The Cancer Support Community means so much to so many people in Greater Ann Arbor.
Here are a few stories from members about how CSC has impacted their lives.

 
 

My name is Carol. I am a cancer survivor.

There are few experiences in life more frightening than the moment you are told you have cancer. Except maybe the moment you are told you have cancer a second time.

My first cancer struck in the midst of a beautiful love story. I’d kissed my share of frogs and finally met my prince. Indeed, the women’s magazines at the time were saying I had a better chance of being kidnapped by terrorists than finding a spouse at my age!

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But I had beaten the odds. Then, an irregularity on a mammogram left me facing a different kind of odds – the odds of defeating Stage II breast cancer. For 14 years it appeared we did – until I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. During diagnosis and treatment, I had complete confidence that my oncologists were working hard to defeat my cancer. But when treatment ended, who was going to restore me physically and emotionally? Who would help me reclaim my sense of well-being and regain my footing? Who would care that my spouse, and constant caregiver during weeks of treatment, had suffered beside me?
I’m relieved and pleased to say that the Cancer Support Community filled those roles for us. My husband and I enrolled in a whole range of interesting and enriching classes and workshops, including yoga, guided meditation, healthy cooking demonstrations, and even a research study on how patients and caregivers cope with cancer.

No one should have to go through cancer feeling lost and helpless. Thanks to CSC, no one has to.

My name is Sue. I am a cancer caregiver.

Rod and I have been married for 46 years. He found out he had cancer about a year ago after having a chronic sore throat. He was diagnosed with throat cancer and eventually lost the ability to eat. Every morning, I had feed him through a tube before his chemotherapy which took 2-4 hours each time.  He now has completed treatment and eating again. Thankfully he has been given a clean bill of health.

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Coming to the Cancer Support Community on Tuesdays was helpful because we could come together. I attend the caregiver group and Rod attends the patient group. It helps to hear other stories and puts our experience into perspective. When Rod was having treatments it was helpful to realize that other people are going through the same thing.
The Cancer Support Community helped us get through the toughest days. Now I feel like I can give back to those who are struggling. It has been good for both of us to realize there are different phases of the cancer experience. The Cancer Support Community helps us stay thankful for every day we have together.

My name is Chloe. I am a cancer survivor. 

When I discovered a lump in my right breast I was 36 and busy balancing a career and a family with my husband and our 5 year old little girl, Rosie. I struggled through five months of chemotherapy. I had more questions than I had answers and I wanted to talk to others who had been through this. The Cancer Support Community was just what my family and I needed, when we needed it.

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I started with yoga. My body had been feeling really broken. At CSC I didn’t have to feel awkward about my body or wear a wig (imagine bending down into a pose and my wig falling off!). Soon after we signed Rosie up for Kids Kicking Cancer, a martial arts based program for kids. My husband and I got involved in a couples support group, and then we all joined the family support program together.
Going there allowed Rosie to feel comfortable with cancer. She could see that she was not alone, and that I am not alone. We’ve never wanted her to feel awkward, or ashamed. At the Cancer Support Community she can see that other kids have bald moms too!

I know we have a long road ahead. I am so grateful the Cancer Support Community will be there for me and my family, and also for all the amazing survivors that I have met there.

My name is Gerry. I am a cancer survivor.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer in November of 2006. After completing a clinical trial I have been on traditional hormone therapy since. I found the Cancer Support Community a little over a year ago and have been coming to the programs ever since.

I have found that the groups provide understanding and empathy.

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We help each other with a lot of different things and share information. We support, motivate and inspire each other. We encourage one another to incorporate changes in our lives that may enhance our chances of doing better.
I am currently working to become a volunteer at the Cancer Support Community. It’s my effort to give back to a community that has been so freely giving to me. I look forward to every Tuesday night. I love going there; The Cancer Support Community has helped me so much.

My name is John. I am a cancer Caregiver.

My wife Gwen and I lived in Ann Arbor for more than 40 years. On April 5, 2006, Gwen was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer, and on November 12, 2010, she died from the disease. At the time of her diagnosis we were told that she could expect to live six to nine months. Much of her ability to far exceed her original prognosis can be attributed to her dogged determination to live life to the fullest and not allow the disease to define her.

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Her pluck and steadfastness in battling the disease was also a result of the support she received as a member of the Patient Support Group at the Cancer Support Community; where I also was bolstered in my role as caregiver through my participation in the Caregiver Support Group. We were proud of our status as “charter members” of both groups. After Gwen’s death I benefitted from taking part in the Bereavement Group at the CSC.
Many members of the group I attended remain life-long friends; I remain connected to staff as well.

Throughout her illness, Gwen encouraged me to continue leading a happy, meaningful life after she was gone. The CSC and the resources it provided enabled me to prepare for Gwen’s death and its aftermath, and gave me to certainty to enter into a relationship with a wonderful woman to whom I am now married. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel for the loving kindness shown me by everyone associated with the CSC. Thank you.

My name is Mary. I am a cancer Survivor. 

My cancer journey began with a pain near my right shoulder blade. It was nerve pain – not a common lung cancer symptom. The X-ray didn’t show a problem because the tiny tumor was hidden by a rib bone. As my pain increased, so did the trips to the doctors. An MRI showed the tumor had grown through 3 rib bones and onto a pile of nerve cells by my spine. The biopsy showed lung cancer.

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While I have a wonderful husband, there is only so much you can expect from your very best caregiver. I was emotionally and physically devastated from this cancer and needed someone to talk to. Then I saw an article in the paper about the Cancer Support Community. It sounded exactly like the cancer community that I was missing.
I still attend my support group each Monday and appreciate what I get and what I can now share with others. I always sit in the black chair by the window – the one where I can position myself just right so my tumor has a soft place to rest and I can pull my knees up into my chest and cover my nerve damaged feet with a blanket. Even though my treatment has ended, I know I still need my group. I still live with tumor pain and neuropathy, and I still get overwrought at the thought of going in for a CAT scan! For me, the Cancer Support Community is about the giving and the getting; the asking for help and helping others; the listening and being listened to. The Cancer Support Community helps.