I rested my head against the window, as the train car’s soothing motion lulled other morning commuters to sleep. I was uneasy: It was my first day back to work after cancer treatment had ended, and I was officially a survivor. While I was lucky to have survived thus far, I hadn’t had a clue about the complexities of living after cancer diagnosis and treatment. So, I just stared out of the window, wondering, “What just happened to me?” and “How do I go on with a ‘normal’ life”?
Resources were readily available to me as a patient, but not as a survivor. I soon learned that the stress of surviving cancer couldn’t be remedied by running for pink ribbons nor any quick fix such as speaking briefly with a cancer counselor. Seeing my doctors for follow-ups just reminded me of being sick and panicked about returning to the places that reminded me of illness.
I wish a great resource such as Cancer Harbors had existed then.
Cancer Harbors is a new online service that helps people who’ve had cancer navigate survivorship. According to the organization’s website, the service “provides you with the information and skills to create your personalized plan to restore your well-being after cancer treatment based on your priorities, lifestyle, and preferences. It’s not a cookie-cutter survivorship plan at all. It’s a plan for living life well.”
Founded by Alene Nitzky, a personal trainer and nurse with oncology expertise, Cancer Harbors is designed to help survivors — whether they are just coming out of treatment or have been out of treatment for awhile. Membership includes multiple videoconference sessions with a professional cancer recovery coach, access to monthly survivorship articles, a discussion forum, as well as a quarterly newsletter and exercise videos.
“The program has value and many options,” says Nitzky, emphasizing that this service is especially helpful to those communities with no or limited survivorship support options. “With the video conference feature, people can just drop in and say, ‘I’m having trouble,’” says Nitzky. “[The survivor] is face to face with a professional who has a feel for [the survivor’s] concerns and who is right there to answer questions and offer a variety of tools.”
“I help cancer survivors get to the point where they can reach out and get what they want and need,” says Nitzky.
As a survivor, I stand behind this service. After all, when cancer survivors are feeling derailed, Cancer Harbors helps them get back on track — not only in terms of survivorship, but by helping survivors live life on their own terms.
To find out more about Cancer Harbors, click here and/or e-mail Alene Nitzky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a cancer survivor, how has survivorship been going?
Did you/do you have a survivorship plan in place?
Tags: Alene Nitzky, Cancer Harbors, cancer resource, cancer survivor, cancer survivorship