Some help for the helpers, please

That was a great column by Doug Barker last week — wish he’d write more often!

The connection he made between the welcoming gesture of Aberdeen’s “Come As You Are” sign and the unfortunate reverse attitude at the new cafe in Hoquiam brought poignant images to mind. Like Doug, I too visualized Kurt Cobain passing that sign on the church as he walked to the Schillinger home, where he always felt welcome, and it gave me a warm feeling. Thanks, Doug!

In a different vein, I’ve also got a connecting thread image going and I’d like to unravel it here. A few weeks, ago I saw a flyer about a GMO walk in Aberdeen on May 25. Protest walks were held nationwide that day, yet I saw nothing in The Daily World and wondered whether the walk ever happened. I know it rained, but …

The importance of united voices protesting genetically engineered foods is more important now than ever — unless one doubts the escalation of cancer and other diseases today, and the probable links to genetically messing with our environment, primarily the food chain. The fact that other countries have banned GMO imports from our country says something too, no?

Cancer is paramount in my mind these days, especially the high numbers of cancer in the Twin Harbors. I wonder, then, in view of the outstanding displays of enthusiasm for the annual Relays for Life, how come there are no local support groups for cancer care givers? We have services or groups for everything but dandruff sufferers, yet the well meaning words a care giver hears so often are, “don’t forget to take care of yourself!”

Yeah, right. How?! Sometimes it’s just plain overwhelming.

Area oncology offices have lots of colorful brochures (most of which point you to Olympia, or Cancer Care at 800-813-4673) and there’s a cancer information center staffed by helpful volunteers at the old St. Joseph Hospital in Aberdeen (537-6190.) But there’s no live group for sharing experiences, venting frustrations, etc., or even answering important questions such as which stores accept government approved food stamps use for nutritional products vital for weight gain, i.e., Ensure Plus. (Bless you, Rite Aid, Top Foods, Swansons, Costco and Safeway. Shame on you, to those that don’t.)

In my search for a live voice to care about MY needs by letting me dump my emotional overflow, Cancer Care pointed me in the direction of 30-minute phone sessions with a social worker, and on-line support groups for every type of cancer. Better than a poke in the eye, but very time consuming just to get registered, and not especially helpful in learning how to navigate broken or ever-changing systems, interminable hold times, reams of paperwork, etc.

I’d like to remind readers that cancer is BIG business, and that cancer cures actually abound, yet we continually pour millions into cancer research all the while spending zilch on support of those who care for cancer patients! I believe we need an annually updated, well publicized Twin Harbors cancer resource directory for help in locating systems and services AND for support of care givers.

As it is now, care giving leaves no time for self preservation and is enough to precipitate cardiac arrest in the strongest among us.

Isa “Kitty” Mady