Tuesday, 18 March 2008
This Room Full of Strangers
The third and final group I joined is a Metstatic Breast Cancer Group. This group meets every Tuesday from 1:30 to 3:00. There are usually ten people involved in the group at any given time, along with two therapists named Jill and Irene.
They say this is the group that you don’t want to belong to, as you have to be Stage 4. I know I certainly don’t want to belong. However, I couldn’t wait to get on the band wagon as I read in Greg Anderson’s ‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things To Do’ that people who join a support group live twice as long as people who don’t.
During group therapy, we begin to see that we are not alone and that there is hope and help. We also see that it doesn't matter what we do, we are going to die sooner than everyone else. I know that it is horrible to say this, but it is comforting to know that other people have similar difficulties and have been in the same place you are. Some may have already worked through a problem that deeply disturbs another group member. You can share the strategies that worked for you.
At the start of every group we use to do a bit of relaxation/imagery for about ten minutes. That has seemed to fall to the wayside right now. Then either Jill or Irene ask one of us how our week was. I guess the person to be asked first, looks either the most pathetic, worried, had some tests, or for that matter, has the droopiest eyes.
We discuss our week, our worries, cry, laugh, and cry again. When someone talks about their children it is really heartbreaking. When we know someone is getting worse it is heartbreaking. When we hear the words “They won’t give me any more treatment.” “It is now in my liver.” “It is now in my brain.” It is terrifying. It is just the beginning of the end all over again.
Don’t forget that this is a room full of strangers. A room full of strangers who become very intimate friends very fast. You love these people, you care about these people, and you care about these people’s families. These people matter. These people die.
My pain at losing you is overshadowed by my joy of knowing you. Rest in peace sweet friends:
Live in peace sweet friends:
I hate that you have cancer. I hate even more that I have cancer. You are all too lovely to have cancer. I am too lovely to have cancer.
God bless us all, this room full of strangers.