On Tuesday, Kristen and I (and Annika) drove in to Saskatoon to meet with the brain tumor support group. I remember noticing posters for the support group when Kol was still in the hospital after his diagnosis and surgery, and at the cancer clinic during his radiation treatments, but this was the first time we actually were able to attend.
I was nervous - I didn't know what to expect, and those of you who know me well know that I don't always enjoy new social situations. It helped that a friend of ours met us waiting for the elevator (she's an event planner and was attending the meeting to discuss upcoming fundraisers for the Brian Tumour Foundation). It also helped that within a few minutes of entering the meeting room, I was called upon to help figure out how to get a laptop connected to a projector and get various things (DVD, photo slide show) working on the laptop.
It really helped when the meeting started, and we got to hear the other members stories - of their own journeys with brain tumors, or for some, their journeys caring for someone with a brain tumor. We had a chance to share our story, and it felt good knowing that the people listening could understand a lot of what we have gone through. It was good to see people who are many years into their journey and still going strong.
One of the members talked excitedly about an alternative therapy that Kristen had recently read about. There were a large number of teachers (former and current) in the group. We also discovered that we were connected to several members via common acquaintances.
But what really cemented it for us was hearing one member comment "They were serving sugar [candy] to cancer patients! Are they crazy?" and seeing many others nod their head in agreement. It seems that whenever we mention to someone (even at the cancer center) that we've cut sugar out of Kol's diet, we get questions and the occasional funny look, but here? They understood! The potluck table also featured dishes made with lentils, quinoa, and organic ingredients.
The meeting ended at 9:15, but we stayed talking for half an hour afterwards. It was a good group to be with, good to know people who can really relate to what we are going through, and we are looking forward to the next meeting in December.