By heatherericksonauthor.comThe Erickson Family
financial strategies for Cancer treatment

How Do You Finance Your Cancer Treatment? You wouldn’t think of a calculator as a tool for fighting cancer. The fact is, however, the costs for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments continue to go up, leaving patients scrambling for ways to pay the astronomical bills that result from expensive medications and cutting-edge treatments. Some therapies can even cost $30,000 per treatment, but the financial stress can often offset chances of success. So how can you plan to pay for your own cancer treatment and keep your focus on healing? Facing Cancer with Grace shares the following suggestions. Review Your Medicare Coverage  Medicare could be the first place you turn to for help with healthcare costs. It is ideal if you’re over 65 years old or Read more…

Take care of your health with vegetables like these

During my husband’s illness, I put off taking care of my health. I always thought there would be time to deal with it later. My husband’s health was my priority. The doctors were concerned about my weight, my high blood pressure, my racing pulse, chronic pain, and a host of other issues. I wasn’t sleeping well or eating right and I certainly wasn’t exercising. After my husband died It didn’t get any easier. I had to find a way to support my family on my own. My time was at a premium and my grief kept me in the throes of depression. I gained even more weight. All of my health issues worsened. Then, on my birthday, a year and a half after my husband Read more…

a senior and a long distant caregiving aid giving the thumbs up

Are you providing long-distance caregiving support to an aging loved one with cancer?  Finding strategies to overcome the miles can be challenging, and the last thing you want is to let your senior down. Thankfully, there are ways to ensure your special someone is happy and healthy, regardless of the distance between you.  Facing Cancer with Grace invites you to learn more about how to stay connected. Take advantage of technology With the many advances we’re seeing in modern-day electronics, the world is becoming a smaller place all the time. Why not put that gadgetry to work for you and your senior loved one? Care.com points out, the right tech can actually be very helpful to seniors who are aging in place. Medication dispensers to Read more…

Lung Cancer Awareness

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. It’s a big deal to me, personally, because lung cancer has affected so many people I have known and loved. My husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012. Not long before that, my stepmother died of lung cancer. We’ve had many friends who have been diagnosed with lung cancer. So I thought I would take this opportunity to share some facts and statistics about the most deadly cancer. Our Lung Cancer Awareness Story It was a beautiful October day in 2012 when my husband discovered hardened enlarged lymph nodes above his left collarbone. He was 51, healthy, and the father of 6 children (3 of whom were still young). He’d never smoked, yet, his doctors soon Read more…

Woman listening to ASMR

Budget-Friendly Self-Care Strategies: Unwind and Live Your Best Life the internet provides us with so many affordable opportunities for practicing self-care from the comfort of our homes. Free online meditations, a variety of ASMR recordings, and instructor-led yoga classes can be streamed to our tablets and laptops, and cell phones While some of us seek out self-care in the form of a massage, in-person yoga class, or a night out with friends, there are plenty of things we can do to care for our minds and bodies. Many of them are free of charge. A Necessary “Luxury” Of course, there are occasions when self-care is a necessity. This includes when you’re caring for a friend or loved one who is battling cancer. When these people Read more…

shopping cart in a grocery store aisle

As a cashier, I have seen the range of emotions and responses to COVID-19 as people venture out to go shopping. Now that many states are lifting Stay-at-Home orders, people seem divided. Many are excited to be able to go to other non-essential places. They are happy to begin a return to normal. There are others, though, who must maintain the cautious social distancing that others are ready to shed. These are people who have illnesses such as cancer and their family members. For these vulnerable people, I have some suggestions for making grocery shopping safer and easier. Minimize exposure to COVID-19 and other viruses by doing any of the following Utilize InstaCart Shoppers (don’t forget to tip them) Order groceries online from the comfort Read more…

Get a Mammogram

Today, the 2nd Monday of May, is National Women’s Check-Up Day. Even if you aren’t getting a check-up today, you can make the call to schedule one. You can also decide whether or not to get a mammogram. Here are the basics: When and how often should you get a mammogram? Until recently, recommendations were for women to get screening mammograms beginning at age 40. Recently, the American Cancer Society has said that women can wait until age 45 to start getting annual mammograms and cut back to every other year once they turn 55. Still, they should have the option to get a mammogram beginning at age 40. When you get a mammogram, is a personal decision that should be made based on your Read more…

My Husband's Funeral

This week I attended the funeral of a good friend’s wife. It brought back so many memories of my husband’s funeral, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we express and suppress our emotions. I should preface this post by saying that I am only writing about my experience. After all, there are so many factors that will influence the way you express or suppress your grief. These factors include your culture, religion, family traditions, the messages you received about grief as you grew up, and how expressive you are as an individual. I believe that all of these things combined will affect your behavior and your thought processes under the strain of grief. The Value of Gathering Together Prior to my husband’s funeral, 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 the integrative medicine center at Memorial Sloan Ketterling Cancer Center in New York. She helps restore flexibility, reduce breathlessness and fatigue in Read more…

