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Emotional Well-being

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Just Got Diagnosed?

by Gary R. McClain, PhD

As a therapist who specializes in working with people facing a serious medical diagnosis, including cancer, I see many people come into my office struggling with their emotional reac­tions to their diagnosis and what it will mean for their lives. We talk about their fears and hopes about treatment, as well as all those strange and uncom­fortable feelings that keep bubbling up. And we talk about what a cancer diagnosis means for their future. This is what I tell them.

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Keeping Up Appearances

by Terri Tate, RN, MS

Where I come from, looking good was all that mattered. In Grosse Pointe, Michigan, in the 1950s, what you wore to church on Sunday was more important than how you behaved during the week. My mother never tired of telling me that girls like me needed to “do the most with what they had.” Looking back, I can see that I was a pretty child, but at the time I couldn’t see beyond my freckles and slight chubbiness.

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A Fresh Take on Journaling through Cancer

by Janet Falon

You’ve probably heard this be­fore, but if you’re a cancer survivor (or the care partner of a cancer survivor), writing down your feelings and thoughts in a journal is healing – emotionally, spiritually, and, many people think, physically.

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by Sharon Roth-Lichtenfeld, CPC, PPC, ELI-MP, Paula Holland De Long, ACC, CPCC, and Tambre Leighn, MA, PCC, ELI-MP

Everyone experiences it. Some people fear it, desperately seek­ing to get out of it quickly. Others wrap it around themselves and sink deeply into it, sometimes for years. It’s more than just a feeling – it’s a process. It is grief. Grief is the conflicting feelings and inner turmoil caused by the end of – or change in – something. Many people have this notion that they can avoid grief. But, guess what? You can’t. It’s part of the human experience.

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Express Yourself

by Julie Larson, LCSW

A cancer diagnosis can change how you seek support from others. You may look to close friends for lighthearted distraction, or unwavering reassurance, in stressful moments. Supportive family members can be integral in helping you make difficult decisions. And sympathetic colleagues can make profound differ­ences in your transition back to work. However, all too often, relationships become complicated and fraught with hurtful misunderstanding when some­one is diagnosed with cancer.

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Nourishing Your Emotional Health
during Breast Cancer

by Linda M. Sutton, MD, and Donette W. Vicente, MD

There’s no doubt about it; a cancer diagnosis – of any kind – has a way of challenging your emo­tional well-being. For breast cancer survivors, in particular, the emotional journey can feel like a roller coaster, with many expected highs and lows, as well as unexpected twists and turns.

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When Cancer Comes Calling:

by Kerry Cox Irish, LCSW, OSW-C

May was in her early 30s when she was diagnosed with ad­vanced breast cancer. When we met, she was using a wheelchair, no longer able to walk due to spinal me­tastases. May described herself as “an open book.” And, indeed, she gener­ously shared her life’s story with me and with others in the weekly cancer support group I was leading.

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Feeling Anxious? Depressed?

by Isabel Schuermeyer, MD

A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event – one that can seriously affect your mental well-being. Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders are common among cancer survivors, even among those who have never experienced these kinds of mental health issues before. People without strong social support systems have a higher risk of developing mood and anxiety disorders after being diagnosed with cancer.

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