By Ginny Hicks
My friend and stage IV lung cancer survivor, Rick Rose, and I decided to start a lung cancer support group in Medford, Oregon. We contacted Lung Cancer Alliance for guidance and we were provided with a helpful manual with great ideas for procedures, topics and troubleshooting. We enlisted the help of our local hospital to spread the word and our newspaper ran an article about lung cancer and the support group.
We met on December 5, got to the room early to arrange the chairs and to make sure everything was ready. We had no idea how many people might show up. Coffee and tea service arrived and we kept our fingers crossed that our idea was a good one.
We had 13 people attend and whew, the pressure was off! Introductions were made and one woman spoke who had just been newly diagnosed. Her voice was weak and her hands trembled as she shared that this was the first time she said, “I have lung cancer,” out loud. She was devastated, alone and had told no one. Everyone in our group offered supportive comments, ideas and helped her to feel she most certainly was not alone. Rick pointed out to her that he saw her smile a few times and this made her smile more. She took lots of notes, asked questions and then confessed that she had told her cat and he didn’t believe it either. That brought a good laugh to us all!
A social worker joined the group about 45 minutes before we ended the meeting and she made a special effort to connect and offered lots of support to our special guest. The experience was positive for everyone in attendance. We all felt how good it feels to help someone dealing with the emotional pain of a lung cancer diagnosis. We’ve all been there and we’ve all worked through it at one point or another.
The group consensus was that the first meeting of Medford’s Lung Cancer Support Group was very successful and everyone said they would come back in January.
I guess we did have a good idea!
Our National Lung Cancer Support Group Network consists of over 100 lung cancer support groups across the country. Connect with fellow patients and caregivers in your area today!