How to choose a support group
How to Choose a Support Group
By Kaz Molloy
If we are lucky, most of us will have a close knit supportive family around us when we get a cancer diagnosis. That support may extend beyond family to a network of close friends who are there for us through thick and thin.
Sometimes however, even though we have that support, we sometimes feel that we don’t want to burden those closest to us with our fears about our diagnosis and how we really feel when going through the treatment. We want to shield them from the harsh realities of having cancer and don’t want them to see us at our lowest and most vulnerable.
This is when joining a cancer support group can really help. It allows us to open up about how we feel without seeing our loved ones get upset. Some people might feel that a support group is not for them and might feel uncomfortable talking to strangers about their diagnosis and how they feel but I would urge anyone who feels like this to overcome those fears, because once you join a support group, you won’t be strangers for long. There is something very cathartic about being able to be completely open with someone who doesn’t know you or your background but who has an understanding of what you are going through.
Support groups come in many shapes and sizes. You might feel more comfortable in a support group specific to your cancer; however if you have a rarer type of cancer then this might prove difficult especially if you live in a more rural area. A general cancer support group is an alternative and is probably the most common type of support group that most cancer patients join.
However, in today’s social media world a new type of support group has appeared – online support groups, often cancer specific. So no matter where you live, you can “talk” to someone with the same cancer as you, at any time of the day or night. These types of support group often prove a lifeline to patients/survivors who either have a rarer cancer or feel they have little or no support around them in the “real” world.
From my own experience of running Womb Cancer Support UK, I can say that the ladies I have met over the past 2 ½ years are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Despite going through their own journeys with cancer, they are always there to support the others in the group.
You might not think a support group is for you, but I would urge you to give it a try. You never know when you might need someone to talk to who really understands and you may just make a few new friends along the way.
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Great post and advice on finding a support group. Personally, I have found the online community and blogosphere to be the best support group. I had a really bad experience with one particular support group. You can read about it here: http://bethgainer.com/the-support-group-that-went-haywire/
Thanks Beth, what an horrific experience for you. Hopefully, this blog, along with yours can help others to make the best decisions for them.
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