Dana Foss believes that most cancer patients would be pleasantly surprised to learn that preconceived notions about a support group simply aren’t true. As facilitator of the Touched by Cancer Support Group at Heartland Cancer Center, Foss can dispel each of those notions.
For example, she outlined, misconceptions include:
- You have to come to every meeting.
- You have to talk at the meetings.
- You don’t have any say in the topics to be discussed.It’s the same old thing every time.
- It is depressing.
- You have to be careful of what you say.
“None of these things is true about our support group,” Foss said. “Our members enjoy a warm, welcoming environment where they can feel free to speak up or keep to themselves. Whatever makes them comfortable.”
\The group meets at 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month and 5:45 p.m. on the third Tuesday at Heartland Cancer Center, 204 Cleveland.
“They can attend when it fits their schedule,” Foss said. “Everyone is welcome at every meeting but if you want to attend only one or only a few, that is certainly fine. We are here to accommodate.”
Participants may feel free to suggest topics for discussion or speakers who can share specific information. Recent speakers have included a pharmacist and a representative of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Wichita. Topics can include anything from nutrition to financial aid.
Foss, a 19-year cancer survivor, noted the group also enjoys special activities throughout the year. These include bringing Christmas carolers to chemotherapy patients, picnics, dinners out at restaurants and the balloon launch to celebrate Heartland Cancer Center’s birthday each September.
Paula Brozek of Great Bend, who was diagnosed with breast cancer Sept. 25, 2011, said the group has been invaluable to her and her family.
“It is a very positive group and we are eager to welcome new faces,” Brozek said. “And believe it or not, there is a lot of laughter. There is absolutely no pressure and you can trust each other to keep confidences. For example, a member recently expressed anger at her situation; she was able to get it off her chest with people she could trust.”
Brozek, who is undergoing radiation treatments at Heartland Cancer Center, noted her support group activities also benefit her family. “They have to listen to my concerns, my fears all the time,” she said. “While they are a tremendous support group themselves, family members need a break now and then.
“In the group meetings,” she continued, “everyone completely understands the position you’re in. Cancer is such a life-changing event that I am surprised more people don’t seek the camaraderie of the support group. These new friends are certainly helping me get through my journey.”
One of the main attractions for Brozek is the opening and closing prayers at the meetings. “Faith plays such a big part in this,” Brozek commented. “I don’t understand how people can get through a cancer diagnosis without faith in God.” For more information, contact Foss by calling 620-793-5811, or Heartland Cancer Center, 620-792-5511. Heartland Cancer Center is part of the St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center family.