|PATIENT STORY: Mike Stamm, Judy Helland
take advantage of support services
offered by the Edward Cancer Center.
In early 2010, Aurora resident Mike Stamm learned his prostate cancer had returned after a 25-year remission. The Stage 4 disease was now attacking his gastrointestinal tract.
"When you hear those words, 'Your cancer is back,' it's a shock," says Stamm, now 76. "And dealing with what follows causes a lot of stress for both patients and their caregivers."
Part of what followed for Stamm was seven weeks of radiation treatment, Monday through Friday, at the Edward Cancer Center in Naperville. He also had hormone therapy, and undergoes regular tests and check-ups. With him during this journey and for more than two decades is Judy Helland. They both look to the Cancer Center's support services to help in managing the stress.
One of the social workers at the center, Sharon Kelleher, LCSW, contacted the couple soon after Stamm started treatments. The center's licensed clinical social workers serve as patient/family advocates. They're available for counseling and to help with treatment-related paperwork, such as insurance and disability claims.
"Sharon was available to answer our questions and even anticipated our needs," says Helland.
Stamm and Helland participate in the Cancer Center's monthly and quarterly support groups for cancer patients and their caregivers.
"You can talk with other people in the groups who have been through the same experience," says Stamm. "You learn things you can't find in a book or online. Sharing in the group is somehow easier than talking about your situation with neighbors or relatives."
The two also have participated in the Cancer Center's yoga and nutrition classes, massage workshops, lectures and meditation sessions.
"I can't say enough to recommend these programs to anyone going through this experience. We've made good friends in the support groups," says Helland. "We look forward to seeing how everyone is doing. And it's a good place to get a hug."
For more information about support services at the Edward Cancer Center's locations in Naperville and Plainfield, visit www.edward.org/cancersupport or call (630) 646-6054.
PHOTO CAPTION: During his treatment for prostate cancer, Mike Stamm and Judy Helland are taking advantage of the numerous support services offered by the Edward Cancer Center.