We Are NOT Alone — Part 1

This is another excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

It may be hard for you to believe that I am a very private individual when it comes to all aspects of my personal life. After all, here I am opening myself up in a way I never would have dreamed of before. But my community helped to show me how cathartic it could be for me to share my getting pancreatic cancer with other people outside of the community. I’d like to think that in this intense situation I finally realized the true value of communication and sharing. It is only by letting others in that they may help us in our journey.

I also learned much more about how not to be so judgmental of others (and myself, too). We all approach good times and bad, adrenaline rushes, fear, thoughts of our own mortality, etc. in much different ways. It took me a while, but I finally got it that some of my friends did not want to think about the “C” word, and therefore avoided me.

This gave me greater thankfulness for those who were there with me through the toughest parts of my journey. It must have been hard for them to see me looking like a skeleton (due to my weight loss) with limited mobility and a variety of post-surgery side effects. They never turned away. They were my knights (of both genders) in shining armor.

These are vital socialization observations from “Life After Cancer Treatment: Social and Work Relationships” by Journeyforward.org. Keep them in mind when interacting with others – regardless of your role (survivor, caregiver, etc.):

Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you. When treatment ends, families are often not prepared for the fact that recovery takes time. In general, your recovery will take much longer than your treatment did. Survivors often say that they didn’t realize the time it took to recover. This can cause disappointment, worry, and frustration for everyone. Families also may not realize that the way their family works may have changed permanently as a result of cancer. They may need help to deal with the changes and keep the “new” family strong.

Most cancer survivors who are physically able to work do go back to their jobs. This can help them feel they are getting back to the life they had before being diagnosed with cancer. Whether returning to their old jobs or beginning new ones, some survivors are treated unfairly when they return to the workplace. Employers and employees may have doubts about cancer survivors’ ability to work.

Some friends, coworkers, and others may be a huge source of support, while others may be a source of anger or frustration. Some people mean well, but do not know what to say. Maybe they don’t know how to offer support. Others don’t want to deal with your cancer. If friends and coworkers seem unsupportive, it could be because they are anxious for you or for themselves. Your cancer experience may threaten them because it reminds them that cancer can happen to anyone. Try to understand their fears and be patient as you try to regain a good relationship.

Health and Alcohol — Another View

On Wednesday, we reported about the recent study about health and alcohol — and the effects of any alcohol. Today, we offer another view.

As reported by Aaron E. Carroll for the New York Times:

“A paper was published in The Lancet that claimed to be the definitive study on the benefits and dangers of drinking. The news was apparently not good for those who enjoy alcoholic beverages. It was covered in the news media with headlines like ‘There’s No Safe Amount of Alcohol.’ The truth is much less newsy and much more measured.”

“There are limitations that warrant consideration. Observational data can be very confounded, meaning that unmeasured factors might be the actual cause of the harm. Perhaps people who drink also smoke tobacco. Perhaps people who drink are also poorer. Perhaps there are genetic differences, health differences, or other factors that might be the real cause. There are techniques to analyze observational data in a more causal fashion, but none of them could be used here, because this analysis aggregated past studies — and those studies didn’t use them.”

“The news warns that even one drink per day carries a risk. But how great is that risk? For each set of 100,000 people who have one drink a day per year, 918 can expect to experience one of the 23 alcohol-related problems in any year. Of those who drink nothing, 914 can expect to experience a problem. This means that 99,082 are unaffected, and 914 will have an issue no matter what. Only 4 in 100,000 people who consume a drink a day may have a problem caused by the drinking, according to this study.”

NONETHELESS, “This message shouldn’t get lost in any argument: There is no debate, and this study confirms once again, that heavy drinking is really bad for you.”

Click the image to read more.

Health and Alcohol -- Another View

 

Health and Alcohol Do Not Mix Well

We’ve all heard the adage “everything in moderation.” If we want to be healthy, that certainly includes alcohol consumption. Not surprisingly, alcohol consumption by males far exceeds that by females. BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!

According to Niall McCarthy for Statista:

“A major global study published in The Lancet has found the there is no safe level of alcohol consumption. The research compared levels of alcohol use and its impact on health across 195 countries from 1990 to 2016. In many countries, moderate drinking has been associated with health benefits for years and in places like France, a daily glass of red wine has been viewed as good for the heart. “

“Yet, the new research claims that the harmful impact of alcohol far outweighs any benefits with even an occasional drink proving harmful. In 2016, 2.8 million deaths were attributed to alcohol. And it was the leading risk factor for premature mortality and disability among people in the 15-49 age bracket.” 

“The infographic below focuses on the top-10 countries for alcohol attributable deaths. Specifically, it highlights the massive gender gap in mortality. In The United States, alcohol caused 71,00 male deaths and 19,000 female deaths in 2016.”

Health and Alcohol Do Not Mix Well
 

There Should Be No Shame in Depression

Depression affects millions of people in the United States also. The states of depression can range from rather mild to quite severe. One of the being biggest problems with depression is the feeling of embarrassment in admitting to being depressed. Societal norms often cause people to think this ailment is taboo. And this means that treatment would not sought, when it should be.

But depression is not restricted to those who are severely ill, doing poorly at work, etc. It impacts on all sorts of people. The key to better mental health is to admit to ourselves that we have a problem. And to seek help to address that problem.

Even people who many see as “successful” have problems with depression. Consider the recent suicides of fashionista Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bordain.  Just last week, ESPN ran a major story on depression among NBA (National Basketball  Association) players — where the average salary exceeds $6 million. As Jackie MacMullan reported:

“The willingness of stars Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozan to step out of the shadows and reveal their struggles has set the NBA on an important path of self-discovery. It has prompted the National Basketball Players Association to hire Dr. William Parham as its first director of mental health and wellness; and it has convinced commissioner Adam Silver and union head Michele Roberts that hammering out a comprehensive mental health policy needs to be a priority.”

“Yet there remain many obstacles to confront, chief among them the stigma attached to mental health that prompts many players to suffer in silence. The union also insists that mental health treatment be confidential. But some NBA owners, who in some cases are paying their players hundreds of millions of dollars, want access to the files of their ‘investments.’ Confidentiality, says Love, has to be non-negotiable. Without it, he says, he never would have become comfortable enough to announce from that All-Star dais that he was seeking treatment.”

Consider these candid remarks from Kevin Love, a many-time NBA All Star.

 

National Cancer Institute Resources

To continue our series on valuable resources from leading organizations, let us look at the National Cancer Institute. It offers several types of multimedia resources.

Videos (at its YouTube Channel)

Videos

Infographics

Infographics

Photography/Biomedical Illustrations

Photography and Illustrations

B-Roll Videos (PR)

PR Videos

 

AICR Infographic Resources

Yesterday, we highlighted the video library of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Today, we highlight three of the infographic resources of the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Click the infographics for larger versions.

Cancer Health Checkup

Reducing Cancer Risk Among Men

Reducing Cancer Risk Among Women