Cancer Affects the Entire Family

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Family Support Groups are one way a familt can get the help they need.

Shelly Osby describes her husband Maurice as courageous and strong going through the diagnosis and treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). But Maurice had always been the family breadwinner, so when he was forced to stop working, Shelly found herself in the unfamiliar situation of providing financial support in addition to caregiving. They were also forced to leave their warm and beautiful Hawaii so that Maurice could receive his stem cell transplant in Seattle. Their young son, Shemaur came with them, but after several weeks of waiting for the transplant, it was clear that it would be easier to have him stay with family in Hawaii. This new way of life was taking its toll.

After Maurice was diagnosed with CML, he and Shelly attended many Family Support Group meetings offered by LLS. It was a safe place for the two of them to share their fears and frustrations with others, as well as to get practical advice on issues like finances and insurance. Over time both Maurice and Shelly learned to adjust, and they attribute much of their new found courage to the LLS support groups.

Today, Maurice is a survivor. He has been in remission for the past three years, and although he does still experience side effects from his treatment, he keeps active by spending time with his family, fishing, and walking on the beach as his son explores the shoreline. Shelly says they still attend support groups, but this time they are the ones giving support and reassurance that life can be normal again. She says that they often share that, "it's ok to be afraid and the fears, anger, and sadness are a normal part of the grief and loss process. But after you take that moment to grieve and cry, get yourself educated about your disease and all its treatments, the possible outcomes, and resources."

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