A new Abingtons-based support group hopes to create a community of healers for people diagnosed with cancer.
Facilitators Dr. Sandra Lane, who owns Lane Chiropractic in Tunkhannock, and Mary Steele, a board-certified holistic nurse who teaches qigong and karate at UTA Karate in Dalton, both remember what it was like when they were diagnosed with breast cancer.
"It is so traumatic to go through all of this stuff," Steele said. "When I was in my oncologist's office, I thought, 'what am I doing here?' It was so surreal."
To try to alleviate some of the stress for people going through a similar situation while providing them with alternative therapies that they may not have known about, Lane and Steele have joined together to create a holistic cancer support group that will meet the third Thursday of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at ProActive Chiropractic, 1146 Northern Blvd., Clarks Summit. This month's session will meet on Thursday, March 21.
The support group will feature a different topic each month, drawn from a pool of about 30 practitioners of natural therapies, including yoga, feng shui, reflexology and healing drum circles. Videos of each meeting will be posted on YouTube and Lane and Steele are planning on unveiling a website with additional information in the near future.
Lane explained that part of the reason for including as many natural practitioners as possible was that many people might not have the information available to them otherwise.
"If we can do this as a community, people will feel more comfortable," she said. "They won't have that feeling of going in to the medical doctor's office and telling them that they want to try something they read about on the Internet and feel like they are oddballs because they want to try the alternative therapies."
Steele explained that the group's objective is to increase people's confidence when it comes to their health by empowering them through knowledge.
"We are teaching people to be co-participants in their wellness," she said. "We want to teach them healing tools that they could use in their journey. It is all about the little things that will help get them through this."
Steele has first-hand experience of what it means to be a co-participant in her own healing.
"The oncologist told me that my healing was dramatic; he told me that he had a patient who was similar to me but she wasn't doing as well as I was," she said. "I told him that I was being a co-participant in my wellness. He told me to keep going because these other things might have helped my immune system or my T-cells or the nerve peptides in my brain."
For Lane, true healing focuses on a supportive dialogue between doctor and patient.
"When you go into the oncologist or any medical doctor for any condition and suggest an alternative therapy and they tell you it doesn't work, they discourage you and you're less inclined to try it," she said. "On the other hand, if they are supportive and they tell you to do whatever you want to do that does no harm, it is always better."