My first thought – I think it would be anyone’s first thought – was “I want to see my kids grow up.”
After years of unexplained symptoms, countless appointments with different medical professionals, and one misdiagnosis after another, suddenly what was “all in my head” was actually an encapsulated tumor in my colon. Then, one surgery later, it turned out that tumor wasn’t so encapsulated after all. It had already metastasized to my lymph nodes.
My cancer was advanced, and my medical team recommended aggressive treatment.
I wanted to see my kids grow up.
Of course, it’s easy to say you’re prepared to be aggressive. In all honesty, I don’t know that anyone can actually be prepared for chemotherapy. Saying it kicks your butt (no pun intended) is the definition of understatement.
I had an amazing social worker at the oncology office who was offering me all kinds of useful online resources, but I quickly realized that I needed local, in-person support. I was going through unchartered waters, and all I could think was I can’t do this alone.
And I found the Cancer Support Community. I met with one of the social workers there and became a member immediately. I actually broke down when I learned about the children’s program. I couldn’t believe that this one place not only would meet my emotional and educational needs – but also would help my daughters.
Cancer Support Community has become something we do as a family.
We look forward to the monthly calendar of free programs. The girls always ask me when we’re going back, and what we’re going to be doing. They’ve made friends with other children affected by cancer, and those meaningful friendships have extended to me and my husband and the other children’s parents.
I need to stop here for a second, and express my gratitude. Cancer Support Community provides all these programs at no cost, and when you’re living with the burden of medical bills like mine, that’s not only a blessing, it’s a necessity.
Your support each year lets these programs be free, so families like mine can get the support we need. Thank you.
Why are these programs so important for families affected by cancer? I always explain it like this:
I think we all have a life roadmap, a plan for where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. You expect to deal with the occasional pothole or roadblock along the way, but for the most part, you rely on the belief that this is the course you want to travel and this is the road you’re going to be traveling.
Cancer is, at best, a significant detour. And sometimes it means you can’t even go where you wanted to at all. You have to go somewhere new entirely. And that realization can be very, very hard.
And you can feel very, very lost.
Since coming to the Cancer Support Community, however, I feel like I’ve been given a toolkit to help guide me in charting a new course. And I feel like maybe my situation isn’t so different, because I now have so many friends driving alongside this similar journey.
I wish I could express how important that is, or how much your generous donations mean, since you make it all possible.
Each year, the Cancer Support Community sends us all a survey asking what additional services it should provide and how it can improve those services it already offers — so that those patients and families who come after us will have even more help in charting their new course.
Cancer Support Community may be a small organization, but its passion is enormous. As such, I believe we all have a role to play in this, in helping members of our community with cancer come out of this – frankly often terrifying – fog and find a new course to move their lives forward.
While we deal with the hardship of my ongoing medical expenses, our way of giving can’t be financial, but we make it a point to give back in other ways by raising greater awareness for Cancer Support Community so that others who need help know that it’s available to them, for free. I share information about the organization with everyone I meet everywhere, including in my oncologist’s waiting room.
But Cancer Support Community does absolutely rely on financial contributions to keep its doors open, to keep its programs free, and to help families like mine.
My cancer is aggressive. It’s being treated aggressively, and I’m hopeful. But I’m also grateful to know that with the Cancer Support Community, my family will have support no matter where I am. Thank you for making that possible. Please continue to make it possible.
Thank you in advance,
Galit Kantor Green