Your Friend has Cancer? Take Care of Yourself!

This entry is part 27 in the series Friends

woman praisingThis is probably the most crucial of all the tips. Take care of yourself!

Your friend needs you, and she needs you healthy. Chances are her immunity is low, at least part of the time, so if you do feel a cold coming on, wear a mask and see that there are more available for other visitors to put on.

When she is first diagnosed, you may well feel overwhelmed. There is a danger that you will over-commit yourself to being there for her. This could well be a long-term project, so when you make your plans, leave some time for yourself. See to it that you eat well, drink plenty fluids, and continue to take care of your routine commitments . . . such as that annual mammogram!

My Friend’s a Christian, but She’s Afraid

This entry is part 13 in the series Friends

Roller coaster2


Fear is another part of the emotional roller-coaster of cancer. 

The words, “You have cancer” are some of the most terrifying words you can ever hear. I can’t say it enough. “The reaction of fear is normal.”

If you have a friend who is a strong Christian, yet she is afraid, that does not mean there is something wrong with her faith or belief system. She is not a coward. The emotion of fear is a normal part of the cancer roller coaster ride. There is plenty to be afraid of.

Your friend may be afraid of: read more

Are You Fighting Depression?

This entry is part 2 in the series Roller-Coaster

Afternon Slump borderSadness, grief, or even depression is an inevitable part of your cancer roller coaster.

Even when you seem to be doing well, there is always a sense of loss which may even become a deep sadness. Even if you are set to make a full recovery, you have lost a part of yourself that you didn’t ever think would die.

read more

Only a Hair Away

Pink wigHow can I prepare to lose my hair?

The loss of hair causes a loss of insulation to the scalp. This can make you feel cold even on the warmest of days. Here then are some tips on how to prepare physically:

Collect a selection of hats, caps, turbans or even several wigs before you start treatment. Wigs tend to be scratchy, so have other options available.

Get one or more turbans. These are especially useful to wear at night. It keeps your scalp warm, and will also collect any hair that comes out while you’re sleeping. I wore one every night until I knew for sure my hair was there to stay. read more

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

HairwashSome frequently asked questions about hair loss.

One of the most dreaded side-effects of chemotherapy, especially for a woman, is surely hair loss. Some take it in their stride, but for most this is a looming crisis that they don’t know how to cope with. We women are vain creatures, and our hair is normally a part of our femininity. 

Why Does Chemotherapy Cause Hair Loss? 
To answer this, we need to understand chemotherapy. The cytotoxic drugs we take are exactly that: they are cyto (cell) toxic) poisonous. They are designed to kill off rapidly growing cells. Cancer cells grow rapidly–so chemo destroys them. The problem is our white blood cells, and to a lesser degree, our red blood cells, also grow fast–hence many of the other side effects we often experience. Other rapidly-growing cells include those in our hair follicles. So the chemo destroys them—and our hair falls out. read more

Enjoying the Break

Chemotherapy_with_acral_coolingWhat should I do between chemotherapy treatments?

There are certain criteria to meet if you are going to benefit the most from your break, be it in between chemotherapy treatments, episodes of a recurring illness, stress, emotional upheaval, or even something as innocent as looking after the grandkids every afternoon. We need to make the best possible use of the time we have available. Next time the situation occurs, we will be in a better condition to handle it, and probably recover quicker too. read more

Depression is Not a Dirty Word by Dawn Stratton

This entry is part 3 in the series Roller-Coaster

Dawn StrattonLots of People Living With Cancer Experience Depression.

If you’ve experienced depression during cancer treatment, you’re not alone. Up to 25 % of cancer patients/survivors experience a major depression, with a much greater percentage experiencing lower levels of depression.

Why Is It So Hard to Talk About? One of the reasons depression is difficult to talk about because of the stigma. We have been trained to think that if someone has depression, there is something wrong with them…that they are weak or too sensitive, or somehow incapable. So no one really talks about it, and then when we do, it’s like we’re admitting to a deep, dark, yucky secret about ourselves. read more

When Anxiety Goes Too Far

This entry is part 10 in the series Roller-Coaster

NervousAnxiety is a natural side effect to fear.

Proverbs 12:25 says “an anxious heart weighs a man down.” And that surely sums up the effect of anxiety. Anxiety causes all sorts of unpleasant reactions within our bodies. If these are allowed to take hold, it can disrupt our lives and even become incapacitating. Anxiety is another part of the cancer rollercoaster. If you are on that ride, you’re bound to experience anxiety at times. Anxiety about: read more

I Feel So Lonely

This entry is part 9 in the series Roller-Coaster

Friends 3Loneliness is one of the less recognised experiences of cancer, and yet there are a number of reasons why it is part of the roller coaster ride. Ridiculous though it may appear to be, cancer carries a stigma, and thus threatens our relationships.

When I was going through my treatment for cancer, I often felt ostracised and cut off from people who had formerly been supportive. Many times I felt their pity, and that in itself drove me to back away from their company. Others that used to visit, stayed away. Some even avoided speaking to me on the phone, when I craved the sound of a human voice. read more

How Can I Cope with this Fear?

This entry is part 4 in the series Roller-Coaster

roller_coaster 3In the previous article, we saw how fear is normal and inevitable. However it can also paralyze the person and prevent him or her from moving forward. How can we help someone when they are gripped with fear on the emotional roller coaster of cancer? Here are some ideas: read more