Monthly Archives: March 2011

Caregiver Tips Part 2: Caregiving For Your Loved One With Cancer

Part 2 of our Summary of Caregiving for Your Loved One with Cancer from CancerCare

In Part 1 I we reviewed the basic tips for caregivers. Part 2 is about long distance caregiving and taking care of yourself as a caregiver.

Don’t stress if your loved one is thousands of miles away. You can still be an integral part of their caregiving team.

Long Distance Caregiving:

  • Focus on what you can do. For example, schedule appointments, pay bills online, set up a personal website for them.
  • Make the most of your visits and try to schedule some visits during the week, so you can meet the appropriate doctors, etc. Plan some visits when your loved one has appointments scheduled.
  • Meet your loved ones neighbors when you visit, so they can check in on them and be your eyes and ears, when you’re gone.
  • Ask your loved ones local friends to help with tasks you can’t do from far way.

One of the most important things to remember is to take care of yourself as well.

Taking Care of Yourself

            Stay Healthy

  • Take time to exercise and keep yourself healthy.
  • Remember healthy eating habits. Pack healthy snacks for long hospital visits.
  • SLEEP!
  • REST! Practice deep breathing, mediation, and gentle stretching to decrease stress.
  • Don’t neglect your own check ups, screenings, and medications.

Getting Emotional Support

  • Allow yourself to take a break once in a while. Listen to music, or go on a quiet walk.
  • Be aware of your limits. You’re allowed to say no if you are over extended.
  • Journal your thoughts.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask other friends or family members for help. Keeping open lines of communication is best.
    • Visit with a mental health professional if you’re having bad feelings or worrying.
    • Seek out a support group for caregivers.
    • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Be realistic about how you can and cannot provide caregiving duties.

Lastly, here are some important final thoughts from the article on cargiving for your loved one.

  • Provide a way for other family members and friends to help. Set up a website at www.mylifeline.org to post visiting hours, meal delivery schedules, transportation needs, etc…(this isn’t mentioned in the article, but I thought I’d add it in!)
  • Check out respite care programs. If you need to run errands and can’t be with your loved one, you could schedule a respite caregiver.
  • Know your rights. Talk with your employer about what your options are for a leave of absence.
  • Call CancerCare ®  

Visit CancerCare’s Care Giver Support Page for more information.

Breast Cancer Survivor: The C4YW 2011 Experience

By Kim Jewett, breast cancer survivor and Director of Collaboration and Outreach for MyLifeLine.org

“When a young woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she can feel isolated and alone. Her psychosocial and medical issues are fundamentally different than those of older, post-menopausal women, as is the impact of her diagnosis on her family and friends. With the bulk of medical and psychological resources designed for women over 50, a younger woman may not know where to turn. More aggressive cancers, fertility, relationship issues, treatment-induced early menopause, living decades with this serious diagnosis — these are just a few ways a younger woman’s breast cancer experience can be unique. To address these issues, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Young Survival Coalition have created C4YW – an annual conference for young women affected by breast cancer and those who support them.”

Reflections from Kim on the C4YW Experience:

As a young breast cancer survivor myself, this was the first time I had the opportunity to attend the conference.  I was excited to attend, not only as a survivor, but as an exhibitor as well.  In between the workshops, networking and presentations I was able to meet many women who were survivors, but some unfortunate, that were metastatic.  I can remember at one point turning to my colleague, with tears in my eyes wondering how I could listen to one more heart wrenching story.  But, as I started to reflect and realize, this was the only place that these women can come to for support while fighting for their life every day.

My most inspiring moment was, meeting Julie Clark.   She was the founder of Baby Einstein and author of “You are the Best Medicine.”  As we enjoyed dinner getting to know one another,  it was not real to me that she too, was a woman who was metastatic.  At that moment, I realized what an amazing inspiration she truly was, and that she was a perfect example of not letting cancer define who she was. Based on her talent with Baby Einstein, we surely can see the passion she has on giving back and helping other young women connect with their children when diagnosed with cancer.

 As the days passed, there were so many great workshops to attend. Some, of which were dealing with recurrence or fear of, side effects of tamoxifen, how to build back your bone health after chemotherapy, and sadly how to deal or cope with dying.

I also had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Ann Partridge, a leading researcher on breast cancer in younger women, and founder and director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr Partridge provided us with a comprehensive update on the latest breast cancer research, commenting that the biggest strides have been made in the area of targeted treatment. Breast cancer is no longer treated as a single disease and the opportunity to individualize and target treatment is the direction research is moving toward.

 There were plenty of exhibitors as well.  They represented the many support groups, apparel and organizations dedicated to young women with breast cancer.  It was great to meet others that were just as passionate and dedicated to the work they do every day.

 I am so honored to have experienced this conference. While reality was very difficult for me to bear, I felt completely rewarded by the work I do everyday  with My LifeLine.org.  It allows me to have a passion for something I love to do, while having the opportunity to give back to others.  I am really looking forward to C4YW, 2012! 

–Thank you Kim for recapping what the C4YW conference meant to you!

