Follow Us Here:

Cancer Knowledge Network

Cancer Knowledge Network and Current Oncology are proudly published by Multimed Inc.
0
Menu
Advocate - Educate - Innovate

Tag Archives: anne katz

Survivorship Series: Ringing the Bell

annekatzby Dr. Anne Katz, PhD, RN, CKN Survivorship Editor

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

Last week a friend sent me a photo of her­self, ring­ing the bell at the end of her treat­ment the day before. She looked tired and thin and miles less than joyous.

So what does it mean to ring the bell?

I know that my thoughts on this may prompt many angry com­ments. Good! Let’s talk about this!

Does ring­ing the bell send a some­what mixed mes­sage? Ring, ring — you’re done! But we know that after treat­ment is over, there are many days and weeks and months and, for some, even years before they feel well and any­where near “nor­mal.” So per­haps ring­ing the bell sets peo­ple up for dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion and con­fu­sion. Why has the fatigue not resolved? Why do I feel so weak? Why do I not feel like my old self?

I called my friend after receiv­ing the emailed photo. I didn’t com­ment on her wan appear­ance and instead asked her how she was feel­ing. “I’m tired,” she replied, “And I know this is early — but why has my hair not started to grow back?”

A mixed mes­sage indeed.

Read Anne’s last post here.

Survivorship Series: When do you stop thinking about the cancer?

annekatzby Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

I had an inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion with a 20+ year can­cer sur­vivor the other day. She had called me on some other busi­ness (a job ref­er­ence for a col­league of mine) and she men­tioned that she knew of my work in sex­u­al­ity. She then told me that she had been treated for breast can­cer 20 years ago.  “Ahh, ” I said, wait­ing to hear where the con­ver­sa­tion would go.  I thought that per­haps she would tell me her story, or ask advice about a sex­ual issue (yes, per­fect strangers will ask about that in all sorts of places), but instead she said in a firm voice:

“Why do peo­ple with can­cer hang on to their can­cer expe­ri­ence for so long?”

I really didn’t have an answer and the ques­tion was really rhetor­i­cal. She explained that while her can­cer had changed her for­ever, she refused to be defined by it. It was in the past, not for­got­ten, but not some­thing that was cen­tral to her every­day life.

Not every­one has that atti­tude, and there really is no right or wrong in this. I have noticed the same men present when I speak at a local prostate can­cer sup­port group. Every year, there they are. Some were treated more than 15 years ago and still they attend the sup­port group. Is it because they come to hear me? Or do they attend to pro­vide sup­port to newly diag­nosed men? Or is it a social out­ing for them?

When does the can­cer expe­ri­ence no longer define a person’s life? What do you think?

Read Anne’s last post here.

 

Survivorship Series: The Work of Cancer Survivorship

listsBy Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

As I read mul­ti­ple arti­cles in the process of writ­ing my book on sur­vivor­ship, I was con­stantly reminded that being a can­cer sur­vivor is WORK, lots and lots of work.  I see my patients doing this work every day. How do they man­age this?

From cop­ing with fatigue to remem­ber­ing to have repeated blood tests and scans, there is a lot to do if you are a can­cer sur­vivor. There are short term effects from treat­ment that have to be dealt with and then there are the late effects too. There is exer­cise to mit­i­gate fatigue and pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions.  And dietary strate­gies to pro­vide anti-​​oxidants.  How do can­cer sur­vivors keep all of this straight?

I think that many can­cer sur­vivors may not be get­ting any or all of this infor­ma­tion. That’s con­cern­ing. I know that where I work, we are just in the begin­ning stages of implementing a Sur­vivor­ship Care Plan for rec­tal can­cer patients — what about all the other dis­ease sites?

I also know that many others are way ahead of us; some can­cer cen­ters have highly sophis­ti­cated pro­grams of can­cer sur­vivor­ship includ­ing per­son­al­ized care plan­ning, well­ness projects, nurse spe­cial­ists etc.

I envy those of you who have been on this track for a while — why don’t you write in and tell us about what you do?

Read Anne’s last post here.

 

 

Survivorship Series: More Studies Support Exercise During and After Cancer

exercise4 by Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

I keep finding articles on the role of exercise in cancer survivorship. I think someone is trying to get a message to me – over the years I have personally fallen off that wagon and have finally conquered that demon and now love my daily time on the treadmill!

