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Lisa Zarov

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  • City
    Chicago
  • US State (if applicable)
    ILLINOIS
  • Country
    USA
  • Gender
    Female
  • Status
    Lung cancer patient/survivor
  • Interests
    Lisa Zarov is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with nearly two decades of experience, counseling adults, children and families. 5 year lung cancer survivor!

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  1. Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have provided many valuable tools to lung cancer survivors. They provide arenas for us to connect and communicate with other survivors, share our stories with a wider audience, and advocate on a grand scale. And they connect us to life-saving information about our specific lung cancers, research, clinical trials, and experts in the field. During the pandemic, social media became especially important. Many were experiencing increases in anxiety, depression and isolation. Social media facilitated daily support in our lung cancer community, and made it possible for us to attend lung cancer conferences virtually. In so many ways, social media has been a lifeline to lung cancer survivors, and has been a true boost to our mental health. However, there are times where connecting on social media can actually do just the opposite – fueling feelings of anxiety, depression or isolation, rather than improving them. There are times when our news feeds seem filled with news of survivors who are not doing well or who have died. Additionally, advocacy on social media means “putting ourselves out there” and opening ourselves up to feedback that can sometimes be hurtful. Outside of lung cancer, our feeds can also be filled with negative messages or misinformation. And sometimes, even happy posts of others’ lives can make us feel isolated in our experiences with lung cancer. How do we reap the benefits of social media, without becoming mentally weighed down? Mindfulness and balance are key. Here are some tips: -Pay attention to how much time you spend on social media and make sure it is not cutting in to time spent with loved ones, self-care activities or enjoyable hobbies. -Skip quickly over negative messaging and don’t engage in “online arguing”, which is seldom productive. -Be targeted in your scrolling, checking support group posts or focusing only on those who you enjoy connecting with. -Remove social media apps from your phone and only check them once or twice daily on your computer. Lastly, know when to go on a “social media diet” and spend some time away from social media. It will always be there for you when you feel mentally ready to return.
  2. Being part of the lung cancer community for almost 5 years now, I am often in awe of the fiercely close, supportive and loving connections that are made between its members. We learn together, advocate together, and celebrate life together. And, when someone in our community dies – which unfortunately happens often – we mourn together. For many, it is a deep grief we feel – for the person we lose, their loved ones, and ourselves. Yet during the COVID-19 pandemic, many survivors have had additional grief – grief over moments and experiences we have lost. And the pandemic has been a thief of so many of them. Like everyone in the world, we want to be with loved ones, hug, celebrate, and travel. And we want to be physically present when it is time to support a fellow survivor, or to mourn one. Losing moments and experiences like these can be much more devastating to those living with Lung Cancer. Our heightened value of the preciousness of time can make our grief more potent and complex. If you are experiencing grief, what can you to do to take care of yourself? Processing grief is a very individual experience. However, the most important thing I encourage is for you to experience every feeling, no matter how painful and disruptive. If you push your feelings aside, they will inevitably find their way back to you, and usually in ways that are more difficult to heal from. Talk to trusted friends about your grief. Write about it. Express your grief artistically, through art, music or poetry. And for those who are struggling, therapy can be so helpful, as most therapists have a great deal of experience working with grief and loss. Lastly, don’t forget to check in with your loved ones who are grieving. Connecting, even if not in person yet, can be a lifeline. Lisa Zarov, MSW, LCSW __________________________________________________ LUNGevity understands that a lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. To answer your questions, the Lung Cancer HELPLine offers toll-free, personalized support for patients and caregivers at any time along your lung cancer journey. Our oncology social workers are available to help you manage your emotional, financial, and support challenges. Dial 844-360-5864, Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern time). Call as often as you need—LUNGevity is here for you with tools to help you navigate your lung cancer diagnosis.
  3. After a Lung Cancer diagnosis, it is normal and expected for even habitually calm people to worry about their futures. But what happens when those worries begin to “take over”, interfering with your ability to enjoy your life? Most of us are familiar with the quote by Barbara Cameron, “Worry about tomorrow steals the joy from today”. However, as cancer patients, our relationships with worry are usually more complicated than that. Worry, like any uncomfortable feeling, is often a signal that you have a need that has not been met. So, when you have a thought connected to a specific worry, try to dig under the surface of that thought. For example, “I’m worried that my scan will show progression” or “I’m worried that I won’t survive” are thoughts that, on the surface, we can’t do anything about. They are reasonable to have, but “joy stealers”, so to speak. Well, what if the unmet need behind those worries is “I need my fear validated”, “I need to be heard” or even “I need a hug”? Worries can also be motivating and empowering. For instance, worry about your children’s future might drive you to assign a legal guardian, should something happen to you. Worry about the lack of funding for Lung Cancer might spur you to be an advocate. The next time you have a worry related to your diagnosis, don’t dismiss it! Instead lean into it, feel it, and ask yourself the following questions – “Is my worry revealing an unmet need, and how do I get it met?” “Is my worry pointing me toward an empowering action?” All of this said, a Lung Cancer diagnosis can be so frightening, and personal circumstances so complicated, that sometimes worry is just too hard to manage. Options like therapy and medication can provide critical relief. After all, joy is a reasonable goal – and with the right support, it is within reach. Lisa Zarov, MSW, LCSW __________________________________________________ LUNGevity understands that a lung cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. To answer your questions, the Lung Cancer HELPLine offers toll-free, personalized support for patients and caregivers at any time along your lung cancer journey. Our oncology social workers are available to help you manage your emotional, financial, and support challenges. Dial 844-360-5864, Monday through Thursday, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Eastern time). Call as often as you need—LUNGevity is here for you with tools to help you navigate your lung cancer diagnosis.
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