When treatment ends for cancer survivors, so can the support from medical staff.
But thanks to a new program, the transition back to normal life doesn't have to mean going it alone.
Troy Wilkes is in an elite group.
The 51-year-old is among the small percentage of pancreatic cancer survivors who beat the disease and testicular cancer more than ten years ago.
"I have an identical twin brother who had cancer when he was 20 and then he had cancer again in 2003. And the doctors started saying, 'hey, you're identical twins. We need to check you out.' and found out that day I had testicular cancer and about a week later found out I had pancreatic cancer," he said.
But like so many other cancer survivors, when his battle with the disease was over he was left to face the emotional and physical challenges alone.
"You know you have things you gotta deal with and then if you don't deal with them eventually life will bring it up to make you deal with it," he added.
That's where the Transitions Program came in.
The 6-week session at Covenant Cancer Treatment Center in Waterloo is free to any cancer survivor.
"I think they feel lost on how am I going to return to my old life. So anyone who has battled cancer, they're a cancer survivor and they're welcome to the program at no cost," said Timi Brown, program coordinator.
For Troy it was the catalyst to reclaim his former life.
"We learned so much from each other and we draw strength from other people's story. I just took away a whole new attitude," he said.
By the way, Troy is doing fine just recovering from shoulder surgery.
To sign up for the Transitions Program, call 319-272-1755 to register for the next session that starts October 2.
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