This story is shared with us by Lee Stancil.
My name is Lee Stancil and I am a two-time breast cancer survivor. I would like to tell you why I am so glad to be a part of the Forge Family. After surviving breast cancer the first time in 2014, I didn’t attend any breast cancer survivor meetings. They were usually held in Birmingham, which wasn’t conveniently located for me as I reside in Blount County. In 2016, my breast cancer returned. I had a double mastectomy with breast reconstruction in February 2016. While recovering at home, someone posted on my Homeowners Association’s Facebook page about Forge starting a breast cancer survivor support group for those in the Hayden/Blount County area. In April 2016, my husband went with me to Forge’s first meeting for support. We were both interested in finding out what Forge was all about. Forge offers support to co-survivors (spouses, caretakers, children and friends) as well as survivors. This first meeting allowed me to meet other breast cancer survivors and listen to their journeys of survivorship Each person’s journey was different, yet we were all the same as we are all survivors. Forge allowed us an open forum to ask questions, and to discuss our experiences, our hopes, and our fears.
Since that first meeting, the Forge support group meetings have provided me with very useful and interesting information. Meetings include special speakers such as, Carolyn Nemeth with Oasis Counseling who spoke on depression and anxiety; Carol Stephens, a physical therapist who spoke on lymphedema; Amanda Peterson, also a physical therapist, who spoke on neuropathy and exercise; UAB Oncologist, Dr. Andres Forero, who spoke about developing breast cancer research and answered all of our questions; and Doug Horst a financial advisor with Gateway Financial who talked about finance and cancer. I look forward to each meeting and miss everyone when I am unable to attend. There are always new faces of survivors at each meeting as the word gets out about Forge.
Because of Forge, I no longer feel alone in what I and my family have endured with breast cancer. Some of Forge’s attendees have been survivors for many years and some are like me, recent survivors. We have such a great time and find ourselves laughing a lot which is something we all need. We also pray for one another. I am so thankful for Forge and all that they do. God has greatly blessed me and my family and Forge has just been another blessing from God. Megan Sisk, Volunteer Coordinator for Forge, organizes all of our meetings and does a fantastic job. Megan not only keeps me informed about upcoming Forge meetings, but she is always letting me know of different events that are going on that might interest me in regards to being a breast cancer survivor. This is information that I probably would have never discovered on my own. I know that Forge is always there if I need them. If you are a breast cancer survivor, I encourage you to attend a Forge meeting. I’m sure if you do, you will want to come back.