The Salute allo Specchio Onlus program to support women diagnosed with cancer who have to face cancer therapies
Until the day before the diagnosis, they were just complete strangers. Then, as the "enemy" of ovarian cancer is discovered and therapies are tackled, they become more than friends, but real sisters. They are the people who meet in the life of an Association such as Salute allo Specchio Onlus. The experiences, the smiles, the strength that can come from facing such a complex challenge together are told by those who experience them firsthand: Dr. Valentina Di Mattei, Researcher and Specialist in Clinical Psychology of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan and Vice President of Salute allo Specchio Onlus and Rosella Fontana, volunteer of Salute allo Specchio Onlus.
The important thing is to share
It is often said that there is a before and after the diagnosis of a tumor, in particular if it attacks a female organ linked to reproduction such as the ovary. Diagnosis is a moment that must be addressed in the best way, and then follow the path of treatment proposed by specialists in the best possible way. And there is a need for new friends who become real "sick sisters" as well as travel companions. "When the diagnosis is received, it is difficult to bring out all the whirlwind of sensations that appear in the woman's soul – explains Di Mattei. “Sometimes the same family members don't know how to behave and the same can happen with friends of a lifetime. The woman needs to find in the group of people who live the same experience or in any case can testify how they have overcome it, the strength to face the path of treatment and the transformations that the body can undergo, first of all hair loss " . Together with these "sisters" you can find the right stimuli to face this path and in any case you can open up, communicate, live with the eyes of others what is happening. "Our groups help a lot in this sense, so much so that they often go on spontaneously even after the treatment process is over" continues Di Mattei. For example, spontaneous WhatsApp groups are born spontaneously, which take the most curious names chosen by the members themselves. One has taken an evocative name, which really says "everything": "Fifty Shades of Gray".
Friends for life
Salute allo Specchio Onlus means a lot for those who decide to take a stretch of road, marked by the disease, together with other women. "Just think that whoever is part of the group becomes a family person, just when family members have greater difficulty in being close to you," says Rosella, who has faced the disease and is now committed as a volunteer. "So, when you have to undergo chemotherapy you find your 'sister' coming to visit you or maybe other women who, knowing that you are tired, have prepared dinner for you". It is a continuous "giving" something of oneself and of one's own experience to receive a hundred times as much from people who until a few weeks before were "perfect strangers" but, with Health in the mirror Onlus, they become milestones in the path of life. "Just think about the problem of the wig to put on after chemotherapy and the need to still feel beautiful inside and out," Rosella continues. "I took this path together with the other women, almost playfully, and I came to donate my wig to another person. I am convinced that in the future, if I needed it again, I would know how to choose the color, I would know whether to prefer curly or straight hair, I would also define the hair color itself. Always with a positive soul, as I find in every group meeting which for me, who live far from Milan, is a real "source" of well-being. Which I do not want and cannot give up ".
In collaboration with Salute allo Specchio Onlus