We are constantly looking for better ways to meet the needs of our clients and caregivers. Whether you are looking for a group of people with whom to share your cancer and treatment concerns and ask questions, or whether you have been told to exercise and are looking for a program that is helpful but not strenuous, check out what we have to offer.
Also, remember that hours are expanding starting January 10: open Mondays from 9:00AM until 7:00PM. Tuesday-Friday open from 9:00AM until 5:00PM.
Examples of new and revised programs for 2011:
- Tai Chi ..a 6 weeks movement program…. helps with relaxation and pain management. Starts Wednesday, January 5 at 5:30PM. Call to reserve your spot. Susan Swardenski facilitates.
- re-Energize! …an exercise program for people of any ability…restarts Tuesday February 1 and meets every Tue & Thursday at 6:00PM. Courtney Berger facilitates.
- The Whipple Group is changing its name to Pancreas, Gall Bladder, Bile Duct Cancer Support Group. The name better describes who the group is for and expands the number of people eligible. Whipple is the name of a surgical technique often used with these types of cancers, but not everyone with one of these diagnoses actually undergoes the Whipple procedure. Meets 3rd Wednesday at 6:30PM. Amy Solaro-Geraghty facilitates.
- Reminder of a general cancer support group: Turning Points. Meets 2nd Tuesday monthly at 5:30PM. Peter Albertson facilitates.
- Caring Touch massage program. Call to schedule an appointment.
All the above groups meet in the Healing Arts Center of Cancer Services, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825.
- The South Side Group …a NEW general cancer support group…for those people with any kind of cancer ( and their caregivers) who are looking for a support group on the south side of town. Meets at Lutheran Life Villages, 6701 S Anthony Blvd., entrance under the portico. Meets 3rd Wednesday each month, 6:30PM-8:00PM starting January 19. Helen Claire Ferguson facilitates.
Some of our cancer-specific support groups have disbanded, so we encourage individuals interested in attending a support group to try one of our general cancer support groups.
Please call Gail Hamm at 484-9560 or 866-484-9560 if you have any questions about these or other programs offered by Cancer Services or if there are other programs you would like Cancer Services to offer.
by Gail Hamm, Program Director
There is a certain tension between caregivers and patients- a delicate dance, if you will. Each tries to protect the other. And even if communication was good before the need for caregiving, there may still be times of conflict and hurt feelings. Important things may not be said because it is difficult to talk about the “elephant in the living room.” At other times, it is difficult to understand each other’s perspective.
I have watched this dance play out in many ways. From the perspective of the cancer survivor (a person is a survivor from the day of diagnosis, by the way)… I have heard this person ask, “How do I get my family to accept the new me?” Sometimes the “new me” looks, acts, sounds, ambulates, or eats differently from the “me” before diagnosis and treatment. The “new me” is who he is now, and cannot go back. There is no choice. The survivor is making accommodations to survive and thrive in his new way of living. It takes a lot of time and perseverance to assume the new mantle of self, find meaning from the experience, and survive day-to-day. In addition, he may also be short- tempered and frustrated, and just plain not feeling well.
It can be difficult for the caregiver to accept the “new me,” precisely because there is a “new me.” Out of love, the caregiver offers food and advice. And when the survivor refuses or only eats a little, the caregiver can become extremely frustrated. There may also be the unspoken fear that, “If I don’t feed him, he will die…. it’s my responsibility to nurture my husband and keep him alive.” There is a certain feeling of impotency and helplessness in not being able to protect and save our loved ones.
Caregivers, out of their love for the survivors, are struggling to provide assistance, but what they are offering may be rebuffed…not out of diminished love or caring, but because the survivor wants to do it in his or her own way. To the caregiver it feels like rejection. To the person being cared for, it feels like smothering. In either case, both are trying their best to maintain relationships while dealing with a new lifestyle for which no one asked nor planned.
If you are in this situation, I highly recommend the support group venue as a way to share triumphs and dilemmas. Others have dealt with what you may be experiencing. In coming to a support group and sharing, caregivers and survivors are bringing problems out into the open and finding solutions. Listening to others provides new perspectives and renewed energy for the caregiver/patient dance. Cancer Services offers a variety of support groups. Check out the possibilities at cancer-services.org or call 260-484-9560 or toll free 866-484-9560.