Waldo County General Hospital’s Cancer Education and Support Group for anyone who has or has had cancer and their family members and friends meets the second Monday of each month from 4:45 to 6:15 p.m. in the hospital’s education center.

Following a recent meeting, Elizabeth Bonwich — who was a reluctant attendee — wrote in her journal about the experience:

Hiding out in the safety of my car, I watched people file into the cancer support group at Waldo County General Hospital’s education center. So far so good, and hey, there’s someone younger than me! That’s a novelty. At 37 and on my fourth, yes fourth, cancer since I was 15, I’m oddly proud that I’ve managed to live long enough to no longer be the youngest at one of these things.

4:45p.m. Time to come out of hiding. I hope this one is good, or at least not too painful. I’ve never been a “group person,” but the feeling of isolation having a life-threatening disease brings has won out tonight over my normal recalcitrance.

A motley mix of survivors on active treatment, caregivers and family members, spanning decades in age, was grouped around the table. I had my doubts. But it was a superb meeting! The varied experiences and points of view served to enrich the group and conversation flowed.

I gained new insight into my own family’s handling of my disease by listening to the struggles of family members. Not being the youngest in the room gave a new appreciation for where I’d been and what I’d been through to get to this point today.

We closed with a discussion of insomnia, a common affliction of the cancer-touched. I left elated, thrilled to have dragged myself out and met these lovely people.

As I lay in bed that night, my own insomnia ticking away the hours, I stared up at the ceiling and marveled at how tonight, for the first time, I knew I wasn’t alone in doing so. It was a good thing to come out of hiding.

The cancer support group, facilitated by social worker Margie Spencer-Smith, LCSW, will meet again Monday, Feb. 8. There is no charge for the group and registration is not required. Teas and coffee will be served and if you cannot arrive by 4:45 p.m., you are welcome to arrive when you can.

If you would like to talk to Spencer-Smith at any time, call her at 930-2500, ext. 4795 or e-mail msmith@wcgh.org.