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Survivor Spotlight: Erin Marshall

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Erin Marshall is a Westlake Village-based artist and after-school child care provider for the Conejo Valley Unified School District. She attends the Young Adults Support Group offered by the Cancer Support Community. She loves baking, painting, horseback riding, movies and trivia games with friends.  She also volunteers with Make-A-Wish, as a wish granter for children with life-threatening medical conditions to help bring hope, strength and joy to their lives. Thank you for sharing your story, Erin!

 

I was diagnosed in September 2014 with stage three rectal cancer.  I made it through five weeks of daily chemotherapy and radiation and after a recovery period, I had surgery to remove the tumor and my entire rectum. I enjoyed some more recovery time, and this spring, had a second surgery to reverse the ileostomy from the first surgery.  I am continuing to get strong and heal, while following a plan of healthy choices and frequent monitoring.

The day after my initial diagnosis, I came to the Cancer Support Community office, devastated and terrified. I was met with open arms and a true caring spirit. I was comforted and encouraged, and I felt that this was a place where I could let down my brave front and experience support from those who have already walked this road.  What a relief!

I am a part of the Young Adults support group, which meets on the first and third Monday of each month in Westlake Village.  I also participate in the wonderful watercolor painting classes when I can, and enjoy the special guest speakers as well. The painting class is not only an outlet for emotions, but a great place to meet people and share a unique camaraderie. I also attended a great seminar on healthy cooking which was so useful, and I look forward to more! My husband has participated in the men’s caregiver support group, and my mother has attended the watercolor classes with me.

Before I was diagnosed I had attended several Cancer Support Community fundraisers like Cupcake Camp and Holiday Homes Tour. I have always been aware that CscVvsb served a great purpose in our community, but I never really understood the huge impact it has until I found myself battling cancer.

To someone dealing with cancer who is hesitant to try a support group, I would tell them that there isn’t a more caring, warm environment for a support group than CscVvsb.  I was hesitant too, because I am a very private person about things that might make others perceive me as “weak” or “sick”.  Having a new group of *friends* that totally get it, have been there, and give unconditional support and encouragement is new for me.

I think that the Cancer Support Community has provided me with an invaluable resource of support, encouragement, friendship, and courage. The people I have met have given me fresh perspectives, validation, coping strategies, and warm, caring new relationships. I hope that I can give back to the Cancer Support Community as much as it has given me.

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