U Of M Conference Offers Comfort To Cancer Survivors
April 23, 2016 6:20 PM
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It sounds like it would be one of the best things you could ever hear — “You are now cancer-free.” But for many, life after cancer isn’t as idyllic as it sounds.
It was 2003, life was in a good place for Ruth Bachman of Eden Prairie, a new grandmother. That was supposed to be what defined the next chapter.
She had a lump that just kept reappearing.
“It was a soft, non-painful lump on the inside of my wrist,” Bachman said. “The MRI showed a 6 inch mass that began in my hand, filled my wrist and extended up my forearm.”
It was a soft tissue sarcoma.
“My chances of survival were better if I was willing to have amputation, so I got to choose life,” said Bachman.
A life that ever since hasn’t looked the same says the formerly left-handed woman.
“I had to learn how to write, put on makeup, eat. Cutting meat is really hard,” said Bachman.
To come to a moment of humor took time and a lot of pain — pain the men and women filling a U of M room can relate to. Dr. Anne Blaes is an oncologist — she helped establish this conference — to comfort cancer survivors. They have workshops on dealing with anxiety, fear and depression, on how to monitor recurrences and how to get back in the job force.
“What do patients want to hear? They wasn’t to hear about ‘How do I stay well? How do I get back on my feet?’” Blaes said.
It’s working according to Bachman, who attended the conference.
“To be together with a group of people who have all reached the point where they are living life after cancer is really a remarkable event,” she said.
“One of my goals is that they feel they are part of a community. The second is to feel like they’ve got some resources and some tools on how to sort of regain, reenter into life and living, and feeling well, not focused on being sick,” Blaes said.
Something Bachman knows is possible. Just because you aren’t what you once were doesn’t mean you can’t be great.
All cancer survivors, no matter where they were treated, are welcome to get support from the Cancer survivor program