Looking at Before and After Pictures

One of the hardest things while coping with this awful sickness is looking back at pictures from the time your parent did not have cancer and immediately noticing the changes that the disease has brought on. It’s hard seeing that transition of your own parent from a healthy and active person to a cancer-stricken patient.

When I look at recent pictures of my dad, I see the cancer in him. I see the wrinkles that came in the last two years; I see the defined cheek bones and sunken-in eyes due to the weight loss; I see the peeling hands and feet from the chemotherapy; I see the cancer. To protect myself from more pain, I try not to look at those.

It’s especially hard because if you lost your parent (or loved one) to cancer, your most recent and vivid memories are petrifying. You remember the weakness, the throwing up, the change of temper, and all the other chemotherapy affects. ¬†As difficult as it is, it is so important to remember your loved one in a healthy form. It’s going to be a struggle rewinding to a couple years ago, but it will be a healthier way of grieving (or dealing with this new change in your life). Always remember that cancer doesn’t define a person. Stay positive and spread smiles!

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Coping Strategy #7

Therapy!

Having a sick parent is tough. It’s also frustrating, sad, chaotic at times, depressing, scary and much more. It’s hard to cope with all of those feelings, while living a life. It’s also a challenge to keep those feelings separate from your school and social life.

I highly suggest talking to someone. It’s too unhealthy to keep all those negative feelings bottled up. Therapy is a great option to let it all out. Saying your feelings outloud to a specialist will help you feel better and more secure. I’m also sure that your parent’s oncologist knows of programs you can join or someone to talk to. You could also talk to your school counselor or any teacher. For that matter, you could talk to any adult that is willing to just listen! Talk to your friends if you don’t feel comfortable talking to an adult. Just talk to someone! You will feel better afterwards.

If your parent is in the hospital or under Hospice Care, they will have social workers for you! If they haven’t already reached out to you, give them a call and see what they can offer to you. Some insurances also cover a few free therapy sessions, so check that out as well.

Therapy can be time-consuming and challenging at times, but the outcome is worth it. Remember to do your research about the therapists near you if you plan on seeking that help! Stay positive!

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October which means it is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) was created in 1985 to not just raise funds for Breast Cancer research and those fighting it, but to spread awareness. Now, every October cancer organizations put on major events to raise money and spread awareness for this disease.

A few facts about Breast Cancer to raise awareness:

  • Cancer can potentially spread through tissue, blood, and the lymph system. Therefore, it is important to get a PET scan, CT scan, MRI, Ultrasound, or Lymph biopsy if a Mammogram shows a tumor.
  • For those who don’t know what a Mammogram is, it’s an X-Ray of the breast. Although it may have slight radiation, the importance of this screening outweighs the extremely minor effect.
  • Women of 40 years or older should start getting a Mammogram about once every 1-2 years. However, Breast Cancer can be genetic. If you are aware of any family history regarding this disease, health care providers strongly recommend getting the screening done before age 40.
  • Breast Cancer occurs in 1 in every 3,000 women who give birth, mostly in the ages between 32 and 38 years.
  • About 1% of Breast Cancer victims are males and usually between 60-70 years old. Males (like females) can be diagnosed with Breast Cancer at any age. Biopsies, Ultrasounds, MRIs, physical exams, and blood tests are usually the way males test for Breast Cancer.
  • Common treatments include: Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Hormone Therapy, and Target Therapy.

I think it is so important to be well educated on not just cancer, but all diseases. I hope this helps you in some way or form. Remember to stay positive and not just support Breast Cancer this month, but all types of cancer throughout the year!