Would you like to share with the group?

I have been searching for a BC support group in my area for the last couple of years. I went to one group in my area a couple of times and decided it just wasn’t the right fit for me. It was a new group, and I was very excited to attend.

 

As the meeting got started, the ladies, each had a chance to share their cancer story and also were asked to share what they were needing and hoping to get out of this new group. They each told their personal cancer story. I heard Stage 1 and 2 over and over again. I was the last person to share.

 

Can you image the silence and the looks I received when I told them that I am in active treatment and that my cancer had metastasized? One woman then asked what does that mean. The woman who was leading the discussion explained that I am a stage, 4 patient.

 

Yes, that was uncomfortable. The next day the woman who had formed the new group called me and apologized for the situation. I did not feel that was necessary and explained stage 4 is my life, and I have come to terms with that fact. I asked her if she knew of any other late-stage bc patients. She did not. I went back to the group the next month, but that was the last time I attended.

 

I’ve been familiar with a national nonprofit group called METAvivor.org. They are their raising money and support for all of us with metastasized cancer. And specifically for breast cancer. I reached out METAvivor recently. I’m excited to announce that I will be organizing the first support group in Utah. METAvivor has a course that I am taking, and I plan to have the first meeting in July of this year.

 

Where ever you are located in the United States I would suggest that you go to METAvivor.org online. You can see all of the support groups, and hopefully, there will be one near you. If not, they will be very supportive of helping you get one started.

 

Here is some information from their site.

 

Are you looking for a Peer to Peer Support Group? Peer to Peer Support Groups are a fantastic way to meet with other MBC patients to share advice, encouragement, and challenges, compare treatment facilitates, learn about local resources and simply enjoy the company of others who are on the same journey.

 

METAvivor, through an MBC grant from the AVON Foundation, has launched a program called Peer To Peer: METAvivor Training Program For Support Group Leaders to provide training to MBC patients who are interested in becoming Peer Leaders and starting their own support groups. The Peer Leader is the organizer, but also a participant, sharing and receiving like everyone else in the group.

 

The METAvivor trained, peer-led support program meets in the community rather than in a medical setting. The support group is limited to metastatic breast cancer patients as members and leaders, and is free-flowing, allowing everyone to say what they wish on most any topic. The leader’s role is to coordinate logistics, outreach to recruit members, keep in touch with current members, be there for phone calls, rally support when help is needed, connect the group with resources and be at all gatherings. The leader also provides a comfortable setting and varied activities for MBC patients to share advice, encouragement, and challenges, and even simply relax and chat with friends who truly understand. Peer to Peer training materials is also available in Spanish.

 

Stretching Beyond your Comfort Zone

I had a conversation with a friend today who asked me if I scuba dive. I said, “no”, but my mind was screaming, “HELL NO!” I realized that most new things I am willing to try and wondered why the thought of diving freaks me out? The idea of being in open water makes me nervous, yet I will dive into open water from a boat.

My friend went on to tell me that I can learn scuba in a pool and see if I like it; so, decided that I will give that a try and see how it feels. Mind you, I am not committing to an open water dive, but I will literally get my feet wet and try something new that scares me as long as I’m in a setting that I am more comfortable with.

My past experiences trying something new for the most part have been great. But the thing that no one mentions about stretching yourself, is that it really sucks sometimes.

A particular challenge that I have faced a number of times is my fear of heights; yet, I have climbed to the top of a telephone pole, stood on top, and walked across a tightrope to another telephone pole. My body shook the entire time, but I did complete the task!  Maybe not as gracefully as I had pictured, but that wasn’t the point.

Yes, trying new things is exciting and mind-expanding — and all that — but it can also be awkward and embarrassing. I’ve wondered why that is and how, when I am faced with a fear, I can be more confident moving forward… So I Googled it.  🙂

Development

Here are a few ways to feel a little better about launching yourself into a new experience – and help you get over the hump of that initial misery to the part where it’s actually fun.

Remember that it’s ok not to love it right away

Did you know that deep in our brains there’s a primal fear of looking bad, a fear of not performing as well as others? One of the challenges with new hobbies is the fact that you’re meeting new people, new groups, new experiences, and that triggers anxiety we have about being the newcomer. In other words: Not loving it right away isn’t a sign that you’ve made a terrible mistake. It’s part of being human. Enjoyment will come as the newness fades.

Remember that no one’s paying attention to you

Are you worried about humiliating yourself in front of other people? If that’s the case, remember that those other people have actually to be watching you and in most cases, they aren’t. And they don’t care. Or maybe they are impressed that you are willing to give it a try.

Go in with the right mindset

People tend to approach a new skill in one of two ways: Some go in wanting to learn it, while others go in wanting to master it. I can easily fall into my perfectionistic mode feeling like I have to be the best. How silly is that? Learn to enjoy the journey while taking the first steps to learn the new skill.

Prepare before you start

It might be helpful to do a little prep work beforehand. You don’t have to go into the new situation completely blind and this could possibly help it to not be as intimidating.

I hope this information is as helpful to you as it is for me. It has changed my perspective on getting out of my comfort zone.  Shari

 

Take it Off

Did you know that not all chemotherapy drugs cause you to lose your hair?

But for those of us who need the nasty hair removal chemotherapy, you have about two-three weeks from your first infusion before your hair begins to fall out. Like everything else in my life, I had a plan for how I would take some control of the situation.

Before starting treatment, I had shoulder-length hair. I had my hair cut into a cute pixie style before my first chemo appointment.

On day ten post-chemo, I noticed my hair was feeling dry and brittle. When I gently tugged on it, a few hairs came out. This was a strange, emotional moment for me. I took a couple of deep breaths and called my girlfriend, Jen.

Her assignment was to get our group of friends together for a party. It was a specific group of people that I like to refer to as my tribe; I had emotional connections with each person who was invited to The Buzz Party.

I chose to turn this emotional experience into a celebration, and A few days later my tribe gathered together at our home. We shared a meal together, then it was time.

We enjoyed a beautiful evening outdoors, and each member of my tribe took a turn first trimming off my hair and then buzzing my head.

I did not have a mirror to watch; however, I could see my reflection in one of the windows of the house.

I would watch my hair fall to the ground. I could see the bowling ball that now sat on my neck. I felt emotional, but it wasn’t about my hair.

I looked at each of these special people in my life, knowing that each one of them loved me; on this particular evening, the connections were stronger than ever. One friend even shaved her hair off in support.

We took so many videos and photos of that evening, and I will always remember shaving off my hair as the wonderful experience that it was.