Continue reading

Survivorship Series: Fertility

annekatzBy Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

Some of the most dif­fi­cult work I do is talk­ing to patients about loss of fer­til­ity after can­cer treat­ment. Some­times the dis­cus­sion is with the par­ents of a teenager who is newly diag­nosed. I can see the pain and des­per­a­tion in their eyes: how could this hap­pen to their child? How can they make the right deci­sion when the fear of los­ing this pre­cious per­son over­whelms them? It is no eas­ier when I talk to a young adult, mar­ried just a few months, who now faces a delay in start­ing treat­ment if he wants to freeze sperm. And more often than these exam­ples are the cou­ples who so des­per­ately want a baby — but treat­ment years ago makes this  impos­si­ble. Why did no one tell them at the time about fer­til­ity preser­va­tion, they ask. Why?

If any of you have had these kinds of con­ver­sa­tions with patients, you know how heart­break­ing it is — for the nurse, the physi­cian, but mostly for the patients. I’m not sure that we do a great job with this for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. For the patient there is panic and fear, for the health care provider there may be a reluc­tance to delay treat­ment. But ulti­mately it is the patient who is left to deal with the fall out — months of try­ing to con­ceive at some point in the future, the dis­ap­point­ment of not know­ing what the con­se­quences of treat­ment on fer­til­ity might be, the lone­li­ness of not being able to have a bio­log­i­cal child.

Yes, cou­ples can adopt. Yes, in cer­tain cir­cum­stances a man has the time to freeze sperm. Yes, if the woman has a part­ner and has the time before treat­ment she can pro­duce eggs that are mixed with her partner’s sperm and the embryos are frozen. But other than that, the options for fer­til­ity preser­va­tion are lim­ited and exper­i­men­tal. Freez­ing ova or ovar­ian tis­sue is still an exper­i­men­tal pro­ce­dure with very low lev­els of suc­cess­ful preg­nan­cies. And not every­one has access to spe­cialty cen­ters that even offer these tech­niques. Or the cost is pro­hib­i­tive. Or there is no time.

Infer­til­ity after can­cer is a silent and tragic chal­lenge that many patients face. How can we best help them?

Read Anne’s Last Post here.

Related Post:  Cancer, Chemotherapy and Children:  A Cancer Survivors Personal Story Regarding Fertility

 

 

 

Survivorship Series: Are we all Survivors?

annekatzBy Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  This is the second article in this series.

It seems I am stuck on this con­cept of who is a sur­vivor…. over the past year I have attended a national meet­ing of a com­mit­tee deal­ing with sur­vivor­ship issues from a pro­fes­sional per­spec­tive. As we intro­duced our­selves at the begin­ning of each meet­ing, I was a lit­tle sur­prised to hear a num­ber of peo­ple at the table intro­duce them­selves as can­cer sur­vivors based on the fact that fam­ily mem­bers had been diag­nosed with can­cer. I must admit this took me by sur­prise. Both my par­ents had can­cer; my father died of non-​​Hodgkins lym­phoma when I was 13 and my mother had breast can­cer twice — one at the age of 47 and then again 20 years later. Does this make ME a sur­vivor?  I have never thought of myself this way.

In response to another article I wrote on this topic, some­one wrote a very pas­sion­ate reply about being a can­cer sur­vivor and the many lay­ers of sur­vivor­ship. I can­not and will not attempt to negate this person’s expe­ri­ence or emo­tions about this. But I felt rather awk­ward at that meet­ing when around the table were peo­ple who had actu­ally had can­cer and had gone through treat­ment, some of them as ado­les­cents or young adults. I won­dered how they felt about these other ‘sur­vivors’ — peo­ple who were no doubt touched by their fam­ily mem­bers’ expe­ri­ences with can­cer. But I think that the expe­ri­ence IS fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent for the per­son with can­cer as com­pared to their fam­ily members.

I don’t think there is a per­son in North Amer­ica today who has not wit­nessed a fam­ily mem­ber going through the can­cer jour­ney. Does this make us all sur­vivors? Are there degrees of sur­vivor­ship? Is being the per­son who had/​has can­cer make you more of a sur­vivor than your spouse or par­ent or child who wit­nessed what you went through?

Read more from Anne here.


 

Anne Katz, RN, PhD, is the sexuality counselor at CancerCare Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Anne loves to write and is the author of six books on cancer and sexuality, all of them published by ONS. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Manitoba and spends one day a week teaching and thriving in the academic community. But her first love is patient care, and every day she is grateful that patients and their partners put their trust in her and share their most private concerns with her.