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Support Groups

April is always a hard time for me although it’s Spring.

Spring brings forth “new life” yet it’s also the time when I visit my late father’s grave. I am late this year because I have been having project-after-project the past few weeks but I know he will not mind.

He’s the kind of father who does not get jealous…he just understands and quietly hopes that you’ll remember him. I hope he knows that I think of him a lot and speak of him with the kids.

My son remembers his grandfather because we show him photos and he’ll share whatever he recalls of my stories with his little sister.

I know how much he’d loved my son but I know that my daughter would be the apple of his eye simply because she’s such a cheeky little monkey. Both of them are the perfect chatterboxes to match their grandfather.

Next Sunday is my colleague’s wedding and I think we have *another* event on Monday, which is Labour Day. You may think that I should miss my colleague’s wedding but I think I will not, especially as she’s one of the genuinely nice persons I know.

Anyway…when my father was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, I had to research on it because all of us were stumped. We had NEVER heard of such a cancer before and we were mystified that one can even get such a cancer.

I also joined a couple of support groups and one of them shared with me exactly how he felt because my father was too tired for me to grill him with questions. However, after my father died, I left the support groups because I just could not take it. I hope that the guy survived – he was inspired to set up a blog too.

Are support groups helpful?

  1. As with any discussion on a debatable topic, you always need a balance of opinions and views and facts and experience. I’ll find such support groups useful for a healthy balance of views.

2. Hear everyone out. I am that type of person who will hear what everyone (except for the one with the aggressive, endless sales spins, or the bull dozer who thinks “I am always right” or the ones with the bitter, nasty comments – they’ll definitely get a timeout from me) has to say and then make a decision, I find support groups an invaluable source of information.

3. If you’re looking for a support group, I’d advise you to read up on ALL you can and do not just be swayed by ONE opinion (the one who created the support group, the supporters of the group creator). Avoid cliques and those who have a herd mentality. In other words, do not follow like sheep.

In my humble opinion, here are the especially scary groups simply because they are on the extreme right or left:

  • the faith healers – “Your faith will heal you”, “fight the good fight” or “you’re a hero”. I have personal experience with such groups that prop up the cancer patient with a false sense of belief (even delirium) and hope that they are getting better although their primary caregivers can see that they are walking skeletons.
  • the drug abuse or drug dependent groups – “I will only trust my doctor. My doctor says that I cannot eat this…” Have you ever thought that your doctor is a ONE doctor who is in charge of 40-50 patients on a daily basis? The human brain is an amazing machine that can store a vast amount of facts who is bombarded with a barrage of information, suffers from lack of sleep and have family problems. A doctor is also HUMAN, like you.

As a child who has always asked “Why?”, I do not accept an instruction or a prescription until I understand the reason behind it.

Be a voracious reader and researcher.

Find out all you can.

Do your best to understand what you’re dealing with and make your decisions based on them.

All the best in your search and I hope that you’ll be blessed with amazing humans who will help you on your healing journey.

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