Emotional Well-being

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Five Things to Put in Your Backpack When Going for Treatment in Cancerville

by William Penzer, PhD

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been touched by cancer. I was in just that position a few years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 31. While sitting in the waiting room of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, I came to realize that cancer is not just a medical diagnosis; it’s also a place. My daughter, my wife, and I had just entered what I came to call Cancerville.

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Strategies for Completing the Cancer Triathlon

by Jane Loeb Rubin

As I reach the end of my second phase of treatment and prepare to head into the third and, God willing, last phase, I have found myself struggling with the mental preparation I need. For the most part, I have heard scary, uncomfortable details of what is ahead, and although this last part will only take three rounds of three treatments, each round seems like an enormous mountain to climb.

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Time to Live

by Melinda Taranto-Garnis, LICSW

I met a man named Michael recently. His oncologist had asked me to give him a call. Michael had just been diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma. When I called him, I could hear him moving around and closing a door before he launched into a list of concerns. Michael felt this diagnosis was a wake-up call, and he wanted to take full advantage of it.

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Staying Positive after a Cancer Diagnosis

by Ann Webster, PhD

Cancer survivors face numerous challenges – physical, psychological, social, and spiritual. They also experience stress associated with treatment decisions and side effects. Maintaining optimism, resiliency, and strength is not always easy.

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The Good News about Feeling Bad

by John L. Shuster Jr., MD

Many people believe that depression is a given with cancer. This is not the case. While a cancer diagnosis is certainly distressing and can be a source of worry, apprehension, discouragement, or sadness, the great majority do not develop clinical depression. It is important, however, to watch for the signs of depression and treat depression early if it develops, but it is also important not to spend emotional energy worrying about developing depression as if it were inevitable.

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Maintaining Your Emotional Health after Cancer

by Kristin Kilbourn, PhD, MPH

A diagnosis of cancer can create a great deal of disruption in your life. It is estimated that approximately one-third to one-half of all people diagnosed with cancer experience high levels of distress during their illness, and some may develop depression and anxiety disorders. Early identification of depression and anxiety is important so that you may receive timely treatment and minimize the potential long-term complications.

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The Power of Forgiveness

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

In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.” This attitude often translates into a lifestyle; one where we are able to stop blaming others for what happens to us and take responsibility for our own actions. We are able to focus on learning from what we are doing, rather than pointing a finger at others.

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Grief – The Unspoken Side Effect of Cancer

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

A kick in the gut, ice water running through your veins, your heart dropping into your stomach – this is what you can feel when hearing those three words: “You have cancer.” In that instant, your life changes. Shock, disbelief, fear, and chaos accompany the news. Overwhelm and confusion kick in.

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