Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Friday, October 11, 2013
Breast cancer patients and survivors do not have to travel the road to physical and emotional recovery alone. There are programs at Smith Mountain Lake that offer a wide range of support, from transportation to treatments to helping patients pick out wigs and makeup to addressing emotional needs.
The Breast Cancer Support group meets the second Monday of every month at the SML Discovery Shop on Scruggs Road. Cancer patients, cancer survivors and family members of breast cancer patients are part of the group.
"People think it is going to be a downer, but it's not - it is a lot of fun," breast cancer survivor Dee Kropf said. "It's a great, upbeat supportive group of women."
Kropf, who has been cancer-free for the better part of 13 years , is an active member of the group. About a third of those who regularly attend have been cancer-free for five or more years. That serves as inspiration to women just starting their treatment, Kropf said.
No topic is taboo, and the women are able to ask questions they might be afraid or embarrassed to ask their doctors.
"I had reconstruction and I show people what that looks like. I had work done on my good breast to make it look like the other. At this point, I'll show anyone my breasts; I have no modesty left," Kropf said with a laugh. "We share like that in the group."
Although not as well-known as the breast cancer support group, Reach to Recovery helps patients cope with their cancer by pairing them with a survivor who has had the same cancer and treatment. When people first find out they have breast cancer, they commonly feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and alone. During a stressful time, they also must learn to understand complex medical treatments and then choose the best one. Reach to Recovery volunteers are trained to help by providing comfort, emotional support and hope.
Kropf is a Reach to Recovery volunteer. She said patients typically ask questions such as, ‘I'm taking my treatment and I'm really tired; is that normal?' or ‘How long does it take to grow your hair back?'" Kropf said.
They often seek advice on how to talk with their children and other family members about what is happening. Kropf sometimes shares her treatment experiences and explains why she decided on specific lines of treatment.
Reach to Recovery is offered through the American Cancer Society. The organization has other programs in the SML area such as Road to Recovery, which gives cancer patients a ride to and from treatment. Volunteer drivers donate their time and the use of their cars so that patients can receive the life-saving treatments they need.
Look Good Feel Better is another ACS program that helps cancer patients boost their self-image by improving their appearance. The day of beauty helps them feel better about themselves and more hopeful about their futures.
For information on the American Cancer Society's programs, visit www.cancer.org.
The Discovery Shop at Smith Mountain Lake, 400 Scruggs Road, Suite 500, Moneta, VA 24121
Weather JournalStorm track isn't very snowy for us