, where they were trained, why it is that they have chosen their profession and are they skilled at dealing with really tough scenarios. Your mental health professional works for you and if you don't find yourself clicking right off the bat (or at least after a few sessions) keep it moving. Find someone else.
- Your mental health professional should be a quick thinker, able to redirect and take action if needed. In addition, your mental health professional should be dedicated, and able to walk the tightrope between compassion and professionalism. Bottom line, your mental health professional has got to be able to hold their own, in the midst of some dire circumstances. I started out my journey with my mental health professional thinking "I really don't need anyone's assistance", but in the end, their role was key.
Fourth: Playing the position of small forward - The Oncology Nurse
- Your probably thinking "Do I even have a choice in the matter?" Surprisingly, most times you do. Depending on what type of treatment your receiving, more than likely, you will develop a relationship with your oncology nurse. An oncology nurse will dispense chemo medication, monitor your physical condition, provide education on how to manage symptoms throughout your treatment and communicate with your doctors on your behalf.
- My oncology nurse was not on duty the first day I arrived and I ended up with a floater nurse. Not so great. Had I known the importance of having an experienced oncology nurse administering my medication (instead of the floating nurse), I believe I would not have ended up with the significant chemo burn that is a permanent scar on my right arm. Yup , it's either a tattoo for me or learn to live with this disfigurement (update I have been working with a henna artist, who has figured out a way to incorporate the scar with art!) Once I joined forces with my regular oncology nurse, there was an immediate difference in the quality of care and education provided!
Fifth and playing the position of point guard - The Wig Maker/Hair Stylist
- The importance of a keeping some resemblance of my normal self was key to my self esteem. To the brave souls who approached going hairless with simple bravado, and able move around without the assistance of a wig I say "More power to you, for having the courage." I know, it's easy to say "Oh, girl, it's just hair", but to that I answer, "It was not a voluntary decision to go bald"! It was imposed, uncontrolled and I did not like it." Thank goodness my regular hair stylist stepped in and saved the day! My miracle worker did not bat an eyelash or miss a beat. Baby girl was "Johnny on the fucking spot" and made sure that I was fab at all times. More importantly her skill and expertise along with her devotion to her clients is unmatched. Did I tell you I assembled one of the best teams? In a later post I'll talk just about hair and skin care products and the advice my miracle worker provided. In the meantime, if your curious, feel free to check out link the below.