Whether you are newly diagnosed, a survivor or a family member or friend of someone who has cancer, you are welcome to attend Goshen Center for Cancer Care’s Living with Cancer support groups for information on living with cancer and emotional support.
“Go to a cancer support group?” “I don’t think so.” “My family and friends are the only support I need.” “But right now I’m in treatment.” “But treatment is over.” “I’m not much of a talker.” “Won’t it make me cry?” “I don’t need it — I’m fine.”
These are among a variety of common responses to the suggestion to attend a cancer support group. It’s true that support groups are not everyone’s cup of tea. And a support group for cancer? Well, that may be even harder... and all of the reasons people are reluctant to attend cancer support groups are sincere and even legitimate. However, the same reasons NOT to go may be the very same reasons TO go. Consider the following:
Your family and friends are there for you? Wonderful! But you may also find it beneficial to talk with others who are going through experiences similar to yours. Even the most supportive friend or family member can’t understand exactly how it feels to have cancer. Or you may want to talk with someone who can give you "neutral feedback." Or bring a family member or friend with you! They love you and are impacted by your cancer, and they may need some encouragement, too.
Not sure it’s the right time? The cancer experience is fluid in nature — it’s the proverbial roller coaster, and the time of need for support is personal to each person. For some, support may be most helpful immediately after they hear they have cancer and as they wait with uncertainty and anxiety for treatment to start. For others, support may be more helpful during treatment, when they are trying to manage side effects physically and emotionally. And for still others, support may be sought after treatment is over and they're re-adjusting to routines and life after cancer. Support groups can help you cope with the practical and emotional aspects of cancer during any part of the cancer experience.
You aren’t much of a talker? Not a problem! Support groups need listeners as well as talkers. Come to listen and learn. And for the talkers, groups are a confidential atmosphere — a safe place to share stories and feelings.
You might cry? Well, you might. But sharing uncomfortable feelings with others who understand will also help reduce the feelings of loneliness and stress. And you will probably also laugh, learn ways to cope, find comfort and a sense of belonging, feel more hopeful, and walk out with a smile on your face.
You’re doing fine? Great! Come to be an inspiration and help others!
“Think of a visit to your support group as a trip to the doctor for your mind and heart. You’ll receive medicine, salve and soothing balms in the form of understanding, knowledge, shared experience, success stories, and personal empowerment.” —There’s No Place Like Hope by Vickie Girard, 2009, Compendium Inc.
Goshen Center for Cancer Care offers Living with Cancer support groups every second and fourth Tuesday of the month. The focus is on support through information, education and shared experiences. Attendance is free of charge, and is open to patients, families and caregivers — before, during and/or after treatment. Here is our schedule for 2016. If you have questions or need more information, please call us at (574) 364-2948.