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Found 5 results

  1. At CancerCare®, we know that talking about cancer can be challenging. The Comfort Pillow Activity can help you and your family communicate with each other and feel more comfortable while talking about cancer. The Pillow Talk Care Package includes: CancerCare Fact Sheets - provides you and your family with useful information and tips on how to talk about cancer Comfort Pillow Activity - a hands-on project that initiates conversations about cancer Comfort Pillow Booklet - gives detailed instructions about customizing and designing your pillow CancerCare Pillow Talk Care Package Request Form To order your care package, please fill out the form below and click submit. If you have a login from any CancerCare fundraising event on our site, please use your existing "login/password" to order your CancerCare Pillow Talk Care Package. **Please Note: We do not ship outside of the U.S. or to P.O. Boxes** https://community.cancercare.org/pillowtalk?tab=1
  2. Hi everyone, I'm Jessica Meeks and, in December 2012, my mother died due to lung cancer. I've recently (about a year and a half ago) started volunteering for LUNGevity and am interested to know if anyone in the Atlanta, GA area would like to form a support group for caregivers and family members, particularly those who have lost someone to lung cancer. If anyone is interested, please let me know as I would love to get a group together to help us all get through some rough times! Thanks for reading!
  3. What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient By: Jane E. Brody What do you think is the most commonly asked question of a person who has, or has had, cancer? If you guessed, “How are you?” you got it right. But as caring as those words may seem, they are often not helpful and may even be harmful. At a celebratory family gathering a year after my own cancer treatment, a distant relative asked me just that. I answered, “I’m fine.” She then pressed, “How are you really?” “Really” I was fine, I told her. But what if I hadn’t been? Would I have wanted to launch into a description of bad medical news at what was supposed to be a fun event? Would I have wanted even to be reminded of a bout with cancer? Although my relative undoubtedly meant well, the way her concern was expressed struck me as intrusive. A diagnosis of cancer can tie the tongues of friends and family members or prompt them to utter inappropriate, albeit well-meaning, comments. Some who don’t know what to say simply avoid the cancer patient altogether, an act that can be more painful than if they said or did the wrong thing. A new book, “Loving, Supporting, and Caring for the Cancer Patient,” by a man who has been treated for a potentially life-threatening cancer and who has counseled dozens of others dealing with this disease, got me thinking about the best ways to talk with someone facing cancer — its diagnosis, treatment and aftermath. The book’s author, Stan Goldberg, happens to be a communications specialist, a professor emeritus of communicative disorders at San Francisco State University. Dr. Goldberg learned at age 57 that he had an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He said in an interview that cancer patients too often encounter people who assume the role of cheerleader, saying things like “Don’t worry about it,” “You’ll be fine,” “We’ll battle this together,” “They’ll find a cure.” However, he observed, “Words of optimism may work in the short run, but in the long run they can induce guilt if the cancer is more virulent and defeats a person’s best effort. “I was dealing with the possibility that my life would end shortly, or if it didn’t, it would be changed dramatically. False optimism devalued what was going on in my body. People were insensitive not from a lack of compassion but from not knowing what is really helpful.” What he and those he’s counseled have found to be most helpful were not words but actions, not “Let me know what I can do to help,” which places the burden on the patient, but “I’ll be bringing dinner for your family this week. What day is best for you?” As a self-described “independent cuss” reluctant to ask anyone for help, Dr. Goldberg said his son taught him this important lesson. “He came to my house during my recovery from surgery and said ‘Stop lifting those boxes, Dad. I’ll do it for you.’” Another author of very helpful books on living with cancer is Dr. Wendy Schlessel Harpham, who has had a recurring cancer for more than two decades. She suggests that people offer specific ways they can help. For example, they may say they can shop for groceries, care for children, take the dog for a run, or accompany the patient to the doctor, and then be sure to follow through with the offer. Many people now use online sites like caringbridge.org to keep people up to date on their health and needs or organizing platforms such as mealtrain.com or lotsahelpinghands.com to ask for specific help. Dr. Harpham said she came to dread the query “How are you?” because “no matter how it was intended, being asked ‘How are you?’ rattled my heightened sense of vulnerability. I found myself consoling those who asked and then fighting the contagion of grief and fear. Even when the news was good, I didn’t have the energy to include all the people who wanted updates.” Dr. Goldberg suggests that when visiting a cancer patient, people talk less and listen more. ”Often the greatest support comes from silently witnessing what a person with cancer is experiencing,” he wrote. “Sometimes only a calm presence and compassionate listening are necessary. Silence becomes the breathing space in which people living with cancer can begin difficult conversations.” In an article in Prevention magazine, Melissa Fiorenza offered this helpful suggestion for what to say to someone you deeply care for: “Feel free to cry with me, to talk, or not to talk. I’ll take my lead from you.” When talking, Dr. Goldberg suggested, “engage more in conversations and less in question-and-answer interactions.” But if questions are asked, they should be open-ended ones like “Do you want to tell me about your cancer and what you’re going through? Maybe I can find ways to be helpful.” Among the many suggested “don’ts” are these: • Don’t make light of a patient’s physical changes by saying things like “At least you finally lost those extra pounds.” • Don’t talk about other patients with similar cancers, even if they fared well — no two cancers are alike. It’s fine, though, to ask if the patient would like to talk with someone else who’s been through it. • Don’t say the patient is lucky to have one kind of cancer rather than another, which downplays what the person is going through. There’s nothing lucky about having cancer even if it’s a “good” cancer. • Don’t say “I know how you feel” because you can’t possibly know. Better to ask, “Do you want to talk about how you feel, how having cancer is affecting you?” • Don’t