Below are unsolicited quotes about CHESS from CHESS users:
"CHESS has been a big help. With it, I always have felt that answers to my questions were there, whether I was accessing them or not. That gave me security and comfort. And of course the discussion group has been wonderful and the best place to find true understanding and comfort from others who have been there too. A great program!"
"I know without a doubt that CHESS has had a huge impact on the way I look at my BC [breast cancer]. Besides all the knowledge I have gained through CHESS about my BC, the relationships I have formed with the others going through BC has enabled me to see the positive side of things."
"I would have felt so isolated without CHESS, but from the minute I logged on and saw there were others just like me, I felt an incredible encouragement and reason for optimism. I discovered my life was not ending because of BC, it was just a chapter in my life that would profoundly effect me. Thank you CHESS!!"
"CHESS gave me information and knowledge that helped me make informed decisions. I truly can't tell you how much you helped me. Instead of feeling like I was given a 'death sentence,' CHESS made me feel like I was just facing another hurdle in the race for a normal, everyday kind of life."
"I feel that CHESS is a good program for anyone that has BC [breast cancer]. My family and friends are really impressed with it. I am very grateful to be a part of CHESS. It has helped me more that I thought possible. I needed to talk to other women like me and I don't care for the public support groups. This has been perfect."
"I think CHESS is a grand project. Thank you for making me a part of this project. It is like seeing light at the end of the tunnel for me. It gives me plenty of things to do besides sitting watching television or reading while worrying about my illness."
"Thanks to CHESS!!! Also the open discussion group is a great support system. Not only to myself, but to my 16-year-old daughter. When she needed to talk she would talk to other breast cancer patients if I wasn't available. These great ladies were awesome."
"I have gained much knowledge about breast cancer, treatment options, research, questions to ask, and I believe that knowledge has helped me deal with breast cancer in a positive manner."
"I knew very little about cancer, and CHESS opened my eyes to what the future may or may not have in store for me. I do have options and can make choices."
"CHESS opened the door to an unlimited amount of information concerning prostate cancer and treatment options. It gave me a sense of direction and relieved 80% of the stress factor. I would like to thank you for allowing me to be a part of your program. It prepared me for my treatment course."
"In strange ways, it is comforting to know that we are not alone in this surreal experience. The stories of others have helped us to prepare ourselves for it. Thanks to CHESS and the group for your sharing and information only you really know."
"The idea that CHESS gives me a direct line to information resources helped me to feel more at ease during my decision stage. Having an information resource such as CHESS helped me to ask better, more knowledgeable questions during my visits to my doctors."
"CHESS has given me information so I can discuss prostate cancer with my medical staff. It has put me in touch with other people with prostate cancer who are willing to share their experiences with others. By using CHESS I have been less fearful about prostate cancer."
"I thank you for your help. I believe your service is important to the many people out there that can and will use it. CHESS gave me the opportunity to get in the heads of many people dealing with the same situations as me. CHESS opened my eyes more to what to expect and prepare for with treatment."
"The CHESS experience has been a very positive one for me on this roller coaster ride called cancer. I am thankful for all it can do and has done to disseminate accurate information about prostate cancer. It helps me to know that I am not alone in this experience, and helps me to anticipate or to know what's next."
"I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to participate in CHESS and believe I experienced much less anxiety and felt more confident in decisions made."
"By having CHESS available I was able to proceed with confidence in my decision-making. It eliminated second guessing. And I was aware of how others are dealing with the same problem. I never felt I was the only one with the problem."
From the husband of a CHESS breast cancer module user in Discussion Group [names have been changed to protect the user's privacy]:
"Hello ladies, I am Jane's husband. She asked me to write you all and let you know what's going on with her. Last Thursday I took her to the ER because of severe muscle spasms in her back. She could be in [the hospital] another week or more. She wanted me to let you know that she misses you and sends her love and prayers. (A personal note from me – I really appreciate the support that you all have given to her. You mean a great deal to her. She is strong and I'm sure she will be fine, but I know that a person cannot be strong all the time and needs a shoulder sometimes…sometimes an ear. I try to be there for her, but sometimes I can't be. Thank you for helping me help my wife.) — John"
"Thanks for the words of encouragement and continued tips on dealing with this process. It is appreciated, as it seems other than the medical people my only avenue for information and support has mainly been through CHESS."
"I don't personally know anyone who has experienced this (at least not aware they have) and the rest of the Internet is less than perfect for finding information. We are certainly fortunate to have CHESS."
"The information available here and especially the discussion group have helped me immensely. It has helped in making my treatment decision, provided me with good questions for my doctors, educated me and my wife on this disease, given me tips for before and after surgery, and generally has been my base of support. I really appreciate [those] who, having completed their treatment, could simply have dropped out to get on with their lives, but who keep providing information and support to others."
