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Showing posts from March, 2013

Caregiving: Caring for the Caregiver

Caregiving is no easy job. People often say that motherhood is the hardest job on earth, and I have to believe that teachers, and caregivers are right up there in the ranks. Like the saying goes on an airplane, "if you’re travelling with passengers who need assistance, put your own mask on first before assisting other passengers.” That statement could not be more true when caring for a loved one, but often caregivers forgo taking care of themselves as they don't want to feel guilty or feel selfish. 
What is the reasoning for this? Well, if the caregiver doesn't take care of his/herself, there will be no one to take care of the patient! You will be unconscious, or even dead, from the fumes and burn out. There is a big difference between being selfish and self-care. Selfishness is acting only in your best interest and not others' interests. But self-care ultimately is in others' interests as you are the best version of yourself and able to give to others once you res…

Emotion Focused Coping

A couple weeks ago I wrote about To Treat or Not to Treat...a question that many people living with a chronic illness face when the effects of the treatment begin to outweigh its benefits.  In that post I mentioned something called Emotion-Focused Coping, which is one of many psychobabbly terms floating around in my brain.  So what the heck is that?

I think it's best to start with a different concept that I talk about a lot with my clients, something we all do every day of our lives:  problem solving.
Some problems are incredibly simple to find a solution for.  I had the problem of what type of K-cup to make for my coffee this morning: the Donut House regular or the Green Mountain English Toffee.  It (thankfully?) didn't take much mental energy or time for me to solve that problem.  Some problems are incredibly complex, with many sub-parts/problems, and several possible solutions.  Deciding where to move, buying a house, picking a college, handling an overly-demanding boss, r…

The Marketing of Hope

You may have heard the news report about Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) which exposes the organization's "cooking its statistical books" and reporting positive outcome data that far exceeds national averages.  In essence, CTCA may turn a person away if they have a poor prognosis which includes the elderly and the poor.  Those they do accept have better insurance coverage and the financial means to travel frequently to the center, which depending on geography may entail traveling great distances on a regular basis.  Of these patients, CTCA uses biased sampling in their practice reporting so that their outcomes look stellar, some say misleading patients, many of whom feel desperate for a cure.

CTCA does a lot of things that we like, including integrated care that includes psychological support, spiritual support, and other complementary treatments such as acupuncture.  They take a holistic approach to care that may not be readily available in other medical sett…

Money Matters

Anyone with a chronic illness knows what a toll the disease can take on a person going through treatment. The impact is widespread and far-reaching, touching every part of a patient, including their emotions, body, mind, loved ones, and finances. Today I decided to focus on the financial piece of dealing with a chronic illness and encourage those with one to do a little research (aka click the links below) and see if they qualify for some help. There are many non-profit organizations who are doing great work to try and help those managing chronic illness. Like the old McDonald’s jingle says, “you deserve a break today.” Why not see if there is one out there?

Chronic Disease Fund Help with medication bills, copays, and travel expenses. This non-profit organization helps people with various chronic illnesses. Check this link to see which diseases this fund are currently open to accepting. Examples include multiple sclerosis, lupus, pancreatic cancer, liver cancer, multiple myeloma, and mo…

To Treat or Not to Treat...

I'm a big fan of memes, and I came across this one the other day via chronic illness cat:

I'm going to guess that almost everyone who lives with a chronic medical illness has dealt with this problem at one point or another; the treatment feels worse than the symptoms.  I've certainly heard this from many of my clients over the years, and it leads to an internal struggle over the question "To treat or not to treat?"  This can be for a specific treatment option, or the use of pharmaceutical medications altogether versus a more "natural" route with diet, exercise, stress management, herbal supplements, or all of the above.

And then there's this conundrum:  maybe there's another medication you can take to help with treatment A's side effects?

Much of my research focuses on something called health related quality of life, and it is what it sounds like.  How much does your illness and its treatment affect your day-to-day activities?  Does your il…