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Cancer Support Community Montana: Free counseling programs after cancer diagnosis

Posted at 11:31 AM, Oct 12, 2022

BOZEMAN -- A Cancer diagnosis often brings up more questions than answers.

Today, MTN News continues a series of stories focusing on some of Cancer Support Community’s free programs by looking at some of the counseling programs that are available for every member of the family and support system.

The garden in front of the Cancer Support Community of Montana offices in Bozeman offers a great place to walk around and look at the vegetables, flowers, and herbs that have been grown by people here as part of their therapy. It also offers a place to come and sit, and the beautiful thing about the Cancer Support Community of Montana is - you don’t have to sit alone.

“I was going through major emotions you know,” said Pat Brown-White, who had a family member of someone with cancer. “Happy, sad, angry, scared. So was the other person I was worried about asking the wrong questions or probing in areas that might hurt that person. When I found out about this place, it was heaven-sent.”

The folks at Cancer Support understand all those worries, from the people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer to those who love them. Many of the people at the Cancer Support Community get it because they’ve been there themselves.

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The folks at Cancer Support understand all those worries, from the people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer to those who love them. Many of the people at the Cancer Support Community get it because they’ve been there themselves.

“I remember when I was diagnosed,” said Joelee Starr, CSC Clinical Program Director. “It was like information overload. It wasn’t a shortage of information, but it wasn’t necessarily all helpful information and it was so hard to sort through.”

This of a cancer diagnosis as a freeway entrance. Doctor’s terminologies, financial worries, thoughts of the future, family, and what will happen, all race by as you try to navigate onto this new roadway. Now think of Cancer Support Community as a much-needed rest area. A place to simply stop for a moment or two and try to gather some of those thoughts. You’re going to have to get back on that highway, but for a little bit, you can take a break.

“A lot of times, when you go to these initial appointments, you have, gosh - 15 minutes, maybe 30, to sit there and talk about the most important thing that’s ever happened to you,” said Starr. “This place is great because you get to come in and spend much time as you want to. It’s such a comfortable space and you can spend an hour or even two if you need to talk through and get your bearings.”

Brown-White came here because of a family member’s diagnosis. She’ll say it was the best decision she made.

“Don’t be afraid, or be afraid,” she said. “But walk in, take that step to walk in, because you will be amazed at what’s on the other side of that door and how they will help you.”

If you talk to most people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer, they will tell you cancer can become all-consuming. They sometimes don't want to talk about it. Tomorrow, MTN News will continue the series of looking at some of the free programs at Cancer Support Community including regular opportunities to gather to not necessarily talk about cancer.

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