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Conversations!

THE INTERNATIONAL NEWSLETTER FOR THOSE FIGHTING OVARIAN CANCER!

"10 Tips Series for Coping"  
10 Tips for Involving Other People In Your Healing Process
By Jim Acee
This is #6 in a series of articles compiled by Jim Acee,  husband and caregiver for Savanna Acee who was diagnosed in June 1995 with stage III ovarian cancer, had six rounds of chemotherapy, and then a recurrence in July 1996 with metastasis (spread) to the liver and diaphragm with seeding throughout the abdomen. Savanna was placed on hospice in September 1996 and given only months to live. She subsequently survived with a high quality of life for 10 years using a combination of alternative, complementary and traditional (chemotherapy) treatments. For more information on Savanna's treatment methodology, or to discuss your cancer-related concerns contact Jim  at  jimacee@hotmail.com , call 208-384-1708 (mountain time zone) or write to Jim Acee, 4024 Whitehead, Boise, ID 83703, USA.

Future "10 Tips" articles will appear each month in the CONVERSATIONS! Newsletter. Previously published articles in this series are in the "10 Tips" section of http://www.ovarian-news.org or send a stamped, self addressed envelop marked "10 Tips Series" to CONVERSATIONS! PO Box 7948, Amarillo, TX 79114.

1)  Get powerful medical and psychological help. Find doctors or complementary healers who are skilled, open minded, optimistic and committed to your complete recovery. Don't settle for second best, and don't be afraid to change doctors or healers if they fail to give you excellent care, attention, and results. Your life is more important than their ego. Be willing to travel to find the best care--out of town, out of state, or out of country--if necessary.

2) Make full use of all the resources available to gather information and provide assistance for your healing program: community health and social services, volunteer groups, cancer organizations, hospital and public libraries, Internet medical searches and discussion groups, church healing programs, support groups, cancer and wellness newsletters, complementary and alternative healing centers, and, of course, doctors and other health professionals. Often, it is most helpful if you have a spouse, relative, or friend assist you to locate, contact and communicate with these resources. Taking full advantage of them is a large but worthwhile task.

3) Search out survivors of your type of cancer. You can gain hope, inspiration, and information that could save your a lot of suffering. Survivors can give you tips on how to cope with both physical and psychological challenges. A great place to personally meet survivors is the Ovarian Cancer Retreat held near Missoula, Montana every September. A survivor matching service for ovarian cancer is offered by the ovarian cancer newsletter CONVERSATIONS! (806-355-2565). Other groups which offer matching for any type of cancer are the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation (800-433-0464), AMC Cancer Research Center (800-525-3777), Anderson Network (800-345-6324), Cancer Care (800-813-HOPE), and Cancer Hope Network (877-HOPENET).

4) Have your name put on as many healing prayer lists as your can. Several studies have shown that healing prayer (meditation) works. If you prefer, you can substitute the word "meditation" for "prayer". Let others know that you are open to being included in their prayers. You'll find there are organized groups of people who specialize in praying for the healing of others; submit your name to their prayer list. A contribution to the organization that sponsors the prayer group is appreciated but usually not necessary. A good book to read on healing prayer is Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine by Dr. Larry Dossey (Harper Publishers, San Francisco, 1993, $22) 

5) Create your own prayer circle with friends and loved ones in your home. Host an event that focuses on healing thoughts...and if you wish, touch. Find someone who is familiar with prayer circles and healing touch to facilitate the process. This is almost always a very powerful experience for the one being healed and an uplifting experience for all who participate.

6) When appropriate, accept offers by friends and relatives to help care for you or assist you with your daily living needs. In special situations, ask for their help. But avoid anyone (even family members) whose increased involvement would add stress to your life.

7) Utilize home health services. Insurance and Medicare will often pay for medical assistance provided in the home. Learn to take advantages of the services that can be provided by home health professionals, including social work services, skilled nursing care, dressing care, teaching of medication and home care for caregivers, physical therapy and more. Talk to your hospital discharge planner or health care social services person for qualifications and recommendations.

8) You might want to add some of the following specialists to your healing team: a massage therapist to promote healing or just for relaxation; a psychological counselor for depression, fear, and coping; an holistic nutritionist for comprehensive diet plan; a computer wizard to help you get connected to the wealth of information and support on the internet; a religious counselor to comfort your spiritual needs; the customer service department at your local food cooperative for a variety of information about diet, healthy recipes, vitamins, and supplements, wellness programs, and more; authoritative authors, doctors, spiritual leaders, or whoever has a reputation of expertise in your area of concern.

9) Most people have a spouse, relative, or friend as a primary caregiver to help them through tough medical times. Share your thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes with your caregiver and solicit the same from them. This can deepen your relationship and often results in personal insights and even solutions to previously unmentioned problems. Find ways to initiate this sharing. Consider the following suggestions: watch or listen to inspirational or healing-related video and audio tapes and discuss their significance to you; review your life history (looking at old photographs can help this process); recollect the best times or worst times of your life; remember your most favorite or least favorite vacation, relative, job, etc; recall your happiest and saddest moments in life; dreams that were fulfilled and those unfulfilled; and the time of your life that you were most joyous.

10) If your medical situation becomes severe, sign up with hospice services. This usually requires a prognosis of six months or less to live, but hospice doesn't mean you give up all hope for recovery. You can always cancel hospice when you get better. In the meantime, their services can be quite helpful in making you more comfortable, both physically and psychologically. And, a special package of medical care (including financial benefits) goes into effect with most insurance policies when one is placed on hospice. For more information about your hospice benefits, call your insurance company, talk to a health social services person at your hospital, or contact your local hospice services directly. Information about hospice, death, and dying can also be obtained from the Hospice Hot Links web site at http://www.teleport.com/~hospice/links.html or by calling Hospice Foundation of America at 800-854-3402 or their web site at http://hospicefoundation.org

Copyright  2000 Jim Acee and CONVERSATIONS!, (Permission is given to make personal copies or copies for free distribution to cancer fighters.)  Available on the web at:  http://www.ovarian-news.org under "10 Tips Series for Coping by Jim Acee."

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