Sur­viv­ing and thriv­ing

C.A.R.E. - - Cancer -

The words, “I’m a sur­vivor” make a strong state­ment, and they mean dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. Sur­vivors can be those who have com­pleted treat­ment, who are cur­rently can­cer-free or who have been di­ag­nosed with can­cer and are work­ing through it. The most im­por­tant as­pect of sur­viv­ing is do­ing your best to thrive re­gard­less of where you are in the jour­ney.

Cre­at­ing your per­sonal Sur­vivor­ship Care Plan

The In­sti­tute of Medicine sug­gests work­ing with your med­i­cal team to cre­ate a per­sonal care plan once you’ve com­pleted can­cer treat­ment. The plan should sum­ma­rize such things as:

Po­ten­tial late side ef­fects, their symptoms and treat­ment

Rec­om­men­da­tions for regular can­cer screen­ing and fol­low-up care

Com­mon psy­cho­log­i­cal and so­cial ef­fects

Fi­nan­cial is­sues

Rec­om­men­da­tions for a healthy life­style

Ge­netic coun­sel­ing

Ef­fec­tive pre­ven­tion op­tions

A list of sup­port re­sources

You can start de­vel­op­ing this per­sonal Sur­vivor­ship Care Plan with the guide­lines at www.live­strong­care­plan.org

“I love my life. I’ll fight for it.”  MICHAEL KIERST

Re­sources for life af­ter can­cer

A pan­cre­atic can­cer di­ag­no­sis, Valen­tine’s Day, 2014, was un­wel­come news af­ter feel­ing sick for a few days. Those days had been spent ski­ing at Taos Ski Val­ley. Early di­ag­no­sis proved to make the dif­fer­ence in my jour­ney. Health pro­fes­sion­als (at CHRIS­TUS St. Vin­cent) in New Mex­ico saved my life. Treat­ment in­cluded surgery and 6 months of treat­ment. By hang­ing tough, tak­ing one day at a time and trust­ing doc­tors and care­givers, it is pos­si­ble to get through to a bet­ter day. Therewere many trips to Santa Fe from Taos, where the CFFNM’s emo­tional and fi­nan­cial sup­port was help­ful. A year later, I am can­cer free. My fu­ture in­cludes many more tests and mon­i­tor­ing. Life is good and not to be taken for granted. I am pre­pared to do what­ever it takes to con­tinue to live. The gift of life is the most beau­ti­ful gift of all. Re­cently, I am back onmy moun­tain bike. Ev­ery pedal stroke makes me more con­fi­dent that I can­make it to the top of the moun­tain one day. Be­ing di­ag­nosed with can­cer and know­ing I am fight­ing my way back to a nor­mal life, makes get­ting to the moun­tain top so much more grat­i­fy­ing.”

 MICHAEL KIERST, CAN­CER SUR­VIVOR

Can­cer Ser­vices of New Mex­ico

Cen­tral United Methodist Church, 201 Uni­ver­sity Blvd. NE, Al­bu­querque, 87106 Fourth An­nual Long-Term Ef­fects of Can­cer Sur­vivor­ship Con­fer­ence Break­out ses­sions on Fa­tigue/Sleep Is­sues, Lym­phedema, Cre­ative Move­ment/Vis­ual Art In­ter­ac­tive, End of Life Plan­ning and Sup­port March 28, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Con­tact Pa­tri­cia Torn, 505-307-3414, ptorn@com­cast.com

Can­cer Sup­port Now Helpline 505-255-0405 or 855-955-3500 Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety 800-227-2345

If can­cer comes back (re­cur­rent can­cers)

You are al­ways en­ti­tled to get a sec­ond opin­ion You may par­tic­i­pate in a clin­i­cal trial Your doc­tor might call for more treat­ment, re­peat­ing the same treat­ments you had be­fore or call­ing for new treat­ments

Cop­ing with re­cur­rent can­cer

It is nat­u­ral to feel fear­ful, an­gry or hope­less if your can­cer comes back. Talk to your loved ones about your feel­ings, talk to your med­i­cal team about op­tions and fo­cus on thriv­ing:

Make con­scious choices about how you spend your time and whom you spend it with. Cre­ate more spe­cial time with ones love. Take classes in things you’ve al­ways wanted to. Start an or­ga­ni­za­tion, or cre­ate the tools to make a mean­ing­ful ca­reer change if you want. Doc­u­ment your ex­pe­ri­ence and lessons us­ing writ­ing, art, pho­tos or any cre­ative out­let.

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