Posted by: 2in10 | 09/06/2011

facing cancer together

Here is an excerpt from an email I received today from Facing Cancer Together ( This organization is the successor to The Wellness Community of Greater Boston that was forced to close its doors a few years ago when major funding dried up.

I tried many of the programs at The Wellness Community in the first two years I was recovering from ovarian cancer and treatment. I was able to introduce myself to yoga, gentle fitness/pilates, how to do cancer research on the web, nutrition, and more. It was easy to try new things because they didn’t cost a lot. I subsequently co-lead a book group on the subject (no surprise) of getting well and staying well.

I don’t write about the intense feelings that come with a cancer diagnosis, so I thought what appears below was worth pondering and I quote from the email I received:

We need the help of people like you.

You know better than most what it feels like to have your life upended with a diagnosis of cancer. You know better than most what it feels like to live with paralyzing fear. And you know better than most what it feels like to find a community that knows exactly what you’re going through and helps get you through the worst of days.

Jacqueline Harris of Boston, who participates in our Writing for Healing class, puts it simply: “I cannot imagine where I would be if I had not had the support of Facing Cancer Together. There are many people in my life who don’t like to hear me speak about cancer or feel uncomfortable when I do, and the benefit of Facing Cancer Together is that I can go there and talk about my cancer all I want, and get validation and support.”

I like Ms. Harris’s comment that there are many people, often those closest to you and who love you the most, who don’t want to hear how you are feeling about cancer. They have heard enough already or they need to keep cancer off the table. Besides, unless they have had a cancer diagnosis themselves, they truly don’t know what it’s like to be dealing with cancer — even if they think that by being close to you, or loving you, they do.

I disagree with Ms. Harris’s use of the possessive, “my cancer.” Peggy Huddleston coached me not in any way to take ownership of a disease that I wanted to get rid of, so I would simply say, “cancer.”

Be well, and if you are inclined, join me in contributing to Facing Cancer Together.



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