offer information about unproven treatments or referrals to doctors with questionable credentials. • Don’t suggest that the person’s lifestyle is to blame for the disease, even if it may have been a contributing cause. Blame is not helpful. Many factors influence cancer risk; even for lifelong smokers, getting cancer is often just bad luck. • Don’t preach to the patient about staying positive, which can induce feelings of guilt in the patient if things don’t go well. Better to say, “I’m here for you no matter what happens,” and mean it. • Don’t ask about prognosis. If the patient volunteers that information, it’s O.K. to talk further about its implications. Otherwise, it’s better to stifle your curiosity. • Don’t burden the patient with your own feelings of distress, although it’s fine to say, “I’m so sorry this happened to you.” If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of interacting with a person with cancer, it’s better to say, “I don’t know what to say” than to say nothing at all or to avoid the person entirely, who may then feel abandoned and think you don’t care. This story was published on nytimes.com on 11/28/16. Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/28/well/live/what-not-to-say-to-a-cancer-patient.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0
  4. Nothing can prepare a man and his family for a lung cancer diagnosis. I remember the night five years ago when my mom called me with bad news. My uncle, Keith, had just been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Keith is my dad’s youngest brother, who is always making everyone laugh and giving the best bear hugs. He is a husband, father, and small business owner who coached all of his kids’ youth sports teams and never missed a game. My grandfather passed away from paranasal sinus cancer when Keith was seven, so he grew up without really knowing his dad. Because of that experience, Keith is determined to never leave an empty seat at an important family event. The night we found out that our beloved uncle had lung cancer, my sister and I cried together and hugged each other for a long time. We started asking questions like, “How did this happen?” and “Why him?” and “What does this mean?” Then we realized there was only one question we could actually attempt to answer: “What do we do about it?” My mom was at our local farmer’s market when by chance, she met Cindy, the founder of Breathe Deep Baltimore, one of LUNGevity’s grassroots events. Cindy started the Breathe Deep Baltimore walk in 2008 in loving memory of her mom. The event was taking place in Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Monica Barlow, the Orioles’ former PR Director who had the same ALK-positive lung cancer as my uncle, was the keynote speaker. We had to be there. Our first Breathe Deep walk as a family was hopeful and somber as we celebrated survivors and honored those we’ve lost to this terrible disease. Monica spoke about the groundbreaking research that LUNGevity was funding and how important it is to be strong advocates. That was the first time that my uncle met other lung cancer survivors. Until that day, he didn’t have anyone to talk to who understood what he was going through. Breathe Deep Baltimore felt like my family was part of an important movement, and that we were accomplishing something together that was much bigger than what any one of us could have done alone. I had just finished grad school and all of my work and volunteer experience was in marketing and event management, including positions with Susan G. Komen and American Cancer Society. I decided to join the Breathe Deep Baltimore committee and help plan future events. I had no idea then that this group of wonderful people would become like family to me. This September marked my uncle’s fifth year as a survivor, a milestone we celebrated as a family. His first year of treatment included chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries. He took Xalkori, a targeted therapy drug, for three and a half years and recently switched to Alectinib, both with very positive results. This September also marked my fifth year on the Breathe Deep Baltimore committee and my second year as a LUNGevity employee. Working for LUNGevity, first as a volunteer and now as a full-time staff member, is incredibly rewarding. As the Digital Community Manager, I interact all day on social media and our online communities with patients, survivors, caregivers, and advocates. I am incredibly thankful for the people who are working to create a world where people with lung cancer live longer and better because of early detection and more effective treatments. I am grateful for the opportunity to know and work with these people and to help support others whose lives have been affected by lung cancer. By working together, I am determined and optimistic that we can stop lung cancer. There are always an infinite number of reasons to be hopeful.
  5. I'm Christine this is the beginning of our journey with Dad, who called me distraught after being seen for what he assumed was bronchitis. He was informed by the on call Doctor that he had lung cancer and had a six month prognosis. I was heartbroken for him and infuriated with the unprofessional and callousness of this statement for a few reasons. Firstly there was no biopsy this information was based on evaluations of X-ray images and a CT scan. Secondly, I have a very close friend that is battling NSCLC Stage IV. She is responding to treatment and I have informed myself about this disease. My sister traveled to help dad get more information and get the kind of referrals to begin conversations about treatment options. His care has been excellent so far and we are very optimistic. Here is my summary of the last two weeks. It was a great visit, ten days of loving, laughing and caring for each other, days of gratitude. I wasn't prepared to hear the raspy breathing that the fluid is causing for dad. I am thankful for his doctors and remain hopeful for him getting more quality time. It's difficult being so far away, Dad lives in Idaho and I am in Hawaii. I am already thinking of when I can go see him again. He had a biopsy, finally, yesterday, soon we will know his mutation. He is meeting with his oncologist and also with a redial oncologist. The cancer has indeed metastasized to his brain and they are recommending aggressive radiation therapy, ten days consecutively and begin chemotherapy infusions as well. We are asking if he can receive immunotherapy as well. It's going to be a very long year. We are keeping a binder of all his doctor reports and summaries up-dating as needed. Also compiling best practices for mitigating the side effects of any treatments. Included are meal plans shopping lists. balms, tips to help keep him as comfortable as possible. If any of you have recommendations for a wedge that he can use for sleeping comfort I'd appreciate that. Aloha, Chrisitne
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