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Tag Archives: cancer caregiving

How My Mom’s Breast Cancer Taught Me the Beauty of Being a Caregiver  

by Kristen Heller, Caregiver


It was May 11th – my 15th birthday. My brother and I were outside enjoying the warm day, the smell of fresh cut grass and the faint scent of honeysuckle floating through the air. Suddenly my mom’s voice rang out harshly, calling us to come into the house. She sounded upset, so we ran to the house wondering what we’d done to get in trouble.


When we got in the house, our parents looked grim. They told us to sit down – they had something difficult to tell us. My mom had breast cancer, an aggressive, fast growing type of breast cancer. I was in shock. My mom was only 35 years old and she had cancer.


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An Interview with Dr. Scott Borinstein: Helpful Hints for Better Communication Between Caregiver and Oncologist

by Pat Taylor, CKN Caregiving Section Editor


I first met Dr. Scott Borinstein, a young, dynamic and engaging oncologist, at Critical Mass (the Young Adult Cancer Alliance’s annual conference) in Denver last November.  During a conversation between dart games, I began to share with him the loss of my daughter, Sara, to a sarcoma (his specialty). As we talked, I realized that I had a lot of questions about the relationship of the oncologist with his/her patients and their caregivers. Scott was open, authentic and keen to chat. It was clear to me that other caregivers could benefit from his answers. So I set up a phone interview with him, to have a more in-depth conversation that could be publicly posted on CKN. He graciously agreed.

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Caregivers and the Ultimate ‘What If’

Disagreementby Jonathan Agin, Editor Childhood Cancer Advocacy and Awareness


Life presents many difficult challenges throughout the course of the years that unfold before us.  Perhaps that is the ultimate understatement.  Simply working, maintaining a household, keeping a marriage alive and raising kids present what becomes a daily and life-long challenge.  When you then insert the wrinkle of trying to parent a child with cancer, along with maintaining all of the above, you test a caregiver’s every fiber and being.  And so it went that in April 2008 my wife and I were brought to the brink of our existence when we heard those four devastating words: “your child has cancer.”  What made the situation worse were the words that followed in the next sentence informing us that our then twenty-seven month old daughter Alexis, diagnosed with DIPG an inoperable brain tumor, was terminal.  My wife and I were told that even with current treatment options, Alexis would survive nine to twelve months, maybe a little more.


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The Gift of Art and Healing

Standing, Mattson and Jackie Ogg Seated: Brendan and Clay Ogg 2009

Standing, Mattson and Jackie Ogg
Seated: Brendan and Clay Ogg 2009


A Leaf of Knowledge, by Brendan Ogg

I don’t know
what the doctor means by “mostly”
within the radiation field
I don’t know
for how long I will need this cane
I don’t know
what the scan will look like one month,
four months,
four years from now.

All I know is the air that I breathe in this instant–
spring’s sweet whisper—
into my lungs,
my friend at my side,
his broad hand between my shoulder-blades,
the living God,
the love of my friends and family,
and the warm skin of her knee,
onto which I lay my cheek, to sleep.

Published by Finishing Line Press, 2010


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JimiBrockettby Jimi Brockett, Bereaved Parent, Cancer Advocate

Fear can stop you from doing everything. It will stop you from crossing a bridge, jumping off a diving board, riding a rollercoaster, starting a business and now I’ve found out, it will even stop you from ‘healing’.

Without going through something like this it’s really hard to explain what it’s like. It’s such a rollercoaster ride of emotions from the extreme highs to low lows that I never thought were even possible. There are questions with no answers and some answers that don’t even have questions.

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So Now After All These Years I’m a New York Ranger Fan


Jake, Chase and Rod Gilbert

by William Penzer, Ph.D.


Much as I was into sports as a kid growing up in the Bronx, New York, I was never into hockey. To me it seemed like a silly sport with people skating back and forth and forth and back with little scoring and too many tooth-destroying brawls. It reminded me of soccer on ice or roller derby on blades. Therefore, I never followed the Rangers, our New York team. The relevance of this will become evident shortly.

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