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.
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.
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.
The Daily Zoo
by Chris Ayers
When I started drawing an animal a day in 2006 on the one-year anniversary of my April 1st leukemia diagnosis (that’s right, I was told that I had cancer on April Fools’ Day!), I certainly had no idea that I would still be adding to this collection over three thousand days later. In fact, at that time, I wasn’t sure whether I would still be alive nine years later.
What about a Support Group?
by Mary C. McCarthy, BSN, RN-BC
Support groups are frequently recommended for people who are facing a change or challenge in life. Groups of people gathering for information, help, and networking is nothing new. A cancer diagnosis often leads a person or a family to find a support group.
Top 5 Journaling Myths Busted!
by Sharon K. Swanson, MFA, MPA
As a writer working in a hospital, I have seen first-hand how intimidating a cancer survivor’s list of “shoulds” can be. That’s why I prefer to offer journaling as a comfort or a distraction during and after cancer treatment, not as one more thing you “should” be doing as a cancer survivor.
The Aftermath of Cancer
by Val Jones
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I did my best to muddle through treatment – mostly clinging to the notion that it would all be over soon and I’d finally be able to put it behind me. However, the “end” I so fervently awaited never actually came.
Surviving the Emotional Roller Coaster of Cancer
by John Leifer, with Lori Lindstrom Leifer, MD
For many people with cancer, the emotional roller coaster that began at the time of diagnosis may continue well into treatment. It’s hard to imagine not feeling distressed when facing a life-altering disease. However, emotional distress often goes unaddressed during the early stages of diagnosis and treatment – a time when, ironically, intervention may be most beneficial.