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Support groups for cancer - family and friends

My involvement with support groups for cancer consisted of family and good friends. It was positive, encouraging and a healing experience.
 

In my despair, I was looking for relief and tranquility from within. I knew that it was me, ultimately, that needed to find my own inner strength and peace.

Being full of uncertainty and fear, it did present a challenge.



Squamous cell tumors on neck grew inward to tonsils

Unfortunately you may not be close to family or friends and there’s no doubt you have fears and emotions over your diagnosis of skin cancer or other type of cancer raging through your mind.

Then you should find a cancer support group in your area to help cope with the anxiety and stress accompanying cancer.

A support group can help you through your immediate tough decisions, struggles and to live longer.

Ask the social worker in your hospital or your doctor about support groups available to you. Look on the internet for support groups available in your area and also read the stories contained in sites like this one.


It was through my family and friends that I found the best support groups for cancer. Whether I was in the hospital or at home, I found the burden lifted.

I needed them and they gave me encouragement!

I don't think they know how helpful they were.


After having chemothera[y with my wife and daughter

Before my treatments ever started, you can believe that I needed support. I was the only one who could possibly understand the things that were racing through my mind and the decisions that were facing me.

When one finds someone who shows some compassion and genuinely tries to understand; it's like finding a precious stone!

I really mean that; a person like that is helping to bring calmness and healing, even though they don’t realize it.

Support groups for cancer patients and caregivers as well, are one place where you can find some people like this. People who have never known each other finding some common ground and encouraging one another, and for a short time not even thinking about their problems.

The most precious stone I have is my wife and immediate family members.

They’ve been there every step of the way, early on and through the hardest times.

The hardest times I experienced were the treatments.

It was then that I needed more support than ever. Then, as the chemotherapy, major surgery and radiation began, times got really rough …and I know I wasn’t the easiest guy to live with during this time.



After chemotherapy, followed by surgery, just before radiation

Still yet, they were there!




When the treatments were over, I never actually joined any conventional support groups for cancer.

What I did do, as one who was drawn towards alternative treatments, was find counselors who practiced healing by using nutritional whole foods as the best medicine. I actually did this before my conventional treatments ever started. I combined this with the conventional treatments and it has helped me to still be among other skin cancer survivors, over 20 years.


The alternative cancer support that I found came from several counselors who all had organized groups made up of people with various illnesses.

Through them I found my support group for cancer. Some did have some type of cancer and others had various other health problems. The groups provided help for cancer patients and all the others as well.

It was a great source of strength for me.



Again I have to say, my greatest support came from my wife who has been there for me before any of the support groups for cancer and still is to this day. She spent many entire nights with me when I was hospitalized and would bring me great nutritious food that she prepared at home as I wouldn’t or couldn’t eat the hospital food.

I know that she needed support as well as I did and we both were dealing with stress. We both needed support.

She was put in the position of being a cancer caregiver, as well as a wife with a cancer stricken husband.

This all happened within one year after we were married and had our first child.

She’s a good woman and a strong woman. I’ll always appreciate how she stood up with me and I love her dearly for it....forever!


From my perspective

From the perspective of being a stage 4 skin cancer survivor, I don’t know if I can express how much support cancer patients need.

I know that it’s not always easy to know what to do or say.

But do put some real thought into it. You may know the person very well as a spouse, brother, sister, father, mother, son or daughter. It is a time to put any differences aside and just love them.

Put your self in their place and LISTEN to them. When they have something to say, they want to be heard. If they sense you are not listening, it doesn’t help.

This is a time for you, as a caregiver, to put other things aside, stretch your self, and provide what they need. Love them.

They may want to ask for your help in some way, but find it difficult to ask. Try thoughtfully to offer suggestions of anything you can do to help.

Let them decide, don’t push them and LISTEN.

If it’s appropriate and you want to make plans with them for something in the future, that can be a positive thing. It can give the patient something to look forward to.

Be flexible and don’t force anything; it’s their decision.

Listen when they’re sad and discouraged. Just holding their hand can offer more than telling them “everything’s going to be fine”.


But hold on ...because I know that spouses and immediate family members also need support. It places a great weight upon their shoulders, so it's not only all about the cancer patient.

Other information on Support Groups for Cancer

Don't Let Pain Medication Replace Real Support

Despite Cancer - life and living in spite of cancer

Despite Cancer is written by Merry Jennifer Markham, MD, a hematologist-oncologist and assistant professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. She cares for people in all phases of the cancer experience, from diagnosis until the final outcome – whatever that may be. She specializes in lymphomas and gynecologic cancers, and she has a profound interest in quality of life during and after cancer therapy.

Support groups for cancer and skin cancer survivors is a subject I’m not done addressing.


Do You Have A Story Of Support To Share?

YOU NEVER KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR THE VERY STORY THAT ONLY YOU CAN TELL.

If you are supporting someone with skin cancer, then you have experience, advice and encouragement to offer other supporters.

And if per chance, you are, or know somebody that is a skin cancer survivor, I invite you to Tell Your Story Here.

You'll be providing support to someone, somewhere!


Related links to Support Groups:

Pain Medication Addiction

Go from Support Groups for Cancer to Home Page


Tell Us Your "Support" Story

We often feel like we don't know what to say. You can help with your story.

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Amelanotic Melanoma
Updated July 1, 2015



"MELANOMA : “NO BIG DEAL ” IT'S JUST SKIN CANCER!

Hi! My name is Nick and I’m 56 yrs. old and this is part of my story. Let me tell you, I was like a lot of people out there and I had no idea that skin cancer was anything bad. I had Basal cell back in 2007, but that was no big deal and it was removed and that was the end of that. No one told me that it was a type of skin cancer (I looked it up on my computer). But still no big deal, it would not kill me.
But I did know the word "Melanoma"....." --by Nick

Read more of Nick's Story

Scared to Death!!! - by Shelly

Our Cancer Stories are so similar, mine and Gary's! - by Valerie  



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Bottom Line
The Weather Channel has done well posting this information and photos to help you spot skin cancer, including melanoma.
It can be hard to spot, even for a professional.
The bottom line is to get an expert's opinion about any suspicious mole or lesion on your skin. If necessary, get a second opinion  and/or request a biopsy. it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t put your very life at risk!