Sunday, November 12, 2006

Support Group

I went to a support group meeting for the first time today. It was for breast cancer survivors, organized by Singapore’s Breast Cancer Foundation. I’d always dreaded and avoided support groups of any kind because I saw them as a bunch of people with nothing but an affliction in common getting overly emotional and sharing too much. I have to confess I also saw going to support groups as a sign of weakness. I suppose it’s a bit arrogant, but I really didn’t think I needed support from a roomful of strangers.

But this meeting turned out to be far from what I’d expected. Most of the women there were interested in sharing information, not tears. And I think I was able to help a few women who had questions about their treatments. But mostly, I’d like to think I gave some of them hope. All the women there were Stage 0, I, or II. It must give them some hope to see someone like me with Stage IV cancer, up and about, alive and kickin’. Of course, I can’t let them down by dying, so that’s one more reason to stay alive.

I suppose support comes in all shapes and sizes. Today, mine came in the knowledge that I was helping other people. I think in some way, I enjoyed being the most serious case there -- almost like a soldier with the biggest battle wounds. It’s good to survive a battle. But it’s even better if you can tell your story to others fighting similar battles, so they can see that they, too, can win.

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