Issue Introductions

The Healing Power of Optimism

Hello everyone and welcome to our February 2016 issue! It has a lot of information that will aid you in preparing for life as a cancer survivor. Here are some of the highlights.
February 2016 Vol 2 No 1
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, ONN-CG
26-year cancer survivor
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer; Director, Cancer Survivorship Programs at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

Hello everyone and welcome to our February 2016 issue! It has a lot of information that will aid you in preparing for life as a cancer survivor. Here are some of the highlights.

As a 24-year cancer survivor myself, I rely on humor to get me through challenging times. Read about the play on words in one of the patient stories and see if you can come up with your own funny moments to share with others who need a lift.

The Internet can be a blessing and a curse. Choose wisely when selecting the online resources you want to rely on for information you need or for support. Don’t try to go through treatment or launch into survivorship care after treatment alone. There are many helpful resources available to you, which we share with you in this issue.

When you were diagnosed with cancer, likely the last thing on your mind was whom you might inspire one day in dealing with your disease. However, every one of us who has been diagnosed with cancer can inspire someone else, by showing that there is life after cancer, or that we can choose how we want to approach our death.

There are times, however, that poor communication may result in someone’s death occurring as an unexpected event. One day your husband and you are planning a vacation and days later you are gone. This particular story, written by a (husband) caregiver is a good example of the need for effective communication with the care team and for being optimistic for as long as it is realistic, constantly getting and giving updates on a patient’s health status. Death should never be a surprise.

Did you know that exercise is something you can do for yourself to prevent cancer from happening or recurring? Often, patients look back and try to figure out what they did that caused their cancer. Although some causes are known, we can’t change our past. So why try? Instead, move forward, embracing healthy ways to lower your risk. Exercise is one of those activities: walking 10 minutes daily is a great way to start! And treatment-related fatigue can also be reversed by walking as an exercise.

Are you an Eeyore or a Tigger, or something in between? It’s best to be a Tigger. There is healing power in optimism, as long as it is couched with realism. I wouldn’t want you believing that your cancer will just go magically away without treatment. That isn’t being realistic. Identify good things that happen as a result of being diagnosed with cancer (making up with your sister after 4 years), and take advantage of this life-altering experience: value each day now and enjoy every moment of your life! Hey, I think I see Tigger coming!

Financial toxicity is a new medical term defined as a major side effect from cancer treatment. The cost of drugs, hospitalization, and outpatient care is high. Doctors are not equipped to provide information about the cost of tests or medicines, but you have the right to know before you receive any treatment. So talk with your navigator about the cost of your treatment options. Many financial resources are available through drug companies and advocacy organizations, so take advantage of them.

So sit down, sip on a cup of tea, and start reading! This magazine comes to you via your oncology navigator. So thank her or him for undertaking that important role. This magazine is one more way your navigator is providing you education and support!

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Last modified: October 5, 2017

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