Cancer. The word itself provokes a vast array of emotional responses: fear, anger, sadness, confusion. People are fearful of this diagnosis, of the way it can change someone’s life and the various “unknowns” that surround an individual and his or her loved ones.
Cancer is a difficult subject to talk about, and many parents coping with a diagnosis may try to avoid the topic in fear that they will upset their children. What to say about cancer, how to say it, and how much information to share are common concerns.
In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, CancerCare is encouraging anyone affected by cancer to recognize caregivers by sharing a photo that represents this important role. We want to know how being a caregiver, or being cared for when you needed it most, has impacted your life. Honor your family, friends, your pet, a health care professional or tell us how you were a caregiver – the choice is yours!
Xiomara, 46, had never been affected by cancer until her son Jaeden was suddenly diagnosed at age three with ependymoma, a rare type of brain tumor. “No one in my family had ever had cancer. When you hear about it, it is totally different than when it actually hits your family – especially a toddler,” she explains.
After Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009, she turned to her reiki practice, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing, to help make sense of it all. “When I was initially told I that have cancer, of course, I was shocked. I turned white in the doctor’s office,” remembers Lisa, a certified reiki master and holistic practitioner. “I immediately went into survivor mode. It was surreal, bizarre.”
Communicating with a child whose parent has been diagnosed with a chronic illness can be both confusing and overwhelming. As CancerCare’s Healing Hearts Program Coordinator, Claire Grainger, MSW, LCSW works closely with families to help navigate these challenges. Based on her professional experience and expertise, Claire has written the recently published book, “My Daddy Sits Upon a Star.”
CancerCare recently announced a new national grant, generously provided by Celgene, available for people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
CancerCare has received a $1.5 million grant to assist people diagnosed with breast cancer. The generous grant will support Linking A.R.M.S., a CancerCare program in partnership with Susan G. Komen.
Sue began advocating for emotional support after her husband, Rob, advanced to stage 4 melanoma in 2009. He’d been at stage 3 for almost three years, long enough for his doctor to be optimistic and for the family to feel more confident about the future. The news, received in the emergency room where he’d been taken in response to a seizure, came as a huge blow.
John and Josephine Facilla have decorated their Long Island home for the past 35 holiday seasons. The display started off small and has grown to include more than 10,000 lights and an elaborate Santa’s Workshop.