I’m unsure if there’s a place or gathering spot for care partners to release their inner anxieties when told that their loved ones have lung cancer, but I would say it is indeed a necessity. The conversations and the way some conversations begin can be deep and more trying than any board meeting or other conversation that is not life-threatening. The movement and expectancy are quick, and either you have it in you to act on your feet or ask the right questions or not.
A group for the group
Unlike alcoholic anonymous, there is no specific struggle that necessarily affects the care partner. The experience and spiral of lung cancer is a process the lung cancer survivor has to go through, but it doesn’t quite mean that family and friends are not affected in some form or another.
Why the need to talk out the process of what is happening to your loved one?
As care partners, we carry a lot on our shoulders without uttering true thoughts and emotions at that time. It’s a good idea to have a group that discloses those emotions that make you anxious about what is happening or is about to happen. It’s just good to express those raw emotions without upsetting the actual patient. Though it's normal for the patient to ask "Are we okay with what is happening?", it’s good to withhold the truth for those who may already feel that they are a burden because of everything and everyone that is now affected.
Take out fear
It’s a scary business and it’s okay to feel the thoughts and emotions that come with lung cancer and the patient experiencing it, as well as experiencing this along with them. There’s no shame to talk it out and talk it through, and having a safe space with no judgment about how you’re really handling this heavy plate that you’re now a part of.
Where and how
Interestingly enough there are not many listed groups such as this, but that doesn’t mean you can’t possibly start one up. It doesn’t even have to be that serious of a commitment, other care partners are probably on those visits you take with your loved one every week. You may all chatter amongst each other or bump into each other at the coffee machine. How about taking those subtle conversations to the next level? You may be surprised how much these same co-warriors share with you on the low, If this type of group is not heard of or available perhaps speak with the hospital's social worker to see if they can set up this extended conversation.
Cancer is a heavy bag and the patient carries so much on their shoulder, as well as all of the care partners who not only want to be a positive vessel for their loved ones but to also express what they too are coping and dealing with as a supporter.
The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile...when you feel like it.
Where have you found the most support during your lung cancer journey?