Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - 24

Anxiety Affects Everyone One of the biggest challenges of a cancer diagnosis-for all members of the family-is dealing with the unknown. That was the case for the Perriers. 24 W IN TER 2016 "From the day we got the diagnosis, there was still so much uncertainty. What was it? What was it going to mean? It was scary," Perrier says. "When you're newly diagnosed, not knowing the treatment plan or how things are going to change can be overwhelming. Everything gets disrupted," says Katie Binda, a Massachusetts-based licensed independent clinical social worker and therapist who specializes in coping with cancer. Binda recommends finding a mental health professional to talk to and stresses the importance of taking care of yourself-and that goes for everyone in the family. Gentle exercising such as yoga or walking, getting lots of sleep and managing stress with massage, meditation, mindfulness or other practices can help. Sharing your fears, anxieties and concerns with each other may also ease worry. Perrier found that her anxiety decreased once treatment started. Then she could focus on just getting through the next surgery, chemotherapy PHOTOS BY HERO IMAGES/GLOW IMAGES "I felt like I needed to run my house, but there were times when I didn't have enough energy for that. There were times when I couldn't even change a diaper," Perrier says. Feeling overwhelmed during such a trying time is typical. After a cancer diagnosis, "there are so many day-today changes from what life has always been like," says Rachel Cannady, strategic director of cancer caregiver support for the American Cancer Society. She notes that roles in the family often change with a cancer diagnosis. In Perrier's case, she had to rely on her husband, Bill, to take on some of the parenting and household responsibilities she had normally handled. But those role changes are just the start of dealing with cancer as a family; read on for what to expect. treatment or radiation session and not worry about what would come after that. Genevieve Stonebridge, a clinical counselor at InspireHealth, a nonprofit supportive cancer care center in Victoria, British Columbia, points out the importance of balance. "Make sure your life is not dedicated to cancer, and you have other things going on," she says. Anxiety can come at any point, and the end of treatment can be a particularly stressful time. "People rarely focus on what to do when treatment ends, but for most people that's when the emotional experience hits really hard," Binda says. Perrier agrees. "When I wasn't being monitored on a weekly basis and I didn't have appointments every week, I stopped having something to focus on. The hardest part was figuring out how to get back to a normal life when normal was no longer what I thought it should be," she says. Talking to a therapist or a counselor can be helpful at this stage.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center

Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - Gwinnett Medical Center - Contents
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