Mother-of-two Elissa McVey is living with an aggressive form of brain cancer. Looking for support, Elissa contacted Cancer Council NSW and was referred to the brain cancer telephone support group. Here is her story.
When I first heard about the Cancer Council telephone support group, I rang 13 11 20 and the coordinator, Sally, got back to me to give me more information. I decided to give it a go, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
I felt a bit awkward my first time in the group – you’re talking with people you’ve never met before, but it’s not long before you realise they’re people just like you, who have been through the same or very similar experiences to you. We understand what it’s really like to have a brain tumour and the effects it has on you. We all have a good sense of humour, can have a laugh but be serious too.
I tend to shield people with things but through the group, I don’t have to worry about hurting the people I love. I can be totally honest.
The group is like a casual chat with friends and I really look forward to it. There has been one time since I joined that a group member has died – that’s the nature of our cancer – we were all upset about that and took the time to talk about the person and the good things about them. You really to know people after a while.
I feel much less isolated being able to communicate with likeminded people. The people in the group are the only people who can truly understand what I have been through and what I have lost. A person with cancer may have carers, a husband or a wife but unless they are feeling these things and going through them themselves, it’s a bit different. I tend to shield people with things but through the group, I don’t have to worry about hurting the people I love. I can be totally honest.
I’d really recommend this service to other people going through cancer. The group brings you up – it’s not all doom and gloom. We talk about serious things, but then we move on. We have a really positive group and if I’m having a bad day, it makes me feel better.”