The Elephant in the Room is Cancer. Tea is the Relief Conversation Provides.

Isolated and Lonely, But Not Alone

by Kimberly PooleSurvivor, Stage 3 TNBCAugust 7, 2023View more posts from Kimberly Poole

Being the extroverted introvert that I am when I was diagnosed with cancer April 2021, I didn’t realize exactly how isolating being diagnosed during a Worldwide Pandemic would be. I was a 33-year-old wife and mother of five boys breastfeeding our youngest when I was diagnosed. Because of my Nomadic ways I found friends in many states and when I was diagnosed support came in from everywhere. I had my husband, my boys and my in-laws to support me physically at home, but because of Covid for the safety of the patients we couldn’t have guests with us during appointments or infusions so it was a lot of alone time.

I can remember leaving the breast surgeon after getting my exact diagnosis and referral for my oncologist walking to my van alone and in a daze. I had told my husband to just stay home that appointment since he wouldn’t be allowed up anyway and we already knew it was cancer we just needed the details. I sat in my van in shock stage three IDC triple negative cancer, I lost it. I cried for 20 minutes, put myself together and put the van in drive and made the journey 45 minutes back to my home. I honestly can’t remember the drive. I know I called my dad and let him know the plan. I don’t remember if I listened to music, but I know I cried and I worried. How was I supposed to go to all these appointments and surgeries alone?

The first four chemotherapy appointments my husband drove me and sat in the parking lot for hours while I saw my oncologist, labs, and chemo and eventually after 5+ hours made it back to the van to repeat again in two weeks. The next twelve I drove myself, always solo, always bringing my “chemo bag” filled with my essentials, water bottle, iPad, portable charger, headphones, medical binder, and my phone. Hours and hours spent in those infusion chairs over months always being the youngest always getting the looks of “oh shit!” from the nurses and older patients.

I spent those hours physically alone in my chair but online my life was a flurry of social media support mostly thanks to the community I found on TikTok and eventually Instagram. I began to post my story, my diagnosis, visits, and updates. I began to find a whole community of other cancer survivors, advocates, and everything in between all on my phone. I might have been alone, but I was far from lonely! I had an entire community of *Badasses* in my phone and in my corner. Anytime I started to feel worried or doubtful I would turn to my online community, and I would always be met with so much love and support it was life changing in the most unexpected way.

​Somehow through this horrible and isolating thing I found solace in others walking such a similar but different path. All types of cancers, ages, genders, prognoses—but we all had one common element. I have learned new verbiage when it comes to cancer and loss, I have found acceptance and community and most of all I found friends. Cancer is absolutely the worst initiation into one of the best clubs I have ever been a part of. During one of the hardest and most challenging times of my life I found strength and support in one of the most unexpected ways.

Join the Conversation!

Leave a comment below. Remember to keep it positive!

One Comment