Married, with cancer?
For couples who are facing cancer, there are often changes in relationship dynamics and the roles and responsibilities that each person has. Some may be for the better (as in changes towards better health for both of you) and some may feel like they are .... not so good.
Depending on treatment choices, the spouse with the diagnosis may face physical challenges, but are likely to experience a wide range of emotional challenges ....
Like, grieving the loss of "how things use to be."
Like, "Why is this happening?"
Like, "How is our relationship going to be effected for the long term?"
Let's not forget the caregiving spouse and the potential physical demands now required of them. Certainly, there are emotional traumas to deal with. Left unchecked, we have the perfect storm for an overwhelmed, misunderstood, tired, frustrated, aggravated couple.
I see newlyweds, new parents, seasoned parents, grandparents, retirees, and couples entering this new stage in their lives who are 'suddenly' overtaken by a cancer diagnosis.
For most people, it is shocking diagnosis and they weren't prepared for the road ahead. So many people have the, "it happens to everyone else, not me" mind frame.
-What treatment should I accept?
-Will I be able to work?
-Can we afford my therapies?
-What do I do about my nutrition, supplements, stress, bills, pain, concerns, personal care products, and all the other things buzzing around on the internet?
The heaviest wonder that couples are left thinking is, how can we get through this together, and still like one another?
Is it possible to come out on the other side even stronger and more connected?
Many couples have shared with me their challenges, thoughts, and resistances. We can't possibly expect our partners to understand what we are going through and unfortunately, the caregiver (a lot of times) becomes the sounding board (or proverbial whipping post) for the cancer patient. Who else do you express your devastations and utmost upsets with?
While there are a number of challenges that you and your partner are up against when dealing with a cancer diagnosis, many of them can be overcome with support programs designed specifically for the spouse (with cancer) as well as support programs for the caregiver as well. You both have very unique needs and they are all in need of being fulfilled.
Various therapies and integrations are a necessary part of cancer recovery, for both members of the relationship. With a few (or possibly many) new lifestyle techniques geared for each of you, a world of difference can be made.
It is our mission to help every person with cancer have a comprehensive and holistic (physical and emotional) cancer recovery plan. Contact us so we can share with you how we can support your relationship, and ensure both partners to continue to feel loved, valued and connected to one another during and beyond the cancer chapter of your life together.
Stop asking friends with cancer, "How Are You?"
When you ask a friend with cancer, "How Are You?", what are you really asking them? Furthermore, do you really want to know what they are going through and how it is making them feel?
Their seemingly never ending to-do list of therapies, supplements, treatments, doctor appointments, medications, drinks, shakes, juicing, meditation, mental anguish, uncertainties, financial stability - or instability - security of their job, lack of support from family, loss of friendships, sleepless nights, worrisome thoughts that swirl constantly through their head, nausea, lack of appetite, funky bowel habits ..... it can be an awkward response. Those are questions for their cancer healing team, not a co-worker, neighbor or friend.
The answers can be so awkward, actually, that most of the time the response you will hear will be a quick: "fine, everything is fine". Nobody wants to lay out their fears, concerns, and questionables on their friends plate.
Instead, change the question to: HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY?
Let your friend who is working to overcome a disease that is plaguing this country respond with feelings that are deep in their heart. Releasing these feelings is therapeutic in and of itself.
By this small, yet powerful question, you will open the gates for discussion that have substance and meaning. Putting a simple twist on an overused question will provide an opportunity to talk about what is really weighing on their shoulders rather than just providing the standard space for them to give the robotic, machine-like response of, "so far so good."
The words: 'You have cancer', are incredibly powerful. Those three words can wreak havoc on your emotions and too often of times they get stuck on auto-play in the mind.
In everything you do: work, eat, exercise, shower, travel, visit, relax - this person is now doing so as someone with cancer. --- that is a heavy weight to carry on the heart.
Being asked, "How Is Your Heart" allows them to express how they are really feeling: joy, gratitude, sadness, aching. Perhaps their heart is craving human touch and connection and they just need a hug. Maybe their heart feels isolated and lonely and they need to find support and just don't know how to express this.
The next time you are presented with the chance to ask someone you know with cancer (how they are doing) ….
Look them in the eye, put your hand on their shoulder and ask: HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY? Touch, connection and community are basic human necessities and you will have fulfilled all of them in this basic act of kindness and thought.
You could be the light of their day and shift their energy in a positive direction for days to come!
While you're at it, actively training yourself to ask this alternative question to an old age way of opening conversation, remind yourself that you are human, too/
You are more than a human doing, you are a human BEING!
Examine your heart, your soul, and your state of being in connection to both.
We are not machines that are meant to stay constantly busy. We are getting lost in the busyness of life: technology and connection to community is being forgotten and thrown aside.
This disconnect and stress load is part of the dis-ease of cancer itself and it is a known contributor to fueling its growth and development.
Part of human life is to LIVE with meaning: we are supposed to have a balanced existence. It's not just about fitting more on the to-do list, our mind-body-spirit-soul is meant to be LIVING life.
"How are you DOING" is the perfect example that we are programmed to be in never-ending (doing) motion, leaving E-motion out of the equation, or tucking it deep down inside. Stop that.
PAUSE, TOUCH, LOCK EYES, and ask your friend with cancer:
HOW IS YOUR HEART TODAY?
Embrace this human to human connection and listen to the condition of your own heart in the process. In addition to contributing to a friends healing, it could be just the cancer prevention ingredient that your very own soul is desiring!
Employees want their employers to bring their health coverage up to date!
Every year everything becomes more ‘on-demand’ and healthcare is no different. We’ve seen a rise in the availability of doctors’ appointments through phone calls or video chats and technology has helped patients reduce the amount of time it takes to get attention to their health needs and concerns.
Cancer in the workplace is an increasingly important issue, but research shows managers lack awareness of appropriate health benefits and good practice when communicating with staff.
A good range of health and wellbeing benefits is a must for 2020 as holistic healthcare advances and employee health, both physical and mental, becomes more of a responsibility for employers.
Not only are our workers being diagnosed with cancer, but they are working with cancer. Health insurance companies have reported that the chronic disease is the biggest cause of long-term sickness claims, accounting for almost one-third in 2015.
Research findings on cancer in the workplace
Research was commissioned in February 2016 among 500 HR professionals to explore how employers are responding to the cancer epidemic, the plans being made, changes being introduced and views on the readiness of their organization.
The most common finding was the lack of planning among companies to manage the risks relating to cancer. Seventy-one per cent of the HR managers surveyed said they do not have any policies in place for communications and management of employees with a cancer diagnosis. This figure rises to 89% among small firms.
NONE OF THE COMPANIES HAD ALTERNATIVE OR HOLISTIC REFERENCES TO OFFER EMPLOYEES SEEKING SUPPORT OUTSIDE OF THE CONVENTIONAL MODEL.
When it comes to cancer survivors returning to work, 61% of HR managers say they do not have any policies in place for communicating with and managing employees.
Extreme lack of awareness
Cancer in the workplace is an issue that is suffering from a lack of awareness and clarity. Access to a cancer coach, supportive programs and therapies, group support and caregiver support is becoming a must for physical and emotional well being among employees with cancer.
It should not be a luxury to have information and resources to maintain and improve quality of life. It is a right.
The most powerful tool we have to ensure we make better health and wellness choices in the future is KNOWLEDGE.