Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - Helping Hands

People love to help.

Have you noticed that people are trying to help out your family more since your parent was diagnosed? Maybe they cook you dinner or do errands.

We've been getting dinners a lot lately and that makes it much easier on my mom - one less thing she has to do. Also, my friends’ parents are happy to carpool me. My daddy's friends hang out with him on certain days and drive him around to errands.

Are people helping you out more? If so, do you feel like you owe them? I do! So I always thank them profusely.

Signed Liana

What Liana’s family has been able to do is wonderful! When things like a new baby or a death or someone getting sick or hurt happens, the first question many others always ask is, “What can I do to help?” Many times, most families will say something like “If I think of something, I’ll let you know.” Then – they never really ask anyone for things they really need!

Having an answer to that question will not only help your family, but it will also help the person who is helping you. Sounds strange I know! But – for someone not going through what you’re going through it’s hard for them to imagine your circumstances and they probably feel pretty clueless. But if you and your family are able to identify ways they can help you, it will help to make them feel included and give them a way to feel like they’re giving back to you.

Liana’s family has some great suggestions – someone to help with carpooling, meals, someone to hang out with mom or dad while everyone else is at school or work.

Some other ideas you can ask people to do are something as simple as prayer if that’s important to you, running errands for your family, or watching your animal if you go out of town for treatment.

If you feel like you have all of these things covered, you could ask friends and family to donate to a cancer organization that maybe has helped your family or join a local walk that benefits cancer in honor of your parent.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - Heroes Don't Have to Have Capes

Right now in school, in my language arts class, we are talking about heroes. The first person that came to mind...was not my dad L

But when we had to write an essay on our hero, I did pick my dad. To me he is a hero. He never once complains about being sick.

In class we talked about what characteristics a hero has. My dad is brave, strong, determined and kind.

Who's your hero?? Even if it's not your mom or dad, what characteristics could make them a hero?


So, I was not going to add to Liana’s words this week because her words were so powerful to me when I first read them. How cool that Liana was able to admit that, at first, she did not recognize her father as a hero, but once she thought about the characteristics of a hero, she saw those things in her dad! BUT – through my work this week I made some observations that inspired me to share!

Think about the last time you were sick or hurt – Did you go to school? If you work, did you go to work? When you were home did you do your normal chores? Did you do a modified version of your normal daily routine? Or did you lie on the couch or in your bed and do nothing at all?

Did you feel bad for yourself that you were hurt or sick? Or did you have a positive attitude about it and help everyone around you feel better about you being hurt or sick?

I’m going to make an assumption and bet that for most of you, your routine changed a bit and you did less than you normally do in terms of school, work and chores. And although you may not have been a total grump, at times you were not thrilled with the situation and maybe complained or felt sorry for yourself just a bit.

You are HUMAN and all of those things are normal and okay. We tend to forget that our parents are HUMAN TOO! When mom or dad is sick, especially if they have cancer or if their spouse or partner has cancer, they’re going to feel bad at times, do less and maybe even be a little grumpy. They have a lot going on, and unlike a cold or everyday sickness we get, their fatigue, nausea and pain doesn’t go away in a matter of days. They deal with these things sometimes on a daily basis for days or weeks on end.

Often, they don’t get the luxury of calling in to work. Someone has to support the family. They also don’t get to skip the daily chores; someone has to clean the house, walk the dog and have something for dinner. Just like all of us, they are going to have grumpy or tired days, days where they do not feel like doing anything. It may be occasionally, or you may feel that they’re in a bad mood for days on end.

So, instead of being mad that they’re in a bad mood, just sit for a moment and think about what it is like to be in mom or dad’s shoes. They’re either tired of being sick or tired of having their spouse or partner be sick. Understand they don’t like this situation any more than you do. Take a minute to look at all that they are doing. Then – when you can’t take their grumpiness or bad mood anymore – FIND A WAY TO MAKE IT BETTER! Offer to help with some additional things, offer to do something that you know they enjoy. Let them know you love them and that you are supporting them in this journey.

Take a few minutes this week to find commonality between your parents and what Webster says is a hero:

Definition of HERO

1a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage

4: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol


Thursday, September 16, 2010

By any other name…

Yesterday, I was asked by a client: “Why is it that you call me a survivor when I just started treatment?”

My response was to ask her what she would like to be called. She sort of shrugged her shoulders and said “I don’t know. I guess a fighter. I can’t consider myself a survivor until it’s over.”

