How Can We Help?
For many people upon hearing the diagnosis of cancer, their first thought is, “Will I die?” And for those who have just heard they have breast cancer, the next question in their mind may be, “Will I lose my breast?” While most women don’t die from breast cancer, and most don’t lose a breast, these remain major fears.
Talking about your feelings can be difficult. However, it may help you to accept the diagnosis and cope with those ups and downs during the journey ahead. Sometimes talking to friends and family is not enough and you may want to talk to other health professionals such as nursing staff, a social worker, a counsellor, a support group member or a pastoral care worker.
If you find it difficult to talk, try keeping a journal. Writing is a good way to sort out feelings and start dealing with them. Emailing or keeping in touch by texting can be a good way of sharing without talking. Find a way that is right for you. In dealing with your fears and feelings, be patient with yourself. Remember that healing, both physical and emotional, takes time.
Would you like to talk to someone who has had breast cancer?
Our Buddies do not offer medical or treatment advice and we always recommend in the first instance to seek such information from your medical team but we can listen and have a weatlh of information about resources available to you.
Breast Cancer Support Service Buddys can give you a call, meet for coffee or come to an appointment with you - the amount of contact is really up to you and your Support Buddy to decide. Some of our buddys and the people they support have become strong friends.
Evening Support Group
Metastatic Breast Cancer Group
Metastatic Social Group
"It's not a pity party." Fiona McAllister, Breast Cancer Survivor
Evening Support Groups
Tuesday 12 September 5.45-7.15pm All you wanted to know (and more) about breast reconstruction @ Da Vinci Clinic, Cameron Rd
Tuesday 10th October 5.45-7.15pm Supporting your children when breast cancer happens in the your family with Play Therapist, Melanie Gilbert De Rios @ 56 Christopher St
RSVP by calling us at 07 5713346.
Partner Support Group
Tuesday 24th October, 5.45-7.15pm @ 56 Christopher St
The support that partners provide to those who are undergoing breast cancer treatment is so important but it can take it's toll on partners too. This group is an opportunity to meet up with others who are supporting their partners with breast cancer. Our facilitator is James Hamilton. James has a great deal of experience in working with groups and most importantly James is the partner of someone who has had breast cancer.
RSVP by calling us on 07 5713346
@ BCSS Lounge, 56 Christopher St, Tauranga
Tuesday 3rd October 10-12 midday
Educator: Kath Vickers
gold coin donation please
Lunchtime Support Groups
Wednesday 20th September @ Dixon St Church Hall, Papamoa. Nicola Mayos will join us to talk about breast care products such as prostheses, bras and swimwear.
Wednesday 18th October @ 56 Christopher St. Hear Prof Shaun Holt talk about what the research says about complimentary therapies for cancer. Donation requested please.
RSVP by calling us at 07 5713346
Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group
Starts 10.30 am @ BCSS Lounge, 56 Christopher St, Tauranga
Wednesday 4th October 2017
Facilitators: Natasha Greig-Merritt and Ngaire Laker-Metz
A complimentary service designed to provide a 'helping hand' for those going through a difficult time.
Please note that the services provided by Helping Hands should not take the place of any services that may qualify for a WINZ allowance. To find out more about Helping Hands call us on 07 571 3346 or email us.
Exploring and understanding what's happening in your life
Counseling offers an opportunity to talk to someone who will listen without criticism, and who will keep what you say confidential. Coming to counselling does not mean that you are 'crazy', rather that you have decided to explore new ways of dealing with what life is offering you.
Our Counsellor is Michelle Burling, a qualified registered counsellor with more than 3 years counselling experience (including two years as a student counsellor with us back in 2014-15. We loved having Michelle as part of the team back then - so much so that when we were looking to contract a qualified and experienced counsellor Michelle was our first choice!
A donation of $10 per session is requested for this service and there are evening appointments available as well as day time.
A counselling session may last up to an hour. Sometimes one session is all that is required, some people come for more regular sessions and sometimes they may have long periods between sessions. You can email the Service Support Team to make an appointment or to discuss your support options or call on 07 571 3346.
Gentle massage can be a good way to help ease stress and anxiety while you are coming to terms with having a breast cancer diagnosis and for some it is an effective way to relieve pain. Hands to Heal delivers oncology massage for our clients on Tuesday Mornings. If you would like an appointment just contact us.
A donation of $10 per session is requested for this service.
Sometimes it's hard to absorb all the information being given at the time of your diagnosis, as you may feel overwhelmed by everything happening.
The comprehensive library features books both informational and inspirational, written by both medical professionals and breast cancer survivors. Books cover a range of topics from diagnosis to recovery, how to tell the kids, how to tell your friends, from complementary therapies to embracing life. Feel free to come along and see if there is something that answers your questions, inspires you or gives you focus.
A sample of the books available:
"Sink or Swim - when life becomes precious, you don't waste a moment" - Shelley Hanna
"Why I wore lipstick to my mastectomy" - Geralyn Lucas
"I am not my Breast Cancer - women talk openly about love and sex, hair loss and weight gain, mothers and daughters, and being a woman with Breast Cancer" - Ruth Peltason
"Healing foods" - Miriam Polunin
"Can I Still Kiss You? - Answering Your Children's Questions About Cancer" - Neil Russell
"My Mum's Got Cancer" - Dr Lucy Blunt
"The Breast Cancer Survivors Fitness Plan" - Carolyn M Kaelin, M.D., M.P.H.
"Fighting For Our Future - How Young Women Find Strength, Hope, and Courage While Taking Control of Breast Cancer" - Beth Murphy
"Your Life In Your Hands - Understanding, Preventing and Overcoming Breast Cancer" - Professor Jane Plant
Our Support Workers know our library well and can help you to find what you are looking for
Andrea Fairbairn is a NZ writer and has had breast cancer twice
When someone you love is diagnosed with breast cancer the most important thing you can do is listen.
The first time you see them after hearing about the cancer is often the most difficult. Don't ignore the illness. Acknowledge it and let them talk about their concerns if they want to. You may find it helps you be more understanding if you know a little about the type of cancer and the treatment involved. People with cancer often have big mood swings. It can take several months to adjust to a diagnosis, so be prepared for changes in behaviour. Don't let their bad days put you off - keep in touch!
- Listen - everyone reacts differently. Some will want to talk about it, some will want to talk about anything but the diagnosis. Listen for what they want and don't be afraid to ask what they'd like to do.
- Attend - offer to go with your friend to appointments or treatments. Often there will be a lot of information for a patient to absorb and it is hard when your head is spinning. A friend focusing on the information may help to pass it on later.
- Chores - Fold the washing, do the vacuuming, mow the lawn, weed the garden, take the children to school, prepare a meal, but do it without making them feel inadequate.
- Be specific - asking for help is not easy. So when a friend says, "Whatever you need, just give me a call", it's hard for someone to make that call. It's better to be specific and ask, When would you like me to come over and help with some of the chores - Tuesday or Thursday?"
- Family - don't forget that the person's family will be going through a lot of emotions and changes in their routines as well. They will need support too.