Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I was wondering, do you guys go to Yoshinoya every day after radiation? Cause I know that's what Moshura loves... Have you had your fill yet? In case you haven't, there's a PS2 game based on the Yoshinoya experience especially for you Moshura.
Anyway, I listened in to the teleconference by CancerCARE. We actually broke a record! There were 2,370 people on the call from places allover the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Pakistan, the U.K., and Samoa. Below is a short summary of the 1 hour workshop.
Susan Leigh, survivor and consultant
Lived through 70s when cancer resources were scarce. Old-school way was to be cure-focused. Not enough though! Learned best advice from social worker colleagues: Hope in cancer is not just about finding a cure, but looking beyond the disease, because cancer recurrence and chronic illness happens and being hopeful has to take those challenges into account.
Keith Bellizzi, survivor and consultant
Being a cancer survivor can add another dimension to one’s identity. The world can sometimes be all about cancer. Many try to find meaning in their cancer experience by asking questions about why they became ill (called “meaning-making”), making experience less overwhelming and more controllable. Cancer can happen to anyone, disease doesn’t discriminate. People constantly tell cancer patients, “Be positive”. These people can be annoying!! People are well-intentioned, but being on an emotional rollercoaster daily challenges the Stay-Think-Breathe-Be-Positive scenario. Being realistic is better: It is okay to be sad! A realistic appraisal of experience is part of healing process. Many definitions of hope: Hope is expectation that event will turn out for the best. Hope is when there is one more chance at a cure. Hope is living life without fear. Hope comes from faith. Hope comes from individual overcoming odds. Above all, hope emphasizes active engagement in life, and is an attempt to focus energy on wellness, and focusing on the now to make life better.
Suzanne Lechner, psychocial support
Recommended exercises such as writing, not on a computer, but notebook handwriting where you write down thoughts and emotions, from start to finish, don’t edit self, don’t edit penmanship or care if ideas are profound or silly, the point is to write out emotions to encourage clarity of thoughts in self. Goal building exercise: Make 3 columns, list “Who do I want to be”, “Short term strategies”, “Long term strategies” and map it out! Make a plan for how to reach of these life goals. Balance being optimistic and realistic. People want to see you show a fighting spirit, and it is good to believe that you can beat this. On the other hand, you must deal with uncertainty daily! Acknowledge your uncertainty about the future. It’s okay to be both + and - , these two feelings are normal feelings and can co-exist in that great brain of ours!! Allow these opposite thoughts to work together. You are entitled to worry. Survivors are wiser about the world. There is no pressure to be + all of the time… Even when feeling sad, angry, discouraged. Putting on this mask is called, “tyranny of positive thinking” and involves denying normal emotions. Eventually, the burden of dealing with real emotions multiplies when cancer survivor has to deal with them in secret, behind a false smile. Research shows that people who don’t get stuck in one particular mood are the ones who increase survivorship…it’s okay and good to feel whatever your feeling, just don’t get stuck, and if you are honest, you’ll know when you have to get “unstuck” and seek help around you.
Q&A followed: Most important one I thought is as follows from a woman with cancer…
When her cancer treatment ended, her family thought cancer was over. Families and friends don’t realize that once radiation therapy or chemotherapy ends, a new process begins such as checking for spread or metastasis and anticipating future appointments. While everyone else is anxious for cancer to be gone, stress and worry about the future, checking for daily lumps, bumps and bodily weirdness looms daily over cancer survivor. Cancer survivors worry that they may not get support from friends and family as they were getting before during treatment. Families could plan ahead and be mindful of cancer survivors’ anxiety and worries.
Posted by Moshura's Sister at 4:48 PM