What Does it Mean to Thrive?

By Heidi Bright
Dr. Pat Baccili, with the Dr. Pat Show, explored this topic on Monday through her radio program. Listen to find out some ways to heal one’s life.
During the interview, Dr. Pat said, “Only someone like Heidi can take this journey and write about. What she’s writing about is being able to thrive. What does that mean?” The Dr. Pat Show
As she talked, she had Thriver Soup in front of her. “It’s really good,” she said. “I was really, really struck by how what you’ve written in this book is really a toolkit for people that are struggling in life with many, many things.”
She said whether someone has cancer or not, “This book right here will help you…because when I go to the section on the ‘Power of Powerlessness,’ that is not a book just for people that are thinking ‘I might die.’ This is a book for those of us that know what it is like to die on the inside as well.”
She said she would use Thriver Soup for people who want to change their lives despite their history or background. “It is a book to get out of that sense of powerlessness.”
Talking with me, she said, “You do this so brilliantly in the book. You talk about looking fear in the face. I think that is so important. But I also love that you talk about looking fear in the face that all of us can do today in our lives.”

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care
By Heidi Bright, www.thriversoup.com

Psychosocial support in cancer care was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo. This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I have been reporting about.
Dr. Yasmin Asvat, clinical psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “What is a healthy emotional response to a diagnosis? All emotional responses are valid and appropriate. They’re human responses.”
Initial emotions can include sadness, anger, shock, disbelief, denial, and for a few, acceptance.
“Our bodies are looking for balance to be restored,” she said. “If we are not getting to adjustment and acceptance, how can we live well through this journey?”
Thirty percent of patients experience chronic distress after a diagnosis. “To what degree is the distress interfering with the ability to cope effectively?”
Normal feelings like sadness, fear, and vulnerability can become disabling feelings like depression and anxiety.
“Distress can be experienced throughout the cancer care trajectory,” she said.
Dr. Asvat sees her role as partner in balancing patients’ goals with fears. She tries to provide physical interventions and strategies for fatigue, pain, insomnia, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Coping with Cancer’s Financial Aftermath Summarization

Installment # 3 of:   Coping with Cancer’s financial aftermath article  highlights summarized:

1.  Predicting problems, strategizing solutions – patients worried about financial strain when initially diagnosed,  should raise their
concern early in their treatment.  Asking the doctor if someone on the clinical team to walk them through what bills they should
anticipate, as well as an availability of financial resource entities is beneficial.
2.  Patients do better and regain some sense of control if they are able to harness  a proactive problem-solving approach and be
able to generate solutions to address financial concerns.
3.  Several aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may affect the cost of cancer care in the long run, as the law did not go far
enough, as the true costs of actual care delivery were never specifically addressed;  many feel that insurance companies needed to provide more coverage for cancer surveillance.  Cancer care data were not included in a recently released report by Medicare and Medicaid Services on what different hospitals charge for certain services.  Therefore, a cost comparison for cancer care is difficult to establish.
4.  The financial ripple effects can linger long after treatment ends.  A 2012 study found that of the 23% of patients with medical
debt, the average accrued debt for cancer care was $25,860.  The vast majority of patients reporting debt – 81% – were still carrying some of it more than a year after diagnosis.
5.  Financial strain cannot only erode patients’ well-being, but also their ability to fight cancer, according to a study published in The Oncologist in 2013. 57% of patients who did discuss costs with their medical care team said the conversation led to a decrease
 in expenses.
On a different note …
6.  Going back to work: A different topic but one that sometimes can cause angst for a patient returning to work:  A licensed clinical
psychologist practicing near Denver suggests the following when patients are worried about how much to reveal to co-workers,
how much information to keep private,  and how many times can the same questions be responded to . . . the advice:   to
develop a short script before that first day back to work-  one that is courteous, but does not invite further questioning. If a
conversation starts turning awkward,  perhaps it may be possible to turn it into a more pleasant discussion about common
work/project goals and expressing  “All of the support I have received has meant so much to me . . . and I’m glad I to be back.”
Again, if you have questions that you would like to have answered from any of the highlights shared in these three installments,  please send them to me via email.
Thank you –