#Stage4Lifer: Finding Support from People Like Me


I’m not sure I can say that I found support; rather it found me.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had just started working on the telemetry floor of Bethesda North Hospital and at the time, had absolutely no idea that this was to be one of the greatest sources of support – it was. Even three days before I had my mastectomy, a handful of the nurses and I walked in a breast cancer walk (and have done it every year since). there always seemed to be support around the corner after my initial (Stage III) diagnosis. It seems like during those first years after diagnosis there was always someone to offer support in some form or fashion.

However, The day I got the “official” news that the cancer had metastasized is a different story – I felt like I was on one of those rides at an amusement park where the “bottom drops out” – I often wondered if I had imagined it, but cards and letters seemed to stop – it was as if no one knew what to do or say now that there was no end in site to treatment and they certainly didn’t understand the diagnosis. I couldn’t even seem to get answers out of my oncologists office as to what my life would be like. So I did what everyone does – I turned to Google to find my answers.
It was then that I found LBBC and spoke with an LBBC volunteer – the thing that I was craving at that time was someone who knew and understood exactly what I was dealing with – I don’t remember her name, but we discussed the changes in her life after diagnosis and what I might be able to expect in my own.
I tend to be what I call “self contained” – support groups and the like have never been my ‘cup of tea’ – I have always felt my coping skills were good enough, but having a diagnosis like MBC really opened my eyes to the need for contact with “people like me” – someone who understood without my having to explain myself – that became my motivation to approach a local breast center to start a support group specifically for Stage IV patients – our needs are different, are concerns are different – pink ribbons are often isolating for us – but what combats that isolation is contact with other with this nasty disease – I have found a couple groups on Facebook as well, even that minimal contact can be amazing and the difference between isolation and feeling conne

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