Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finding the Humor in it All

Good Morning Cancer Survivors
In most situations humor can be found, even in cancer treatment. The medical profession is ripe for humor; the medical practitioners just don't expect it from their cancer patients which is why you have them at a disadvantage when you use it. I am the first to agree there is nothing humorous about being diagnosed with cancer. Once you've internally reconciled your diagnosis of cancer that it is what it is, and you've started the treatment journey, you have to let your sense of humor resurface and use it to your advantage during treatment.

I used humor as a defensive mechanism during treatment to mask my fear and anxiety and to provide a little enjoyment. I thought, even though I have cancer, I still have to live life and humor is a part of living life. Several months ago I had to get a CT scan of my lungs because of an infection. When I arrived at the radiology department for the scan they asked me the reason I was there because they knew I had been released and was finished with CT's and PET's for cancer. I responded that I had been getting my dose of CT radiation quarterly for the last five years and had felt my radiation level had declined and needed a radiation booster to keep my body's radiant glow in the dark. More importantly, I had become accustomed to being there every three months at 7:30PM and was going through withdrawal.

When I was deep in chemo treatment of five days a week for 4-5 hours each day, every fourth week, I found mosquitoes and chiggers wouldn't go near me. We would sit outside on the patio, mosquitoes biting everyone and swarming everywhere but they wouldn't bite me. The summer I was in chemo treatment and the following summer after I completed my last treatment round in early June, I never got a chigger bite. Before chemo, chigger bites would be all over my ankles and legs like bees on a hive. The humor was I had found a good side effect from treatment and a really expensive mosquitoe and chigger deterant that was covered by medical insurance. There were numerous occasions where humor rescued me from the drudgery of treatment and its side effects. Use your sense of humor to get through it. It's a great resource.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

More than Hope

Good Morning Cancer Survivors:
I recently discovered cancer patients are considered cancer survivors as soon as they are diagnosed with cancer. Surviving cancer has to start somewhere and this is probably a good place to start surviving. Having attended several sessions for cancer survivors and their caregivers, provided by major support groups and cancer treatment programs of major hospitals, I found it curious and then disturbing these organizations encourage survivors to have "hope". Am I missing something? Obviously they haven't sat in the infusion chair connected to the chemo juice or laid on the radiation table for their daily tanning session of radiation or woke up in the night from the excruciating pain from the treatment or experienced the other agonies cancer treatment inflicts. Any cancer survivor in treatment or completed treatment knows Hope won't get them through it. Hope is what you need when your cancer treatment team informs you there is nothing more they can do for you.

Starting the cancer treatment journey with hope is like going into battle hoping not to lose rather than fighting to win. Hope doesn't instill confidence and a resolve to win, which is what newly diagnosed cancer survivors need at the start of the journey. So until the time for hope in your cancer treatment journey arrives, get in the fight and join the journey with the commitment, resolve, determination and mental fortitude you will need to do everything to win this fight. But when you start treatment you will need to develop a "get tough no bull" attitude which will require you to contribute everything you can to achieving the treatment's success. Getting motivated to do this at the start of the journey is easy. Staying motivated during the journey is difficult. What do you have to lose? If you don't do this, what is your alternative plan?

There may come a time on your cancer treatment journey when you will need to have hope but don't start the journey hoping not to lose, start the journey fighting to win.

Bruce E Jacobs

Monday, March 8, 2010

Caregiver's Corner

The Caregiver's role caring for a cancer patient is an enormous act of undeniable charity. The position comes with no rules, no defined role and no measurement of performance. When the cancer patient was diagnosed, the newly anointed caregiver stepped into a new journey equally as gruelling as the cancer patients journey. The caregiver assumes new responsibilities as well as added stress and frustration from the role. Staying healthy is extremely important for the caregiver during this time, and with the added stress and responsibilities, it becomes more difficult. So what do you do?
-Eat right and nurish the system
-Mentally extract yourself from the environment
-Exercise your body physically
-Try to maintain some resemblance of a life you had B4 becoming the caregiver
-Make time for you
If being a caregiver for a cancer patient was easy, everyone would be doing it. It's not easy and the toll it takes on the caregiver cannot be underestimated.

This blog is for the caregivers of cancer patients to share their information about "What works for them" and how they deal with the caregiver's journey. By sharing this informtion, a Knowledge Base can be developed and built for caregivers, to help them with their journey.

LCJ coach4cancer

Inaugural Posting 3-8-10

Good Morning Cancer Survivors:
It's a great day to be alive. Spring is near, the sun is shining, the song birds are back and the bleakness of winter is fading every day. This blog is in place for cancer patients and cancer survivors, to provide a venue to share with each other " What works for them" going through cancer treatment and surviving cancer. I am convinced if we can share this information with each other, we can build a Base of Knowledge for Cancer Patients and their Caregivers, and become a resource for them and to them. As the blog develops and evolves, we will use folders to place subject content for easy access and referral.

Cancer is being diagnosed in more people today then ever. The good news is more people survive cancer then ever before. Every cancer has a survival statistic and every patient should know what that statistic is for their type of cancer. Knowing how large of a challenge you have is important for you to get motivated and to put your cancer on notice you are in for the fight. Somebody is in the statistic, why not you? What do you have to do to be a survivor. You are in the worst battle of your life and for your life with a formidable enemy working 24/7. You are already a survivor since you were diagnosed. Now you have to join the journey and do everything to win your battle. Your cancer treatment team and your oncologist will do everything they can to to treat you and defeat the cancer. You have to help them. How?
-Get an attitude and believe you can win
-Do everything possible to stay healthy during treatment
-Eat right and stay nurished to keep up your strength and imune system
-Keep your sense of humor

Bruce E Jacobs