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Tag Archives: caregiver

CKN Welcomes Pat Taylor, new Caregiver Section Editor

Pat Taylor is a producer, writer, director, performer and educator whose credits include documentary films, television specials, plays, musicals, short stories, music videos and major tourist attractions. She is also a mother and parent advocate for young adult cancer patients, and the founder of Chasing Rainbows Young Adult Cancer Advocacy, an initiative dedicated to discovering and distributing multi-media support materials for young adults with cancer, and facilitating young adult voices in the cancer community. Pat has produced two documentary films, Sara’s Story and Chasing Rainbows: Young Adults Living With Cancer (both of which feature young adults ages 19 to 29 “living life while fighting for it!”), and has researched and helped to promote many other film resources produced by and for young adults with cancer.

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Cancer: A Family Affair

meganoatesby Megan Oates

I heard the office door shut quietly as I walked the hallways to the elevator. I stared blankly at the door; I couldn’t hear my thoughts over the low hum of the elevator as it made its way to the ground floor. I left the doctor’s office building with black tears and smudged mascara all over my cheeks. I wanted to run. Maybe if I ran, I would wake up from this awful dream; but my legs were wobbly and my temples throbbed from crying.

We climbed into the car in silence and drove away. We stopped at a red light and my father passed my mother a few tissues; I could almost hear her tears falling as I swam in my own. I remember the only words spoken in the vehicle that day, “Are you going to be alright?”

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Caregiver Support: Ten tips to get started

by Karen Irwin, Project Coordinator

As a caregiver, it is important to remember:  it is not selfish to look after yourself.  In fact, it is vital that you do.  Caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do as a caregiver.  Taking care of your loved one during cancer treatment can be overwhelming and exhausting; try to treat it like a marathon, not a sprint.  Learning to pace yourself, look after yourself and accept help from your support system will help you in the long run.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. Identify your support system.  You may find it helpful to join a support group in your community or online.  Talking to other caregivers may give you a sense that you’re not alone.  Accept support from your friends and family.
  2. Gather information.  Your loved one’s health care team can provide you with pertinent information related to their disease which can help you accommodate their needs.  You can also access information from the internet or support groups.
  3. New routines.  As a caregiver, your daily activities will change.  You will have added daily chores and appointments, and you may be asked to help with decision-making and information-gathering for your loved one.  Remember this is a temporary change.  Try to balance your own schedule with your loved one’s needs.
  4. Rejuvenate.  Try to take time for yourself.  Relax.  As a caregiver, it is easy to become overwhelmed, depressed or burned out.  When you start to feel this way, try to recharge physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  5. Maintain relationships.  Remember, cancer survivorship is a marathon.  On stressful days, you’ll need to call on your close friends and family for support.  As a caregiver, it’s important to lead your own life and maintain your personal relationships for your own well-being.
  6. Future plans.  One of the biggest challenges to caregiving is “uncertainty” about the future.  Try to plan activities on days when your loved one is well, it gives you both something to look forward to and will lift your spirits.  Also, it is important to make sure your and your loved one’s legal paperwork is in order.
  7. Accept help.  Many of your friends and family may want to help you, but they may not know how.  Try to identify ways you could use help so you’re ready when they ask.  Remember:  it’s ok to accept help.
  8. Maintain YOUR health.  Go for check-ups, screening, get proper sleep, maintain a balanced diet and physical activity regime.  Looking after your own health will ensure you’re able to continue looking after your loved one.
  9. Stress management.  Explore techniques that help you relieve stress, such as music, art, meditation, prayer, guided imagery.
  10. Know your limits.  When you start to feel overwhelmed, try to remember you are only one person, you can only do so much.  Know your limits and ask for help when you’ve reached them.


Do you have anything to add?  Please leave me your comments!


Community Based Organizations are critical partners in providing complete cancer care



Byline: Dr. Rob Rutledge is a full-time radiation oncologist and associate professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is co-founder of ‘Healing and Cancer’ a charitable organization dedicated to empowering people affected by cancer and has facilitated over twenty weekend cancer retreats across Canada. Lynne Robinson, PhD, is an associate professor in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dalhousie University and a specialist in health promotion. In the last decade, Canada has witnessed the successful development of dozens of organizations dedicated in part or wholly to fulfilling the psychosocial needs of people affected by cancer. These Community Based Organizations (CBOs) were created to fill the perceived gap in whole-person care currently not filled by the medical system. The purpose of this article is to overview how the CBOs currently contribute to complete cancer care and to outline a vision of how a true partnership between the CBOs and the medical system could better serve the growing number of cancer survivors.

Read the entire journal article here.





The Cancer Patient’s Friend

by J. Bick

The day my friend called me to say that she was discontinuing chemotherapy, I was angry and disillusioned. My first comment was “You can’t! The longer they can keep you alive, the better chance you have of surviving. There are new drugs every day.”


Continue reading the entire paper here.





What’s Worth Living For? by Frederic Messier

Afterword by Jonathan Klein, MD

Frederic Messier does a masterful job conveying, in only a few short paragraphs, the transition in outlook his wife, Weifun, and he experienced upon learning of her unfortunate diagnosis of cancer.  A life once primarily focused on long-term goals and big-picture thoughts abruptly became, in Fred’s words, “smaller”.  Every day presented opportunities to maximize the purpose and meaning of individual, small gestures.  But Fred ably explains that though the focus may have become smaller, it certainly was no less important.

During the ordeal of Weifun’s diagnosis and treatment, it seems that she and Fred learned the value of each step of their journey.  And Fred explains that the lessons he learned during this time have stayed with him ever since – to strive to appreciate everything in life from the most mundane task to unique accomplishments.  Fred also challenges us to think hard about what is important in our lives and how we can focus on those issues that make each person’s life worth living.

When reading Fred’s thoughts, I found myself wondering about the undescribed period of time when Weifun and Fred developed the ideas, goals, and aspirations that Fred presents in his piece.  Fred describes their outlook on life changing quickly, but it must have seemed like an eternity.  I am heartened by Fred’s description of Weifun’s ability to lead by example in appreciating the daily affect she had on those around her.  I am inspired by their ability to create purpose and meaning in their lives.
Read the post by Frederic Messier