Emotional Well-being

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When Life Hurts, Writing Helps

by Sharon A. Bray, EDD

I’d come to the writing workshop after completing radiation treatment for early-stage breast cancer two weeks earlier. Despite an intensive week of writing, I had avoided any mention of cancer. To write about it was an admission of vulnerability. Denial was a comfortable overcoat, and I had no desire to discard it.

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When life does not go according to our desires and expectations, we frequently react with anger. The anger that stems from coping with a deadly disease can be more intense than what people experience in more ordinary circumstances and can surface in unexpected ways at surprising times. The hand you have been dealt could seem unfair, and you may ask, “Why me?”

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The Role of Spirituality in Cancer Care

The terms spirituality and religion are often used in place of each other, but for many people they have different meanings. Religion may be defined as a specific set of beliefs and practices, usually within an organized group. Spirituality may be defined as an individual’s sense of peace, purpose, and connection to others and beliefs about the meaning of life. People may think of themselves as spiritual or religious, or both.

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Music Reduces Anxiety in People with Cancer

People with cancer may benefit from sessions with trained music therapists or from listening to music. A new Cochrane systematic review shows using music can reduce anxiety in people with cancer, and it may also have positive effects on mood, pain, and quality of life.

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What is Recreation Therapy?

by Gretchen M. Gerhardt, CTRS/R

Think about the role recreation has played in your life. Where does it fall on your priority list? Where would you like it to fall? Perhaps recreation no longer seems like a possibility. The good news is there is a type of therapy that may provide assistance in helping you to prioritize recreation while also enhancing your health.

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Overcoming the Fear of Treatment Side Effects

It is normal to fear the unexpected and worry that treatment will be difficult. In fact, fear of treatment side effects is common after a diagnosis of cancer. It is important to acknowledge these feelings, identify the underlying reasons, and share your concerns with your healthcare team.

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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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