Local resident Barbara Tennant said she was completely unprepared for one of the most terrible days of her life, the day when she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Overwhelmed with emotions and unsure of where to turn for information that was suddenly vital to her, Tennant said that at first she struggled to cope. However, once she gained a handle on her new life situation she made a decision, resolving to establish a Pahrump Cancer Support Group. The goal: to help ensure others who find themselves faced with cancer do not go through what she herself experienced alone.
“I started this support group back before I finished with my cancer treatments,” Tennant told the Pahrump Valley Times in an interview. “Basically, I went into this blind. I had no idea what chemo was, what radiation was, the side effects and all of that and it was scary. So I decided that I wanted to make sure nobody else has to go through that.”
Tennant said she wanted to start the support group in order to allow cancer patients, past and present, to discuss the various treatments they have undertaken or may be considering, as well as the sometimes mind-boggling array of side effects that can take their own toll.
Discussing the possibility that treatment may not work, or that cancer may reoccur, is also important, she said, citing her own cancer recurrence.
Tennant said her first round of treatment was hoped to shrink her tumor but it did not shrink it completely. Now, Tennant is currently undergoing a new treatment, immunotherapy, in which her immune system is triggered to target the cancer cells.
As she goes through the long process of this new treatment, she is sharing the knowledge she’s gaining with all those who attend the Pahrump Cancer Support Group.
Getting the word out to the community that her Pahrump Cancer Support Group is available is a big challenge, Tennant said. Participation in the group has been fairly small so far.
She said she wants to bring together as many people as possible so more and more information can be exchanged, all with the aim of arming cancer patients with knowledge and moral support to help ease their situation.
The Pahrump Cancer Support Group meetings are open to all cancer patients, past or present, and their caregivers. “This will be a place where we can openly talk about treatments, what they do for us and how we feel along the way to becoming well again,” an informational flyer for the support group detailed.
In addition to providing somewhere for cancer patients to openly discuss their experiences with others going through similar ordeals, Tennant has also found a group of people who make knitted caps for the support group members and thanks to area resident Donna Cordova, she also has wigs available for those dealing with the hair loss that often accompanies cancer treatment.
Tennant’s Pahrump Cancer Support Group meets from 1 to 2 p.m. the third Friday of every month in the Desert Greens Clubhouse Card Room, 350 W. Wilson Road.
Those planning to attend are asked to call in advance to reserve a seat. For more information and to reserve a seat call Tennant at 702-539-2225.
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at email@example.com