I'm one of the volunteers who staff SHARE's breast-cancer helpline. I'm not a professional counselor, and the details of your cancer journey are likely to be different from mine. I had a kind of tumor that afflicts just 20% of women with breast cancer. I made a radical surgical choice that many women would not consider. My breast-cancer diagnosis took place nearly nine years ago, and there are new regimens with which I have no personal experience. Why on earth would you want to talk to me—or any of the other helpline volunteers?
There are a lot of reasons, actually:
- First of all, I'm really nice, and so are the other volunteers—about 100 of us in all. We know how upsetting a diagnosis of breast cancer is, and we want to do whatever we can to help.
- Even though I'm not a professional counselor or therapist, every volunteer who answers the helpline telephone has been trained to provide assistance and support.
- We've all tried to stay current with the latest research in order to be knowledgeable about your particular cancer subtype and treatment.
- Because there are so many of us, I can usually put you in touch with a volunteer whose cancer or circumstances closely match yours.
- Along the way, we volunteers have picked up some pretty good coping strategies, which we're eager to share.
- When callers raise concerns we aren't equipped to handle, we can often make referrals to other resources.
- Sometimes callers have problems that can't be solved, but we can provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.
- Whatever you tell us is completely confidential: there's zero possibility that I'll whisper your secret to one of your co-workers or friends.
- Breast cancer is expensive, even if you have insurance. But calling the helpline is a bargain. Like all of SHARE's services, it's absolutely free.
So give us a call: 844-ASK-SHARE (844-275-7427).