By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family
Living with Cancer

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 L is for Living with Cancer. What does a day in the life of a cancer patient look like? I’m asked this question a lot by people who want a better idea of how to support a loved one who’s living with cancer. A couple of years ago, I brought it up at the dinner table to see what our family thought. 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…

Understand Death

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 K for How Kids Understand Death. This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping your Child Cope with Your Cancer. In a recent post, we looked at Grief in Children from the viewpoint that grieving begins with a loss. It’s important to understand death isn’t the only thing reason we grieve. Unfortunately, for many families, Read more…

denial and Cancer

In the beginning, we heard everything the doctors said and read all the information on the kind of cancer my husband had. The word “terminal,” kept showing up, but we filtered that out. It didn’t make sense to us. We thought that if they could just blast those cancer cells to the moon with chemo, radiation—anything, then he would be okay. This myth only grew more solidified in our minds with each improved scan. When we saw the treatment was working, we thought there must be a chance he could beat the cancer. We were in denial. Nearly 9 months in, he was NED (no evidence of disease). Did the treatment work? Was his cancer gone? When I asked his doctor about it, directly, she Read more…

Baby Steps for resilience

Realistic goals are an essential part of becoming resilient on a cancer journey. Unfortunately, too many people have unrealistic goals. This leads to frustration; frustration with others and frustration with themselves. Thankfully, with some time and practice, these habits can be changed. Baby Steps toward Your Realistic Goals Realistic goals start by realizing that life is made up of baby steps, more than grand leaps and bounds. If you’ve ever been a runner, you know that a person can sprint at high speed for a short distance, but they could never run a marathon at that same speed. They would quickly burn out. It’s all about pacing, to ensure they can go the distance. Starting is Easy In the beginning, we start with a lot Read more…

Learn more about something

This is an important question for everyone. one I recently proposed to my dad. He recently quit his job and immediately found himself going stir-crazy; bored out of his mind. I said, “Dad, what do you want to learn more about?” He’s already highly educated, but there are no limits to what we can explore in this world. Why am I writing about this on a cancer blog? It can be all too easy for cancer to take over your life. Whether you are a patient, a caregiver, or another family member, your life can quickly be taken over by the big C. We may not get bored with life like my dad, but we can certainly feel like there is nothing worth waking up Read more…

Joyful

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 J for Joyful Despite Cancer. How can you feel joyful… …when a loved one has cancer? When we first learned that Dan had cancer, we were stunned. How could this happen? How could my husband of 3 years, be given a death sentence? I felt devastated, even angry. We went through all those classic stages of grief. I was even disappointed in Read more…

The ideal you

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 I for the Ideal You vs. the Real You. One aspect of caregiver guilt that I want to look at more in-depth, is the idea of the ideal you versus the imperfect, real you. The ideal you taunts the real you whenever you don’t measure up. Not doing “enough?” Often we have expectations of ourselves that no one could reasonably meet. These Read more…

Priceless4purpose

We’ve recommended Priceless4Purpose and Mystic Views to several friends facing cancer and they have had as good an experience as we did. Spotlight on Giving Back: Priceless4Purpose Being diagnosed with cancer plunges patients and family members into the quicksand of physical, financial, mental, and emotional overwhelm. It can be hard for patients to take a break in order to refresh. Priceless4Purpose: The Steve Bartlett Cancer Non-Profit Organization. is doing something about this by providing an opportunity for patients and a companion to stay at Mystic Views, a bed and breakfast in northern Minnesota. Cindy Bartlett knows the strain that cancer can put on people, as much as anyone. The story of this unique respite service began in 2005 when Cindy and her husband Steve decided to start Read more…

Authentic

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 H is for Honesty: Your Authentic Response. Let’s be honest, Who Cares about HIPPA? I was originally going to write about HIPPA for H. But, really, who wants to read about HIPPA.(1) Instead, I thought I would write about something that many caregivers(and patients) tell me they struggle with—Honesty. “Being authentic” might be more accurate. The dictionary defines authentic as “of undisputed Read more…

HIPPA

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 H for Understanding HIPPA. Before you or your loved one ever get to see a doctor before they’ll even bring you back to an appointment room, the receptionist is going to slide a bunch of forms across the desk and ask you to sign. Some of them are forms that record your health history. Among these is a form about who the clinic Read more…

Robin : A Game about fatigue

How can a video game improve our understanding of what it is like to live with debilitating fatigue? I recently had the opportunity to find out. My daughter, Sam, recommended that I check out a game called Robin. Robin is free on the Steam platform. One of the things I love about video games on the Steam platform is that they are often more than just a game. They make a statement, and can even teach players what it’s like to live in circumstances they have never experienced before. In the case of Robin, players learn what it’s like to live with chronic fatigue syndrome. Last week, I shared how cancer-related fatigue affects patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer, or who have had treatment Read more…

Caregiver Guilt

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 G for Guilt Caregivers Feel. Are you blaming yourself for things that are beyond your control? Most family caregivers feel some degree of guilt, regardless of how good a job they are doing caring for the responsibilities and relationships in their lives. Caregivers often burden themselves with guilt. Caregiver guilt is not only fruitless but caustic. Don’t beat yourself up for making 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…

Funeral Home

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 F for Funeral Home – First Visit. Even though My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer in October 2012, we didn’t visit a funeral home until 2018. We knew that we needed to at least get some information. We also needed to make some decisions. Dan hadn’t even decided on cremation vs. burial. I think there’s something about planning a funeral that 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…

Exercise lowers stress

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 E is for Exercise Lowers Stress. You may not be able to change the things in your life that are causing you so much stress, but you can do things to improve your ability to handle it. There are several ways that exercise lowers stress. Don’t worry. I’m not advocating that you beat yourself up at the gym every day, but regular Read more…

Depression

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 D for Depression in Caregivers. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, all of my attention and energy was focused on finding out as much as we could about his disease and the potential treatments. With each new treatment, we adjusted to different side effects. We tried to help our daughters through the roller coaster of emotions they were experiencing. We Read more…

Critical Family Members

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 C for Critical Family Members. I am fortunate to have a close family who is very supportive, but critical family members are a common source of stress for caregivers. Critical Family Members As a caregiver, you are likely stressed and at times feel underappreciated and unsupported. You may also be dealing with caregiver guilt. Having critical, family members can be especially difficult. Read more…

Boundaries

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 B is for Boundaries & Caregiving. Sometimes as a caregiver, you can get so focused on taking care of your loved one that the boundaries between you and the patient can get blurred. Setting boundaries in your caregiving relationship can ease both caregiver burnout as well as the guilt that both the caregiver and patient often feel as a result. “There are Read more…

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