So I said, “Great, I will call you a fighter.” But later as I pondered our conversation I struggled with my response to her. I wanted to ask “When is it over?” Sure, some say when you have no evidence of cancer on a scan it is over. Others believe if you live five years without a recurrence or new detection of cancer then it is over. But is there truly a defining moment?

I wanted to ask her why she can’t consider herself a survivor. Each day she lives beyond her diagnosis she has survived cancer. Whether she is in treatment or completes treatment she is a survivor. Whether she is fighting for seven minutes or seven years she is still a survivor.

Isn’t a survivor by any other name still a survivor? Let me hear your thoughts bloggers?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - finding answers

Hi all! It's Jessica again, chiming in for Liana.

Here's a question: How much do you know about your parent’s cancer diagnosis? Do you just know they have cancer, do you know that mom or dad is getting chemo or radiation or do you know every little detail of their treatment plan?

This can vary between households. Sometimes as teens and young adults we don’t want all of the details; sometimes we do. Sometimes adults don’t tell us all the details because they want to protect us. How is this for you? Do you wish you knew more, less or are you comfortable with your knowledge?

The National Cancer Institute has a great website, They have information specifically for teens and young adults who have a parent with cancer. It has a lot of information geared toward you and where you are in life and how that relates to your parent having cancer. They also have information about a cancer diagnosis, explain different treatments in terms that aren’t hard to understand and even talk about the side effects that go along with those treatments.

For me personally, I feel more comfortable in a situation where I have some knowledge of what to expect. There are times when we will not have prior knowledge, but fortunately with cancer, there is information out there to help you be better informed and prepared.

So I hope that you will take the time to ask questions and do some research if there are things you have questions about or aren’t sure about. Open the lines of communication this week if you feel out of the loop. Unless you let mom or dad know, they aren’t mind readers! If they don’t tell you a lot, it may be because they think you don’t want to know and if that’s not the case, TELL THEM! Just remember, anyone can post anything on the Internet. Check out websites like, Cancercare, or the American Cancer Society that you know are reputable sites.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - The Power of Positive Thinking

Hi there! It's Jessica, chiming in for Liana this week.

I hope you all are having a nice week, and if you're in Charlotte schools - I hope you are enjoying your two-day week! If you're like I was in school, I counted down until my next break. I am an active and social person, therefore I did not enjoy spending my the majority of my day sitting inside a classroom. Needless to say, days off were truly a blessing to me!

This week, think about things you're not very excited about, whether they relate to mom or dad having cancer or not. Then, brainstorm ideas to make those things a little more enjoyable or pleasant to you. By trying to stay optimistic, sometimes those bad things don't seem so bad - they just need a little bit of positive light!

Spend this week making your life a little less stressful (recharge those batteries!) and find things in your life you do enjoy and are thankful for to make those not-so-fun things a little more enjoyable.

Please send positive thoughts to all those you know who are fighting cancer!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hand In Hand

When I see a couple walking hand in hand on the beach, two children walking hand in hand after a full day on the playground, or even thinking about walking with one of my children hand in hand, a warm feeling of comfort comes to mind. The comfort that comes in knowing that someone will be there for you to walk with you, hand in hand, on your journey makes me think of the wonderful opportunity I have when I come into contact with the cancer patients and their loved ones.

I hope Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center gives the patient and their loved ones the same comfort of walking with someone hand in hand. Our goal is to meet people where they are -- which could be a newly diagnosed patient, one who has a recurrence, or someone facing the end of life. Their emotions, full of anxiety, anger, fear, or sadness, can be a challenge, as we sometimes become the target of those emotions.

One way I hope to bring a little comfort to the cancer patients I meet is when I help them find the resources they need to help them get through their treatment. Our Hand In Hand grant was established to provide direct help to patients when their resources are low. This grant is a one-time financial assistance with housing and utility bills. Feel free to share your story of how a Hand In Hand grant helped you. Know someone who needs a helping hand? Have them call 704-384-5223 to get connected.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - Being a Helper

Do you guys find you’re helping a lot more? I do.

Not just chores.

My daddy has a brain tumor so he's confused a lot. He can't read or write very well. I usually have to either read something to him or write something for him.

I also find that I'm trying my best to help my mom out. Whether it's getting her something or just staying out of the way.

I want things to be easy for my parents, or as easy as their life can get ;) .

What about you? Are you doing more things for your parents? And what about chores? Less or more??

Signed Liana