Breast Cancer Support
Finding a breast cancer support group
I found this paragraph on the World Health Organization. I felt it succinctly spoke about the family, friend and support person costs of cancer.
Cancer can be equally, if not more, distressing for family and friends. Family income loss, social isolation, family tensions and adverse effects on daily functioning in the family may follow closely on the occurrence of cancer. Similarly, health care providers are not immune to the psychosocial effects of caring for people with cancer. Workers who frequently see sick and dying patients, or who cannot provide assistance to their patients in the manner they want, are at risk for staff burn-out. This syndrome is characterized by emotional exhaustion and de-personalization of the patient and has been linked to job absenteeism, insomnia, substance abuse and physical complaints.
Source: World Health Organization
You will be able to find a breast cancer support group by asking the following organizations:
- American Cancer Society
- Canadian Cancer Society
- Your local hospital
- Your local breast cancer clinic
By typing in Breast Cancer Support Group into your search engine.
Breast Cancer: Support for Children
TBS Editor's Note: As a six year-old I lost my mom to heart disease. First she was confined to her room and I was scolded for making any noise lest I disturb her. The she disappeared and went to the hospital. At the time (early 60's) I was not allowed to visit the hospital because of my age. Once I was allowed to stand in the parking lot and wave at a shadowy figure that was suppose to be my mom. Then, she died. Not a single adult had the courage to allow me to grieve that loss. Instead, we didn't talk about it. Mom was a daily constant in my life and then just like that she wasn't. It took me years to piece the results of that loss together.
Talk to your kids. They already know something is going on because they are picking up on your changed mood and anxiety level. The Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (www.y-me.org) offers a detailed page of what to say to your kids and it is broken down in different age brackets. If you are in a group of breast cancer survivors, check to see if other members have children the same age as you and see if you can arrange a play date. Kids can often be a wonderful source of support for each other.
As you learn more about your condition continue updating your children. And try to give them as much love and attention as you have energy for.
Breast Cancer: Support for Spouses
A breast cancer patients spouse or partner will also require some support during our illness or else they may burn out. No matter if the significant other is a man or women, it will be important for them to listen to the newly diagnosed persons feelings and fears, to learn about various treatment options and to become involved in the daily routine and care surrounding the illness.
This can be very challenging to accomplish.
The Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization (www.y-me.org) offers a guide titled When the Woman You Love Has Breast Cancer, which details the various stages of breast cancer and offers suggestions for the spouse or partner. These tips include self care.
Do not allow yourself to get burned out. You may feel guilty about self care, when in fact; proper self care will extend your ability to offer support. See if you can connect with other partners and spouses whose partners are undergoing breast cancer treatment. You will be able to make these contacts through your local cancer society.