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Why Support Groups? The Power Of Shared Transformation

Written by: Jon Kessler, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Jon Kessler

Do you get fortune cookies when you order Chinese food? Don’t most of them really mean nothing to you? But have you ever received one that really is impactful on where you are in your life or where you want to go?

Fortune cookies

That happened to me once. I opened my cookie and the fortune read “Engage in group activities that further transformation.” Wow! I thought to myself that this is what I do when I speak to groups about my message as a coach. When I am sharing my experience and knowledge with others that’s when I feel I am truly answering my call to be of service to other cancer patients.

Well, how can we as cancer patients participate in group activities? It is a very simple answer. Join a support group. There may be support groups from your cancer center or local through an organization. It is an easy way to feel accepted and be part of a family that is going through many of the same things you go through.

I made the mistake of not looking into a support group through my cancer center or locally when I was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2017. Many of the issues I was dealing with made life hard for me to live and thrive. My family and friends were extremely supportive, but they didn’t have the same experience I was going through.

The saying goes there is strength in numbers. I wholeheartedly believe that to be true. Having a disease like cancer can isolate us easily from others. We don’t want people to see us sick, we don’t want to be a burden, and we don’t want to talk about how we are feeling. However, these mindsets are counterproductive to thriving during our cancer journey. In fact, when we do the opposite of these that’s where the strength comes from.

When we join a support group, we meet and connect with other cancer patients. We become part of a family of warriors fighting the same battle we are. When someone shares the story, that may spark something in us. We might say “Hey that’s me too!” That’s when the isolation starts to melt, and we begin to feel some normalcy again. And, when you tell your story, you may have the same effect on someone else. You never know how you may help someone start their transformation!


Support groups are there for you. When you meet with your medical team, ask them to refer you to a group. If they do not have the answer, ask for the opportunity to speak with a social worker or patient navigator who can steer you towards a group that may be affiliated with the hospital or cancer center you are using. Other resources for support groups can be found by contacting the American Cancer Society. You may also find support groups by going online to the website of a foundation or organization that is there for your type of cancer.


We need to get over the desire to be alone and deal with our cancer in our own way. As part of a support group, we find a sacred place for each of us to start the transformation from surviving to thriving that I mentioned earlier in what my fortune cookie told me. I would love to hear about your experiences with being a part of a support group. Please share your story with me here.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Jon Kessler Brainz Magazine
 

Jon Kessler, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jon Kessler is a Cancer Coach, a former patient himself who works with recently diagnosed patients. He works with them one-to-one, using his proprietary program to take them from fear of the unknown to life after cancer and writing the next chapter of their stories. His motto is "taking you from surviving to thriving". Jon also presents workshops to cancer organizations and support groups around the world. He also also been featured on a radio program on the island of Dominica. He is the founder and owner of Cancer Care Coaching, LLC.

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