My name is Sara Rosner, I will tell you a personal story about coping with cancer and all its aspects. In February 2004, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I felt my entire world collapse around me. How would I cope when I knew that just four years ago, my husband got cancer and died a short while later.
I am a mother of four sons, the youngest of whom is now 12 years old, how can I tell him that his mother also has the disease from which his father succombed? I had many fears, how would I continue functioning as a mother? What would happen to my children if I was unlucky like my husband? How would I function as a teacher at my school? Many questions ran through my mind but I had no answers. In March of that year, I underwent a tumor removal surgery and I was then told that I would be needing chemotherapy for half a year, and even then it wasn't certain that the disease would disappear. The fear was unbearable, at the hospital they suggested that I join a support group that was forming at the Israel Cancer Association, dealing with the specific cancer that I had. I was happy to receive advice from Michal, an oncology social worker.
The first meeting was the initial encounter with a large number of people suffering from the same disease. Three women whom I had never met before greeted us with a warm welcome at the entrance to the hall, and when they introduced themselves and their positions: Orit, Arza and Shlomit, I understood that I had a support system and that I had someone I could talk to about any question I had regarding the subjects relating to our specific disease, such as employee-employer rules, rights that we were entitled to from National Insurance and income tax, family related problems, and psychologically coping with the disease. I was frightened when I heard the members of the group talking about how they were diagnosed with the disease and the various treatment methods.
Hearing their stories left me uncertain and fearful of what tomorrow would bring, before I began my treatments. Each session was attended by different members, both women and men, however unfortunately, most of them do not attend the meetings on a regular basis which has a negative impact on the group's bonding and the support we give each other. We meet regularly on Sundays, at the beginning of each month, and unfortunately, there are more and more new patients at each meeting, and they are in exactly the same state I was in several months ago. Today I am three months after treatments, and there has been a complete regression of the disease. I continue to attend every meeting. I have no doubt that this group gives us support and strength to continue dealing with the disease and also helps us in the aftermath.
The meetings are moderated by Orit, Arza and Shlomit; additionally, there are guest lecturers invited to speak about relavant topics, and who share information with us, as a group, about medication and diverse modern treatment techniques.
Kudos to those who initiated this project and who assist the group with the bonding process with great love and assistance - and thanks to whom our spirits are lifted.
You may reach Sara by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org