Sunday night, I attended the first meeting of a support group, for women with metastasis, at Beit Natan.
When I arrived, exactly on time (!), five other women were there (six, if you included the facilitator, a social worker who specialized is psycho-oncology, who I met at the Beit Natan retreat). (read more about the retreat here and here)
I already knew four of the women: TK, my friend from chemo; Y, who was part of my couples group at Ma'agan; P who is in my art class at Ma'agan; and L, who called me when I was first diagnosed, thanks to Beit Natan, to offer support (she has been calling and supporting me ever since). (Y, P, & L were also at the Beit Natan retreat).
Then E arrived; I recognized her from chemo. Then C, who I recognized from the retreat.
At 6:15, we were 8 women. After a brief introduction, M, the facilitator, led a short relaxation excersize, including a guided meditation. At around 7:00, two other women joined us. One came from work, and the other explained that she had chemo that morning and had to wait until her nausea subsided to join the group.
They were just in time for a "getting to know you" excersize. M placed about 50 cards on the table. Each card had a stylized pair of glasses. Each woman chose 2-3 cards, to represent how cancer affected/changed us.
* a pair of glasses with happy masks -- to represent how I want to appear, and how I want other people to respond to me; also to represent the effort necessary to be happy (something that used to come so easily, with no effort at all...)
* a pair of glasses with two figures, freely dancing -- to represent my love of dancing, and the fact that I can no longer dance; I will never realize my dream of going Israeli dancing with my daughters, and I can no longer really dance at weddings and simchas (I can do the "old lady" thing and dance without bouncing, but, even then, I am forced to stop as soon as my hip hurts...)
* a pair of glasses with yin-yang symbols -- to represent my search for balance, to do everything I can, without doing too much, and for seeing the advantages and disadvantages to every situation, even cancer.
By the end of the meeting, we were 10 women; ten mothers, most in their 40's, most with kids at home; some with kids younger than mine, others with older kids (some with both); all struggling to live our lives they way we want, despite living with cancer.
It was a good meeting.
I look forward to the next one.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,