On this journey I have had the opportunity to talk to many different people. Some medical professionals that have taught me about the disease, but the most inspiring have been the many women that have been touched by breast cancer in their lives. From them I have learned much and been motivated to stay positive. Through these amazing women I have been introduced to three specific support groups: (1) Sharsheret, (2) Unite for Her, and (3) Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia.
Sharsheret, a friend told me about. She had learned about them through work and thought it might be a good resource. Sharesheret is a non-profit that supports young Jewish women and provides a network of peers, health professionals to talk to you and other related resources. I have been amazed by the support. I was sent literature that was very informative, and a pillow that has been extremely helpful to keep my left arm positioned properly when I sleep. In addition, when ever I have reached out, there was someone to answer questions, and provide me guidance. A fun fact (not), 1 in 40 Ashkenazim Jewish women get breast cancer. I had no idea my risk was so high.
Unite for Her is a Delaware valley non-profit started in 2009 by Sue Weldon. She is a cancer survivor that struggled during her journey to find integrated therapies to complement western medicine in curing her cancer. I attended a wellness day last Friday and was blown away by the amount of support, education, and resources they have amassed for women with breast cancer. This year they will help over 1100 women. I learned so much at the wellness day; some which I knew and other things that are helping me find the proper vetted resources (acupuncture, massage, yoga, Reiki, and nutrition) much quicker.
In addition to all the integrative therapies, Unite for Her is providing me with an 8-week CSA share starting at the end of May. On Friday they gave me a sample of what the CSA share will be. OMG! So much food for one person. Get ready, I will be having evenings at my house to help me eat all the vegetables. No worries, I will cook what I need for the week, but what is left I want to share. This way, my Lions can also learn more about plant based eating and creative ways to cook vegetables. Maybe we can even find a chef to teach us a few tricks?!?!?
The final support group is Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia, a choir friend introduced me to. She too is a cancer survivor and found the local chapter through her journey. I was invited to attend a monthly meeting just the other night. It was such a welcoming and fun group of women that make a point of not letting the disease become their life. The conversation ranged from catching up on news of everyone’s lives, talking about current medical challenges, as well as sharing tips and tricks I was grateful to learn before I start my treatments. One of which was that Beets are good for helping to cleans the liver. I guess I am going to have to find recipes for Beets that I can stomach. I hate beets.
I also received some good news this week. The genetic testing came back and none of the genes came back positive for cancer risk. This means that I do not need to consider other surgeries or treatments to eliminate/minimize the risk of getting colon cancer or ovarian cancer. Of course, this does not eliminate colonoscopies or other tests which we all should be getting. Have you scheduled yours?