Every cancer survivor can recall turning points in their journey, times when others smoothed the way, ironed out the wrinkles and were extremely supportive during a stressful time.
I fondly remember receiving a packet in the mail between my diagnosis and surgery in the fall of 2014. It was from Norton Cancer Institute, Louisville, Kentucky. Inside, was a wealth of information about the resources available at the institute (NCI), including its prostate support group.
I was adrift in an emotional sea of confusion and chaos. But being part of the support group only weeks ahead of my surgery played a big part in restoring balance to my life. Fellow members had gone through the very same surgery (robotic prostate removal) that I was about to encounter. Their steady, calm reassurances made a positive difference. I will always be grateful to them.
I’m also grateful to the group coordinator, Cheretha Hall, RN, who is a patient navigator with the NCI Cancer Resource Center, who showed me genuine concern and compassion. Cherri was the first of many NCI professionals and facilitators with whom I have had the pleasure to know and appreciate over the past five-and-a-half years.
Maggie King teaches a Jin Shin Jyutsu class that provides a self-help art and technique while Tami Combs is the leader of my Monday guided meditation group. With their guidance, I have gained new skills to help reduce my stress and anxiety. In addition, Anita McLaughlin, clinical nutritionist, helped me to get a good grasp on healthy eating habits. I have also received tremendous moral support and friendship from patient navigator Gina Morrison, RN, and her great staff at the Cancer Resource Center at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital. They regularly remind me of programs that fit my interest areas.
Norton Cancer Institute’s programs are a family affair. My wife and caregiver Tanya and I have attended programs on nutrition, winter skin cancer care and bone health for cancer survivors. Programs provide information and a chance to get acquainted with others traveling a similar journey. We also hope to take advantage of the music and art therapy offerings.
All in all, NCI is a great partner for someone traveling a cancer journey. I know, and I highly recommends other travelers to check them out!
© Ron Cooper 2020