Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 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 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 2
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 4
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - 5
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Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Winter 2016 - University of Virginia - Cover4
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