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From Strength to Strength in Health and Healing

Written By: Beth Broodo, MS, LPC, RYT

The topic for our Breast and Ovarian Cancer Support Group this month was “Feelings About Surgery and Helpful Tips Before and After.” We have women who are several years out of treatment in the group and women going through it currently. There is perspective and empathy. We don’t speak about medical details because those might scare someone, and each person’s experience is different. However, we do focus on feelings (which we all can relate to), listening and validating, and coping strategies. I have found these groups so inspiring, uplifting, and bonding.

This month, one of the women currently going through treatment wondered when she will “get myself back” another woman who is farther out told her that she probably won’t get the “same self back,” and that is ok. This survivor went on to say that she found for herself that after cancer, she has more compassion, desire to give back, ability to say “no” when helping is too much for her, belief that self-care is part of self-maintenance. She tries to live more fully each day. At the same time, she said that “cancer is a sucky disease.” It’s the club that no-one wants to be a member of, and yet there is a true sisterhood among members.  

I love my work, and I love these women. When a person faces her mortality in such a way that cancer makes us, we have the opportunity to hone in on what life is really about. The facade falls away, truth is revealed. What am I living for? Who is God to me? What do I want to do with my days, and who do I want to spend them with? How do I lengthen my days, hopefully, years? These women are more than survivors; they are warriors.  

In the Couples Workshop, based on John Gottman’s marriage research, we focussed this month on Meaning Makers or Legacy. These connect us to our spouse on a deep emotional level and help us feel that we have a shared purpose and goals. Couples talked about walks together, Shabbat dinners, and what they want to transmit to their children about life. 

Recently, some of the ladies asked about creating new programs within Binah that would be healing and spiritually focussed. (Binah means women’s wisdom and is the name of the breast & ovarian cancer support program). We are hoping to incorporate these additions in 2021: 

-Making Challahs and delivering them to women going through treatment 
-Finding prayer partners to pray for each other’s complete recovery and be in touch for support  
-Mitzvah buddies: taking on a small good deed in the merit of the complete healing for oneself or a friend 
-Discussing a character-building (Mussar) book together in a book club format, like The 48 Ways To Wisdom by Rabbi Noach Weinberg 

I am also hoping that with the vaccine on its way, we will be able to resume yoga with guided meditation for cancer patients at the JCC, which our survivors loved. 

Most of my time is spent one on one in individual counseling. Currently, that is done through Telehealth. Clients really appreciate that JFS does not charge cancer survivors for services. We only bill insurance.

The breast cancer support program began in 2006 under a grant donated by Mrs. Ann Rosenberg in memory of her daughter, Margot Rosenberg Pulitzer. In 2015, tragically, Sheri Rosenberg, Margot’s sister, was lost to breast cancer also. May their neshamas have an aliyah (souls be elevated) from all of the women helped in their merit. I will forever be grateful to Mrs. Rosenberg for creating and funding this program for so many years. It has given my life more meaning and purpose to transcend my own cancer experience and be part of other women’s healing.

My prayer for each survivor is that she should go from strength to strength in health and healing.

-Beth Broodo,

Director of Binah Cancer Support Services

 

Facilitated by Beth Broodo, MS, LPC, RYT, Binah Cancer Support Services integrates psychology and Jewish perspective into all of her services, including breast and ovarian cancer support groups, couples workshops for those who face cancer, soul groups for survivors, and individual counseling. If you or a loved one can benefit from JFS cancer services, call our intake line at (972) 437-9950 x340 or email Beth at bbroodo@jfsdallas.org for more information.

 

Cancer Support Group Information:

Breast Cancer Support Group:

Fourth Monday of the month 4:00pm-5:00pm

Next Meeting: February 22, 2021

Integrating different therapeutic modalities to reduce stress and anxiety as well as increase overall well-being. Open to any woman who has experienced breast cancer, this group is an opportunity to discuss ways to cope and to find ways to live each day as fully as possible.

Couples Workshop (for Those Facing Cancer):

Fourth Tuesday of the month 5:00pm-6:00pm

Next Meeting: February 23, 2021

This workshop is offered to help couples increase communication, friendship, and love in their marriage. Based on John Gottman‘s research on building the friendship in marriage.

Soul Group (for Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors):

Fourth Thursday of the month 4:00pm-5:00pm

Next Meeting: February 25, 2021

This women’s group offers spiritual growth through Torah concepts for breast and ovarian cancer survivors.

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