Category Archives: Patients

Financial Help

Cancer will take a terrible toll on a family’s finances. There are medical and transportation expenses, as well as the hit your finances will take when you and your spouse need to take time off of work for appointments and sick days. There are countless other things that add up to a big gaping hole in your bank account. Playing catch up as well as the stress of the unknown can certainly lead to burnout. There are several types of financial help to combat burnout. It’s always best to consider the various possible sources of financial help long before you need them. Immediately get your budget in order You need to know exactly what’s going out and what’s coming in before you can adjust to Read more…

Clear the clutter to avoid burnout

Today you are going to clear the clutter from one area of your life. Any area…You get to choose. This morning I’ve been running around looking for a copy of orders for labs that my daughter’s doctor gave me a couple of months ago. She has an appointment at the lab tomorrow and I’m supposed to bring them with, but can I find them? No. That’s because my home is cluttered and disorganized. Some of it is mental chaos after the holidays, but there’s really no excuse. SO it’s time to clear the clutter. Clear the clutter from your home This is a tough area to keep in order when you are living with cancer. Housework tends to get tossed to the wayside in favor Read more…

Staging Your Cancer

Doctors stage a patient’s cancer at the time of diagnosis. Doctors determine the extent of your cancer, such as how large the tumor is, and if it has spread, using x-rays, lab tests, and other tests or procedures.  This is called the “stage” of your cancer. By staging cancer, your doctor can determine among other things, how aggressive the cancer is and how aggressive the treatment will have to be.  Today we will look at how these staging systems work. Most staging systems include information about (1): Where the tumor is located in the body The cell type (such as adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma) The size of the tumor Whether cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes Whether cancer has spread to a different part Read more…

survive the holidays

Surviving the holidays can be difficult when you or someone you love is literally trying to survive the holidays. This almost always means the celebration will look different. I’ve put together a few thoughts and tips to give you a leg up. To survive the holidays you must first accept that things will be different. You won’t be participating in the cookie exchange or Christmas caroling. Things that were once fun, are in this new reality, exhausting. Even if you do have the energy to do them, they may zap your reserves so that you’re left burned out. One of the best things you can do is to recognize that the holidays will look different this year—maybe from now on. That’s okay. Change is a Read more…

Office Visit

There’s a difference between a general physical and a regular office visit. Knowing the difference can save you a lot of frustration when dealing with your doctor. What’s an office visit? An office visit is when you will discuss a new or existing health problem. You may get additional tests run or a referral to a specialist who deals with this problem specifically. Your doctor may prescribe a medication to treat the problem or reassess an existing prescription. This is also the type of visit you have when you want to talk about several vague problems that you’re concerned might add up to something more serious. What’s a general physical? A physical is all about preventive healthcare. Regular screenings and a general review of your Read more…

recurrence

The metaphor of a rollercoaster is often used to describe cancer, and for good reason. The ups and downs of your emotions, your schedule and the status of your health affect a patient and their family from the moment you suspect there’s a problem. This is especially hard for children, who have far less information than adults do, about what’s happening, They depend on their parents to help them know how to respond to these peaks and valleys. The first thing you can do to help your children through a recurrence of your cancer is to assess how you’re handling things. The good times After enduring the hard times of cancer treatment and finally being declared NED, in remission, or even “cancer-free,” you want to Read more…

Breathing Exercise

This is part 4 of our Breathless Series. In Part 1, we looked at some of the reasons for breathlessness in cancer patients. I also shared my husband’s experience with shortness of breath to the point he nearly died. In Part 2, we looked at medical approaches to breathlessness. Part 3 was a look at non-medical approaches to breathlessness, including breathing techniques and ways of controlling your environment to alleviate symptoms of breathlessness. In this final installment of the series, we will look at more non-medical ways to alleviate shortness of breath: breathing exercise. Breathing is Medicine Donna Wilson, RN, is a personal trainer at integrative medicine center at Memorial Sloan Ketterling Cancer Center in New York. She helps restore flexibility, reduce breathlessness and fatigue in cancer Read more…

Interpreter

Have you ever thought about what it’s like to have limited English speaking skills? How would you handle things like a doctor’s appointment? There are things such as disabilities, and being a Limited-English speaking person (or LEP), which can affect your communication with your health care team and your access to support services.  Today, we’re going to learn why an interpreter is a crucial part of health care for people who aren’t fluent in English. 18%, or 47 million people in 2000, spoke a Language other than English at home. 8.1% of the population, age 5 and older spoke English less than “very well” (2000 US Census) Check-in Downstairs A few years ago, our local clinic was getting a major renovation. For 2 years they Read more…

Advance Care Directive

What is an Advance Care Directive? People often think of an advance care directive in the context of a terminal illness, such as cancer. But, this legal document should be in place for unexpected emergencies, such as car accidents, as well. It is also known as a healthcare declaration, a directive to physicians, a medical directive, a health care directive, and a living will. The exact terminology often depends on where you live. Planning Ahead: Yes, You Do Need One! Advance care directives are a powerful tool. They take away guilt and resentment that survivors may have regarding how someone has died. You’re able to be very specific about your feelings regarding end-of-life care, removing any doubts that various family members may have. This is Read more…

Breathlessness A Medical Approach

This is part 2 of our Breathless Series. In Part 1, we looked at some of the reasons for breathlessness in cancer patients. I also shared my husband’s experience with shortness of breath to the point he nearly died. There are both medical and non-medical approaches to alleviate the symptoms of breathlessness. In this post, we will talk about the medical approach. The Lung Cancer Alliance In 2017, the Lung Cancer Alliance recently held a webinar called, “Breathing Easier.” It was the first webinar in their Coping Series. This is a series designed to educate and provide practical ways to manage the most common symptoms and side effects experienced by lung cancer patients and survivors. Because Approximately half of all cancer patients complain of breathlessness at Read more…

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