If I Knew Then What I Know Now …
by Julie K. Silver, MD
One evening at a cancer survivors’ conference in which I gave a talk, a woman came up to me and told me a story I’ll never forget. She said that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer a year earlier. All during treatment she counted the days until she was finished. Excited about the end of treatment, she made herself a pink graduation cap and gown for her last chemotherapy appointment. As she handed me the picture of her “chemo graduation,” she told me that the happiness she felt when the photo was taken had dimmed over time because she still didn’t feel very well. Then she asked me a question I hear a lot: “Why do I feel so bad so many months later? I thought I was done and would heal right away!”
by Sandi Stromberg, MA
Human beings are born storytellers. In prehistoric times, they carved images on walls. Later, they worked as scribes, selling their services in open-air markets, or told legends around the fire. In the Middle Ages, they traveled the countryside as bards, regaling listeners with their tales. And before television, they sat in family groups at kitchen tables or rocked on front porches, spinning yarns.
Questions & Answers about Coping with Cancer during the Holidays
People with cancer and their friends and families often approach the holidays with a mixture of conflicting feelings: excitement, worry, hope, exhaustion, and happiness. You may wonder how to maintain old holiday traditions, handle seeing friends after treatment, or be a supportive family member. Here are some common questions asked during the holidays and helpful suggestions.
Creating Havens in a World Marked by Cancer
by JoAnn Semones, PhD
At a time when you are feeling unsafe and vulnerable, it is important to find and create havens. When my partner, Julie Barrow, was diagnosed with cancer, we needed people, places, and things around us to rekindle our spirit and restore our sense of balance. We stumbled upon six concepts that provided us with a sense of refuge, helped us cope, and saw us through treatment.
Music as Therapy
by Brian Abrams, PhD, MT-BC, LPC, LCAT, FAMI
Music therapy is a process wherein a music therapist helps a person restore, maintain, or improve various dimensions of health and/or quality of life through music experiences and therapeutic relationships.
Take the ‘Why Me?’ Out of Cancer
by Beverly Kirkhart
When I first heard that I had breast cancer, I saw in my mind’s eye my mother’s slow painful journey with cancer, and I quickly flashed on other relatives and friends who did not survive this disease. I was scared that I, too, would become one of them – a statistic. I asked myself: Why Me? Have you ever asked yourself this question?
Overcoming Your Inner Everest
by Alan Hobson
I used to think that climbing Everest would be the biggest challenge I would face in my life. That was until I was diagnosed with acute leukemia and given less than a year to live. At the moment of my diagnosis, 90 percent of the cells in my bone marrow were cancerous. Thankfully, I was able to receive a successful adult blood stem cell transplant, the equivalent of a bone marrow transplant. When I emerged from the procedure, my biggest challenge was being able to stand in the shower long enough to wash. My “inner Everest” took me from the top of the world to the bottom in just 120 days of treatment. It was a long fall.
Coping with the Fear of Recurrence
by Mary K. Hughes, MS, RN, CNS
In You Learn by Living, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ?I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.?” Living through cancer treatment can be the horror, but for some, living with the fear of recurrence is even worse.