A few minutes ago, a young friend of mine called me to wish me a happy birthday.
While we got to talking, he informed me that he started attending a local group in southern California for under-40 cancer patients. He suffered from and continues to deal with a brain tumor. He's 39.
He told me that he didn't think he'd like the group at all, and I'm guessing that's because he would feel their pain. However, after stalling for a month, he finally got there, and told me he's glad he did. "We can bitch and gripe about stuff," he told me, laughing. "Yeah, I used to play sports and now I can't. They took my driver's license away from me. Stuff like that."
Just knowing there are other people out there, he added, really helps him. Some are in worse shape than he is, some are in better.
He added that it's amazing to him that all the women in the group are breast cancer patients. ALL of them. And many of them are in their early 30's. It's just not fair, we both agreed.
I am so proud of him, proud that he recognized he needed this kind of help. I'm tearing up now just thinking about it, thinking about him and his struggle.
The WCRC is at 5741 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. If you are interested in attending or signing up for a group, please call the Helpline at (510) 420-7900 during their business hours: Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm. A volunteer will give you the name and number of the group you are interested in. Please wait to attend the group until you have spoken to the facilitator.
• Adults with Blood Cancers and their Families and Friends 1st Monday of the month, 7:30 – 9 pm Facilitators: Gail Splaver, Ph.D., LCSW (510) 527-3871 Nancee Hirano, RN, MS, AOCN (800) 232-9997+3, ext. 37720
• African American Women with Cancer 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month 6:30 pm – 8 pm
• Amigos y Familiares de Mujeres con Cancer (en espanol) 2do sabado por mes 1 a 3 pm
• Friends and Family 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month 7 pm – 8:30 pm
• Latinas con Cancer (en espanol) 2do sabado por mes 1 a 3 pm
• Post Treatment 1st and 3rd Mondays 7 pm – 8:30 pm
• Teen Support Group for teens who have a parent or guardian with cancer – This group is on hold due to low attendance. If you are interested in joining this group, please contact Dolores at (510) 420-7900 x112.
• Women with Cancer 1st and 3rd Wednesdays 7 pm – 8:30 pm
• Women with Cancer 2nd and 4th Tuesdays 6 pm – 7:30 pm
• Women with Metastatic Cancer Every Tuesday, 5:30 pm – 7 pm Please contact the facilitator, Connie Holmes, for more information at (510) 898-0548; this is not a drop-in group.