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Chemo suite party and the value of support

Posted Jul 09 2012 3:48pm
July 9, 2012 - Posted by tamilb

Jonny Imerman, founder of Imerman Angels, which brings survivors together

Okay, maybe the title is misleading, but I’ve been doing quite a bit of socializing in the chemo suite my past two treatments. I came today with my headphones expecting to do some quiet meditation and ended up chatting with two young survivors and an older woman who shares my love of travel. It felt good to be able to offer support to the young women on my left who was having a really rough time with chemo. I told her about Pink Ribbon Girls , a local group that provides support and services like housekeeping to members in treatment. And I thought, “I should be doing more of this.”

Just now (after typing this last sentence), I received a call from Imerman Angels , an organization that I volunteer with that matches angel “mentors” with newly diagnosed survivors with the same diagnosis. They asked if I’d be willing to mentor another stage IV breast cancer survivor. Of course I said yes! I found out about Imerman Angels when I met its charismatic founder Jonny Imerman, a young man who, after completing treatment for stage IV testicular cancer, decided there was void to be filled. I included him in From Incurable to Incredible and am proud to call him my friend … along with thousands of other people.

One thing I’ve learned is that I am sometimes on the receiving end of the support when it comes to the people I mentor. When I was going through hell after my biopsy, I received the sweetest emails from Elizabeth, who lives in Seattle. Marina, who was my first angel match-up, often gives me just the right words of encouragement. We were going to get together on my recent trip to Chicago but it didn’t work out because of complications from her treatment. I always say that what I give, I get back tenfold. It certainly holds true when it comes to this blog!

There have been numerous studies on whether or not support groups improve survival rates. The results are mixed, but they all showed it improved the quality of life. I’m not one for support groups; I prefer one-on-one or activities that are fun and keep me active. And I love the spontaneous support that comes when you put a roomful of people together, tethered by IV poles that force them to interact with each other! Every person I interviewed for From Incurable to Incredible mentioned support as a major factor in their remarkable survival. I think there’s something to it. And I believe giving it is just as important, if not more so, than receiving it.

So today, I sat in my chair for my second treatment of Cytoxan, feeling grateful for feeling well, being able to travel to Chicago to visit my great uncle, cousins and the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Treatment . I was swimming laps this weekend, and my husband said he was thanking God I was doing so well. It was less than a month ago that I could barely move from chair or eat a meal. My talk with my chemo suite friend who shared her travel adventures with me inspired me to go ahead and reschedule a trip to Seattle we planned but had to cancel because of my treatments. My talk with my friend on the other side of me who was not doing well sealed it for me. Carpe Diem! While I’m well I’m going to seize the day.

Hey Cincinnati friends, you’re invited!

Tami Boehmer, the author of “From Incurable to Incredible Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds” discusses her research on cancer survivors who didn’t accept doctors’ predictions–people who beat the odds and her journey to write these stories. Her book features 27 cancer survivors who were given a terminal diagnosis, but shocked everyone by thriving years past their prognoses. These “miracle survivors” have different cancers and circumstances, but share two things: a poor prognosis and an incredible drive to overcome it.
Author Lunch Sponsor: The Legacy Connection. Thank you Peg!
July 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

The Legacy Connection, Cincinnati

Location: The Legacy Connection

10945 Reed Hartman Hwy, Ste 104
Cincinnati Oh 45242
Cost: $25.00 per person
You can show up at the door! Hope to see you there!

This entry was posted on Monday, July 9th, 2012 at 3:48 PM and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the feed. You can , or from your own site.
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