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Emotional Well-being

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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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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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After Cancer, Looking Forward Gratefully

by Amy Lynn Dee, EdD

How did this happen to me? I fol­lowed all the rules, consumed healthy food, exercised regularly, got routine check-ups, went to church, volunteered, and generally felt vigor­ous and well. Still, cancer marched in and made itself a home in my lym­phatic system.

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Take Control of Worry

by Sage Bolte, PhD, LCSW, OSW-C, CST, and Drucilla Brethwaite, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Lauren, a devoted mom of two young children, committed part­ner, competent professional, diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, arrived in the office pleading, “I don’t want to feel like this anymore. This worry is taking too much of my time.” When faced with a cancer diagnosis, even the most resilient individuals can find themselves experiencing strong emotions resulting from distressing thoughts unlike any they have ever experienced before.

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When Words Heal

by Sharon A. Bray, EdD

Fifteen years ago, numb from treat­ment for early-stage breast cancer, I signed up for a weeklong writing workshop at the urging of a friend. While I looked forward to it, I had mixed emo­tions, and on the first day, I entered the classroom full of doubt and anxiety.

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Depression

by Katherine Easton, LCSW, OSW-C

When people think about the side effects of cancer treat­ment, physical effects like fatigue, hair loss, and nausea and vomiting are often what come to mind. However, cancer survivors are at risk of developing another rarely discussed, and far less visible, side-effect – depression. This unwelcome, and often unexpected, guest can even affect people who may normally have healthy coping skills.

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Tools for Coping with Stress

by William Penzer, PhD

Let me be blunt. I am seventy-three-and-a-half years old. In 2005, when my 31-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer, I came undone. I was flooded with stress and anxiety for the better part of a year. The aftershocks lasted a couple more. And I am a skilled psychologist who is used to helping people through difficult journeys. It was undeniably the very worst experi­ence of my life.

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