Emotional Well-being

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster
of Cancer

by Sandra Haber, PhD

Tears, early morning wakening, anxiety, and depression alternate with hopefulness, cancer success stories, and plans for the future. Welcome to the emotional roller coaster of cancer – an extreme ride of changing feelings that affects almost every person with cancer and their caregiver.

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Defining a word that’s hard to define

by Roger and Kathy Cawthon

How do you define a survivor? We’ve heard responses ranging from “You are a survivor from the instant a tumor begins to form” to “You are a survivor as soon as all of your treatments are over” to “You are a survivor as soon as the tumor is surgically removed.” Our favorite response is that “You become a survivor the moment you learn your diagnosis and make up your mind to fight.”

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Feel Like You’re Losing Hope?
Find Something to Look Forward To

by Dave Balch

During the darkest hours of my wife’s chemotherapy, we received a postcard from a friend who was on vacation in Tahiti. It depicted a string of bungalows stretching out across a beautiful blue-green lagoon, all framed by palm trees. It was dreamy, to say the least, and couldn’t have been any further from where we were at the moment we received it, both physically and emotionally.

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Healing Through Pet Therapy

by Pamela R. Massey, PT, MS, and
Nyla Jacobs, PT, MS

While dogs are being trained to detect melanoma, lung cancer, and many other diseases through smell identification, at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, we have discovered another use for man's best friend - animal assisted therapy. Four years ago, the Rehabilitation Services Department developed a pet therapy program that uses dogs to assist therapist in providing occupational and physical therapy to people with cancer. WAGS (Welcoming Animals Giving Support) has become a favorite and successful therapy program for both inpatients and staff.

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How To Manage Your Emotions,
Especially during Treatment

  • Keep your future goals in mind to keep your spirits up during therapy.
  • When a bad day comes along don’t dwell on it – remember the good days.
  • Try distracting yourself with a book, a hobby or a walk outdoors or have something to look forward to.
  • Rely on family and friends to help you during treatment.
  • Share your feelings with someone outside of your family and friends.
  • Seek trained professional help from counselors.

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