I have been working with people affected by cancer for many years now and have often heard myself and other healthcare professionals say “just ask if there is anything else" or "Just ask if you need anything”
Someone who had recently been diagnosed once pointed out to me that it was “all very well saying “just ask” but sometimes you don’t know the questions......”
Here at Maggie’s we hope that you will “just ask” or, if you don’t know what you could be asking that you will have a read of the conversations and blog comments that other members have posted. You could also just have a chat and make some new friends- you may find the questions will follow…
Who am I asking or talking to?
The answer to this will depend if you post your comment or question in the public conversation, in your journal or send it via a personal message:
- If it is a personal message only the recipient and you will be able to see the contents.
- If you post it in the public conversations or the blog comments you would be asking a wide range of people including: other members of Maggie's online community, who may be, or have been, in a similar situation, and also Maggie's Online team
- If you post in your journal only you and the caner support specialists in the online team will be able to see it ( you will notice you cant see your journal if you are logged out).
As well as using our own experience we are able to put you in touch with other sources of support online, in our Centres across the UK and also many other organisations.
What can I comment on or ask?
As long as it isn’t offensive to others, pretty much anything- from help with the site to what you thought of a film or book and, of course, anything to do with cancer, cancer treatment, side effects and the practical and emotional effects they may have.
We can’t give you detailed individual medical advice but we can provide information and help you to work out what questions you could ask your doctor or signpost you to specialist organisations and services.
Why would I send a personal message?
Sometimes, even though you only use a username on the site, you may want to ask something quietly, either to another community member or to contact myself or one of the other support specialists available. This may be because you are not yet confident about using the site publicly or the question may seem embarrassing or be so individual e.g. describing a family situation that you may feel it would be difficult to remain anonymous.
What sort of personal messages do you get?
Absolutely anything – If we don’t know the answer here at Maggie’s online we will do our very best to seek out the information or service for you and signpost you to its source.
Instead of a question, messages might be a description about what life is like for you at the moment, you may have recently been told that you or a friend have cancer and feel lost in uncertainty . If so we can help you to find your way forward .
You might have questions about tests, treatment or possible side effects, be having difficulty coping with reactions of friends, families and children. You might be concerned about the practical or emotional effects of diagnosis or treatment on your personal relationships or have difficulty communicating with healthcare professionals.
Sometimes, just as there can be no question, there is no specific answer. Then we are still here to listen and support you and those around you through a difficult or uncertain time either online or in our Centres
So........ when you are ready, "just ask" or just let us know us that you don’t know the questions........
Blog originally written by Robyn June 2013
(Updated April 2020)