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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

History of My Support Group

I know I mentioned before that I run my local support group. How did I get into this? Quite honestly, I ran it because there wasn't one when I had my surgery. Well, correction - there WAS a group and I did attend...but the group was only for MY SURGICAL centre and at the time people in my community in Ontario typically went across to Michigan for surgery. Hence there was no "local" surgical centre. So all of us went to typically one of five different places. So meeting people, I knew there was a need and started one that was open for all people in our fair city and surrounding communities.

After having surgery, my parents (who were not thrilled that I had it in the first place) became amazing converts about weight loss surgery. They would go to their dentist, and the office manager there would often talk with them about me. Teresa ended up being curious about surgery and so asked me to come over her house and talk with her about it. In the end, she had surgery and became the second person for my "support group".

Next, she met someone having surgery and invited her in. We continued our support groups, and each time added more and more people to our coffee talks at Tim Hortons (a local coffee place). We ended up eventually needing a "place" and moved to Teresa's basement which thankfully was quite large. Imagine having 40 strangers in your basement! LOL Those were the old days.

Eventually we looked high and low for a place and ended up finding an auditorium to host us. Thank goodness!! It took quite some time!

Years later our local bariatric centre opened up in our community. They've helped us a bit, we've actually had to learn their process but we pretty much do what we do on our own. Our own ideas, members requests, our own imagination and arranging guest speakers. Eventually we moved to a 5 person team.

In the last few months, we've had changes. Teresa decided to move on and "retire" from the group and I took on Carrie a wonderful member who has been coming for many years, is devoted to helping others and is a nurse which is a bonus for medical info. We've done two meetings together - trying to "gel" still and figure out how to bounce off one another at the meetings. It's turning out really well. Anyway last night one of the ladies came to our meeting and posted this on

I just wanted to give a shout out to diminishingdawn for all of her hard work and love that she puts in to the first tuesday of every month for the support groups. As is started out 4 years ago at a coffee shop to now over 50 (Edit: Hubby counted around 110 people last night)50 people every meeting is such a great accomplishment. It is a great place to be if you need someone to talk to or just share your stories with. I know this journey is not an easy one, before or even years out but everyone is welcome every month and it really puts your heart at ease when you leave. It is such a miracle and such an enjoyment to see how everyone is putting themselves first and taking that first step to their new life. Even if they dont proceed with the surgery, they have started their own journey by seaking support from others and reaching out for help. Diminishingdawn is a great speaker and you can tell she really does care. If you have a NSV you can just share your story and everyone can relate to you and it just gives you encouragement and that your not alone. If you are from the windsor area, please go to the support meetings, they are great. I started going 2 years ago with my bf who had currently got it done, not even having the guts to do it. But now, look at me, i go every month practically and having surgery in 2 weeks. Its really got me thinking that i can do it. and i believe everyone can do anything they put their minds to. If your not from windsor, i hope you have a great support group in your area, or make one of your own from pple you meet on here. Everyone deserves a second chance and people around them that beleieve in them.
Just a little shout out and just sharing my experience.
Take care everyone and have a great Wednesday!!!

I have to say that sometimes running a support group, you have some drama and nonsense and complaints from time to time. You come to the underlying conclusion that you do it for people who want your help, who need help and not for them. But I have to say that this just made my day!! :)