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Life with breast cancer can get pretty overwhelming. You keep getting news about your condition, your treatments, and your prognosis. Sometimes you can understand what all that medicalese means, and sometimes it goes by so fast that you don't even know what questions to ask until hours after your latest appointment. If you took notes, or had a buddy along to write down what the doctor was saying, at least you can look up those terms and statistics later. But where do you turn, to get support and information when its late at night and you're feeling confused and can't sleep? Going on the internet for answers can result in an information overload, even harder to deal with if your brain is lost in chemo fog.
Tailor your internet info searches by using social media like Twitter, FaceBook, or MySpace. You can find sites that allow you to connect with other people who have a similar diagnosis, disability, or problem with side effects. Hopefully, you'll find several people who are farther along the road that you are, and are willing to share their tips and coping strategies. If you're new to social media or online networks, try just one or two for a start. If you stumble upon a blog that interests you, subscribe to get their updates and interact with the author. Feel like sharing your own story? Set up your own blog on Caring Bridge or other free blogging sites, and see how many of your supporters will sign up for regular news from you.
While you're at it, be sure to practice good internet safety rules. Don't give away too much of your private information to strangers, and be skeptical about miracle cures or that "one old weird tip" that promises to fix your worst problems. The benefits of using social media for cancer support are great: round-the-clock answers to your pressing questions, emotional support from other survivors, and the feeling that you are not alone in the fight. Find your way in the internet maze by customizing your online community, and use it to give and receive support.
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