THE BLOG
01/16/2014 10:49 am ET Updated Mar 18, 2014

A Woman Named Joy Was Diagnosed With Cancer -- Now She's Sharing 5 Resources That'll Bring You Happiness!

My name is Joy, and I was diagnosed with cancer -- stage four. Isn't that ironic? Out of this very long road I started "Cancer with JOY," which sounds like quite an oxymoron until you get there's a double meaning behind it... since I'm Joy.

My personal mission is to bring happiness to you during your journey, whether you've just been diagnosed, or are already in treatment.

If the above don't apply this post is still relevant to you. With one in two men and one in three women facing cancer at some point in their life now, it's likely you are currently supporting someone facing cancer as a caregiver, spouse, other family member, or friend. And you've heard, "Laughter is the best medicine."

I often explain "Cancer with Joy" this way -- it definitely needs clarification since neither you nor I feel any happiness or "joy" when receiving that devastating diagnosis. When I was diagnosed I truly felt SAD.

I define SAD as:

S - Scared
A - Angry
D - Downright Depressed!

But I found that it did me little good to have a negative attitude or response to all of this while in the battle. I know first-hand "No one is happy they have cancer, BUT you can have cancer & still be happy!" So that's what this is all about. I haven't met a person who really wants to face cancer without joy and be stuck feeling SAD. So read on & stick with me please.

When someone finds out they or a loved one is facing cancer, and they contact me, the first thing they want is resources! They often say, "My uncle was just diagnosed and we don't have time to mess around; tell me everything you know!" This quickly led to my book so I could capture everything I know in an inexpensive and simple format that can be downloaded instantly as an e-book or audiobook. I'm excerpting a few of the resources from my last chapter here.

1. www.cancer101.org

CANCER101's mission is to help patients and caregivers get organized and informed to fight their cancer. They provide CANCER101 Planners to cancer centers in all 50 states to give to their patients and caregivers in need. The planners are free to their patients and include essential organizational tools and important resources designed to empower patients and caregivers to take control over their diagnosis from the moment they learn they have cancer through the next ten years of follow-up care. The planners encourage patients to partner with their medical team: questions are asked and answered, notes and appointments are written down in one place, and patients and caregivers feel in control. And just as importantly, the planner gives patients and their loved ones hope. CANCER101 Now Supports People with Any Cancer.

If you need to know what questions to ask the doctor, I'll save you time. Go straight here.

2. www.CaringBridge.org

CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier. CaringBridge is powered by generous donors.

3. www.caregiverslibrary.org

The National Caregivers Library was created by FamilyCare America, Inc. and is one of the largest single sources of information and tools for caregivers and seniors in the country. It makes its resources available to caregivers for free through alliances with professionals, businesses and other organizations who serve seniors and their caregivers with a variety of products and services. The library consists of hundreds of useful articles, forms, checklists and links to topic-specific external resources. It is organized into logical categories that address the key needs of caregivers and their loved ones. The library also includes an entire section for employers.

4. www.cancerandcareers.org

Cancer and Careers is dedicated to empowering and educating people with cancer to thrive in their workplace by providing expert advice, interactive tools and educational events. Through a comprehensive website, free publications, career coaching, and a series of support groups and educational seminars for employees with cancer and their healthcare providers and coworkers, Cancer and Careers strives to eliminate fear and uncertainty for working people with cancer.

5. www.patientadvocate.org

Mission: to provide effective mediation and arbitration services to patients to remove obstacles to healthcare including medical debt crisis, insurance access issues and employment issues for patients with chronic, debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. We assist patients with: medical debt crisis, insurance access issues, and job retention issues. 

BONUS:

6. www.lookgoodfeelbetter.org
Cancer can rob a woman of her energy, appetite, and strength. But it doesn't have to take away her self-confidence. Look Good...Feel Better is a non-medical, brand-neutral public service program that teaches beauty techniques to cancer patients to help them manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. Look Good... Feel Better group programs are open to all women with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or other forms of treatment.

*If you cannot get to a class, there are videos, virtual workshops, and a beauty guide with makeup step-by-step, new hair looks, and nail care.

Don't forget Look Good Feel Better is for men and teens too!

7. www.giveforward.org
GiveForward is the easiest way to help a loved one in need. GiveForward pages empower friends and family to send love and financial support to patients as they navigate a medical crisis. Create a page today to spread hope and contribute to a loved one's out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Since some can't get out to see me speak live somewhere I've been creating videos serving as your personal guide to cancer to not only tell you about these helpful resources, but to show you around them with a short video you can watch on-demand. See a sample here and then sign-up at www.cancerwithjoy.com to get this "Dose of Joy" delivered right to your inbox a few times a week featuring a different resource each time.

I hope you've found these helpful! "Cancer with Joy" features over 25 pages of resources... so many great things I know about that will save you time searching, energy you probably don't have while in treatment, and money because cancer (whether you're insured or not) is plenty costly, and you need to find out how to save wherever you can. GiveForward is just one example that helps you with fundraising to raise some money to cover those out-of-pocket expenses.

Follow me on Twitter @cancerwithjoy or like "Cancer with Joy" on Facebook to receive my "Daily Dose of Joy" which includes additional time & money-saving resources.