"The Group is really amazing. When I get to feeling sorry for myself or actually envious of everyone around me because they don't have to deal at all with all this, I can come here and know again that I am not alone. There are others who struggle with the same matters and feelings and questions related to prostate cancer that I do. Found that I can go along 3 to 4 days positive and upbeat at work and home, and then there is a day of questions and roller coaster riding and emotions all over the place. The comments, stories, and descriptions provided by the men in this group have been supportive to all of us, remind us all that there are more of us with PC [prostate cancer] issues in our lives, and help us to regain the positives in our lives. Over a year ago in this group [a fellow user] said that he 'hopes that we never let the cancer steal the living from our lives.' It is a phrase that has been important to me since starting on CHESS. You all are really amazing, and seem to know just what's going on, or what it is that we all need when we need it. Thanks, Group."
"Just want to thank CHESS for all the information available. Read all 522+ messages and learned so much from all of you, past and present. Thanks for your perceptions. I am nearing a decision on treatment, and may try to travel to a support group next Wednesday evening. It was a comfort, guess that's the word, just to know that I am not all alone out here. Still just getting over the anger (if we can put a man on the moon in 1969.) and the overpowering sadness. Hearing the stories of the past year in CHESS has really helped me in two days. Thanks to all of you."
"I got online today without problems…what a great site it is. It is just loaded with information for us prostate cancer patients and is quite valuable for those seeking information and sharing our experiences. Somehow, when you first find out you have this affliction, you can never find enough information to satisfy your questions or help you make a treatment decision…I was lucky to have 2 close friends who had preceded me on this path so they were a wealth of information. I had to make my own decisions. There are no adequate words I can express to tell you how thankful I am. I must be the poster child for early detection, appropriate treatment, and quick recovery. I want to share my experience with others so I'm trying to figure out how to become one of those testimonials on this website."
"Like others, recently I discovered that there are many of us in the early 50's range who have ended up at this site and gone through the same treatment in the past few months. Based on everything I did to make my treatment decision, I think that the CHESS site and the discussion group probably was most helpful. Once I made the decision to have surgery the men who were posting at that time offered many helpful ideas for coping with post surgery processes (dealing with catheter bags, preparing for the ride home, finding suitable pads, etc.). Those who had returned to work too early showed me the need to take my time to fully recover. Once we get through the surgery then we have ahead of us years of watching and monitoring. There is so much that has happened to date and so much more to face in the future. At first you feel like you are the only one who is facing this. The CHESS site helped me to be willing to talk to others about my condition and I have become a little bit of an "activist" in encouraging everyone I talk to older than 45 to ask their doctor for a PSA test. I sent out information on my condition on email to a number of individuals in my company. Like me they were covered by a benefit which pays for annual physicals. Like me a few years ago, I was often too busy to take advantage of this. I am now letting them all know how important this can be and have had a couple people respond that they have moved forward with their doctors to get their check-ups. CHESS and the discussion group also made me feel comfortable in talking about this with everyone. I have discovered there are many more out there who have a family member or friend who has seen one stage or another of PC, some who have family histories of PC that are watching their own PSA at earlier ages, and unfortunately many who have lost someone because it was discovered too late. Good luck to all in your future health and beating PC. May those of you just embarking on your journey through this process share as much of yourself, your impressions, your ideas, your fears and frustrations, and your encouragement for each other on this website. At times when I was down I would often come here to get my bearings and to either just read other's thoughts or to bare my own soul. Finally, I thank Cathy [prostate cancer module developer] and the rest of the people who support this site for their efforts on our behalf. The future is a brighter place."
"This is good-bye, as my four months on CHESS are now over [this CHESS user was participating in a study]. The CHESS site and its discussion group have meant quite a lot to me over the last four months. Diagnosed in January, CHESS in February, surgery in late March, recovery in April, and back at work full speed during May, and now it is June. I will miss the postings and learning how members of the group are doing, what they think, and things in which they are interested. Mostly, I will miss the contact of others who have known some of the very same fears that I have known, the same treatment and effects issues, and hopes for the future. Importantly, the discussion group helped me to know that I was not alone. For a while it seemed I was the only person I knew who had prostate cancer and was struggling to cope. Now, the group has helped me to learn to share part of me; and that, in turn, has helped me to receive from others the support I need. My anxiety and struggles with prostate cancer are not over, unfortunately, but as the roller coaster ride continues, I am better prepared because of CHESS. I hope the site is available to all some day, not just the research group. I have appreciated all the support from the discussion group and the information from those who have gone before on the site. You men have been great, continue to support each other and to share information. You keep the group valuable for many men yet to come into it."