Emotional Well-being

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Acknowledging the Grief and Loss of the Cancer Journey

by Kathy Allen, LSW, OSW-C

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a life changing experience for most people. Like Dorothy during the twister in The Wizard of Oz, you are tossed and turned, not knowing where you are going to land. The whirlwind of doctors, appointments, tests, information, and decisions often causes confusion and the feeling of being overwhelmed. This is especially disconcerting because, prior to diagnosis, you were living your day-to-day life never expecting to find yourself standing on the edge of a very scary cliff.

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Journaling Through Cancer

by Deborah Ludwig

I picked up my pen and wrote, It is said that life is unpredictable. Well, that is an understatement. I have leukemia – cancer. Never in my life did I imagine the word “cancer” could, or would, be associated with me. That’s how I started my journal entry on December 21, 2003. Three days earlier, I had been diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, and I was still reeling from the news.

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by Anne Lawton

I’ve been an oncology nurse for 17 years. People ask me all the time, “How can you stand your job?” Or they comment, “It must be hard,” and “I couldn’t do it.” I love my job, and I love my patients. What people don’t realize is that it’s an honor to be a nurse, especially an oncology nurse. I live with hope every day.

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Creating a Safe Haven in Your Home

by Eileen Coan, MA, MLS

If you or someone you love has cancer, it can feel like you are surrounded by chaos. Your schedule, lifestyle, and plans for the future might be turned upside down. Amidst all this, you should have one place that feels safe – home. You can create a healing room, or even a corner of a room, in your house where you can relax, be quiet, regroup, and refresh.

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Know Thyself

by Sharon Roth-Lichtenfeld, BFA, CPC, ELI-MP

We all have thoughts that invoke emotions and actions. There really are no idle thoughts. They all have a consequence resulting in our attitude, which is positive or negative, healthy or unhealthy. Positive or negative does not necessarily mean good or bad; it is just what is. Since we are all individuals, each of us reacts in our own unique way.

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Pregnant, with Cancer

by Christine M. Bylewski, LCSW-R

A diagnosis of cancer while pregnant is one of the most confusing emotional experiences for a woman. The juxtaposition of new life in the face of this diagnosis simply does not seem possible at a time when tremendous joy and expectation are the norm. Pregnancy is usually accompanied by a myriad of reactions: Will it be a boy or a girl? Will it be healthy? Whom will this baby resemble? What kind of personality will this child have?

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What Are You Doing to Beat the Odds?

by Morry Edwards, PhD

In the 35 years I have been involved in cancer care, I have seen many people make liars out of statistics – outliving their prognoses or going into complete remission. I always wonder what factors enabled that person to be an outlier and successfully beat the odds. Shouldn’t we study them more closely?

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No One Understands

by Nancy L. Agneberg

“No one understands,” said the two-year breast cancer survivor. “Only people with cancer can understand. I know my family and friends were worried and afraid,” she continued, “but I felt alone. I still do. I wish they understood how I feel, how having cancer feels.”

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