Hello, my friends!
I HOPE, wherever you are, that you are having a beautiful Spring!
I HOPE, whatever you are up against, that you are finding support and peace in your endeavors.
I HOPE, however you need, that you are finding the time to create room for yourself in your busy schedule.
I HOPE, above all, that you and yours are doing well.
Thanks to #LUNGevity, May is officially “Lung Cancer HOPE Month.” This particular awareness campaign places a much-needed focus on all there is to be HOPEful about in the #lungcancer world. To that end, we will be talking frequently this month about what HOPE looks like; what it feels like; what it means to you and to your loved ones involved in this lung cancer experience.
Also: I had the extreme honor of attending LUNGevity’s national HOPE Summit this past weekend. For the first time, the Summit featured a separate day of sessions designed for Caregivers: the “COPE” Summit.
My suitcase is still in the hall; I am still sore, sleepy, and overwhelmed: in the MOST productive and phenomenal way possible! If you have not yet attended a regional or national HOPE Summit, I could not possibly recommend it more wholeheartedly. The experience is hard to explain, other than saying it is a near-necessity for anyone touched by lung cancer: there is nothing more uplifting than being surrounded by fellow survivors, Caregivers, experts, and researchers who are ALL working through the same difficulties to reach the same goals. The sense of community is intoxicating, and the sense of forward progress in policy and knowledge is inspiring. It is part conference, part congregation, part school, part party, part reunion, part group therapy, and ALL heart.
I had briefly considered writing a novel-length post that would recap all of the Caregiver-specific takeaways from the weekend, but then I realized that that would be unfair: unfair to you, my friend, having to read all of that at once, and unfair to the extent of the material itself. I have plenty of talking points from the conference to share with you, all about HOPE, and since this is HOPE month…you see where I am going with this…
Let’s start conversations! Let’s put our heads together and be honest and be open and reach out. I would be honored to hear from you!
To kick off this month-long conversation, our regular monthly #LCCaregiver Twitter chat will be tonight (Wednesday, 5/3) at 8pmET. You know the drill: follow the hashtag #LCCaregiver to participate. (I highly recommend using a chatroom service such as tchat.io as well. Just put tchat.io in your address bar, and enter #LCCaregiver when it asks for a hashtag).
If you are not on Twitter, please join! The lung cancer support community on Twitter is large, active, and incredibly helpful. There is no need to face any of this alone! The message boards and blogs here on LCSC are profoundly comforting, and the Twitter presence of fellow advocates is a meaningful complement.
For tonight’s chat, we’ll be focusing on breaking down a large question: what is the role of Caregivers in spreading and advocating for HOPE in lung cancer? One major thought I’ve had since the HOPE Summit—one major takeaway I will explain in more depth later—is that HOPE can be complicated. It can be especially complicated when the Caregiver is taking the natural backup role: we are not the patient. What are our boundaries? When should we captain the HOPE ship? When should we yield? Is it a different skill to help our loved ones be HOPEful than it is to help spread HOPE in the wider community?
Think on that. The specific topics I’ll be asking about tonight are listed below.
I can’t wait to “see” you tonight! Bring your popcorn and a friend (or two)!
Love and thanks,
Topics for #LCCaregiver Twitter Chat 5/3
What does HOPE look like to you?
What brings you HOPE?
What does HOPE look like in the broader cancer community?
What have you done to bring HOPE to your loved one?
What can we, as Caregivers, do to bring HOPE to our loved one?
Is there something that we, as Caregivers, can do to bring HOPE to our loved ones with cancer?
What specific actions can Caregivers take to support Lung Cancer HOPE Month?
What actions are appropriate for us to take as Caregivers to promote HOPE?
What do we do if we have different ideas about #HOPE than our loved ones?