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Breast cancer survivor support group to launch Wednesday
Chessel (Photo supplied)
MONROE - A support group for women who are breast cancer survivors will meet Wednesday at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in the Fellowship Room. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Future meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of the month with a light meal.

The facilitator for the group is Betty Chessel, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2010. At the first meeting, Chessel will share her experience.

"The support group will help the breast cancer survivor to be in the present and not in the past or the future," Chessel said.

The group was organized by Kris Wisnefske, RN, the parish nurse for St. Andrew's who is also a breast cancer survivor, and by Rev. Brian Backstrand, St. Andrew's priest.

Wisnefske met with Peggy Weber, a nurse from Madison, for advice on organizing a successful breast cancer survivor group. Weber facilitates three breast cancer survivor groups in Madison. She advised Chessel to make the meeting room warm and inviting for the breast cancer survivors.

"There's got to be a lot of humor because it is so heavy a topic," Weber said. Drawing a triangle, she said one side was the word emotional, the word physical was on another side and the word spiritual was on the third side. "This signifies the importance of whole person health. The group totally rotates around this triangle," Weber said.

Chessel urges breast cancer survivors to come to the meeting and talk. Women who have just been diagnosed with breast cancer and have lots of questions and women who have experienced and dealt with it for a while can share their experiences. She encouraged women to bring their concerns with them.

"Together we can help each other deal with this cancer," she said. "Remember there is always hope."

"One purpose of the meeting will be helping women learn to focus on what they can control. For example they control what they eat, who their doctor is, as well as treatment options. They also should realize the importance of exercise," Betty said.

An evening of relaxation is planned in the future to help women feel empowered as their bodies relax and their thoughts quiet down.