Finding Balance

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Charting Your Journey

by Carole O’Toole

While everyone who faces cancer travels his or her own unique journey, this singular experi­ence connects us all. As a cancer coach, I have listened to hundreds of survi­vors share their hard-earned wisdom in finding their way through cancer. In doing so, I have found these five universal truths from cancer survivors.

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Coming to Terms with Your New Normal

by Deborah Seagull, PhD

A man came into my office after a diagnosis of neck can­cer and said to me, “I miss Matt. I miss the old Matt.” He said that cancer had profoundly changed the way he saw himself and the world. He felt that he could not do ordinary things or focus on small talk the way he used to, regular chores and activi­ties had lost their meaning, and he was unsure about what was fulfilling to him these days.

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On the Job Hunt after Cancer

Explaining away the gap in work history is one of the most common worries of cancer sur­vivors looking for work. But there is some good news for those facing this challenge today. Because of the ongoing sluggishness of the economy, more and more people have substantial gaps in their resumes. Of course, a down job market isn’t easy to negotiate, but those hiring are not as likely to automatically discount you because of a work gap.

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When Treatment Ends

by Jolene Rowe, LCSW

For many cancer survivors, the challenges of a cancer diagnosis don’t end with treatment. Emotional recovery is sometimes a longer and even more difficult process than physical recovery. This can be exacerbated by the expectation from family, friends, and coworkers that the day treatment ends will be the day you are back to normal. As a cancer survivor, you know this is far from the truth.

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Do I Need Cancer Rehabilitation?

by David S. Zucker, MD, PhD

When you have cancer, it’s easy to forget that your body has trillions of healthy cells. This is true regardless of whether the cancer is stage 0 or stage IV. These healthy cells support you through the rigors of treatment. Too often, however, the support that your healthy cells offer is forgotten in the flurry of activities surrounding treatment and the dramatic changes in your everyday life. These changes are not only physical but also emotional and spiritual. After all, cancer affects the whole person from molecule to spirit.

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Working with Chemo Brain

You’re back at work after cancer treatment – or maybe nearly done with treatment and working at least part time. You’re understandably eager to get back to “normal.” But if you’ve had chemotherapy, you may notice your concentration, memory, or other work skills aren’t up to par. This mental fog isn’t your imagination. It’s called chemo brain.

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Time to Live

by Melinda Taranto-Garnis, LICSW

I met a man named Michael recently. His oncologist had asked me to give him a call. Michael had just been diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma. When I called him, I could hear him moving around and closing a door before he launched into a list of concerns. Michael felt this diagnosis was a wake-up call, and he wanted to take full advantage of it.

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Life after Cancer

by Fran Zandstra, RN, MBA, OCN

In the midst of cancer treatment, for most, the goal is to cure the cancer. You count the months and days until you reach that milestone. When the day finally arrives, you are elated and ready to put the experience behind you. Your doctor and healthcare team congratulate you with a pat on the back, a warm hug, and a fond farewell. This is the day you and your loved ones have been looking forward to – treatment is over. Let the celebration begin!

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