Monday, September 8, 2014

Support groups yay or nay?

The issue of support groups when you are a cancer patient is a debated one.  As a cancer patient you will get quite a lot of people advising and ill-advising the use of support groups.  There are not support groups for every type of cancer out there as of yet and regionally there are only ones if there is a demand for it.  I decided to google cancer support ministry recently and only one lead came up. 
a cancer support ministry in Indiana working with a local church, hospital and radiation department there in the area.  I was surprised.  With all the different types of cancer out there and more and more cases has increased and younger and younger people being affected as well as the big surge in celebrities contracting the disease there is so very little still out there in our country to help us through this.

Yes there are some support groups that can be found here and there.  Support is a huge thing to have, it is a must for any patient going through a life changing disease.  Family, friend, work, church, medical team, etc. is essential for a cancer patient and their family or care-givers to have.  Do not let anyone tell you cancer is not a life changing event, they are either lying or have no clue. 

I myself like a lot of patients felt I didn't need to go to a support group and felt this way for about the first 18 months.  My oncologist had even advised me to be cautious when going to support groups should I choose as often times patients or survivors who are dealing with more aggressive or advanced staged cancer can be mean and nasty to others who are not doing as poorly as they are.  I was stage 3 breast cancer and handling my side affects pretty well and looked relatively normal except for being mostly bald.  I decided not do to support groups even though I had wonderful recommendations of the group at my church.  I felt since I had family and friend support and was a Christian and read my bible that I was doing fine enough without it.

I don't remember what made me decide to finally go to my church's cancer support group, it may have been that I was finally worn down to go.  :)  But I am glad that I went and I don't regret it, and I have been going once a month for about 18 months.  I was glad to have that support group when my diagnosis turned stage 4 metastasis last October.  I was so angry for so many months, and hearing the other people share their stories and updates was helpful.  Now that I have come to terms with my stage of cancer I am able to help and support them which is a wonderful feeling.  I like to help others and for me in my cancer journey I have always tried to deal with it in humor and grace.  Ok there have been some raunchy moments and I admit that, but it all stems from trying to cope and deal and I would rather laugh then to cry. 

I want to start a new support group, a support ministry for cancer specifically women's cancers because well I am one.  lol  Little by little I will get one established and hope to touch and bless many deserving women out there.  And lets face it, we could all do with a little more hope in our lives no matter who we are or what we are dealing with. 

xoxoxoxoxo Kat