Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Thirteen Things About Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Having lost a loved one to this disease a year and a half ago I couldn't not write something about this topic. I guess if you want to be technical some of the things on my list relate to cancer in general & not specifically breast cancer. I hope it is useful for anyone with cancer.

  1. According to the American Cancer Society, the chances of a woman developing breast cancer are 1 in 8.
  2. If you know someone with cancer or any serious illness, is a great resource. It offers a free "homepage" with a blog like feature. You, or someone you elect, updates the page & friends and family can be notified when there is news. This cuts down on miscommunication & keeps everyone "in the loop."
  3. I've recently re-discovered how wonderful it is to have people on your "team" who take initiative & make those logistical arrangements for appointments & referrals. If you haven't had to repeat everything from your diagnosis to your biopsy date to the results of your last labs to a half dozen people in 15 minutes, you have no idea how frustrating it can be. Yes, I'm perfectly capable of making my own phone calls. And yes, it's wonderful to not have to rehash the details of my illness over and over again. If you can be this kind of liaison for someone, do it.
  4. I've recently shared about the free video game available from Hope Lab. It's a great tool for young people with cancer.
  5. Schedule something fun for right after tests or treatment. It helps to have something to look forward to. Heck, this is useful for dentist appointments.
  6. These days, many forms of cancer are treated as a chronic illness. Even if your cancer does not go into remission, in some cases it can be managed successfully for quite a long time.
  7. The chance that breast cancer will be the cause of a woman's death is 1 in 35, according to the American Cancer Society.
  8. There are DVDs like this one that teach guided imagery specifically for people going through radiation or chemotherapy. General relaxation techniques are helpful, but why not do something tailored to your exact needs?
  9. In my experience, and mind you this is only my experience, chocolate helps with mild to moderate nausea. Hey, if you need to deal with cancer, you should get to eat chocolate.
  10. Do something creative. Even if you don't consider yourself artistic engaging in a creative activity helps counter the destructive, negative impact of cancer.
  11. There are many well known resources for support and research for all kinds of cancer. When you choose to participate in a fundraiser or other activity, be aware of what the money goes for, is it for research, treatment, or support?
  12. Also, be diligent about researching smaller, more local organizations. Many times these groups offer specialized volunteer services that the larger groups do not.
  13. There are people who will send cards and tell you to call them. Then there are the people who will write their phone number in the cards and tell you to call them. Those are the people you can call if you need someone to go to an appointment with, or to help with errands and chores.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Nancy,
I am a breast cancer survivor and will celebrate eight years of remission on 1/19/09. Thank you for your post, "Thirteen Things about Cancer."
Love & Prayers,