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I went to this group and they had a speaker there. She was a nurse. Somehow she dealt with illnesses or whatever, and she was a very, very good speaker. She talked about a bouquet of balloons, and how there was strings, and each one would let go. And she says, “Don’t wait until you only have one or two balloons left to get help”. She said, “get help when you have a lot of strings to hold onto, because you may be too late for your help if you wait till you only have a couple strings left.” I remember her saying that, and that was when we went for professional help after that.

But the women in the group each shared their story that night, and I had no idea how painful it was for them to share the story, because they had to go back to the beginning. And they had been in it for 30 years already or quite far into it. And until later on—I stayed with the group for a long time and we got some new members down the road—I remember having to share my beginnings, my story, and that was when I realized how painful it was for what they did for me when I joined that group, and how they went back. Because it was so hard to me to go back.

And it was such a gift that they shared: the symptoms, the advocacy, what worked, what didn’t, what they needed to do to survive. They were a gift. They were such a gift. Providing me with so much information, almost overload. And it wasn’t everything I needed at the time, but I remembered things for later and implemented things that they told me down the road, which really, really helped. I can’t say enough about how great they were

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