The Life Changing Impact of Support Groups
“It looks like lymphedema,” your primary care physician tells you as he puts a hand on your swollen leg. Lymphedema? What is that? Is there a cure? Am I going to have this forever? Your thoughts and questions are overwhelming.
Being diagnosed with a debilitating condition, rare or common, can add incomprehensible amounts of stress to your life. Having to make healthcare decisions, sometimes quickly, is no easy task. At times, it may seem like no one can understand what you’re going through unless they’ve gone through it themselves.
Join a Support Group
Joining a support group can be beneficial for a number of reasons. This group can offer honest advice about how to best cope with and treat your specific condition. Many of these people have already gone through exactly what you are experiencing, and this may provide you with a huge sense of relief. Having a support system to turn to other than your family or friends can provide you the confidence needed to make healthcare decisions without hesitation or confusion. Most importantly, these kinds of support groups offer an open and safe space for discussion, asking questions, and sharing experiences.
Types of Support Groups for Medical Conditions
The type of support group you join just depends on your personal preference. There are in-person support groups that meet monthly or bi-monthly, as well as online forums and virtual support groups. There are also many support groups on Facebook that connect people around the country and the world who share a similar problem.
Here at the Institute for Advanced Reconstruction, many of our patients have joined the following support groups before and after seeing one of our doctors to share their experiences:
- Graves’ Disease Support Group
- Brachial Plexus Injury Support Group
- Lymphedema Support Group
- Paralyzed Diaphragm Support Group