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Archive for the ‘Families and Cancer’ Category

As you may remember from this post, I set an intention to work through the Healing Journey Program (as far as it is available for download) and report back here on my progress. The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that it is much more than one week since I did that. Knowing myself, I put out a request for a buddy to keep me accountable and through the Healing Journey newsletter I got my wish, so then there were no more excuses.
I’ve now completed the first week of the program and so it’s time to let you know my thoughts. (more…)

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When cancer appears, our identity as friends or family members can change – though becoming a carer or just in our relationships due to stress and worry. But what about when the person who has cancer seems to change – maybe so much that you hardly recognise them?
I already talked about loss of a role by which we define ourselves (through becoming a carer) here. This is obviously also an issue for those dealing with their own cancer – either through temporary leave or through having to give up a job or role. This can have an additional effect on someone as well as their feelings and fears over the illness. (more…)

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Cancer Fighting Strategies

On this blog our focus is on the friends and family of those who have cancer – their problems and concerns, how they are affected, and how they can help both themselves and their loved ones. Often for friends and family their top concern is how will the person with cancer heal? Whilst healing cancer is not your job, it is understandable that you would want to be aware of the best cancer resources.

Information on the internet can be bewildering, so here is our selection of some resources which may help with support for the person fighting cancer. (more…)

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The Following is a guest post from Jayan :

I knew that cancer didn’t discriminate. I knew it didn’t care if the person was old or young or if the person already had enough problems. I knew all of this, but I didn’t know cancer had my sister’s address. Recently, my baby sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. My entire life, I’ve always tried to identify the hardest thing about living. Because my sister has been diagnosed with cancer, I now know what the hardest thing about living is. The hardest thing about living is watching someone you love die. Still, it would be selfish of me just to sit back and watch her die. If cannot save her, but I will help her by being there.

Being there is the best thing that any of us can do when a friend or family member is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Being there means more than just offering a shoulder to cry on; being there is more about helping those you love walk when they can’t walk themselves. Here is a list of ways in which I assist my sister.

My sister adores her four children so even when she is feeling her worst, she still wants them around. Her friends and I take turns shopping and preparing meals and snacks for her and her family. The only thing my oldest nephew has to do is heat the food, and the family has quick, homemade meals.

When my sister and her husband visit the doctor or when they want time alone, they know that my home is never locked to their children. My nieces and nephews receive more hugs and kisses than they actually want, but part of what I do to help my sister is to let her kids know that they are never alone. Quite often, my sister tells me that my love for her children is one of the things that helps sustain her.

Sometimes, I sit with my sister when she undergoes her chemo. We always said we would sit together in our old age, and we often laugh about this during her treatments. Sometimes we play games from our childhood, and other times, I simply hold her hand. When I’m out shopping, I’m constantly on the look out for books and movies that will make her laugh.

Surprisingly, most of the things that I do for my sister are things I’ve always done. I’ve always bought her gifts and helped her with her children. Even after having four kids, she still doesn’t hesitate to call me when she has strep throat or an illness she has caught from one of my nieces and nephews. I’ve always been there for my sister, and that’s the one thing that we can all do when our loved ones become seriously ill – we can continue to be there for them. Don’t give up, and don’t give in and run away. Be there.

Jayan writes about yoga, nutrition and weight loss. If you liked this article, please visit Indoor Chaise Lounges and Chaise Lounge Sofa.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jayan_B

Being there for someone who is dying is a wonderful gift, especially keeping things as normal as you can. If you are finding it difficult to be with someone who is at the end of their life, it might help you to read the book Gentle Dying by Felicity Warner – you can find a review on our website.

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Mind Healing?

The Healing Journey Program was presented at the NCCSHG conference by its creator Alastair Cunningham and Petra Griffiths, who heads the program in the UK.

The Healing Journey is based on the premise that healing can take place from outside (conventional medicine and most complementary and alternative practices) and from inside (psychological and spiritual change and self-healing). Both of these are valid and may well be necessary, but they can also work in harmony. Evidence also shows that quality of life improves when people work on that inner healing. This is taking an active approach to a cancer diagnosis in yourself or another – rather than the passive approach of leaving it all up to the doctors.

The Healing Journey Program itself has been used extensively in Canada for over 25 years, and refined using research and feedback into a 5-level program where participants progress to the level they wish, with each level going deeper into the mind and spiritual aspects of being. The program is open to those who have or had cancer, and their friends and family.

A UK edition of The Healing Journey: Overcoming the Crisis of Cancer book is now available, and I will be reading this and reviewing it in due course. As a healing journey is appropriate for everyone, not just those who are ill, I’ve also decided to work through the programme myself and report back here how I get along. (I am always very conscious that dealing with, thinking and writing about cancer on a day-to-day basis takes some managing on an emotional level so I definitely have something to gain) Both the Healing Journey UK and original Healing Journey websites have access to workbooks and audios to make that possible. What would make things even better would be to have someone to share the journey with, so if anyone would like to join me in self-study and keep in touch by email as to how we are doing, then please do get in touch.

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Self esteem. How much of your self-belief comes from your role in life? For many it is a great deal, with people gaining energy and confidence from their job, or their roles as a homemaker, parent or volunteer. What happens then when suddenly you have the role of carer thrust upon you due to a loved one’s cancer?
This is one of the aspects of ‘Who Am I?’ that I wanted to look at as a result of attending the NCCSHG conference.
You might still be working, but be less able to give full attention to your role due to distractions or worries. Or you may find you are a full-time carer. You might excel at your caring role, or feel that you are poorly suited to it but have no choice. Either way, being a carer is not who you are it is what you are doing – an important difference.
This is why this year’s Carers Week had the theme of ‘A Life Of My Own’. Only by continuing to pursue other interests, by following what matters to you (yes, I know the caring matters, but other things can too), can you maintain a sense of yourself. That sense of yourself helps you cope with the demands of this role, and helps you build into the future when that role is no longer needed.
On top of this, you could go further still and take the path to even greater self-awareness. This is where what defines who you are comes from within rather than being based on activities and interests. This is an option I will be exploring more over the summer.
‘Who Am I?’ is such an interesting question to ask yourself!