A Raw Monologue About The Word ‘Cure’

Thanks to our Guest Blogger, Matthew Zachary, from i2Y (I’m Too Young For This Cancer Foundation)

There is no cure for cancer.

It is a biological disease that impacts each of us uniquely and individually on a genetic and cellular level, the causes of which will continue to remain largely unknown.

Spouses, children and parents of Pharmaceutical CEOs die from cancer every day so no one is “hiding” a magic pill somewhere in Dick Cheney’s underground bunker.

The “cure” for cancer is the same as the “cure” for Diabetes and HIV – a managed disease that you try not to let kill you right away and that you live with for as long as you can. In which case, the “cure” is survivorship because of the millions who do survive, most deal with the consequences of surviving for the rest of their lives and just hope it doesn’t come back. End of story.

 After all, “cure” is an arbitrary term like “God”. It is not one single thing and it means different things to different people, if anything at all to most. It is an exploited marketing phrase that has been co-opted and exploited to convince the masses to open their wallets without objective judgment. Cure sells. Like bald kids on Jennifer Aniston’s lap and dying pets with Sarah Mclachlan. Like anything else, we believe what we want to believe and we can’t see past the questions we don’t understand.

Stupid cancer.

Our Founder and Executive Director, Marcia Donziger, will be on the Stupid Cancer Show tonight, March 21st. To tune in go to http://bit.ly/gTZzCj She’ll be part of a panel discussing parenting and cancer.

Parenting And Cancer

Tune into the Stupid Cancer Show on Monday the 21st at 6:00 PM MST. Marcia Donziger, our Founder and Executive Director is one of the guest speakers on the talk show that night, speaking about parenting and cancer. If you can’t tune in on Monday night, there will be a podcast available after the show.

Go to Stupid Cancer Show – Parenting and Cancer for more information!

Yolo Deals – A Daily Deal Site That Gives Back

Who Doesn’t Love a Daily Deal?

We are excited to announce a partnership with a new Denver business that has agreed to make a donation to MyLifeLine.org.  YoloDeals offers discounts of 50% or greater on gift certificates at some of Denver’s best local businesses. The deals are exclusive and only people who subscribe to their free service can purchase the certificates.

YoloDeals donates 10% of their profits each month to a different local charity or non-profit and MyLifeLine.org is the beneficiary for the month of March.  We need your help to make this a success.  Sign up for YoloDeals free daily email and tell as many friends as possible to sign up.  If you see a deal that you like during the month, purchase it and we will receive a donation!

The best part is if you refer a friend and they make a purchase, you get a $10 credit toward your next Yolo deal!  Show your support for a local business that supports charities as well as other Colorado businesses.

Click here to sign up for YoloDeals free email

Yolo Deals Logo

Partner Spotlight – Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

MyLifeLine.org is proud to announce a new partnership with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  MyLifeLine.org now offers free personal websites to followers and constituents of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance.  To sign up for a personal website go to http://mylifeline.org/signup/ocna/

ovarian cancer national alliance logo

Since its establishment in 1997, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has worked to save women’s lives. We fulfill our mission through advocacy, education, awareness, and community-building.

 

As the only national ovarian cancer organization in Washington, DC, the Alliance advocates for increased funding for research programs that will establish an early detection test and create better treatment programs for women with ovarian cancer. The federal government funds 90% of ovarian cancer research in the United States, making this a critical source of funding.

 

We educate women and health professionals about the risks, signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. One of our most popular programs, Survivors Teaching Students: Saving Women’s LivesSM, brings ovarian cancer survivors into medical schools to talk about their experiences with the disease. The Alliance also offers a clinical trial matching service, to help women with ovarian cancer find possible new treatments.

 

Building community for women and men affected by ovarian cancer is another important goal for the Alliance. We were founded by local ovarian cancer groups in five states, and continue to work with a national network of Partner Members. Each year, we host a conference in Washington, DC, that brings together patients, researchers, caregivers and policy experts. We have begun to host regional conferences and webinars to reach cancer patients who are unable to travel to the capital for our conference.

 

Last but not least, the Alliance works to raise awareness of ovarian cancer. Although this disease will affect one in 71 women, it is not well known. We work to raise the profile of ovarian cancer to that women will know the symptoms and be diagnosed early, when their odds of survival are much higher.

 

Underlying all our activities is our dedication to women with ovarian cancer, and our determination to advance their interests.

 

 

Welcome to our New Blog!

When we created MyLifeLine.org, we wanted to help patients with the emotional part of their cancer by allowing their friends and family to be there for them.  Through website posts, helping calendars and most importantly encouraging words from loved ones, we’ve brought patient support groups into their home and hospital rooms.

We are working hard to make this experience even better with more medical resources, fundraising tips, and support information for friends and family. With Facebook and Twitter posts, emails and blogs we are making MyLifeLine.org a smaller community no matter the number of members. MyLifeLine.org is a resource for anyone going through cancer or anyone who knows someone with this awful disease. We want to hear from you and want you to help make MyLifeline.org part of your community.