The DFW Hospital Council posts guest blogs by Associate Members. The following was provided by the Cancer Support Community North Texas.
Blog by Mirchelle Louis, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer, Cancer Support Community North Texas
In 2018, more than 31,000 of our North Texas neighbors’ lives changed instantly when they heard the dreaded words – “You have cancer.” From the moment of diagnosis, everything changes. Life becomes a rollercoaster ride of treatment plans and doctor visits. But there’s a missing link in cancer care – a patient’s emotional and psychological support “treatment plan.”
Imagine going to work one morning, being diagnosed with cancer that afternoon and then beginning chemotherapy the next day. You’re suddenly too weak to work, to take your kids to school, to do much of anything. You’re scared – not only for your life, but also for your ability to pay bills and keep your life moving forward. Your life changes in an instant, yet you’re left navigating this frightening maze often without the funds, support or know-how to do it.
The reality is that everyone diagnosed with cancer faces two challenges: a medical one and an emotional one. What physicians and patients alike are increasingly recognizing is that addressing both are equally important. In fact, research shows that people who have the best success surviving – and thriving after cancer are those that address both. That success centers on treating the whole person.
This is the impetus for the creation of the national Cancer Support Community in 1991, and Cancer Support Community North Texas (CSCNT) – the local affiliate – here in 2002.
At three warm, inviting clubhouse locations across DFW – in Collin, Tarrant and Dallas counties – CSCNT is here to help these cancer patients and their families when they need support the most. CSCNT serves all cancer patients, past and present, and their loved ones at no cost to the individual. Last year alone, CSCNT served over 5,200 of those affected by cancer.
ELEMENTS OF SUPPORT
We believe there are three key elements of support: Healing, meaningful social engagement, and hope (to see that life after a cancer diagnosis is possible). At each location, CSCNT aims to provide all of this through support groups, networking groups, childcare, healthy living workshops, yoga and meditation, one-on-one counseling and help for families.
More importantly, CSCNT offers tools to help patients, such as a psychological and social distress screening, which determines the degree to which the person is experiencing stress and offers CSCNT insights into how to best support them.
“JUST WALK THROUGH THE RED DOOR”
At every clubhouse location, patients and their caregivers will see a welcoming red door; the intent is to show people that this is their “home” for support and the aspects of the cancer journey that are so often overlooked. CSCNT asks that people just walk through the door, and our team will take it from there, exploring whatever a person’s individual needs and wants are.
As part of the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide, CSCNT is dedicated to ensuring that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action, and sustained by community.
Thanks to our partners, including Texas Health Resources, Texas Oncology and many others, Cancer Support Community North Texas is growing and demonstrating why social and emotional support must be part of our cancer treatment “prescription.”
For information, visit www.cancersupporttexas.org.
Dallas County Clubhouse
8196 Walnut Hill Lane, LL10
Dallas, Texas 75231
Collin County Clubhouse
6300 W. Parker Rd., MOB 2, Suite 129A
Plano, TX 75093
Tarrant County Clubhouse
10840 Texas Health Trail, Suite 120
Fort Worth, TX 76244