Advice from an Oncology Social Worker: “Take Care and Keep Connectinig”

Advice from an Oncology Social Worker: “Take Care and Keep Connectinig”

Submitted by Trisha Lund, MSW, CAPSW

HSHS EWD St. Nicholas Hospital

Hello Everyone!

This is my first time writing in the Local Cancer Community Update, but I have been reading the LCCU since I started as the social worker for oncology. As I learned more about TLC and ST&BF from Tim and in reading the LCCU, the more amazed I continue to be.

Between you and me, I feel bad for Tim. I keep trying to find the words to describe how awesome TLC and ST&BF are, but I can never find just one reason or something to connect and describe exactly how I feel. So, please hang in there with me as I share some of my observations and feelings; both personally and as a social worker.

In my more than two decades as a social worker, I have never seen grassroots (community based/local) groups like TLC and ST&BF not only continue for years, but continue to grow, include new activities, keep activities that evolve into group traditions, and the commitment and bond between the members is so heartfelt!

When Tim first asked me to be a guest speaker, I was so nervous. As a social worker, I do a lot of guest speaking, but I’m human and still get nervous doing new things. When I got to the TLC meeting, everyone knew I was coming and gave me such a warm welcome! I didn’t bring a treat to pass, but was offered to share in the snacks that were brought. I remember the kindness that was extended to me, but also the kindness that was shared between everyone!

The second year Tim asked me to be a guest speaker I arrived early and group members taught me how to play Crokinole. Again, I was nervous about doing something new and worried I wouldn’t get it. Some of the group members leaned away when I went to flick (self-preservation because my first flick bounced around quite a bit) until I realized that one needs to flick gently. There is truth to the old saying, “less is more.”

This year I joked with Tim about January seeming to be my month and looked forward to my guest speaker activity. When I got there a little early, I recognized TLC members from the years before and met more members. And of course, nothing can ever go perfectly… Most of the pens I brought no longer worked. Instead of feeling embarrassed, I apologized, and everyone made the activity work.

I realized that I was much more comfortable and at ease this year. I wondered what had changed? Even though there were new members and members I haven’t met before, I wasn’t nervous at all. It took several days for me to realize that it was me who changed. I’m still the social worker and a person, but I realized that I let my nervousness guard down and was present with everyone else.

Now we are faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and “Safer at Home,” not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the world. This has been a challenge for all of us in so many different ways. But, how many times have we been challenged in the past? How many times have we been up against something that seemed insurmountable, but found a way?

Well, TLC and ST&BF are no different! I have been reading about TLC and ST&BF virtual groups through Zoom. This is yet another example of everyone who is part of TLC and ST&BF making TLC and ST&BF so Amazing! I see all of the virtual meeting dates, times, and Zoom information in the LCCU to keep everyone up to date so you can stay connected with each other. I even saw virtual yoga!

I look forward to spending time with you next January, whether in-person, socially distanced, or virtually!

Take Care & Keep Connecting,


NOTE: You may contact Trisha at 920.459.4744.

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