#LCSM Chat Preview March 13 – Stress, Anxiety and Lung Cancer: How Do You Cope?

RoniLynn:

This week’s Lung Cancer Social Media chat will tackle a subject that I’m sure has affected many of you dealing with any kind of medical issue. The stress and anxiety that comes with a diagnosis can sometimes be hard to overcome. As someone who was a caregiver for my mom, I understand first-hand how stressful it can be…many nights I was up until 2 a.m., fretting about what we were going to do next. And then I was up again a 6 a.m. ready to give my mom a full day of attention. It definitely took its toll.
I hope you can join us Thursday, 3/13 8 pm ET. This topic and chat is open to ALL. And we’ll have guest therapist Dr. Niki Barr, Ph.D, helping us wade through the emotions and issues.

Originally posted on #LCSM :

Patients and caregivers experience considerable stress and anxiety as a result of lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. How do you handle stress? Is it possible to prevent stress or is it ‘just a part of life’?  Some individuals handle stress and anxiety better than others. We want to explore this topic in more detail during this week’s #LCSM chat.

T1: What kinds of stress do lung cancer patients experience due to their cancer diagnosis or treatment?

 T2: What can healthcare providers do to help reduce stress for a lung cancer patient or caregiver?

 T3: What can patients and caregivers do to help reduce stress for themselves and each other?

Our guest for this chat will be Dr. Niki Barr, (@nikibarrphd), a Dallas, Texas, based psychotherapist who specializes in working with cancer patients and their families and teaches them how to “move through the continual challenges of cancer with emotional…

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Call to Action: Tell Medicare and Medicaid to Cover Lung Cancer Screening

RoniLynn:

We need your support! Take a few minutes to find out how you can help others receive the care they need. Sign the petition on Change.org and then follow the links in the post below to read more about covering lung cancer screening.

Originally posted on #LCSM :

Anyone can get lung cancer. Screening for lung cancer with low dose CT scans (LDCT) can save thousands of lives every year. Many private health insurers already provide coverage for this screening.

Tell the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) you want them to provide coverage too. On February 10, CMS opened a 30-day comment period to support their national coverage analysis on Lung Cancer Screening with LDCT. This comment period closes on March 12, 2014.

Please sign this petition to tell CMS to provide coverage for LDCT, and ask everyone you know to sign it too. The results of this petition will be submitted to CMS as a comment on March 11, 2014. You can help save thousands of lives!
Petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/centers-for-medicare-medicaid-services-cms-provide-coverage-for-lung-cancer-screening-with-ldct
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People might also want to provide a comment directly to CMS — especially those who are Medicare or Medicaid-eligible and who were either diagnosed with…

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How Long Have I Got Left?

This article in the NY Times written by a 36 year old doctor with lung cancer has made the rounds in the cancer community on Twitter.  It’s definitely something you should all read as it affects everyone regardless of the illness you might have.  It’s really a good read.  When the doctor becomes the patient…

How Long Have I Got Left?

Palliative care is about LIVING!

Everyone always says the same thing AFTER they the find out the difference between palliative care and hospice: “My [insert family member] would have really benefitted from palliative care HAD WE KNOWN THAT…[insert numerous palliative benefits here].”

The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life while one is dealing with a serious illness.  Note: I didn’t say while someone is dying. Palliative care is not about death or dying!  Even though my mom was on the back end of her fight with lung cancer (though we didn’t TECHNICALLY know that)…she was still alive! She was still living!! What she needed to know was how to LIVE with a difficult fight with lung cancer.  What we knew was that she was still mentally coherent, but daily activities were difficult for her. Even though she was still reading her daily Bible studies, opening mail and taking car rides, it was getting harder and harder for her to do those simple tasks.  All she really wanted and needed was someone to explain what was happening to her. She was fearful and the fear fueled her anxiety.  She didn’t necessarily need or want anti-anxiety meds, but they helped a bit. What she really needed was someone to talk to her, show her how to cope, show her what was happening to her body.  She needed someone to help her figure out how not to get frustrated because she couldn’t do simple things.  My mom needed to understand the why.  When you don’t know what’s happening to you, it’s hard to figure out what to do. Lung cancer is sneaky and you don’t know how quickly things change. Every day mom woke up to something new that was affecting her quality of life.  Palliative care would have helped her cope with those daily changes.

To me, palliative care provides peace of mind, for the patient and for their family. Palliative care helps control symptoms, offers solutions for dealing with depression and provides long-term options for handling issues specific to a particular illness.  Palliative care can be tailored to an individual’s specific need and it can be offered along with curative care. There are several individuals involved in providing this palliative care, including primary care physicians, therapists, chaplains and social workers. They work together as a TEAM.  A team approach is necessary because unfortunately, one primary care physician just can’t do it alone, nor does he or she have the time to do it all.

I’m sitting here thinking about today’s lung cancer social media chat on Twitter (#lcsm) and remembering the first conversation we had with mom’s doctor about palliative care.  As we were trying to come up with a plan to help deal with mom’s pain (back pain, shoulder pain), her doctor said we could do palliative and hospice care, but that’s about it. What did that mean? Palliative AND hospice care? How does that work? When you don’t know the difference between the two and one of them you’ve never heard of, how can you make an informed decision??  Who teaches the teacher? Meaning, who tells the doctor how to tell the patient?  It wasn’t just about the pain.  Many of us don’t know what we don’t know. And we knew NOTHING about palliative care so therefore we didn’t know what to ask.  Just like insurance, no one talks about it until you need it and many of us walk around as if we’re invincible.  Let me tell you something, life happens to all of us…from cancer to major surgery to chronic diseases.  What we need is a way to deal with it, a way to handle it.  Palliative care does just that; it helps you to continue living.  No one wants to struggle to live. Palliative care helps remove the struggle.

 Join our lung cancer social media chat on Twitter tonight, January 16, 7 p.m. CST. We’ll be talking about the basics of palliative care.  Don’t miss out on an opportunity to learn more about something that benefits all of us, regardless of the illness.