Gina Paglucia was a caregiver for her husband, who passed away in 2012, nine months after being diagnosed with stage IV bile duct cancer. “Know you are not alone,” she says.
“A caregiver and a patient are a team, like a coach and a quarterback,” says caregiver Deb Osborne. “You do a lot of work strategizing together beforehand, and then as the coach you send your quarterback into the action.
Empathizing with a cancer patient can be difficult. After all, many people haven’t had the experience of being diagnosed with cancer themselves, so knowing what to say when a loved one tells you about their illness can be tricky. “When someone you love is dealing with something like cancer, there’s a feeling of helplessness,” explains … Continued
Dany Hilaire, PhD, RN, will never forget the day she decided to become a nurse. It was one of the saddest of her life. Her father had just died, and his nurses now turned their attention to Hilaire, her mother, and her siblings. “I remember one of them giving me the tightest hug and telling … Continued
If you are taking care of a loved one with cancer, you are considered a “caregiver.” You may be responsible for navigating your loved one’s medical appointments, taking on increased responsibilities at home, and providing emotional support, all while maintaining your previous responsibilities. This can be a lot to manage, and caregivers often neglect their … Continued
By Deb Osborne On that beautiful day in October, filled with all the excitement life has to offer, I didn’t realize how important those words would become. Caught up in the wonderment of our wedding day, the magnitude of those words did not resonate with me until seven years ago when my husband was diagnosed … Continued
When the Pfeifer family boarded a plane to Chicago in 2012, 996 paper cranes took flight with them. Nine-year-old Anna Pfeifer had learned a Japanese legend in school: whoever folds 1,000 origami cranes will be granted one wish. After learning that her grandfather had stage IV colon cancer, Anna set out to fold 1,000 cranes … Continued
Jennifer Polk anticipated a wave of emotions on her first day of breast cancer treatment, but never thought she’d have an urge to laugh – until a woman in polka-dotted pants and a whimsical headband approached her infusion chair. A smile crossed Polk’s face, and broadened as her visitor broke into a serenade of “You … Continued
By Bob Ferris I thought I could handle things myself when my wife, Ruth, got cancer – and for a while I did. Six years ago, at age 52, Ruth was diagnosed with stage III ovarian cancer. She has a family history of ovarian and endometrial cancers, and was always good about getting regular screenings, … Continued
By Kaitlin Phelan For eight weeks, Kaitlin Phelan was one of three Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing students who learned about oncology nursing from the inside – observing clinicians at work, talking to care team members about their jobs and careers, and studying a particular area of interest. Phelan, a graduate of … Continued
Leaving the hospital is an important milestone for stem cell transplant patients, because it marks the first return home after what can often be an extended recovery. But this homecoming also requires a bit of advance preparation. That’s because stem cell transplants destroy and rebuild the immune system, leaving patients immunocompromised and thus more vulnerable … Continued
By Patrick Steele Elaine needs a caregiver? That’s outrageous. She is a very independent and courageous woman. But as her husband and partner, I had to step into this role when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. When Elaine and I first met in 2005, we stayed up late, telling stories. She showed me the … Continued
For kindergartners through teenagers, it’s back-to-school time. And while this annual rite of passage is often met with groans, for children undergoing cancer treatment, this can be a welcome change – provided you properly prepare. “School serves as a normalizing experience for kids with cancer, because it’s what their peer group is doing,” says Lisa … Continued
This post originally appeared on WBUR’s Cognoscenti blog. By Joanne Wolfe, MD, MPH How is it that, in this day and age, a talented teenager treated for lymphoma emerges cured but with a life-threatening eating disorder? How is it that, in our nation’s capital, a boy dying at home from neuroblastoma experiences excruciating pain in his final moments? … Continued
The holidays are a time for celebrating with family and friends, but the season can bring challenges for cancer patients and those who have recently completed treatment. The stresses of cancer may leave them feeling out of touch or overburdened with traditional holiday responsibilities. If someone you know is in, or has recently completed, treatment … Continued
Cancer does not have to be a solo journey. Every diagnosis involves doctors, nurses, family members and friends. Sometimes, support from these people can give that extra push to get you through a chemo infusion, or another radiation treatment. We recently asked our Facebook followers about the best support they’ve received as a patient, or … Continued
By Julia Pettengill Our daughter Sophie was diagnosed with leukemia at age 2½, and received two years of care at Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. While I felt tremendous joy and relief when she completed treatment, I also found the experience traumatic.
In June 2001, my wife, Angela Palmer, was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer while we were living in Tucson, Arizona. This was a huge shock. She had annual mammograms and never had any indications of disease. She had a lumpectomy and completed about 50 percent of her chemotherapy protocol before we moved to the … Continued
By Jim Donovan In 2002 my good friend died of cancer. He and I were at MIT together as undergraduates, where we shared a lot of great memories and developed a long-lasting friendship. Like most of us who walk with a loved one through a life-threatening disease, I experienced feelings of anger, sadness, and fear. … Continued
When a friend is diagnosed with cancer, your first reaction may be, “How can I help?” However, answering that question may be difficult. Some friends may be public about their health, and about what they need, while others may be more private.