December 21, 2017
Best of Cancerwise 2017: Advice from our patients and caregivers
BY Cynthia DeMarco
If you — or your child — were diagnosed with cancer, what would you do? How would you handle the treatments and the side effects? How would you keep your spirits up? These are just a few of the topics our patients and caregivers discussed on our Cancerwise blog this year.
Here's some of the best advice they shared in 2017:
On making treatment decisions
When 8-year-old Elise Robinson was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, she faced a tough choice: let doctors amputate her right leg above the knee, replace her diseased bone with an implant, or perform a mobility-preserving procedure called a “rotationplasty,” that would turn her right ankle into a functional knee joint. Read how Elise’s mother helped her make that decision.
On approaching cancer treatment with a sense of humor
Being treated for anal cancer provided Pam Patterson with many awkward and embarrassing moments to live through. But whether recovering from “accidents,” adjusting to unexpectedly intimate equipment, or enduring uncomfortable positions during treatment, she approached it all with laughter and levity. See how else Pam coped with her experience.
On finding meaning in life after a loved one’s diagnosis
When Audrie Luna’s father was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma in July 2015, she struggled to reconcile what she imagined her life would be like with what it actually was. But by creating new rituals to enjoy with her father, she learned to maintain a positive outlook. Here are other ways Audrie found meaning.
On managing the urge to ‘hurry’ after a cancer diagnosis
As celebrity chef Hans Rueffert learned when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, many patients feel a sense of urgency when they first arrive at MD Anderson. But slowing down helped him to savor life’s little surprises while deciding on the perfect treatment plan with his doctors. Learn what else Hans did to make his journey less stressful.
On distracting yourself during cancer treatment
Not every testicular cancer patient throws a party after being diagnosed, but that’s precisely what James Coulson Jr. did. Realizing he would lose his hair eventually due to chemotherapy, he “made a thing out of it” and invited friends and family over to help shave his head. See what else James did to distract himself.
On managing cancer treatment side effects
MD Anderson radiologist Chitra Viswanathan, M.D., learned firsthand about many of the side effects her patients experienced, after she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38. Find out what she did to manage side effects.
On supporting a child with cancer
When Brian Billeck’s son Damon was diagnosed with cancer at age 9, he quickly discovered that including the youngster in all the decision-making meetings gave his son peace of mind. See what else Brian did to support his son.
On making a stem cell transplant easier
While recovering from a stem cell transplant, multiple myeloma survivor Gary Rudman always found the nights to be the hardest. Staying connected to people through the internet was one strategy that helped him cope. Learn what else Gary did to combat his loneliness and isolation.
On maintaining caregivers’ quality of life
Singer Kimmie Rhodes had been married to legendary music producer Joe Gracey for 25 years when his esophageal cancer returned in 2008. She maintained the couple’s quality of life by planning activities around town — both solo and together — while her husband was receiving treatment here. Learn what else Kimmie did to maintain her quality of life.
On keeping a positive attitude
An acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis in February 2011 taught college student Jasmine Ross that not everything in life always goes according to plan. Finding something to be grateful for every day helped her maintain a positive attitude while undergoing treatment. Read more about what inspired Jasmine to keep going.
On living a worry-free life after cancer
As a survivor of both lung and breast cancers, Dian Snowden knows how to manage fear. One of the most effective strategies she’s found to prevent anxiety is “waiting to worry.” Find out what other tools worked well for Dian.
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
TopicsKidney Cancer Lung Cancer Leukemia Osteosarcoma Stomach Cancer Esophageal Cancer Anal Cancer Breast Cancer Testicular Cancer Multiple Myeloma
You don’t have to wait until the end of a race to enjoy running it.
James Coulson Jr.