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Emotional Well-being

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The Garden That Heals

by Jenny Peterson

“Don’t let cancer define you, Jenny. You are more than your diagnosis.” This was the advice from my doctor when she gave me the news that I had breast cancer, the disease that had killed my mother. It was Friday, May 11, 2012 – I don’t need to look up the date because it’s seared into my memory, like it is for most people with a cancer diagno­sis. I thought, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have breast cancer.”

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Easing the Pain of Cancer

by Emily Cox-Martin, PhD, and Diane Novy, PhD

Pain is a multidimensional experience. It can affect you both physically and emotionally. By the same token, pain can also be treated using more than one method. One strat­egy often used by clinical psychologists and other mental health providers to help cancer survivors manage pain is called mindfulness.

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Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

by Mary Fisher Bornstein, LISW-S, and Betsy Kohn, MA, PC

We started studying the idea of forgiveness after watching a show on television in which the state of West Virginia caught a serial killer who had been killing women for 20 years. At the end of his trial, the judge offered the victims’ families an oppor­tunity to speak to the killer. The last person to speak was an elderly woman who had lost her daugh­ter. In paraphrasing, she said this:

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The Sound of Healing

by Lisa M. Gallagher, MA, MT-BC

The treatments for cancer are often long, uncomfortable, tiring, and boring. But they don’t necessarily have to be. There are things that can help you get through it. Music therapy is one of them.

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Holding on to Hope

by Clare Butt, RN, PhD

Hope. This one little word can hold great meaning, especially for cancer survivors. Though holding on to hope after a cancer diag­nosis can sometimes be challenging, many survivors find their hope grows through the experience.

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The Role of Ritual in Celebration and Healing after Cancer

by Richard Dickens, MS, LCSW-R

Hearing three dreaded words – you have cancer – is the shared experience connecting all can- cer survivors. The myriad treatments, thoughts, and feelings that follow, however, are unique to each individual, changing often and giving meaning to the common metaphor of cancer as a roller-coaster.

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Stop Keeping Up (and Down) with the Joneses

by Andrew J. Roth, MD

It’s easy to compare yourself to men who look healthier than you and wonder if you will have their good luck. You may make negative self-comparisons with others who look stronger and healthier and wonder, How come my luck was not as good? It is even more unsettling to see someone who looks more ill than you and wonder if that is the road you will be heading down, and when.

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Creating a Cancer Legacy Project

by Paulette Kouffman Sherman, PsyD

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized that my life might end up being shorter than I had originally thought. And it became the push I needed to accomplish my dream of leaving behind a legacy of books.

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