Issue Introductions

Maintaining Hope and Balance During and After Cancer

December 2019 Vol 5 No 6
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Breast Cancer Survivor
Co-Founder, Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators® (AONN+)
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Oncology Navigation & Survivorship®
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer
Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Co-Developer, Work Stride: Managing Cancer at Work
Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

As in previous issues, this issue of CONQUER magazine brings to you a wealth of information, insights, and education about specific types of cancer, along with patient stories, and quite a few articles related to cancer survivorship. As we celebrate the holidays and the New Year, I want to focus in this brief introduction on the importance of maintaining hope, finding good moments among the bad times, and maintaining balance during and after cancer treatment.

Cancer can, if we let it, monopolize our lives completely, not allowing anything else really to be in our life, except for getting blood tests, scans, chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, biologic targeted therapy, immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, and other treatments. Your calendar can look as if you are booked forever, with little downtime in between.

But there are ways to create downtime, and you must. Wiggle in a holiday movie this month, and work with your navigator to bundle your appointments better, so instead of being at the cancer center 4 times a week, you will only be there once or at the most twice this month.

You had a life before cancer. You can still have a life during and after cancer.

There are several articles that focus on creating balance in your life and maintaining hope—always. Read the advice on how to keep cancer in its place, and not let it be the only thing happening in your life. One article is highlighting the value of giving back after a cancer diagnosis, because this life-altering experience changes how we look at life going forward, and if we are smart, it can often change it for the better, and give our lives a new purpose. There is also a timely article on New Year’s intentions.

I hope you get to spend time with family and friends, as well as some private time just for yourself, as we celebrate the holidays and welcome in the year 2020. Focus on becoming well or staying well, reducing stress in your life (massage anyone?), finding joy in the smallest of things (like watching a bird eating seeds on the ground that spilled from your feeder), and give serious thoughts to how cancer has reframed your life. It reframed mine more than 27 years ago.

Take care and be well.

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Last modified: March 12, 2020

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