“Art therapy is so important to the healing process, because people don’t just want to talk about their experience with cancer — they want to move ahead with some positive action.” — Wendy Goossen, Cancer Services Director
Gorgeous quilts in bold colors and modern design fill the rooms with color; purple couches and chairs are piled with tiny pillows. This isn’t an art gallery or a home — it’s the Marshall Medical Cancer Resource Center and director Wendy Goossen wants people to know where they are and what they do.
The quilts, a rotating display in every room of the center, are the contribution of Wild Wednesday Women, which includes members of Threads of Life. The little pillows, donated by women in the community, provide support for breast cancer patients.
Goossen, 63, who has been director of the Cancer Resource Center since January, said, “We’re the non-clinical side of the cancer team and we are blessed with a great staff that works so well together.”
Marshall’s cancer program is nationally accredited by the Commission on Cancer and the clinical side of the team, oncologists, hematologists and Radiation treatment are around the corner from the center in Cameron Park.
The Cancer Resource Center offers support for those undergoing cancer treatments, cancer survivors and the newly diagnosed.
“We have a patient navigator who guides patients through the whole process from diagnosis to treatment, working with them and the doctors to be the patient’s advocate,” said Goossen. “We also have a nutritionist and a social worker, a no-cost mammogram program and a transportation assistance program funded by grants from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The gas cards are really helpful for people from outlying areas like Georgetown and Grizzly Flat to come in for treatments or to use our resources.”
A breast cancer support group, called “Hooters,” gentle yoga classes for cancer patients and their families, movement therapy, a lymphedema education class, ostomy and prostate support groups, a seasoned survivors general cancer support group and a survivorship support group are some of the services offered by the Cancer Resource Center as well as library and reference materials for cancer patients.
Goossen’s own favorite class is the monthly “Look good, Feel better” class.
“It’s a great way to connect those who are going through chemo and radiation with other women and see what they are going through, even for those who don’t care about makeup,” said Goossen.
Each participant receives a makeup kit and instruction on how to enhance their appearance with wigs, scarves and hats.
“We have all kinds of wigs donated from the American Cancer Society,” said Goossen. “For women who don’t want to wear wigs, we have hats and scarves and I teach them how to tie the scarves in different ways. Our femininity is so tied to our hair and it’s good when you see them going through such pain and then they leave with smiles on their faces.”
Goossen is adding new things to the center as well. A donated van will become available in the next month to help cancer patients who need transportation for treatments and procedures and a new class in chemo tech brings newly diagnosed patients together with the patient navigator, social worker, oncology nurse and nutritionist before their first chemo treatment.
“They explain the treatments and what can be expected, answer questions to try to ease patients into the whole chemo experience so it’s not so frightening,” said Goossen.
Goossen’s position at the Cancer Resource Center, which opened in March, 2011, is a blend of her life paths.
“I lived in El Dorado County right out of high school and raised two sons here. I was really involved in the art community and so left to finish my art degree in San Diego.”
To put herself through school, Goossen took a job at Scripps Hospital and later moved to Monterey after completing her degree and landing a job at Salinas Valley Hospital.
“The cancer registrar went out on maternity leave, so I got the job and then I was the director of the Cancer Services Center for 12 years,” Goossen said.
Goossen was recruited for her position at the Cancer Resource Center in El Dorado County.
“It was like kismet and now I’m back home.” She’s putting together her two life paths in art and cancer services in her job, with art therapy for cancer patients as a pet focus.
She also focuses her many talents on community awareness.
“Images of Hope is a grassroots organization we just started in order to raise funds for art therapy classes at the center,” said Goossen. “Art therapy is so important to the healing process, because people don’t just want to talk about their experience with cancer — they want to move ahead with some positive action.”
Art and music therapy classes are offered at many major hospitals and cancer centers to aid in the many facets of healing.
The Friday, Oct. 26 event at Flowers on Main, 318 Main St. in Placerville, will offer art on display, some by cancer survivors, breast cancer screening materials, appetizers, wine and music from 5:30 to 8 p.m.. The event is free. The public is invited and can RSVP by calling 530-676-6132.
Goossen wants to see more activity at the Cancer Resource Center.
“I want people to see us as a place of comfort and healing,” said Goossen, “and realize they don’t have to go down the hill for support.”
Marshall Medical Cancer Resource Center is located at 3581 Palmer Drive in Cameron Park.
For more information call 530-672-7050.