Who Will Help Cancer Survivors Stay Healthy When Treatment is Over?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD is president and founder of the non-profit organization Center for Advancing Health. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life threatening illnesses — informs her perspective as an author, advocate, and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Forum blog. Her most recent book, AfterShock, helps patients navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. You can follow her on Twitter at @JessieGruman. 

It is completely understandable if you associate the term “cancer survivor” with an image of glamorous, defiant Gloria Gaynor claiming that She. Will. Survive. Or maybe with a courageous Lance Armstrong in his quest to reclaim the Tour de France. Or perhaps it is linked for you with heroic rhetoric and pink-related racing, walking and shopping.

I never call myself a survivor because when I hear this term, I recall my experience following each of four cancer-related diagnoses. It has not been triumphant. It’s been terrifying and grueling. It hasn’t taken courage to get through the treatment. It’s taken doing the best I can. I am not still here because I am defiant. I am here because I am lucky, because I am [...] continue the story

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July 6, 2011

The Cancer Talk – Fran Drescher

They gave you the sex talk…

Now it’s time for you to give them The Cancer Talk. It’s so important for you to talk to your parents about where the cancer exists in your family, because it keeps you in the know about what’s normal and what’s not!

About How To Be Sick

I’m the author of “How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers” (Wisdom Publications 2010). The book has over two dozen tools and practices to help people live well with chronic pain or illness. It’s Buddhist-inspired but is non-parochial: the practices in it will work for anyone. The theme of the book is that even though our bodies are sick or in pain, we can learn to live peacefully and even joyfully. For reviews and other information, including where you can order the book, please go to http://www.howtobesick.com Thanks for watching the video! Toni Bernhard

December 17, 2010

How to ask for help when chronic pain or illness strikes

By, Toni Bernhard, JD September 2011

How many times have you said to a friend or relative in need, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” and when you didn’t hear back, fail to follow-up? I’ve lost count of the number of times I did just that—fail to follow-up when I didn’t hear back from someone in need, even though I would have been happy to help in any way I could.

Yet, despite this pattern in my own behavior, when I became chronically ill and didn’t get back to people who offered to help, I decided that, because they failed to follow-up, their offers weren’t sincere.

I learned otherwise quite by chance. A friend came to visit and showed me an exquisite handmade dress she’d just bought for her granddaughter at a local boutique. When I told her how much I loved it, she asked if I’d like to get one for my granddaughter. I said “sure,” and before I could get “but I’m not able to go shopping” out of my mouth, she was out the door.

She returned shortly with the dress in two sizes for me to choose from. I picked one, wrote her a check and, [...] continue the story