Carol Eddy, MA, MFT, is a clinician in private practice in Orange County. Here is her story about becoming involved with Fran’s Place.
I had the great fortune of meeting Dr. Fran Baumgarten in graduate school, as my very first professor. She disclosed being a two-time cancer survivor. Her story touched my heart deeply. Having experienced the loss of both my parents, my sister, extended family members, and several close friends, it was empowering to meet a survivor, who was on a mission to offer support to families touched by cancer.
Cancer has impacted the lives of too many of my family and friends. My mother was diagnosed with cancer while I was in graduate school, passing away before I graduated, and my father lost his cancer battle over ten years before. In addition, my sister valiantly fought Breast Cancer, losing the fight just prior to her 50th birthday. As a caretaker for both my parents and several close friends as they battled this disease, I have walked the halls of too many hospitals and have personally experienced the array of emotions that arise when coping with this disease. Learning to cope with these losses has been a personal journey. In my practice, I use my clinical training along with adjunct therapies (such as Mindfulness, Meditation, Tapping) to assist clients with their personal journeys and growth.
Once I became a licensed therapist, it clearly became my calling to work with cancer patients, their families, and loved ones. My personal experiences have enhanced my professional knowledge and understanding of what many people go through and guiding clients through their individual journeys brings me great joy. Having their own unique experiences, patients and caretakers often find it comforting to know they are not alone. Many cancer patients feel isolated, as some friends and family are close by in the beginning, sometimes stepping away when circumstances become too difficult. As well, cancer patients often share that they do not want to overburden their loved ones, while loved ones seek guidance on how or when to discuss difficult topics, often fearful to bring up topics that may be “too much”. Clients are unprepared to learn a whole new language and often relate feeling overwhelmed and frightened. Together we map a plan and set realistic goals for therapy. Clients frequently express that they are comforted having a neutral professional to guide them through this process.
It has been an honor to work with Fran’s Place since its inception. Having worked first as an intern with Dr. Baumgarten, I have been with the organization ever since — now over 20 years. It is an honor and privilege to help others walk through the many challenges they face; physical and emotional pain, financial stressors, navigating the mountain of medical appointments, helping them determine the best individual course of treatment. Caretakers too, have a wide range of emotions to understand and work through. They appreciate having a safe place to talk. Together we find space to allow fun and laughter back into their lives, while coping with all they must navigate with the disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted those dealing with Cancer. Frequently, patients must attend doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and undergo treatments alone. Having no one to hold their hands either figuratively or emotionally, I believe clients need clinicians more than ever. It is my honor and privilege to work with Fran’s Place to help clients navigate their way to less emotional and physical pain, assist them in finding a way to walk through cancer with less fear, and in helping them gain more confidence when making decisions. I am truly honored to contain their personal stories, while helping them learn to untangle and discuss their concerns in a safe environment.