Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times

Information about anxiety and loneliness. With tips.

Recently, we published three articles on COVID-19 (the coronavirus). Today, we conclude our series with a look at handling anxiety in difficult times. Tomorrow, we return to our regular topics.

Please look at this post for links to important sites on COVID-19. About the Coronavirus.

Author’s comment: Just a few days ago, my 37-year-old daughter asked me if I had ever seen anything like this pandemic in my lifetime. My response was an emphatic NO!!  This is  the most widespread and anxiety-provoking health crisis that I have ever seen.  Most of us could never imagine a worldwide crisis that has put many of us in stay-at-home status. And threatens the world’s economies.

Observations About Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times

As a high-risk person, I know from my own situation how anxiety-provoking this pandemic can be. Especially now that millions of us are in isolation — either totally alone or staying with a limited number of family members. And  with little outside contact, given all of the business, school, entertainment venue, and other shutdowns.  Unfortunately, this looks like our living arrangements for a while.

For information on anxiety and loneliness during these stressful times, we turn to Business Insider and Futurity.

Insights from Business Insider (BI)

BI published an article titled How Increased Social Distancing for the Coronavirus Could spur a Loneliness Epidemic.” Here are a few highlights:

“While the implementation of social distancing — avoiding large gatherings and maintaining a distance from others — is crucial to preventing the coronavirus pandemic from intensifying, the practice could also cause a ‘social recession,’ or a collapse in social contact that especially affects populations who are most susceptible to loneliness and isolation, like the elderly, according to Vox.”

“And loneliness has proven to exacerbate health complications among the elderly: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently released a report suggesting seniors who experience social isolation or loneliness may face a higher risk of conditions including heart disease, depression, and mortality.”

Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times
Tips For Handling Loneliness from Futurity

Elissa Kozlov, a licensed clinical psychologist and instructor at Rutgers University, discusses strategies for taking care of your mental health while staying at home (at Futurity.org):

“Use technology! For example, schedule regular video chat and phone dates with friends and family. Get creative. Watch movies, play online games,  or participate in virtual book clubs.”

“Reach out to friends and relatives who are especially at risk during this time. Call older adults and people with chronic health conditions to give them meaningful social contact during these trying times.”

“A good strategy is distraction. If you find yourself thinking continuously about risk of illness, try to distract yourself by getting involved in an engaging activity. Or by picking up the phone to talk with a friend. Take advantage of nice weather and go for a walk in an open space. Get outside as much as possible if it’s safe to do so.”

“You can also try mindfulness meditation. There are several excellent mobile apps that can teach you how to practice meditation, such as the free app Mindfulness Coach, which was developed by a team of psychologists at the Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD research. It walks users through the basics of mindfulness meditation.”

“If you have trouble sleeping, check out the Veterans Affairs’ app CBT-I Coach (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia), which takes you through different strategies to help quiet your mind at night. If you find that anxiety or insomnia interferes with your ability to function during the day, seek professional help to reduce the impact of anxiety.”

Click the image to read more.

Handling Anxiety in Difficult Times
(Credit: Getty Images)

All Not Rosy on World Cancer Day

YOUR support is needed. Please help!

Tuesday February 4, 2020 was World Cancer Day. While some progress has been made over the years, a lot more needs to be done. YOU can help by donating to a cancer research program of your choice.. Thanks.

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As Felix Richter reports for Statista:

“Honoring the 20th anniversary of World Cancer Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as part of the WHO released two coordinated reports highlighting the current state of the world’s fight against the disease. While the WHO’s Report on Cancer aims to ‘set the global agenda on cancer, mobilize stakeholders and help countries set priorities for investing in cancer control,’ the IARC’s World Cancer Report ‘focuses on prevention and offers the most comprehensive overview of relevant research available to date.’”

“The latter report highlights that, despite steady progress in cancer prevention and treatment, the global cancer burden is still increasing as the number of new cases is expected to grow by 50 percent between 2018 and 2040. As the following chart illustrates, the IARC recognized 10.1 million new cancer cases in 2000, 18.1 million in 2018, and is expecting 27 million new cases per year by 2040. According to the report, cancer is the first or second leading cause of premature mortality (i.e. deaths at ages 30-69 years) in more than 90 countries worldwide, killing 9.6 million people in 2018 alone.”

“Further highlighting the relevance of cancer as an issue concerning all of us, the IARC cites estimates from 2018, stating that 1 in 8 men and 1 in 10 women are likely to develop the disease during their lifetime. Aside from the millions of lives lost prematurely each year, cancer also bears a huge economic burden. According to WHO estimates from 2017, global cancer care costs are piling up to more than $1 trillion annually.”

PLEASE DONATE! Click here to contribute to the American Cancer Society.

All Not Rosy on World Cancer Day

All Not Rosy on World Cancer Day

 

My Latest Adventures — Part Two

Hail to the caregivers. 🙂

On Tuesday, we presented part one. Today, we offer my latest adventures — part two. It is dedicated to my wife Linda, the LOML (love of my life).

Here we are together, as highlighted from my Facebook page.

