Therapy is a very personal decision. Depending on where you are in the diagnosis, treatment, or grieving process it may vary greatly for each caregiver. A great place to start is to talk to your hospital social worker for recommendations on group, individual, or family license therapists that are familiar with the unique challenges when caring for someone undergoing cancer treatments. I share with you my process as it’s helped me acknowledge, grieve, and move through one of the darkest times in my family's life.
Shortly after my son was diagnosed with A.L.L., I knew I had to surround myself with other caregivers and parents. I knew I needed additional support from a community whose mission was to support families after a cancer diagnosis. I was so grateful to be welcomed instantaneously into the Why Me & Sherry’s House community, based here in Worcester, MA. I participated in their monthly parent support night a month after my son’s diagnosis. During that first meeting, I could barely get his story out through my sobs. Everyone there completely understood and to be honest just sitting there in that room gave me a sense of strength and hope, that we too will “get through treatment” and that “it will get better”. Sherry’s House has become a second home to us and I’m so grateful to have that community as a lifeline especially during the first year of treatment.
I didn’t feel the need to jump right into a 1:1 session with a therapist. At the time, I didn’t feel like that type of therapy was what my heart needed. I didn’t feel like just talking about everything was going to make it all better. I felt like I needed a retreat, time away to hold space for me in the chaos. While searching for a retreat, I came across a different kind of therapy called the Grief Recovery Method Program. What intrigued me initially was “grief recovery.” I knew I was grieving and I needed to recover!
The Grief Recovery Method Program was an 8-week program that was definitely worth the investment. It not only helped me with my son’s diagnosis but with other roadblocks that prevented me from being my best self. After completing the program, I felt like an elephant was lifted off my shoulders and I had a new sense of confidence. Now that my son is in Long Term Maintenance and we’re going to the clinic monthly, life is beginning to balance out (never thought that was going to happen). Our strong family and friends along with the oncologist team provide us with platforms to be transparent and reach out for help, or a quick check-in when needed! For that, I am so grateful.
If you'd like to learn more about the Grief Recovery Method Program, I speak about it in depth on one of my podcast episodes. Listen to it here.