November is a month to celebrate many things…cooler Autumn weather and breaking out our sweaters; Turkey with all the trimmings and pumpkin spice everything; Holiday gift shopping and time spent with family…but November is also a time to appreciate those people in our lives who give so much to support and help us. November is Caregivers Appreciation Month.

Joy Rosenberg is a member of the Tuesday evening Friends and Family support group in Westlake Village. We first met Joy when she was a part-time bookkeeper contracting with Cancer Support Community VVSB. She is aptly named, with an infectious laugh and a true joy for life that comes through in all of her interactions. In August of 2019 Joy moved on to other ventures, but her time at CSCVVSB wasn’t ending…it was simply changing. Shortly after, Joy approached Program Director Kayo Matsumoto about joining a support group, Joy’s husband had been diagnosed with cancer.

In honor of Caregivers Appreciation Month, we asked Joy a few questions about her experience at CSCVVSB.

Q:  How has this program affected your quality of life, future outlook, and basic well-being? 

A:  Hearing the words that one of your loved ones, much less your husband of 35 years, has cancer, is devastating.  Your whole life changes with just a few words.  I don’t really feel like a caregiver because my husband is able to do everything he did before his diagnosis. That being said, going to the support group allows me to vent, cry, laugh, as well as rejoice with other people who know what I am going through and feeling.  They have allowed me to be ok with all of my emotions.  One thing that is continually reinforced is that I need to take care of myself so I will be able to care for my husband.

Q:  Please share a specific story/memory/accomplishment of your time at CSCVVSB.   

A:  I’ve only been attending since the beginning of September of this year, but my husband had a scan about 6 weeks ago and the results were very positive.  I was looking forward to sharing my good news!  When I got to the group it was apparent that it had been a hard week for most of my fellow caretakers. When it was my turn to share my week, I felt guilty because I had good news.  One of the attendees saw my hesitation and was quick to tell me that everyone is thrilled to hear my good news and I shouldn’t feel guilty because I was the only one that had positive news, which made me feel much better about sharing. 

Although Joy has only been attending her group for a few months, she feels that they fully support her and understand what she is facing. This is the benefit of a support group.

Joy also told us that she is an avid reader and enjoys yoga, both of which are great ways to practice self-care! This is so important, especially when you are caring for another. CSCVVSB offers gentle yoga classes four days a week for people impacted by cancer. If you are new to our programs please sign up to attend an orientation to learn more!

We’d like to take a moment to thank all of the caregivers, and remind you that no matter how hard it may seem to do, particularly during the holidays, you need to take time for yourself.

Click Here for tips on coping with cancer through the holidays.