by Caroline Peterson, ATR-BC, LPC
For those who have lived it, no words can fully convey what it feels like to receive the diagnosis of a potentially life-threatening illness. That is why many people diagnosed with cancer have turned to art therapy to explore their experience beyond the realm of words. This process often leads to a greater clarity about their own feelings. And understanding your emotions is essential for living well.
Don’t Dismiss Your Distress
by Michelle Riba, MD, MS
For all the physical side effects that cancer can impose on the body, its psychological toll is often just as distressing. Though it’s not as frequently and openly discussed. Potential triggers for depression and anxiety lurk throughout the cancer journey, from the stress surrounding diagnosis to the physical and mental demands of treatment to the persistent uncertainties that accompany the possibility of recurrence.
Money for the Toll Road
by Karen Mechanic, MD
No one wants to be afraid. But fear is a natural response to an unexpected situation. Fear prepares you to face what’s in front of you. It’s normal to be afraid when you’re told you have cancer, while you’re going through treatment, or even after some time has passed and you’re in remission.
Gain Control of Your Anxiety and Depression
by Maria Rueda-Lara, MD
A cancer diagnosis can cause enormous anxiety, sadness, and uncertainty about the future. These feelings are normal up to a certain point; however, when sadness and anxiety take hold and don’t go away, it can lead to depression or an anxiety disorder that requires professional help.
Putting Stress in Its Place
by Bonnie A. McGregor, PhD
The diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from cancer is a continuum. When your doctor tells you that you’re cancer-free, there’s a sense of relief. However, even though the treatment is over, the emotional and physical recovery is only just beginning.
High Places of the Heart
by Rev. Susan Sparks
I’ve done many crazy things in my life, but there are two that stick out: performing stand-up and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Both were intimidating. And both made me throw up. But there’s a third similarity (and this is the reason I attempted either of these crazy things): both comedy and Kilimanjaro provide high places – places that bring an entirely new sense of perspective.
The After-Treatment Blahs
by Bob Riter
For many people, the months following cancer treatment are more difficult than the treatment itself. During treatment, your “job” is to be in treatment. You’re busy with appointments, and you see the same doctors and nurses almost every week. At the same time, friends bring you meals, family members take on extra duties, and you’re left to focus on getting better.
Treating and Defeating Depression
by Caryl Fulcher, MSN, RN, CNS-BC
We have all heard the word depression, and each of us likely has our own definition of it. For some, it is a momentary feeling of more “down and blue” than usual or a mood caused by something frightening, like cancer. For others, it is a clinical condition that includes unwelcome changes in sleep and appetite, loss of interest in usual activities, poor ability to concentrate, forgetfulness, and sometimes feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness.