• Not needing support group anymore?

    Asked by cllinda on Wednesday, January 11, 2017

    Not needing support group anymore?

    I joined a support group the first year I was diagnosed. And I learned a lot. Some things really helped. But being 4 years out from diagnosis, I feel I really don't need this group anymore. Has anyone else felt like this? And is it ok just to walk away? Also, there is always an influx of new people and I don't always feel like sharing my life story, again. We go around the room, stating our names and when we were diagnosed, and what we went through, and I'm just not thinking I can be helpful.

    22 Answers from the Community

    22 answers
    • Carool's Avatar

      For me, I continued going to the MSK adjuvant treatment support group for almost a year after my treatment. After that, I felt as you do (also, the time of the group interfered with my job). I was welcome in the group as someone who was a longer-time survivor, and I'm friendly with the two social workers who led the groups and who still do, 17 years later, and one of them saw me when I went for my mammo in the spring and asked me to come by one afternoon. Sorry - my response is all about me! My attitude is, you don't feel like continuing, you shouldn't. Four years is a long time!

      6 days ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar

      I think everyone ha's to make their own decisions. I totally understand where you are coming from.

      I never joined a support group (except this one) so will not face the question. But, what I think I would do is consider if I have good friends there that I enjoy, if my contributions are truly helping someone else all that much, whether I am personally gaining anything at all from my participation.

      For example, I don't see myself leaving here because there are so many people who participate here that I really care about. I want to know how and what they're doing. If that wasn't the case, I probably would have dropped out of sight long ago. And, I wouldn't have felt guilty about it in the least.

      5 days ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar

      I agree with @Carool and @LiveWithCancer. Do what feels right to you.
      Each support group is different. The one I belong to has a speaker each month in addition to support discussions. We're very upbeat and we also work to raise funds for our local foundation, which supports cancer patients/families in need. As soon as I joined I was assigned a Reach to Recovery volunteer. For me, the group is largely a social outing, and we have members who are 20+ years out of treatment as well as newcomers who are undergoing treatment. I still go because I enjoy going. I also facilitate a support group, so I know it's perfectly natural for people to come and go.

      5 days ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar

      I never joined a support group mostly because of the difficulty getting to meetings. And because I had bad experiences with the divorce support groups I joined after I left my marriage. Secondly there is so much cancer here that almost any group has what I have nicknamed "the cancer clique" whether it is a political party meeting or Bible Study those who have had cancer seem to all sit at the same table.
      WhatNext however gives lots of useful information. People share real links to good information. Also I don't have to leave my cozy apartment to communicate with fellow cancer survivors
      I do thank all those who stick around on WhatNext. .

      5 days ago
    • Songwriter's Avatar

      What are we chopped liver....? LOL
      YOU have valuable info and support to newer patients.......you can help them...
      Shorten your story and be there for important info for them...

      5 days ago
    • andreacha's Avatar

      cllinda - I agree with all the others thus far. The choice is yours. And Songwriter certainly had a point about you being in the position of supporting and informing newer patients. I didn't understand what you said about having to repeat your history to the new people all the time and answering the same questions, again and again. If anyone wants to know your backstory they only have to click on your screen name and it shows all the info you have shared with whatnext. I'm not very active in writing on the site but I log in regularly and always find it full of valuable information - even if it is about another type of Cancer than I have. If you decide to leave I'm sure we all wish you the best. If you stay all current members and newbies will be enriched by your personal experience.

      5 days ago
    • Carool's Avatar

      I understood Cllinda's comment to mean that she (you, Cllinda) is referring to a 3-dimensional group, not us! So calm down! Kidding!

      5 days ago
    • Lynne-I-Am's Avatar

      I belong to two online support groups. I joined the sites shortly after being diagnosed three years ago. I stay on the sites because of all the wonderful people who have supported and informed me, and because in return, I want to support and inform others. Perhaps now, four years away from diagnosis, it's time to graduate from the close support you needed in the beginning, and leave your local group.We WhatNexters really value your input though, so hopefully you will still be a presence on our site.

      5 days ago
    • Lindy's Avatar

      Your choice, my group closed I believe due to some friction between our founder & those in charge where we met. I miss them, enjoyed their friendship and the efforts we made for each other. My dearest friend from the group died of a secondary cancer around the time that we lost the group, it would have been helpful to grieve her passing together.

      5 days ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar

      I'd say it's entirely up to you and how much you treasure your in person group. Because of transportation issues, this *is* my support group, and What Next has been a God send when I was a patient in active treatment. I got lots of support here and am happy to give it whenever I can. The only thing that's missing is hugs live in person. When I was in active treatment, I would have gladly given my appendix for someone to come over just to hold me and let me hold onto them. Even if you do decide to leave the local group, why not keep in touch with the friends you have made? Then you would have your friends no matter what. HUGS and God bless!

      5 days ago
    • MLT's Avatar

      Actual physical support groups seem to be dwindling in this area. We are lucky to get 5 people. The BC group has 3 usually. I think so many people are going on line for support. Although I remain active in one, this group is the BEST! I have had more contact with other women thru friends. Meeting someone new soon, she works with my son. Have made many new friends this way. You can still keep up friendships you have made. Follow your heart.

