Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Introducing Wednesdays with Liana!

Hey! I'm Liana! I am thirteen years old.

My daddy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in February 2009. Since then, he has had 2 brain surgeries and 2 recurrences. I don't have a lot of friends who are going through the same thing as me so I know what it is like to feel misunderstood.

I hope this blog helps a lot of teens find that they are not alone. Leave comments below!!

This week just introduce yourself and tell us your encounter with cancer.
Signed, Liana

Hello! My name is Jessica and I am one of the social workers at Presbyterian Hospital. I work with children, teens and young adults who have cancer as well as children, teens and young adults who have a parent with cancer.

As Liana has expressed, having a parent with cancer can be overwhelming and you may often find yourself feeling like no one understands you. This blog is a place for teens and young adults who have a parent with cancer to meet others who also have a parent with cancer and learn from one another. It’s a safe space to express your thoughts and feelings.

I look forward to hearing from those who find our blog and learning of your experiences!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A new voice on the Buddy Kemp blog

What could you have in common with a 13-year-old girl? It could be a lot; it could be a little. One thing you are guaranteed to share, however, is a cancer connection.

Meet Liana. This bright young lady knows cancer all too well. Her father has been fighting brain cancer for over a year now. Liana wants to reach out to others who are going through a similar experience, and she felt this blog was a great way to share her thoughts and feelings and see what voices there are that need to be heard.

Because Liana and her mission to reach out to others are so special, we have decided to dediate a weekly posting to her. Wednesdays with Liana starts tomorrow, so we hope you'll check in, feel at home and CONNECT!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Benefits of Attending a Support Group

You’ve just been told that you have cancer and you’re feeling tearful and unable to manage your emotions. Or maybe you’re in the middle of treatment and struggling with side effects. You could even have just completed treatment and feel you’re still not free from the cancer cloud and the dreaded fear of recurrence.

Attending a support group can be beneficial during any of these situations as well as any others that cause you distress. Many survivors tend to isolate themselves with these concerns, and attending a support group can help alleviate them by learning that you are not alone. “But wait,” you say. “I don’t want to hear other people’s horror stories. Besides, I can only relate to someone with my type of cancer, who is my age, or has my same family situation, etc.”

This may be true at times, but overall most people who take that first step and attend a support group find that there are many generalities with a cancer diagnosis that bring about a sense of normalcy with regards to what you are experiencing.

I often suggest that a survivor attend a support group for the first time with an expectation that you will not relate to everybody’s experience; however you can pick and choose the things that you identify with and take those points away with you. What support groups have you attended and what was your experience like?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Good Advocate Can Go a Long Way

Cancer patients who are less stressed and receive services quicker often have a good advocate. Good advocates I have seen include a patient’s coworker, a patient’s parent, and the patient himself.

One time a patient asked her coworker to assist her after she was diagnosed with cancer. This coworker got online and started researching resources, and she found Buddy Kemp and several other organizations. She collected all the information needed and helped the patient fill out and submit the applications. The patient then described the relief she felt when these things were done and she could focus on her health and caring for her child.

Another patient had a mother who took on the advocate role. As an independent adult the patient didn’t want his siblings involved because the patient felt that his siblings would not follow his wishes or keep his health information confidential. Although his mother didn’t always agree, she was a great advocate because she respected and followed his wishes. This patient also stated his mother kept up with his appointment schedule, which was very complicated at times.

Another patient, newly diagnosed with cancer, turned out to be her own best advocate. She recognized that she needed help to navigate her cancer journey. She was referred to Buddy Kemp and explained her situation. She needed help but she also wanted to do as much as she could on her own. I gave her information about resources and how to access the services. We then came up with a plan for her to solicit help if she needed it.

Please keep in mind that, when you have friends and family who want to help, you should be prepared to give them specific tasks that you need done, i. e., organize medical bills, feed the pets, organize a transportation schedule, shop for groceries, etc., so they can advocate your wishes.

Feel free to share how your advocate lightened your load and made your journey less stressful.