Do you remember the exact date and where you were when you first learned that you had breast cancer? I'll bet you do. Scary feeling, wasn't it? Within five minutes of my diagnosis, my mind was a whirlwind of thoughts and questions. Who do I tell first? How do I tell them? When should I tell them? How much should I tell them? Why should I tell them? Even though I knew that my husband of 40 years would be by my side every moment of this journey, and that he would be my main support, I felt completely alone and scared to death.
Having been an avid computer user for many years, and an editor for novelists for the past 25 years, my first step was to go online and try to learn as much as I could about the type of breast cancer that I had. I actually learned little because I was not familiar with the terminology being used and quite frankly, not much in the mood to learn more at that time.
Even with my aggressive and outgoing nature, I could not see myself sitting in a room, probably in a circle, with women I didn't know and talking openly about ... what? I knew so little then. I wanted to learn, but not that way. I didn't want to be regimented, having to be someplace at a given time on a given day to listen to problems of other women and to share mine. During those beginning steps in my journey, I really didn't know what I wanted. I needed a safety net, but I didn't know how to get it. I needed a safe place.
Researching online was not new to me, since it was often necessary when editing (accuracy of facts, dates, etc.) I looked at several online support groups for women with breast cancer, read a few of the postings on different sites, and got even more depressed. Everything seemed too rigid and almost cold. Just facts. Of course, I needed that, but I also needed warmth and comfort.
The next day, while waiting to see my new oncologist, I chatted briefly with a young woman who had accompanied her mother to the same doctor. She told me about this friendly site that her mother went to and how much she had learned. She couldn't remember the exact name, "Something like ... BC Team or My Team," she said. I hit my computer as soon as I got home and it took only seconds to find MyBCTeam. I read for hours.
Happy postings and sad ones. Women sharing more information than I have learned from my doctors in seven months, especially about medicinal side effects and how to cope with this horrid disease. No need to use your real name or identify yourself if you don't want to. Any screen name will work. No criticism ever, just encouragement and helpful advice. Real advice from real women who are traveling this difficult journey, and they are doing it together with unimaginable strength and grace. There's always someone who will lighten the pain by posting something to smile about. That's when I knew ... This is the group I want to be a part of.
This article was written by MyBCTeam member Penney as part of the Member Spotlight Series. Penney is a retired dance instructor, property manager, and novel editor who loves to stay active and spread positivity on MyBCTeam.
Do you want to be a part of the MyBCTeam Member Spotlight Series?
Let us know here: support@MyBCTeam.com