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Emotional Well-being

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Emotions and 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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New Normal? What’s That?

by Nancy Stordahl

It’s been more than six years since my breast cancer diagnosis, so it’s time to start taking stock of things, or so I’ve been told. I’m supposed to start putting cancer behind me and find my new normal, whatever that means. Society seems to be nudging – no, more like pushing – me to hurry up. Be done. Put it behind me. Move on. Forget about it. Get back to the way things were. The trouble is, it’s not that simple, or even possible. I will never be done with cancer. And guess what? I don’t even want to be.

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Cheers to the Holidays…

by Kaylene Chadwell

For most, the holiday season is a wonderful time of year, filled with cherished traditions and time spent with loved ones. However, when you’re dealing with cancer, the holiday hub­bub of decorating, shopping, cooking, planning, and cleaning can become exhausting and stressful. While there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate, here are some tips to help you have a cheerful, stress-free holiday season.

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The Garden That Heals

by Jenny Peterson

“Don’t let cancer define you, Jenny. You are more than your diagnosis.” This was the advice from my doctor when she gave me the news that I had breast cancer, the disease that had killed my mother. It was Friday, May 11, 2012 – I don’t need to look up the date because it’s seared into my memory, like it is for most people with a cancer diagno­sis. I thought, “That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have breast cancer.”

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Easing the Pain of Cancer

by Emily Cox-Martin, PhD, and Diane Novy, PhD

Pain is a multidimensional experience. It can affect you both physically and emotionally. By the same token, pain can also be treated using more than one method. One strat­egy often used by clinical psychologists and other mental health providers to help cancer survivors manage pain is called mindfulness.

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Finding Freedom in Forgiveness

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

We started studying the idea of forgiveness after watching a show on television in which the state of West Virginia caught a serial killer who had been killing women for 20 years. At the end of his trial, the judge offered the victims’ families an oppor­tunity to speak to the killer. The last person to speak was an elderly woman who had lost her daugh­ter. In paraphrasing, she said this:

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The Sound of Healing

by Lisa M. Gallagher, MA, MT-BC

The treatments for cancer are often long, uncomfortable, tiring, and boring. But they don’t necessarily have to be. There are things that can help you get through it. Music therapy is one of them.

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Holding on to Hope

by Clare Butt, RN, PhD

Hope. This one little word can hold great meaning, especially for cancer survivors. Though holding on to hope after a cancer diag­nosis can sometimes be challenging, many survivors find their hope grows through the experience.

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