My Latest Adventures — Part Two

Linda as Caregiver

Throughout my journey from pancreatic cancer patient until the present, Linda has been GREAT. Both physically and emotionally. Hail to the caregivers, who are often underappreciated. People always ask how the patient is doing, but fewer show concern for the caregiver. But I do, I appreciate Linda and all she does; and I realize the strain my condition places one her. 

For my latest adventures — involving knee replacement surgery, these are just some of the activities which Linda has done:

    • Drove me everywhere we needed to go. That included multiple trips to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, which is 50 miles from our home.
    • Stayed in a hotel by herself for the days I was in the hospital after the surgery. This meant using Uber to get around.
    • Shopping and lifting groceries, cat litter, and other heavy items that I could not help with post surgery.
    • Going up and downstairs at our home multiple times daily to help me after I was discharged from the hospital. 
    • Worrying about me going up and downstairs, being overly tired, etc.
    • And MUCH more.

Linda, you are appreciated.

 

My Latest Adventures — Part One

Just one more step in my multi-year journey. 🙂

You may have noticed that we have not posted in a couple of weeks. Read on to see why.

Life sure takes many interesting twists and turns. Today, we first re-introduce the purpose of this blog. Then, we look at my latest adventures — part one. Thursday, is part two.

Why This Blog?

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that light is not as bright as before. And sometimes, we have to fight to see that light. I am NOT a medical professional. I am not alone in my battle with cancer. This is one person’s journey, both the ups and downs – with the strong determination to have the best life possible for as long as possible.

I am a pancreatic cancer survivor. I underwent an 8-½ hour Whipple surgery to remove the cancer. I had a lot of problems during chemo. As a diabetic, I passed out from low blood sugar a few days after finishing chemo. As a result, I had to miss my daughter’s bridal shower. And I had to have cement pumped into my back. I have a lot of other stuff going on. But enough of that. I am NOT complaining. I just want you to see where I have been – and where I still am going.

With this blog, I want to offer hope and support to those dealing with any terrible disease and their families. Why? To quote the late NY Yankee star Lou Gehrig when he was honored at Yankee Stadium while dying from ALS: “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

My Latest Adventures — Part One

For quite awhile, I  had two arthritic knees, with one much worse than the other. Over the years, I had two arthroscopies on my left knee — along with both steroid and gel shots. After my Whipple surgery in 2015, I told myself that I never again wanted to have surgery that required an extended recovery and rehab process. So, I swore off having knee replacement surgery.

Well, as it is said, the “best-laid plans …” In early 2019, I had to give up walking as an exercise. It was just too painful. Everyone in my family yelled for me to have the surgery. However, I just wasn’t ready psychologically. BUT, by October I was ready. It was just too painful to walk at all. I knew I couldn’t go through life like that.

In November 2019, I sought a second opinion with Dr. Fred Cushner of the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). It is rated number one in orthopedics. Dr. Cushner concurred that I needed the knee replacement. And I decided to have him do it. Before the appointment, I had done my due diligence through online research. He is impressive on paper — and in person.

On Friday January 3, 2020, I had my surgery. They had me using a walker that same day. The next day, they taught me how to use stairs. On Monday, January 6, 2020, I was discharged directly to my home, which has a lot of steps to get to our bedroom.

I decided to use  a revolutionary new technique for the in-home part of the physical therapy. HSS offers a free one-on-one video conferencing app. What is it? On my iPad, I downloaded the software that enabled me to securely interact with a HSS physical therapist who works directly with Dr. Cushner’s team.  To you skeptics out there, I say it really worked for me. Lauren Smith, my PT specialist, could watch me walk, zoom on parts of my leg, and communicate any issues with Dr. C’s team. In my case, this tipped off Dr. C. to my need to have several blisters lanced by him. If I was using an in-home PT specialist, he/she would probably just send me to the emergency room — where the professionals have less experience with this sort of thing.

On Monday January 20 (17 days post-surgery), I started intensive outpatient physical therapy.  By Friday, which was just my third visit, they had me riding a bike and walking a treadmill for six minutes each, using a sitting stepper machine for 5 minutes, and doing various twists on a tilting machine. Wow. Who would have thought this possible? AND, I am only using a cane now!!

Look at the HSS site for knee replacement by clicking the image below. And learn a lot about topics related to knee replacement and the options. A very informative discussion.

 

My Latest Adventures -- Part One
 

Enjoy July 4 SAFELY

Be smart this Independence Day.

Happy birthday America. Have fun. But safely enjoy your 4th of July.
 

Be Happy

We show the following representative visuals in honor of the 4th of July, 2019.

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

http://www.happy4thofjulyus.com 

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

https://theusindependence.com/happy-4th-of-july-messages/

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

From https://fourth-ofjuly.com/

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/4th-of-july-promotions/

Be Safe

As healthycholdren.org notes:Despite the dangers of fireworks, few people understand the associated risks. Including devastating burns, other injuries, fires, and even death. Thus, the Alliance to Stop Consumer Fireworks represents a group of health and safety organizations. In its efforts, it urges the public to avoid the use of consumer fireworks and to only enjoy displays of fireworks conducted by trained professionals.”

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

Safely Enjoy Your 4th of July

https://www.in211.org

According to Found Animals: “Pet safety doesn’t have to be a hassle on a holiday. Check out our infographic below for five quick and easy 4th of July safety tips. Just click to enlarge!”