The Breasties— Free wellness retreats & events locally and nationwide for women affected by breast & reproductive cancers: fighters, survivors, & previvors (Check out the New York Breasties Facebook Group for local events in the NYC area.)
Steps Through OC— Six-month program of free professional counseling, education, referrals, & resources for women with ovarian cancer and their family members & caregivers. I have not personally used this service but it looks like a wonderful program.
Resources for Women With Cancer
Mary’s Place by the Sea— Offers free two-day, two-night stays for women with cancer and for up to one year after completing treatment at their retreat center on the Jersey Shore
General Cancer Resources
Cleaning for a Reason— Provides free home cleanings for women, men, & children undergoing treatment for any type of cancer
CancerCare— Free counseling, education, support services, & resources in-person and online
Gilda’s Club NYC— Free support groups, lectures, workshops, & resources for cancer patients, survivors, & caregivers. This chapter is in NYC but there are Gilda’s Club locations nationwide; Google to find one in your area.
Triage Cancer— Provides free education on the practical and legal issues that may impact people diagnosed with cancer and their caregivers, through events, materials, & resources
Getting Started The following three books are great to read when you first get diagnosed as they provide a wonderful, helpful overview. (They also happen to be my three favorite books about cancer.) However, they are a wealth of information at any phase of your diagnosis and treatment.
I see a nutritionist individually who specializes in working with cancer patients and survivors. The infusion center that I went to for chemo offers this service of nutritional counseling sessions for free for their patients. I recommend inquiring with your hospital and infusion center to see if they offer this benefit. I also did a lot of my own research into what the optimal diet and nutrition is for cancer patients and survivors. But there is so much information out there with different sources saying this or that diet is the absolute best way to eat if you have or have had cancer, and what is best really varies so much from person to person, depending on many factors including the particular type of cancer you have. Therefore I’ve found that working with a nutritionist one-on-one has been invaluable. Additionally, here are some books & resources that I’ve found helpful:
Crazy Sexy Dietby Kris Carr — She is a proponent of a strict vegan diet which is too extreme and restrictive for me (I love cheese and ice cream!), but this book provides a good overview of healthy, plant-based eating, and includes some delicious, easy recipes in the back.
The Cancer-Fighting Kitchenby Rebecca Katz — More than just a cookbook, this book is a guide to what and how to eat when undergoing cancer treatment. It includes a lot of information at the beginning about nutrition and healthy diet for cancer patients, and the best part is there’s a chart that breaks down which recipes to eat based on what treatment side effects you’re experiencing. I tried one recipe from this cookbook and it was a bit too involved for my liking, but if you like to cook — or have friends and family members who like to cook who you can assign these recipes to! — it’s a good thing to have on-hand, and a helpful, informative resource in general.
Instagram — I did not really cook before I was diagnosed with cancer and essentially taught myself to cook after my diagnosis. I get a lot of inspiration and ideas for recipes on Instagram. I just started following a few healthy food bloggers and plant-based recipe creators etc. (e.g. @spinach4breakfast, @plantbasedjane, @sweetsimplevegan, & @downshiftology), and then Instagram started serving me sponsored posts for more and more of them 😊 I created a “Collection” called Recipes on Instagram and save recipe posts to that for future reference.
Yoga4Cancer (y4c)— Free research-based yoga classes developed for people going through cancer treatment, and available for cancer patients and survivors and their caregivers. Classes are offered across the United States and in Canada, and you can search on their website for a location near you. If you are Brooklyn-based, there’s a weekly y4c class atPark Slope Yoga Center.
You can also download EWG’s Healthy Living app (free on iTunes & Google Play) to scan products as you’re shopping to find out their ingredients and ratings.
I use the Medisafe app (free on iTunes & Google Play) to remind me to take my medications and track that I’ve taken them. I also keep a written log of when I take my medications and what side effects I experience and when.
Work & Career Issues
Cancer & Careers— Free career support services, education, resume review, and workshops for cancer patients and survivors. They host an annual national conference in New York City, as well as conferences in other cities across the US throughout the year.
”The Day Before” on Hysterectomy Recovery Diary Blog — Last-minute pre-op prep at home and what to pack to bring to the hospital
Resources to Make Your Life Easier
I did not personally use either of these sites but they are helpful tools for coordinating care during cancer treatment, especially if you can get a friend or family member to set one up for you and manage it.
CaringBridge— Website for coordinating care and sending health / procedure / status etc. updates to a group all at once instead of texting and emailing everyone individually
Instagram Accounts to Follow
There is a vibrant, robust cancer community on Instagram and I have connected there with a lot of inspiring, uplifting (and just downright funny because sometimes you just need to laugh) people, organizations, and accounts. Here are some of my favorites:
@talk_peach — Raising awareness about gynecologic cancers
@survivornetfamily — Videos of / short documentaries about cancer survivors & people who work in the cancer field
@whatnext_cancer— Online support network for cancer patients, survivors, & caregivers
For Caregivers, Friends, & Family Members
”How Not to Say the Wrong Thing”by Susan Silk & Barry Goldman in the LA Times — A helpful guide about how to treat (and not treat!) someone you care about who is going through treatment for cancer
Jennifer Garam is a Brooklyn-based ovarian cancer survivor and advocate. As a writer, her articles and essays have appeared on numerous leading websites, including Allure.com, SELF.com, Redbookmag.com, VICE.com, Prevention.com, Health.com, The Huffington Post, and PsychologyToday.com, among others. Since her diagnosis in October 2018, she’s been documenting her experiences with cancer, and now life after cancer, on Instagram @jennifergaram. Visit Jennifer's Site