By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family

Category Archives: When Cancer is Terminal

Grieving During the Holidays

While the holidays are meant to be a time of joy and family gatherings, when you are faced with cancer, there is a real mixture of emotions that come at this time of year. That’s because whether you or a loved one currently has cancer, or you’ve lost someone close to the disease you will feel the full effects of grieving during the holidays. Our Story We discovered my husband’s stage IV lung cancer at the end of October, just a couple of days before our 3rd wedding anniversary, a couple of weeks before his 52nd birthday, 3 weeks before Thanksgiving, 2 months before Christmas, and then 2013, the year he would statistically die.  In 2 months’ time, we trudged through all of these days Read more…

palliative care specialist

Have you ever talked with a palliative care specialist? Do you know what they do, or how they could help you with your cancer treatment? What a palliative care specialist does “Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. This type of care is focused on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, and stress of a serious illness-whatever the diagnosis. “The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses, and other specialists who work with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support. Palliative care is appropriate at any age and at any stage in a serious illness, and can be Read more…

Hospice and palliative care

The battles of the war against cancer are waged, daily within the bodies of patients young and old, wealthy and poor. There we have made great strides. In 2014, “UK death rates for breast, bowel, lung and prostate cancer combined are down by almost a third in 20 years.” (1) Yet, like any war, the casualties at the hands of this disease are great. That’s when hospice and palliative care enter the picture. Curing vs. Healing There comes a time when we need to switch from curative treatment to healing efforts. We can heal, even as we die. There can be healing of relationships, spiritual healing, letting go of the things that never should have been clung to in the first place. Hospice and palliative Read more…

Book Review

Today I will be sharing my review of the book, “Hospice Hope: Uplifting Stories of Those in Hospice” by Chaplain Dale A. Swan. I met Chaplain Dale when my husband was in hospice. He gave me his book to help me through that time, I was so impressed that I wanted to write a review of it. The first thing that I noticed was Chaplain Dale’s voice in the stories he wrote for “Hospice Hope.” Reading the short reflections was like talking to him, with his positive and yet, sensitive manner. Hospice Hope? You wouldn’t think that reading stories about people dying would be very uplifting, but it was! Each story truly offered hope: Hope for a good death, hope for reconciliation with loved ones Read more…

How Cancer has Changed my life

We’ve been looking at resilience. Part of resilience is being able to look at how you’ve responded to a trial such as cancer. How has it changed you or your life—both for the better and the worse?  If you asked me how cancer has changed my life, I might tell you that I smile less. I know that’s not the “right” answer, but it is the honest answer. When Dan was first diagnosed there was a time of despair. It was like the world was ending. In truth, it was just our world, as we knew it, that was ending. Cancer has changed my life We learned to live with it. We adapted, became stronger in many ways. It progressively gots harder but we learned Read more…

Making Memories

I’m doing double duty this month during the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here at Facing Cancer with Grace, I will focus on caregiving. I’ll also be doing the challenge at Heather Erickson Author/Writer/Speaker, where I will share ways to increase your creativity. I hope you’ll visit me at both sites. While you’re here, sign up for my email list. Today’s post is M for Memories & Terminal Cancer. When someone you love is terminally ill, making memories becomes a priority. Recording memories is important, too. Often caregivers hesitate to say that memories are the thing they want to make most. There is often concern that by talking this way, you will hurt the patient you are caring for. Maybe they will think that you’ve Read more…

acceptance

I love this picture as an image of acceptance. The ocean is bigger than us, and more powerful. Yet, there are people who will grab a surfboard and ride a wave that they have no control over. This man is getting a face full of salt water, accepting it even reveling in it. But, when you are facing something as life-changing and (arguably) as terrible as cancer, whether your own or that of a loved one, it can be a difficult thing to accept. Yet, acceptance is a key part of resilience. But, how do you do that? How do you accept something like cancer, and what exactly does that mean? The Mental Process of Acceptance The mental process of acceptance is simply making a Read more…

The second month of grief

As the second month after my husband died, rolled around, I was having a surprisingly difficult time. So were the girls. There was an unusual amount of irritability between them over trivial things. And we were being thrust into a life that felt foreign to us. Absolutely nothing seemed to be the way it was when Dan was alive. Grief/Loss Groups during the Second Month I joined a couple of grief groups. So far, this hasn’t changed anything, but it is a process, like all things related to grief. And, it has given me an opportunity to meet other people like me who are in a lot of pain and, like me, want to be able to cry with others who need no explanation as Read more…

Paperwork

Are you familiar with the different types of paperwork you should have in place when you have an illness like cancer? Today I’m going to give an overview of some of them and how we approached things like healthcare directives, wills, powers of attorney, and the POLST. Healthcare Directive Back in 2012, my husband filled out a healthcare directive. This paperwork has many names and is commonly called a “living will.” I recommend that everyone have a healthcare directive and that they fill it out while they are healthy. If you wait until you are sick, it is far more difficult to do because you will feel far more emotional about it, and likely overwhelmed. Because doctors had just diagnosed Dan with a terminal illness, Read more…

talk to children about cancer

It’s important to talk to children about cancer-even with a “bleak” prognosis. My husband, Dan was stage IV, metastatic, when he was diagnosed. So, we have always been told that his cancer was terminal and that we were buying time. The best we could hope for was that he would be labeled NED, No Evidence of Disease (like remission). It’s especially difficult to talk to children about cancer when you are given such a bleak prognosis. Our Story One year into his treatment plan, Dan was declared NED (having no evidence of disease). This is a term used to describe what people think of as a state of remission in certain types of cancer. It means that the cancer is still there, it’s just too Read more…

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