Recently I was invited by Diane Riche of Ovarian Cancer 101, to attend their first Gynecologic Cancer Support Group. I said yes immediately, wanting to support the efforts and outreach work for such an important cause. The meeting took place last night.
What happened between being asked to take part, and actually going to the meeting, was nothing short of a roller coaster ride of emotions, driven by fear. Would I feel comfortable sharing my story, with all its intimate details? Would I hear something at the meeting that terrified me? Would I learn a new piece of information that shook my beliefs about my own prognosis? Would my already fragile state that often comes with having Cancer, be further eroded, letting in new fears? So many things to worry about, causing sleepless nights and a barrage of seemingly endless thoughts about what could happen. I have never gone to a support group for these very reasons, protecting myself from any possible attack on my already fluctuating state.
So it was with much trepidation that I walked up the stairs of the meeting location. I was first greeted with colorful balloons, which couldn’t help but bring a smile to my face. Once inside, I was met with the warmest greetings, as if they knew that this was a difficult step for me. Our facilitator, also a survivor, immediately put me at ease. Diane Riche also helped to relax my rattled nerves. So I was thinking at this point, that I might be able to share my story, and not run for the door!
As we each shared our story, I realized that I was not alone. These women understood, experienced, and empathized with many of the same emotions and fears I had gone through. As we talked, I felt my guard coming down, opening up my vulnerability to the possibility of this being a powerful, life-affirming event. With each “I felt that too!” or “That happened to me too!”, I realized I was exactly where I was meant to be.
When the meeting was over, I felt so grateful that I had come, and so grateful to these inspiring women. Sisters in support, who in one short evening, had come to mean so much in my life. I will always have the fears of what I might hear, but I do not have those fears alone. My sisters understand.
‘Til Next Time,