The following article was written by David Haas who contacted me asking if he could be a guessed writer for my blog.
Sharing your experiences with others who have endured the burdens of fighting and surviving cancer — the same worries, fears and physical pain — helps so much while returning to normal.
It's not the same after cancer. No matter how much you want things to return to the way they once were, the past never returns exactly as it was. Finding that new normal is a slow adjustment period, and support networks help survivors acclimate to their new life.
For people still in treatment, support networks prove that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Treatments end, hair grows back and energy returns.
Support groups offer people the opportunity to meet with other survivors, support those still undergoing treatment and learn about the latest research advances in fighting cancer. Sometimes, groups feature guest lecturers, short educational films or specific topics of discussion. Other times, people just gather and talk.
There are groups for almost any kind of cancer where you can share your experiences with people who are going through or went through the same thing as you. There are not only groups for breast cancer and melanoma survivors, but there are even groups for rare cancers such as mesothelioma and rare bone cancers. It's important to hear that other people are feeling the same emotions as you and experiencing the same physical difficulties.
It's best to attend a professionally facilitated support group, since discussions during ones that aren't led by professionals can become unhelpful. People sometimes are misinformed about survival rates, life expectancy and other important information. Without a professional facilitator, this misinformation goes uncorrected and people sometimes leave more worried than when they arrived.
Plus, if someone starts to cry, a professional facilitator can help that person work through her feelings. In the process, everyone learns.
To get the most out of your group, collect phone numbers for a few people. Start your own network of survivors. It's even better if they are also mesothelioma survivors because they'll understand more. Those people will become your rocks if you're having a rough day and need to talk.
Attending a support group can enhance a cancer survivor's quality of life, although it does not extend mesothelioma life expectancy, according to the American Cancer Society. As you move on and heal, you may not need to attend the group as much as you used to. But sometimes, it's nice to return. The newly diagnosed need to see that they can fight mesothelioma and once again lead a good life.
American Cancer Society; Support Groups
By: David Haas