The Way I See It… By Connie Pearce
Do you remember the original show “Who wants to be a Millionaire” where you had chosen a whole list of friends that you thought could help for that one specific question to advance you on to the next level? I feel very blessed to have many family and friends in my life from all walks of life. I specifically remember the little song we sang in Girl Scouts so many years ago, “Make new friends but keep the old ones, one is silver and the other gold.” I can’t have enough friends and I do care about them during both the good times and the bad.
One of my very good friends, Karen Hahn was diagnosed with Melanoma several years ago. I never knew the difference between skin cancer and Melanoma before her diagnosis but being the kind of person I am, I started researching everything I could on the Internet and learning everything I could about this very serious cancer. Karen’s began as a mole but returned and is now called intransit. She liked her doctor in Evansville very much but he thought it best for her to be treated at IUPUI in Indianapolis where they treat this kind of cancer more extensively. This meant many trips to Indy for Karen and her family. Around Christmas time last year she had a procedure done called Limb perfusion.
Anyone who has been through any kind of cancer and the treatments for it knows what it does to your life. It is your life. I have been so fortunate so far in my life that I have not had this terrible disease but have had so many family and friends close to me that have not be so fortunate. Dave’s nephew is having surgery today on cancer of the brain discovered only last week.
In early spring as Karen starting feeling better she felt like she would like to attend a cancer support group so the search began. I called the American Cancer Society, local oncology doctors, hospitals and found one such group. It was at St. Mary’s and met on a Monday night. I told Karen I would go with her and we went. It was a group of women of about seven that all had some type of cancer. Only one of them was undergoing treatment at the time and fortunately the rest were in remission. As we walked out I said that wasn’t what you were looking for was it? On the way home I did a lot of thinking about what a need there was for this type of thing especially in Posey County.
This is where the phone a friend comes into play. Another long time, good friend of mine had been through the treatment for colon cancer. Chris Hoehn and I have known each other since we rode the school bus together our first day of school. We were neighbors, schoolmates, and co members of the Lady 4-H Club etc. etc. Currently Chris serves as the Director of Religious Organizations at the University of Southern Indiana. I got to thinking she must have a lot of resources with a job like that. So I phoned a friend. After meeting for lunch one day and sharing my idea of a cancer support group we were off and running.
Chris is a devout Catholic and I am General Baptist but we both knew we wanted our group to have one thing at the head of this group and that was God. We both believe that whatever you have going on in your life it is better with God at the center of it. Chris is the one with the more creative mind and came up with our name for the group. The Lily Pad Group. She remembered seeing at sometime in her life the F.R.O.G. Fully Relying On God acronym. She explained to me that when you have cancer there are times you need support from something such as a group and at times you rely on other things. The Lily Pad provides that kind of safe haven for frogs. Sometimes they need to rest there on top and sun bathe and sometimes they hop in the water and swim along just fine. I loved the idea and we were off running.
Chris and I met with Pastor Matt Watson of the Mt. Vernon General Baptist Church the next to seek advice on our idea and ask if we could have our meetings at the church. Matt was another phone a friend for me, more like a son since he had lived with Dave and I his senior year in college. Matt was able to point out some things for our group from a organization stand point that Chris and I had not thought of prior to our meeting. After going through the proper guidelines we were able to secure the third Monday nights of each month for the Lily Pad Group to meet at 1717 Main Street, Mount Vernon, Ind.
The group will begin each month with a social time between 6 and 6:30 p.m. with some light refreshments. We are planning on having a speaker from 6:30 to 7 p.m. For our September 17 meeting we will have Melody Oeth, who has recently had breast cancer and just began her work as a nurse practitioner in Mount Vernon. She served as the school nurse at West School for many years before returning to school and earning her nurse practitioner degree. In October we have scheduled USI nurse instructor, Gale Hoehn who has done a great deal of her practical work in Oncology before becoming an instructor. From 7 to 8 p.m. there will be time for support through sharing, encouraging and fellowship.
This group is open to all women who have or have had cancer and their family and friends. It is not for one particular type of cancer. Chris and I believe that if one person is helped by it then it will be a worthwhile endeavor. We have laid the groundwork and now we are both anxious to see where God takes the Lily Pad Group. For those of you that already have been pulled from the phone a friend bank and for those who may be called in the future we thank you and we hope in some way you will have the answer we are looking for to make this a successful work for God.