      5 days ago
    • Lisajean's Avatar

      You should do what you feel is best. Maybe you can limit your involvement and only attend every few months. It is nice for those newly diagnosed to hear from someone who has been through it all and is doing well. You might want to check with the moderator, some groups don't allow this.

      5 days ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I understand what Cllinda means by rehashing your story. I belong to a meditation group sponsored by the hospice that helped my mom. They have a 6 week workshop, then we all mean once a month if we want to continue. Whenever a new class "graduates" and we have a bunch of newbies, we circle round the group and explain who we are and who we lost and blah blah blah. Usually, it's just a circle to check in to see how everyone is doing. But it does get tedious. And, of course, a support group could get newbies in at every meeting, potentially.

      5 days ago
    • TeacherTracy's Avatar

      I was diagnosed five and a half years ago. I have missed only three Mondays in that whole time, Group is my lifeline. I love group and I am devastated that next Monday will be my last due to a job change.

      5 days ago
    • Songwriter's Avatar

      Tape your story and play it for them...

      5 days ago
    • geekling's Avatar

      I was at an AlAnon meeting last night with a gf. When my turn came I said hello my name is and that there wss nothing in particular I wished to share but I was grateful for company.

      In truth some of it was unpleasant or boring as poop but aI am happy I got to spend time with my gf.

      5 days ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar

      I agree with your feelings on repeating your story. If I go to a new doctor and have to repeat my medical history, it upsets me. I'll be in a funk for days. I went to a support group once and never went back. I could not relate at all because my situation was so vastly different. I talked to the leader after group and told her my feelings and she did validate what I was feeling. She had said that the stage IV people had formed their own group because they have unique issues being stage IV. I'm stage IIIc so I don't have the same issues as stage IV or stage 0/I/II folks. Not going to a support group works well for me and I've returned to being happy, relaxed, and positive (most of the time). I figure if I have a problem in the future dealing with cancer thoughts maybe seeing a therapist would be an option for me. My mom was different. She went to a breast cancer support group for years and was very involved. It provided a lot of meaning for her. We are all different that's for sure.

      5 days ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      All the above comments are great, and I have another idea. Why not show your Question/problem as written to the person leading the support group, and make suggestions? After that if you want to, don't feel guilty about leaving. (I don't think it's at all interesting to go around the room stating your backstory every time! There are probably plenty of oldies besides you who don't want the repeats!) There's also a privacy issue. Nobody needs to hear all that. In my opinion, the leader is just filling up time because she doesn't want to plan a program.

      I went for years to a Fibromyalgia Support group that was wonderful. After the meeting, we spontaneously (not planned) went out to eat and had fun with people "like us" and became friends who emailed and knew what was going on with each other in between meetings. Then they started meeting for weekly lunches, even take-out in a park, and became more of a fun group of friends. (That's really what "support" means, so that should be the goal to some degree.) Having friends who understood the unpredictability of fibromyalgia was so good for everyone.

      Instead of going around the room for the repeated backstories, why not have speakers---a nutritionist, a massage therapist, a health food expert on supplements, etc.? Then have a few questions if somebody wants to ask about other problems. You may find you need a whole meeting about what to do about. . . .

      Another thing you could consider is dividing up the group into Just Diagnosed and Cancer as a Chronic Illness. . . .if needed, discuss planning for the end?

      I personally think a support group should be supportive, as in friends, just as much as for information, because it's nice to have friends who understand problems in your life. I remember tearing up the night I realized I had found people like me (with fibromyalgia) who were struggling to appear normal to hold a job, etc.---i.e., if you tell people your health problems, they may want to force you to resign or to discredit you.

      4 days ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Another idea is to start your own support group for your stage, even telling your current leader, for people who are in remission, maintaining healthy habits after cancer diagnosis. Make an announcement to tape up in Oncologists offices at check-out desk.

      In any group, the leader should periodically ask for suggestions to make meetings better and what is needed from participants.

      4 days ago
    • cllinda's Avatar

      Everyone has given me something to think about. Thank you. And now I have almost another month before this group meets again.
      It's not that I am not in any other group, I do an art class at the hospital, and I'm in a knitting group that meets every Friday that knits and crochets for charities. It's just this other group that I am not happy with any longer.

      3 days ago
    • Jesse0218's Avatar

      I think that our needs change as we go through our cancer journeys.
      If you feel you aren't getting anything out of your support group, then maybe you've outgrown it.
      You have other activities that you're more involved in and you seem to enjoy helping others.
      For myself, I find sometimes I go days in between reading even the e-mails that are sent out every day. I just don't have the time.
      I'm also very involved in other activities and really don't like thinking about the fact I even had cancer.
      We're all different and maybe it's just time for you to focus in a different direction. Is my opinion, shared a couple days late because I haven't had the time to read the e-mails.

      2 days ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar

      Cilinda, I agree with Jesse that maybe you've outgrown the support group (in spite of what I posted above)---I think I was too focused on making the group better. It sounds like you're well adjusted and have moved on, which is a support group's goal for you! Best wishes!

      2 days ago

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