Organizers of a recent series of classes for cancer survivors listened to local feedback and added to the list of topics for the next series.
Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA) soon will present six sessions by interactive televideo (ITV) at St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center. St. Rose is a member of MCA, which is the outreach arm of The University of Kansas Cancer Center.
“Going Forward: Life After Treatment” sessions are scheduled for 3-4 p.m. Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 2 and ending Nov. 6 in the basement-level St. Dominic Room. There is no charge.
Following MCA’s first series at St. Rose last spring, it was learned that participants wanted more information on social support and spirituality. Therefore, one full session is dedicated to those topics this time around.
“When they asked for our feedback, we told them the sessions were great but we wanted more about the social and spiritual aspects of surviving cancer,” said Dana Foss of Great Bend, facilitator of the Touched by Cancer support group at Heartland Cancer Center. “We are so gratified that MCA listened and will accommodate for the next group.”
Foss participated in the first series, which was called Cancer Transitions, as a 20-year survivor of colon and breast cancer.
“Although I was diagnosed and treated 20 years ago, I still learned a lot from the MCA survivorship classes,” Foss said. “There were things I had forgotten and it was good to be reminded. It was another life-changing event.”
In addition to social and spiritual concerns, other Going Forward topics are: being active in cancer survivorship; nutrition; exercise; after-effects of treatment; and emotional health. Expert guest speakers will lead the sessions.
Susan Krigel, PhD, one of the program’s co-creators, said MCA is excited that St. Rose wants to participate again. “In the past,” Krigel noted, “we presented a different survivorship program. Now we have created our own, which is more tailored to Kansans.
“The goal is to improve quality of life for cancer survivors. We work toward this goal by sharing information so they can become empowered, active participants in their health care,” explained Krigel, licensed psychologist for the MCA Behavioral Health Program.
Cathy Pendleton, licensed clinical social worker, is the other co-creator of Going Forward and director of Adult Programs at Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing. The Rev. Ashley Masoni, ordained and board certified chaplain with The University of Kansas Hospital, helped write the unit on spirituality.
Pendleton recalled that she was struck by a comment from a participant in a Turning Point program about life after cancer treatment. The comment was:
“I felt like I was going crazy after my cancer treatment ended. Everybody thought I should be so happy that my cancer was gone but I was so scared that it would come back – life didn’t just go back to normal.
“Taking your program helped me understand I was starting a whole new process of figuring out my ‘new normal,’” the participant continued. “I learned I could not only survive after cancer but that I could thrive. What a difference that has made.”
Pendleton noted that Going Forward is designed to address concerns such as those expressed by this participant.
“It is about teaching skills that inspire people to take charge of designing their ‘new normal’ after cancer treatment in a way that works for them,” Pendleton explained. “This program is about support, education and empowerment. I am thrilled to be working with MCA and St. Rose to bring this program to the community.”
The class is limited to about 10 people and pre-registration is required by Sept. 23. For more information, contact Dana Foss by calling 620-793-5811