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Last year when I attended the NCCSHG conference, I was invited to lead a workshop, and was glad to do so. Not surprisingly I talked about Life in the Cancer Fallout Zone, and on the form there were three workshop slots listed. As I didn’t mind when I gave the workshop I ticked all 3 boxes – and ended up running the workshop 3 times! Now, I didn’t mind this and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with each set of participants, but it was rather tiring!
Fast forward to 2010 and I was again asked if I would like to lead a workshop. This time, though, I knew I was only going to be there for one workshop session, so I said no. Instead I decided to do something for myself – to attend a workshop. I went to learn a little more about crystals and particularly pendulums – and it gave me a real boost before I set off on the long drive home to Dorset. The drive went well and I arrived home in good spirits. Compare that to how I might have felt had I been ‘working’ up until I left the conference.
When someone in the family has cancer, it can seem really radical to do something for yourself. But it can also do a lot of good. Sometimes it’s extra hard because it means saying no to someone or something – as I did. What I found was that although I didn’t need to I explained that I was taking care of myself – and got a really positive response.
There are so many demands in life that sometimes you end up with no time to call your own. You may even want to do all the things you are asked to do, or invited to attend. But maybe next time before you say ‘yes’ automatically you should think about what else is already happening. You may want to do each thing, but do you really want to do all of them? And if saying yes really means saying no to doing something for yourself then maybe a gentle ‘I’d love to, but I’m afraid I can’t’ would enable you to be more supportive in the long run.
PS It won’t make you a selfish person!

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Last year I attended the National Conference of Cancer Self-Help Groups (NCCSHG for short) cancer conference, and in doing so I missed my sons’ school fete day. This year they clashed again and the boys came first, but I was still able to go to the cancer conference 2010 for one day – dashing up to Manchester and visiting family as well!
Even though I was only at the conference for a short time, it felt very different from last year. I already knew where to go, recognised some faces (and some remembered me too), and felt altogether more relaxed. I guess I’m like most people – I prefer places and people I know. But if I hadn’t been prepared to attend last year for the first time then I would have been missing out, as this is a truly excellent event.
I’ll be reporting back my impressions and comments on the sections of the conference I did take part in over the next several weeks – in fact it may take the whole summer as there is so much to think about!
My first impression though is that for me there was a theme to the conference. It wasn’t an official theme, just something that came up a few times and meant something to me. The theme was ‘Who Am I?’
This is an issue that can come up for someone with cancer as their world and self-image is rocked – and this has a knock-on effect for everyone around them. It is an issue for friends and family as their role alters, sometimes dramatically if they are thrust into a caring role. I’ll be looking at these issues in more depth in future posts, but for now I would be interested to hear your stories. How was your self-image affected by cancer diagnosis or treatments? Was it someone else who felt all at sea and that affected you? Please share your story as a response to this post, or feel free to email me.

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As part of Carer’s Week 2010 we are thinking about carers needs – what will allow them to have a life of their own? Yesterday I shared a resource which can help carers to recognise that this is something they need and can have. Today I would like to look at what those needs might be. I am not a carer myself, though I have family members who have provided full-time care for my mother when she was ill, so I will probably miss out some needs. I believe that all of these and more should be provided to carers :

  • Information – about the illness, caring and benefits.
  • Training – in caring techniques appropriate to the care they are providing – and ongoing as the care needed may well increase with time.
  • Advocates – people to speak on their behalf, both on a national level and for them individually to ensure they get whatever benefits or respite they need.
  • Respite care – to be relieved of caring on a weekly basis and for regular holidays, without having to ask for this.
  • Equipment – the equipment which can make all the difference to caring should be assessed and provided. The carer should not have to research this themselves.
  • An alternative – if the carer is or becomes physically or emotionally unable to provide the level of care needed there should be resources available to step in and provide an alternative, be that residential care or more likely carers coming in to the home. Carers should not be made to feel they have let anyone down if they are not able to continue in their caring role.

What else do you, as a carer, need? Or am I demeaning carers by suggesting they need help? Please share your experiences.

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What a strange title!
The reason for it is that I wanted to share a resource with you. If you are a carer, you probably won’t buy it. Heaven forbid that anyone should suggest you be (even a little bit) selfish. But you should, you should – buy it, that is!
And if you know someone who is a carer (even if they think they aren’t, really) then you should buy it and give it to them.
This resource is a book, and it’s called The Selfish Pig’s Guide to Caring. The title is, of course, a bit of a joke (and if humour about such a sensitive subject is likely to offend you, then I guess it won’t be the book for you). Carers are not really selfish at all – but they often think they are. “Why should I get a day off from caring when my loved one cannot get a day off from their illness or disability?” Well, maybe the key word here is their.
In this book Hugh Marriott gives lots of practical advice, as well as subtly (ok, pointedly) suggesting that being a little bit of a selfish pig would be a very good idea. I devoured the book over last weekend, and think it’s the first thing any caregiver should read – before all the leaflets about their loved one’s illness! Now I’m just trying to think of a way to pass it on to my father, who does not yet think of himself as a carer (the second time around).
You can find links to buy the book on Amazon through our website here.

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