CHI Health Support Groups Have SO Much to Offer
My name is Becky and I am a two time breast cancer survivor. My first diagnosis was in 1993 when I was 42. My treatment consisted of a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. The chemo made me VERY sick! I was a married, working mother of two. My focus at that time, was to get the necessary treatment and get back on with my life – making it as “normal” as I could. I don’t think many support groups were available at that time, but I didn’t consider attending any.
In 2006, I found a lump in my other breast. I was glad that the same doctors I saw in 1993 were still here and were able to work with me again. My treatment was very similar to what I had done the first time – a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Thank goodness for better anti-nausea drugs this time around! I did develop some lymphedema in my arm and was referred to a lymphedema therapist in the CHI Health system. During therapy, she mentioned the Lymphedema Support Group and also the Lebed class (now called Healthy Steps). I wanted to do as much as I could to get full movement back in my arm, so I attended the Lebed Class – and continued to do so for two years. I found the exercises really did help and was pleasantly surprised at the friendships I developed with the people in the class. We still get together occasionally. I also started attending the Lymphedema Support Group Lunch and Learns. As time went on, I’d hear about other programs CHI Health had to offer, either from fellow survivors, doctors, or nurses. I have taken part in several others over the last three years. Among them are:
Survivorship Program – which includes tickets to various social events. Some of the events we attended were holiday parties, visits to various museums in the area, baseball games, etc.
- Breast Cancer Support Group Lunch and Learns
- Cancer Survivors in the Workplace
- Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation
- Cancer-Related Fatigue Exercise Program
My husband attended some of these sessions with me as my caregiver. He also attended some of the Cancer Caregiver’s Support Group sessions.
As I was going through treatment this time around, I do remember seeing flyers for some of these programs posted on bulletin boards in some of my doctor’s offices, but just didn’t think a “support group” was right for me. I guess I didn’t really know what they had to offer. Now that I have tried so many of them, I have to say that ALL of the sessions I attended have been a very good experience. I encourage all cancer patients and caregivers to pick one that sounds appealing and give it a try. I think you’ll find them educational and worth your time.