Books for Cancer Patients

There are many books on the market with resources for cancer patients.  One of the most recent ones that has been getting excellent reviews is Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by David Servan-Schreiber.  Dr. Servan-Schreiber has experienced cancer as a doctor, and on a personal level, not once, but twice.  Well-researched, easy to read, and wise, it gives a starting point from which to recover wholeness.

Gaining wholeness and reclaiming health after cancer is a journey of many small steps.  It is learning what works for you, reading different books for cancer patients, and finding a balance of what is possible for you.  This book is also available as a DVD for those who like to get their information in audio format.

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Inspirational Tote Bag

Having a handy tote bag, especially one with an inspirational poem, is a necessity for carrying around essentials that don’t neatly fit into a purse.  This is particularly true going through cancer treatment as you spend a lot of time waiting.  Having on hand a water bottle, book, journal, extra sweater, DVD, etc., helps fill in the time and ease stress.

Inspirational poems can often lift our spirits and give us new perspectives.  They are short and easy to read and remember.  Also they are often written by those who have gone through similar experiences and share what touches their soul.  Carry inspiration with you.

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Easy Exercise for Lymphedema

When going through surgery for breast cancer, lymph nodes under the arm are often removed.  This removal will forever impede the flow of lymph fluid in this area as lymph nodes do not grow back.

Exercise for lymphedema risk reduction is important.  The following simple exercises, when done prior to strenuous physical activity, open the lymphatic drains and allow for proper lymph drainage; thereby greatly reducing the risk of lymphedema.

1. Blow bubbles – just like when you were a kid – facilitates deep belly breathing.

2. Head – move forward and back (not past center), tilt to the side, turn right and left, and modified head rolls (just a big smile on your chest – no taking the head back of center).

3. Shoulders – up and down, shoulder rolls

4. Arm circles – across the body (both ways) and at your side (frontwards and backwards).

All the above exercises are much more fun done with music.  Make sure you do them slowly and smoothly.

Have fun – get moving – exercise is highly recommended for cancer recovery.

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What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a condition that results in swelling in one of your arms or legs. And while this swelling is typically confined to just one extremity, it is possible for both arms or legs to become inflamed (see picture). The condition is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, which is a critical component of both the immune and circulatory systems. When there is an obstruction in the lymphatic system, fluid builds up, resulting in swelling.

Unfortunately there is no cure for lymphedema, but there are several steps you can take to diminish the affects of the condition. Exercise is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments, as it promotes the movement of fluid through the lymphatic system. Wrapping your arm or leg and getting a massage also promote fluid movement.  Of course, the best line of action is to combine several lymphedema therapies, which will produce the greatest results.

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Water Time – It’s Summer – Be Replenished

With summer upon us, it is more important than ever to have plenty of water.  Our bodies are quickly depleted of moisture due to sweating, exertion, hot weather, hot flashes, and exercise.  Like plants, we wilt without being “watered”.  And, water is the drink of choice rather than drinks such as sodas, juice, tea, coffee, etc.

The container you use for the water is equally important.  Much has been said about the dangers of leaching of chemicals from plastic containers, especially when put in the freezer and then thawed.  Another issue is the quality of bottled water.  It pays to do your research.

Having a quality stainless steel water bottle which you can fill up with filtered water, whether from home or other known source, is a much better option.  Not only that, some of these water bottles are very “cool”.  Try one with an inspirational poem on it – a constant reminder of something positive.  Whatever you choose, be smart, be safe, and be healthy.

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After the Mastectomy – What to Wear?

Nowadays, women are sent home from the hospital very soon after their operation.  This entails having the drains still in place as well as bandages.   So how do you manage the drains, etc.?  It can be very cumbersome, not to mention awkward socially if you are feeling well enough to be out and about.

There are several options now available.  With a mastectomy camisole, you will find a convenient and discreet system for your drains, room for the bandages, plus the ability to use the mastectomy camisole after the drains are removed.  They come with breast forms, soft fabric which is important around the surgery site, and styles to make them easy to put on when range of motion is an issue.

You can forgo the functional T-shirt look along with the safety pin fix for a more comfortable, fashionable, compact choice.   Just looking “normal” will make you feel better.

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Adding Inspiration to the Cancer Journey

When a cancer diagnosis hits you, “stunned” will be your first reaction.  That’s why it’s best to have someone with you at that appointment – they will hear what you will tune out after the word “cancer” is mentioned.  After that, people go into different modes.

One mode is read and research – learn as much as you can to gain some measure of understanding and control in a time of high stress.  There are many books for cancer patients available which will be helpful in the days ahead, books that will give you inspiration and information for healing.  The journey you have started will shift your life.  You will never view things the same way again.

It seems strange to say this, but cancer may be the “gift of a wakeup call”.  A time to stop and evaluate, to recognize that life is not forever.  Things happen.  Each day is precious and what we value most becomes very clear. 

Getting insight into how others manage this journey gives comfort and a sense that you are not alone in your feelings, fear, and struggle.

Carry books with you to read when you wait for doctors.  Listen to CD’s or DVD’s while going through chemo or just resting.  You can fit inspiration into your life seamlessly at a time when fatigue might make it seem impossible.

There is a new life waiting for you beyond this moment.  Embrace it and move forward.

With much love and support

Barbara

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Finding the Right Words

We’ve all heard the old adage that actions speak louder than words, but in some circumstances, a caring word is just what a person needs. In times when emotional distress is at its greatest, a comforting word is often the only thing that can bring a person any solace. When someone close to me is struggling emotionally, I often find it difficult to say the right thing. But I obviously don’t want to ignore the person entirely.

In these situations, I typically turn to inspirational poems. No matter what the person is going through, you will indubitably be able to find a poem that resounds with their current state of mind. And while poems certainly can’t remedy the root of the problem, they can help people develop a more optimistic outlook of the situation

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Healing Gemstones Add Flair Plus Function During Cancer

Healing Necklace

Much has been said about healing energy and how it is used in several complementary therapies.   Think about Reiki, Healing Touch, Acupuncture, BodyTalk, etc.   Not everyone is aware that gemstones have healing components.  Some people carry these healing gemstones and/or crystals in a pouch.  Others wear them in fashion jewellery to not only make a statement, but also to derive the benefit from the gems themselves.

Gems that are noted for healing are agate, garnet, jasper (red), peridot, and turquoise.  Look for combinations of gems that will create whatever you need in your life at the moment.

It could be energy as we all know that fatigue is one of the side effects of cancer treatment.  Other options are deflecting negative energy, opening blockages, hightening spirituality, creating calmness and peace.  It is fun learning about the different attributes of these beautiful gems.  Plus who wouldn’t feel great wearing healing gemstones that are absolutely stunning.  What a conversation piece!

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Mastectomy Camisoles for Fashion

Who would have thought wearing mastectomy camisoles and bras could be stylish and fashionable.  This is probably one of the reasons a lot of women opt for breast reconstruction – to be able to wear clothes without the consideration of their new image.  But, breast reconstruction isn’t for everyone.  Those who have had a mastectomy can still find comfort and style in a variety of mastectomy garments available.

Some are meant to wear under clothes, such as the bras and some of the camisoles.  However, there are camisoles that can also be worn in place of a bra, look stylish and presentable with or without a covering top, and in the summer, this is a bonus.  When it gets hot and humid outside, wearing less is cooler.  Thank heavens for options.

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