Breathing Technique

This is part 3 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. This post will be about non-medical approaches to breathlessness, including breathing technique and ways of controlling your environment to alleviate symptoms of breathlessness. Non-medical approaches, including specific breathing techniques, can be very effective ways to breathe easier. On January 25, 2017, the Lung Cancer Alliance, kicked off their Coping Series with a webinar called “Breathing Easier.” The Coping Series is designed to educate and provide practical ways to manage the most common symptoms and side effects experienced 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…

Shortness of breath and cancer

The most common side effect of lung cancer is dyspnea, better known as shortness of breath. 90% of Lung cancer patients experience this at some point, during, and even long after treatment has ended. In a Lung Cancer Alliance survey, lung cancer survivors of 5 or more years, still rated it as their most problematic issue. It isn’t only lung cancer patients who suffer from breathlessness. Approximately half of all cancer patients complain of breathlessness at some point. (1) Shortness of breath is sometimes called air hunger. Unfortunately, for many cancer patients, it’s a part of their everyday life, negatively impacting their ability to do the things they need and want to do. Our Story In the fall of 2015, Dan’s stage IV lung cancer Read more…

Healthy living for Seniors with Cancer

If you have cancer, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for feeling your best and improving your chances of treatment success. Senior cancer patients can benefit from a wide range of healthy habits, including regular exercise, healthy eating, and socialization. These healthy habits will help you manage treatment side effects and reduce painful cancer symptoms—and help you feel a little better every day! Here are some great ways to live healthy with a cancer diagnosis. Seek Out Support A good support network is vital to your overall health and wellness during treatment and beyond. Cancer patients with a good support network report better quality of life than those without. The people around you can provide all kinds of valuable assistance, including emotional support to help Read more…

Radon

You can’t see it or smell it. It’s in the air, both outdoors and in, as well as in drinking water from rivers and streams. It can be deadly. It may sound like something from a science fiction story, but it’s real. It’s radon. Why is Radon a Big Deal? Each year, it contributes to as many as 20,000 lung cancer deaths.[1] It’s a leading cause of lung cancer, second only to smoking and is the number 1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Non-smokers account for 20% of annual lung cancer deaths in the US[2] What is Radon? Radon is an odorless, colorless, highly radioactive gas. The alpha radiation released by radon is the same as that of plutonium. It’s soluble and easily penetrates materials Read more…

Celebrate Special Days

Something that everyone faces after losing a loved one is the pain of special days without them. Holidays, anniversaries, milestones all come with regularity regardless of whether or not we feel like celebrating them. Often the dread of how we will handle these days is worse than the days themselves. We wonder how we can celebrate anything ever again. In the last 2 months my husband’s birthday and my own, our 10th wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving and Christmas, have all come and gone.  I have learned a few things from these experiences that will hopefully help you if you aren’t sure of how to celebrate special days without someone you love. Plan how to celebrate special days ahead of time Rather than avoiding them, think about Read more…

Merry Christmas

Until then, have a wonderful time with family and friends. God bless you and yours!  

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…

cancer and insomnia

Dealing with cancer can be overwhelming enough. When you are also dealing with insomnia, the effects on your mental health and ability to heal can be devastating. You need quality rest in order to recover and manage your cancer symptoms, but you also need it to properly manage your emotional well-being. So how can you do all of this without turning to medications? You can start by trying some of these sleep-boosting tips and tricks. Invest in a Comforting New Mattress and Bedding to Beat Insomnia Shopping for a new mattress can be stressful, When you are also living with cancer, dealing with that extra stress can be detrimental to your emotional health. Luckily, you can order one of the new “bed-in-a-box” mattresses from the Read more…

Job's Friends People Blame God

Previously, we’ve explored the incorrect (though often subconscious) idea that a person diagnosed with a life-altering illness, such as cancer, must have done something to cause it; smoking, drinking, unhealthy eating patterns, etc. I concluded the post by sharing how to be a supportive friend when someone is going through a trial, rather than one of Job’s comforters, blaming the sufferer. Beyond outward behaviors that may or may not have contributed to someone getting cancer, there is often a blame game of another sort—sin and God’s will. Today we will look at why people blame God for trials and sufferings in life. This is the second post that looks at Job from the Bible to gain insight into suffering. Why people blame God when they Read more…

Holiday Stress

Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas usually mean getting together with family. It’s part of what makes the holidays special. But, it can also be stressful. Sometimes family relationships are strained, adding anxiety to the mix. What makes this worse? How can you cope with stress within your family, especially during the holidays? Part of it will depend on personality. What’s your personality type? Are you typically: Laid back, able to roll with whatever comes at you? Uncomfortable with changes in your life, even positive changes? Quick to see what could go wrong, and able to find solutions to those problems? Always able to keep a positive outlook, even if that sometimes means avoiding the possibility that something could go wrong? Prone to depression or anxiety, Read more…

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