Support Crew for Cancer Survivors

Hi Everyone

Before I launch into this topic which is very close to my heart, please join me this coming Wednesday 22nd August at Creativitea Broadbeach from 6pm - 8.30pm for a fun night of networking and Healthy Ageing tips and tricks.  I will be presenting at this event and I'd love to see you there.  A delicious cuppa and home made treat is included and I will be joined by Tamika Hilder as a co speaker, as we support Susanne Ridolfi on her quest to widen the knowledge of the Gold Coast Community on health and wellbeing.

Now for this very important topic.  For the next few weeks, I will be focusing on cancer for a few reasons.  The number one being that there is a noticeable rise in the number of cases I am taking in the clinic of patients with diagnoses of cancer, and the other main reason, is that with this type of diagnoses - comes a tsunami of fear and worry.  And that's not just in the patient themselves.  There are a lot of possible natural remedies that offer healing outcomes for patients, however it is just not that simple as eating a handful of apricot kernels and injecting yourself with Vitamin C.

So for the next few weeks, you will be on a gentle journey of possibilities and solutions to apply with yourself, friends, colleagues and family members whether or not they are directly immersed in a cancer diagnosis.  These pieces are aimed at the generic factors relating to cancer cell formation and what comes with it, specific treatment protocols are not given in this forum, and therefore should be approached on a person by person basis.  Feel free to call me directly to discuss further if this interests you.

Unlike cardiovascular disease which has a higher death rate than cancer, a diagnosis involving cancer often strikes a fear filled blow to those who receive it and the ripples of that reach far into that person's circle of family and friends.  This in itself becomes a topic of focus within the treatment protocol for cancer patients as research shows some interesting survival differences between an optimistic patient and a pessimistic patient.  Research also shows highly adverse effects from stress hormones and the damage those chemicals can have on the cells of the body.

In many cases I see, the cancer patient themselves often arrive at a point of acceptance and understanding of their condition a lot sooner than their loved ones but feel more stress around the impact of this news on loved ones. The thought of having to deal with the reactions and responses, well meaning intentions, randomly thrown advice, folklore and someone elses' successful recovery program can hyper load the stress response for the diagnosed cancer patient themselves - sometimes more than the actual diagnosis had.

For those of you who are either supporting or currently experiencing those early weeks of diagnosis, here are some thoughts on how to manage the ripple effect, how to be there in a way that will be supportive and helpful for the diagnosed one and how to alleviate the pressure from others' reactions and responses to a cancer diagnosis.

1.  In those early days of diagnosis - unless there is a life threatening situation - take a few weeks to absorb your doctor's information and to formulate your idea on what this means for you.  It is important that you don't singularly carry the load of this yourself, but I highly recommend you share the early diagnosis with a small pocket of people in your circle that you trust and feel safe with, and who can handle the news themselves without loading you up with their fears and energy draining reactions.

2.  Nominate one of these people from point one to consider being your spokesperson - these people can receive communications for you from people in your wider circle, feedback your progress, filter messages and buffer the often well intended barage of helpful cancer treatment tips that will no doubt come your way.

2.  After these first few weeks, take your time in deciding your treatment approach. Formulate questions about your style of cancer and treatment options. If you are not sure what to ask, contact me for a detailed list of helpful questions I suggest all patients ask their surgeons, oncologists and primary care general practitioners.

3.  If you do have well meaning friends that you suspect will have done some research and in their best intentions want to send you information, set up a 'global' drop point for this information in reading format, so that you can take your time to read them when you are ready and arrange that information in order of priority. If you don't want to receive anything at all - have your spokesperson handle that type of communication.  Also, consider sending out a global letter to everyone pointing out what they can do to help and what you prefer didn't happen, how you will keep them in the loop on your progress down the track.

4.  If you are in the ripple - the best thing you can do for your friend or family member who is undergoing the diagnosis and treatment is to respect their decisions and responses on how they want to manage their condition. It may not be how you would approach it and your passion to help them be well may be overwhelming - but remember - this is not your journey, entirely. If you are really concerned and bothered by being unable to be more instrumental in the treatment process, it may be appropriate for you to seek some counselling support around this.

Remember - it may feel like things are spinning out of control right now for everyone - if you can manage to harness at least one element of this journey, it will go a long way to help you cope with others.

If you have any other ideas on how to support a patient diagnosed with cancer - feel free to respond to this email and I will be sure to include these into up and coming pieces.

NEXT WEEK:  Getting to Know Your Cancer

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