Emotional Support

A Jewish prayer after treatment

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My God and God of my ancestors: as I arrive at the conclusion of my treatment, I pray for Your continued blessings. Grant that the treatment I have now completed may have lasting impact, helping to restore me to fullness of mind, body, and spirit. In knowing the wholeness that comes with healing (shlaymut) may I also be blessed with peace (shalom). O God, for release from the grave illness through which I have recently passed, I thank You!   Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, sheg’malani kol tov. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who […]

Emotional Support

Don’t neglect your spiritual health

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It is a common belief in Christianity, and perhaps in other faiths, that humans are a unity of body and spirit (not just souls trapped in a body). So what happens to our bodies has spiritual significance. If we allow it to happen, illness and its emotional effects can be spiritually harmful. One aspect of spirituality after diagnosis or treatment is simply to maintain your pre-diagnosis spiritual practices of prayer, worship, meditation, scripture reading. You do not need less of these things. If anything, you need more. So you might even want to increase your spiritual practices or add something new. You […]

Emotional Support

Yoga for women after a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment

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A cancer diagnosis of any sort represents an unparalleled mental, physical, and emotional burden for all patients and their families. At least one-third of women who have had surgery for breast cancer experience significant distress, despite having a potentially positive prognosis. Surgical scars, drains, reconstruction of a very intimate part of their physical identity are but a few reasons that some patients become depressed and anxious. Despite advances in surgery, chemo, and radiation therapy to treat breast cancer, there is increasing awareness of the need for the whole patient to be considered. The use of complementary therapies and alternative medicine […]

Emotional Support

Acupuncture and Emotional Healing During and after Breast Cancer:

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For the medical oncologist, the main focus is on treating the cancer aggressively, to eliminate the threat to the patient and prevent a recurrence. They know that the patient (and family) is under tremendous emotional stress, but it is not their responsibility to address it, other than referring the patient to counseling or psychiatric care. There are more and more modalities designed to help the patient cope emotionally (Yoga, massage, meditation, Reiki, counseling …) Acupuncture can help on that level, and I would like to give a quick insight as to how it does that. Acupuncture is a modality of […]

Emotional Support

The Healing Power of Art and Music

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“Art can permeate the very deepest part of us where no words exist.” -Eileen Miller “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” -Elton John The concept of the arts as medicine dates back to antiquity, and has drawn increasing interest from both the medical and scientific communities. Medical professionals are finally beginning to recognize and understand the role that art and music play in the healing process. Arts in medicine programs are emerging not only in the US but worldwide as doctors see that their patients’ exposure to the […]

Emotional Support

Comforting Ourselves with Spirit

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Many people dealing with the aftermath of breast cancer find help and consolation by turning to their spiritual side. The spirit is God, however you know him or her—Buddha, Jehovah, Christ, or Allah—a power higher than yourself from which you draw strength and are soothed and comforted. When you turn to this higher power, you are no longer alone or afraid. Whether you believe in a Deity who can part the Red Sea or turn water into wine, or find peace imagining a benevolent Buddha, or even summon a presence within yourself—when you call on this Being, you can move […]

Emotional Support

Meditation can provide stress relief, improve mood

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Meditation is a complementary cancer treatment that can provide stress relief, improve mood, and reduce fatigue in breast cancer patients and survivors. Meditation is a focusing technique that helps you turn your attention away from distracting thoughts and redirect your attention on the present moment. With meditation, you give attention to a single point of reference such as breath, thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations.  Meditation can be done sitting, walking, or through yoga; and the practice of meditation can extend into a mindset for daily life. Meditation has been researched extensively and shown to prove effective  in improving psychological symptoms […]

Emotional Support

Emotional healing through compassionate touch

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Congratulations, you are cancer-free!  Or maybe your medical team and you are completing your rounds of treatments, or you are living with cancer….  But now they tell you that ‘You can get back to living your life!’ – Great……  Where do you start? “It was just one year and one month ago that you sat with me after my diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer and assured me that you were on my team and I would make it through!” Cancer treatments, (chemo, radiation, and surgery) all have taken a toll on not only your body, but also on your […]

Emotional Support

I Have a Hero

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My hero is Dr. Jimmie Holland. She just passed away at 90 years old. She was a truly remarkable lady and one I so wish I had been fortunate enough to meet. From an article in the New York Times, I am paraphrasing a few of her thoughts. Dr. Holland was the first woman to pioneer the field of psycho-oncology — the emotional distress of cancer patients while their medical symptoms were being addressed. She became the first woman to head a clinical department at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She was frustrated that her husband’s oncology colleagues […]