Personal Emotional Recovery Experiences

And they offer support groups, and the days that you go for radiation they let you know where you can go, and its right in the hospital so it was very convenient for you if you need that extra support. But I didn't actually need the extra support, but it was good to know that it was there for you if you needed it.

The cancer support group is helpful to me in different ways. When I first went, I just needed to be in a group of people that had gone through this. I could talk to my friends and my family, but it was different being with a group of people that had that shadow of fear in their lives. Since I've been feeling better, going to the cancer support group is partly to be with a group where they bring up things that I'm thinking about. But as I said, I have a hard time talking about feelings, so that way I can deal with some of these things without having to bring it up myself in a conversation. They're very courageous people. Some of the people in the group are dealing with recurrences, and I'm seeing how they deal with it.

I think if a person has friends or a support group of some kind, it helps. Talk with people who have been through it. People dropped in that week after I got home from surgery who I didn't know had ever had cancer, or mastectomy, or anything, and they came and they said "I had one thirty-five years ago" this one girl said. And she's doing fine. Another one said "I had a radical mastectomy twenty-five years ago and here I am." And that, I think, was more helpful than almost anything. So be open to all kinds of information.

It's nice to be able to go to a support group when you're first diagnosed to talk about your choices. I heard about the support group after I had surgery, but if I had known about the support group before I had surgery, you know, it might have been helpful to me. I might have taken more time to explore my options.

This experience of having cancer was hard and long, but when you're trying to get better for others you have so many people going to bat for you that it just pulls out the healing. I went back to work, but they sort of favored me. They helped me to travel far. But when some of my friends or relatives had cancer, I'd go right there and when I could say "I've had cancer, and there's good doctors and they knew just what to do, and when, and how, and I had the Good Lord to help me." I said "It's okay." LINDA P:
I think people's first inclination is "Let's go visit her, she's in the hospital." I didn't want visitors. I was not feeling well. Your friends understand that if you tell them. Now instead of helping my friends, they needed to help me. When people said "What can I do?" I had to be ready to say "I really need you to stop at the grocery store," or "Do you think you could help with cut the grass?" or "Would you be willing to take my children for a few days?" And I needed to get into a mode of accepting help.

Friends, other than people who have cancer, they don't understand. The best thing that you can do is bring food. That was very, very important for me. I love to eat, but I didn't want to cook. And a hug. A hug is real important. My daughter went through the same thing that I went through when my mother was diagnosed. She was supportive but she still wanted to go on with her own life. And really, it comes at a time in your life when it interferes with your own particular life style. So I could understand that. My husband is there for me. He was very knowledgeable on the type of treatment that I chose, but as far as really delving into as much as I did, no, he left that to me. I can understand. Its difficult for a man because he's scared he's going to lose me and he doesn't want that.

I did rent a lot of videos, funny videos, because laughter is very good for you. And I think it has to do with the sound and the breathing that laughter does. I'm not a big television watcher, but I would just check out six or eight videos for the weekend because I would have my treatments on a Thursday, I was wiped out Friday, and the weekend I was trying to get myself together to go back into work on Monday. So it was a nice escapism.

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Communication Technology Laboratory