I remember the first time we met. Patients in treatment at CINJ can attend programs offered by different departments at CINJ that educate and support cancer survivors. So one day in November of 2005 my IV pole (chemo attached) and I took the elevator up to the 2nd floor for a workshop on how to get through the holidays when you have cancer and are in treatment. Ellen ran the program that day and talked about food, interacting with family and prepping for the holidays. Instead of feeling guilty about not being able to do the things we usually do at the holidays she recommended starting new traditions. That is just what I needed to hear since I was the type of person who always went a little over the top at the holidays- decorating, shopping, coooking etc.
A while later Ellen took over as program director at the Wellness Community in Pluckemin. I started to attend the Gynecological Cancer Networking Group as well as some of the other wonderful programs they offer. After returning from the Livestrong Survivors Summit in 2006 I approached Ellen about ideas I had. She guided me on how to approach CINJ to start a support group there and also reigned me in so that I would not head off in too many different directions and loose site of my goal of raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer. After I attended Livestrong day in DC in 2007 , Ellen and TWC willingly hosted a workshop"Advocacy 101" where Betty Gallo and I talked about how cancer survivors can advocate at the state and national level.
Yesterday we spent time just catching up - talking about how we were feeling, how our families were and my new home. I was glad too that Karen a TWC social worker who runs the Gynecologic Cancer Networking Group could join us for our chat since I haven't been to group in many months. I shared with Ellen and Karen how I was feeling about my role as a cancer advocate and where I want to concentrate my efforts as an ovarian cancer advocate. I love sharing ideas and plans with Ellen and Karen . They listen carefully and then provide advice that is right on target for me.
TWC is in an old house so when I was done speaking to Ellen and Karen I went up the center wooden stairs to see Eunice, Executive Director and Patty, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach.
TWC building is a warm comfortable place to visit but the people inside make you feel welcome at any time - making you a cup of tea - just like old friends would. Ellen , Karen , Eunice and Patty have always been there for me.
Every Day is a Blessing !