Posts tagged cancer support
10 Things I Wish I Had Known When My Husband was Diagnosed with Cancer: 1.5 Years Later

It’s been a year and a half since Tommy was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It honestly feels like a lifetime ago. So much about our lives has changed, and so much has been learned. I woke up today feeling incredibly grateful for the place we are at right this moment. I say this moment because we have learned to appreciate the present in a way I could not have understood a year and a half ago. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but today, right this moment there is so much to be grateful for. I was thinking back to the very beginning of this journey, and wondered what advice would have been helpful to hear in those early days. I would not have been able to fully understand it all at the time, but I came up with a list of things that might be helpful for new caregivers/fighters.

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Cancer Resources Blog Series: Working During Cancer Treatment

One of the biggest surprises to me during the past year is the amount of support available to cancer fighters. I know about them now, but at the beginning, I had no idea the number of resources we could have been taking advantage of! When you first have a diagnosis, your brain is going a million miles a minute, and you don’t always have time to seek out these resources. To make them accessible, I am starting a weekly series highlighting some of the resources we found to be most helpful. These will range from financial assistance, therapy and counseling, transportation aids, at-home nurses, and more. Have an organization or resource you love and want to share? Tell me about them in the comments below!

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Latest Scan Results (Spoiler: THEY'RE GOOD!) and Life Updates

It’s been a while since I posted an update regarding Tommy’s treatment! A lot has happened in the past two months, and we are in a great spot, so I wanted to fill you all in with what we’ve been up to.

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Using the 'Ball and the Box Analogy' to Navigate Living With Cancer

Recently I came across a picture being shared on social media that brilliantly illustrated grief. It is called “The Ball and the Box Analogy”. Lauren Herschel originally posted the photo (shown below) with the explanation that the button represents the pain you feel from grief and loss. When we first experience grief, our “ball” is huge. It frequently and easily hits the pain button, and it’s hard to avoid or ignore. As time goes on, the ball shrinks. This doesn’t mean that the pain hurts any less when it’s hit, but the hits become less frequent, with more recovery time in between.

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Just Be Still

I’ve never been good at meditating. I attempted to practice various methods in college but always found myself getting distracted, getting bored, and eventually getting up off the floor to do something else. I had essentially given up, finding daily journaling to have the centering effect I was seeking through meditation. Recently a friend recommended I give it another go. This was after I shared how frustrated I was by the never-ending cycle of worrying about the future while desperately trying to remain in the moment. The present was painful, the future was scary, and I didn’t know where to focus. I decided to try again, not expecting much to come from it.

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Positivity: Easier Said Than Done

I have spoken before about the positives (its even difficult for me to type that) of cancer, and they can be undeniable a lot of the time. That being said, I haven’t felt positive this week. Nothing bad happened, treatments are going really well, but I just felt like my positivity was forced/false. My most prominent emotion was anger. I found myself feeling angry; angry for Tommy as he was poked and prodded and fed new medications, angry for the lack of normalcy in our first year of marriage, and angry at myself for not being able to shake this negative perception. I felt like I was leading a double life: the one I wanted to be feeling, and how I actually felt. How do you remain positive without completely denying the reality of your situation?

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How Can I Support? What Cancer Fighters Find Truly Helpful

I spoke to a friend the other day who was looking for real, tangible ways to help a friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He wanted to help but wasn’t sure where to start- what was too much, and what was actually useful. It can be difficult to find the words, and sometimes the fear of saying the wrong thing shuts us down. Believe me, I UNDERSTAND! Even as the wife of a cancer fighter, searching for helpful things to do or say is not always easy. Sometimes the smallest things can make the biggest impact. I shared with my friend the acts of support we most appreciated and found most meaningful, and then I decided to ask a larger group of cancer fighters what they would add to the list. Every person copes in their own way and likes/dislikes different things, but here are some ideas that might open the door for you on your mission to support.

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Why a Second Opinion Changed Everything For Us

Tommy started treatment (again) this morning. The past week has been a tough one, especially mentally, as we prepared for this next round. Gearing up to fight a battle you thought you won is not for the faint of heart. You’re tired, frustrated, angry, but have to get back in the game. I didn’t know what to expect from today, but I can promise you, I did not expect to feel light, supported, and overjoyed…but I do.

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Why 2+2 Does Not Equal 4, and Other Things I've Learned After a Year in the Cancer World

Yesterday we had a few preliminary appointments as we begin this new clinical trial journey. Tommy was poked and prodded as they conducted scans, blood tests, and EKGs. I sat in the lobby holding his coat with the other caregivers. As I looked around the room I saw the familiar determined anxiety on their faces that I have felt the past year. We are always the youngest people in the office, but I feel like a veteran at this point. I think it must be the timing, but it feels like we’re gearing up to begin ‘second semester’ after a holiday break. We’ve rested, prepared, and completed all the winter assignments, but we would really rather stay home.

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Scanxiety

The scan seems to hold your fate. Did the tumor shrink? Has it returned? Are lymph nodes lighting up? Will you need another round of chemo? Did the surgery work? It can be maddening. It’s not uncommon for people with cancer to develop PTSD because of this anxiety. I can absolutely see why.

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Being a 'Cancer Wife'. Can't I Just Be a Regular Wife?

I am still trying to figure out what it means to be a wife. What does it look like? What does it feel like? How can I serve this marriage, and how can this marriage serve me? I had less than two months before the term “newlywed wife” turned into “chief caregiver”. 

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