What does “support” mean to you?

Couple hugging

From friends to support groups, talking or staying quiet, find the support that’s right for you

Wondering who to open up to?

Whether you’re someone who has a huge network of good friends or if your social circle is much smaller and more intimate, it might become difficult to decide whom to speak with about your disease. So what to do?
  1. Start by considering how much you want to talk about what you are going through. If you were to tell everyone, would it give you the freedom to talk openly about it, or would it become a burden if people continually ask for updates?
  2. Make a list of all the people you would feel comfortable talking to. 
  3. Now consider how involved these individuals are in your life. Think about how often you speak to them and take their personalities into consideration. Is this someone you can count on to be empathetic, tactful and discreet? Will they remember to ask how you are feeling but also know when to keep quiet?
  4. Make a list and try to stick with it. If you know who you want to tell from the beginning, then you won’t have to make a quick decision the next time that you see a friend.
Remember that you can tell people what is happening and still ask them to steer clear of the topic for your own sake. Just be aware that they may have more questions or want to help. In this case, you can assure them that you value their friendship and support, but that the best way they can help is by keeping things normal.

Talking it out (or not)

There could be dozens of reasons that you do not want to talk about your disease. For many, embarrassment, denial and a feeling of vulnerability makes the topic uncomfortable. You may also be a private person by nature and find it stressful to talk about feelings. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you probably don’t want the topic of your condition to take over every conversation. So when you are deciding who to open up to, or whether to open up at all, be sure to have realistic expectations of the people around you, and to always put yourself and your emotional needs first. 

Consider joining a support group

You may have a fantastic support system, but still prefer opening up in a consequence-free environment, or hearing from other people in similar situations. Whether a support group sounds like a good use of time, or even if it sounds a bit fluffy, the experience might surprise you. 

Here are a few ways that a support group might help:
  • It may be hard for your family and friends to understand what you’re going through. A support group offers a place to talk with others who understand.
  • You can learn from people in later disease stages and help those with less experience than you.
  • A support group gives you the freedom to complain about taboo topics – or the people you love the most. (Sometimes you may need to vent.)
  • You may be concerned that your deepest fears could upset your loved ones. A support group offers you the freedom to be completely open without worrying about the consequences.
  • Scheduling time to talk about your condition might help you get it off your mind the rest of the week.

Social media

If you are looking to get more involved with patient organisations or help others become more informed, then social media is one option. You can start by following the official World ThrombosisThrombosis refers to abnormal, life-threatening blood clots that form in the artery or vein. Day social profiles, so that every year you will automatically see updates and news on the day.

Keeping it anonymous 

Additionally, there are many credible sources online, including forums for asking and answering questions. Below you can find links to some of these:

Macmillan UK are a charity founded in 1911, and offers useful information about cancer. Macmillan's ambition is to reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer, and inspire others to do the same.

For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Macmillan UK
  • Go to the Cancer and Blood Clots section of the AntiCoagulation Europe website to find out more, watch a patient experience video, learn signs and symptoms of a blood clot and how you can help prevent one if you have cancer and download a patient alert card.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Thrombosis UK is dedicated to promoting awareness, research & care of thrombosis.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Thrombosis UK
  • Thrombosis Ireland aims to support and enable people affected by thrombosis

  • Thrombosis Ireland
  • The Irish Cancer Society is the national cancer charity in Ireland (charity number CHY5863) with the mission to improve the lives of those affected by cancer. They do this by funding life-saving, collaborative cancer research, providing up to date information about cancer, delivering a range of services to improve the lives of people living with cancer and their families, and by influencing change and raising awareness of cancer issues at the government level.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Irish cancer Society
  • Cancer Research UK offers useful information on all types of cancer and complications arising from cancer or cancer treatment, including a section on DVT. There is general advice on coping with cancer and a section where patients can interact with one another.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Cancer Research
  • ECPC is Europe’s largest umbrella cancerpatients’ association, covering all 28 EU member states and many other European and non-European countries. ECPC represents patients affected by all types of cancers, from the rarest to the most common. Find the patient information about blood clots developed together with an expert group.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • ECPC
  • ESMO is the leading European professional organisation advancing medical oncology and promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to cancercare. While ESMO caters to doctors and researchers, there is a section for patients and their friends/families, including information about seminars and up-to-date treatment recommendations.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • ESMO
  • NATF aims to improve patient care through advances in thrombosis (DVT) education by engaging with patients, their families and the medical community. They have webcasts and videos in addition to plenty of reading material.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • NATF
  • Stop the Clot is a non-profit, volunteer organisation that aims to reduce the number of people suffering and dying from blood clots. There are a number of programs and resources for educating patients, healthcare practitioners and support groups. They also host many meetings and boast a very interactive forum.

    For further information, visit the website from the link below:

  • Stop the Clot
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