Monday, December 27, 2010

Bringing in a New Year

Many people use the New Year as a symbol to make changes in their lives. These changes usually have to do with commitments to take better care of oneself. Some of us are more successful than others in making these commitments become a reality.

Many cancer survivors incorporate changes in their lives “to beat the odds." Frequently these changes revolve around health and nutrition. There is so much in literature these days about nutrition and cancer. How does one begin to make any of these changes when it comes to diet? Is it going to feel like yet another sacrifice when you already are facing many challenges?

Many survivors find it helpful to meet with a nutritionist to review current eating habits. The nutritionist may recommend some changes that may actually have a positive effect on your energy! Incorporating changes slowly may be one of the tools to help you succeed in making any changes.

What has helped you to make lifestyle changes that actually make you feel better?

~ Marcia, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

Monday, December 13, 2010

Telling Your Children about a Cancer Diagnosis

News of Elizabeth Edwards' passing last week has brought attention to the fact that cancer doesn't discriminate. It doesn't matter whether you're single, married, young, old, rich, poor or anything in between. It also reminds us that, for every person going through treatment for cancer, there are family and friends who are also experiencing the emotional toll of the disease.

Elizabeth Edwards' children were widely different ages, so as you can imagine, the approach to educating each of them about their mother's illness was very different. Regardless of what the family said and how they looked in front of the camera, it was the conversations behind closed doors that were the most difficult and mattered most.

At Buddy Kemp we see many parents who are struggling with the same questions that undoubtedly Elizabeth Edwards faced early in her diagnosis: "How should I talk to my children about cancer? What kind of support do they need?"

Often times parents who are recently diagnosed struggle with whether or not they should tell their children, and if so, what they should tell them. Age is an important factor to consider when planning your conversation. The good news is that, among other things, there are many books available to help. For example, for younger children you can find books that incorporate the basics about a cancer diagnosis, such as hairloss and fatigue. It's important as well to speak with your children's teachers about your situation.

Buddy Kemp offers a staff of specially trained counselors who can sit down with you and your children to help facilitate discussion. Children's Lives Include Moments of Bravery (CLIMB) is a six-week program is designed for children ages 6-12 to help them cope with their parent or grandparents cancer diagnosis and enable them to express themselves through art and group discussion. The next session will begin on January 18. (contact 704-384-5223 for more inf0). Additionally, children of any age are invited to Buddy Kemp for counseling sessions to help them cope with their parent's diagnosis.

How has your family dealt with news of a cancer diagnosis? If you are a child, how did you feel? If you are a parent, how did you share the information?

~ Marcia, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Traditions - they can be changed!

Many of us can remember growing and becoming accustomed to traditions we had in our homes and shared with family members and friends. As we grow up and start our own families we frequently begin our own traditions as well.

Sometimes we are forced to change these long-established traditions as changes occur in our health status. If you have been in the role of “doing it all” and having everyone at your house, this year may be a good time to seek ways to share holiday preparations with others. Choose to do the part of the preparations that you enjoy and that will not take all of your energy.

You can also take advantage of the change and let others know this year is going to be the beginning of a new tradition! Ask them to take part in planning for the holiday together. Family members may be hesitant to approach you, so your initiation will let everyone know you recognize the need for a change.

Has anyone done this ? How did it work out? Do you have any tips for those who may be struggling with changing roles and tradition?

~ Marcia, Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wednesdays with Liana - Thoughts on Thinking

Do you think about how much time you spend thinking about your sick parent?
I find that I don’t think about it a lot. When I'm at school, my mind’s on other things. And that’s a good thing.

What about you? On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most, how often do you think about your sick parent during the day? For me, it’s at least a 6. It’s sort of hard *not* to think about.

Another thing: This kind of goes back to one of my earlier blogs about talking about cancer with a friend. It’s ok to not want to talk. Your friends don’t get to see you everyday and they want to know how you and your parent are.

My friend just recently asked me how my dad was doing. Not only did I not want to talk about it, but it’s a long story.