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Program Announcements

We are constantly looking for better ways to meet the needs of our clients and caregivers. Whether you are looking for a group of people with whom to share your cancer and treatment concerns and ask questions, or whether you have been told to exercise and are looking for a program that is helpful but not strenuous, check out what we have to offer.

Also, remember that hours are expanding starting January 10: open Mondays from 9:00AM until 7:00PM. Tuesday-Friday open from 9:00AM until 5:00PM.

Examples of new and revised programs for 2011:

  • Tai Chi ..a 6 weeks movement program…. helps with relaxation and pain management. Starts Wednesday, January 5 at 5:30PM. Call to reserve your spot. Susan Swardenski facilitates.
  • re-Energize! …an exercise program for people of any ability…restarts Tuesday February 1 and meets every Tue & Thursday at 6:00PM. Courtney Berger facilitates.
  • The Whipple Group is changing its name to Pancreas, Gall Bladder, Bile Duct Cancer Support Group. The name better describes who the group is for and expands the number of people eligible. Whipple is the name of a surgical technique often used with these types of cancers, but not everyone with one of these diagnoses actually undergoes the Whipple procedure. Meets 3rd Wednesday at 6:30PM. Amy Solaro-Geraghty facilitates.
  • Reminder of a general cancer support group: Turning Points. Meets 2nd Tuesday monthly at 5:30PM. Peter Albertson facilitates.
  • Caring Touch massage program. Call to schedule an appointment.

All the above groups meet in the Healing Arts Center of Cancer Services, 6316 Mutual Drive, Fort Wayne, IN 46825.

  • The South Side Group …a NEW general cancer support group…for those people with any kind of cancer ( and their caregivers) who are looking for a support group on the south side of town. Meets at Lutheran Life Villages, 6701 S Anthony Blvd., entrance under the portico. Meets 3rd Wednesday each month, 6:30PM-8:00PM starting January 19. Helen Claire Ferguson facilitates.

Some of our cancer-specific support groups have disbanded, so we encourage individuals interested in attending a support group to try one of our general cancer support groups.

Please call Gail Hamm at 484-9560 or 866-484-9560 if you have any questions about these or other programs offered by Cancer Services or if there are other programs you would like Cancer Services to offer.

Now Offering Tai Chi

Beginning Wednesday, January 5, Cancer Services will offer Tai Chi classes for our clients and caregivers.

What is Tai Chi? Tai Chi is an ancient form of exercise composed of graceful, flowing movements. Participants work from a standing or seated position. There is no floor work required.

What are the benefits of Tai Chi?

Promotes relaxation and inner calm

Increases strength

Helps manage pain and stress

Improves breathing, balance and sleep quality

Join us for Tai Chi each Wednesday for 6 weeks from January 5 through February 9, 2011, 5:30PM-6:30PM.

Class size is limited…please call for reservations: 484-9560 or 866-484-9560.

Cancer Services

Healing Arts Center

6316 Mutual Drive

Fort Wayne, IN 46825

Elizabeth Edwards…She Won

by Dianne May, President & CEO

We’ve all heard by now that Elizabeth Edwards has died. She made it clear to friends and family that she didn’t want it said that “she lost her battle with cancer.” In her words, the battle is about living a good life and she won.

As overwhelming and all-consuming as a cancer diagnosis can be, most people come to the conclusion that they don’t want to be defined by their cancer experience. That’s true of many of the difficult challenges that life brings.

Elizabeth lost her first child in an auto accident when he was a teenager. I heard her in an interview once talking about grief and loss. She was firm in her belief that friends and family should never shy away from talking about someone who has died. Rather she believed that such conversations were not so much a reminder that the loved one had died but rather a reminder that the individual had lived and such memories brought joy.

By all accounts, Elizabeth was a strong and nurturing soul, a force to be reckoned with, and a woman who won her battle by living a good life.

The Holidays Are Here!

What an exciting day at Cancer Services yesterday! The gifts purchased by local organization for our clients through the Christmas Bureau arrived. Boxes and boxes of toys, clothes, food and other items are now being safely stored here until our client families come to get them. And what an exciting day that will be too. No one can dispute that cancer and its related treatments can have a huge financial impact on a family. Many of our clients will struggle to celebrate the holidays this year. This is just one more way that Cancer Services can help.

Last week, the staff decorated the office for the holidays. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Aspirin May Cut Cancer Deaths, But Caution Urged

by The Associated Press

LONDON December 7, 2010, 08:09 am ET

A new report from British scientists suggests that long-term, low-dose aspirin use may modestly reduce the risk of dying of certain cancers, though experts warn the study isn’t strong enough to recommend healthy people start taking a pill that can cause bleeding and other problems.

In a new observational analysis published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet, Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford and colleagues looked at eight studies that included more than 25,000 patients and cut the risk of death from certain cancers by 20 percent.

While some experts said the analysis adds to evidence of aspirin’s potential to cut cancer risk, others said it falls short of changing advice to healthy people, and it failed to show the benefits apply equally to women.

The trials mostly compared men who took a daily dose of at least 75 milligrams of aspirin for heart problems to people who took a placebo or another drug. On average, the studies lasted at least four years.

Researchers used national cancer registries to get information on participants after the studies ended, though they weren’t sure how many aspirin takers continued using it or how many people in the comparison groups may have started.

The researchers said that the projected risk after two decades of dying from cancers like lung and prostate would be 20 percent lower in groups who had taken aspirin and 35 percent lower for gastrointestinal cancers like colon cancer. These odds are figured from smaller numbers — there were 326 lung cancer deaths in all, for example.

Only one-third of people in the analysis were women — not enough to calculate any estimates for breast cancer. There appeared to be no benefit to taking more than 75 milligrams daily — roughly the amount in a European dose of baby aspirin and a bit less than the baby aspirin dose in the U.S.

The analysis left out a high-quality experiment that tested aspirin every other day in nearly 40,000 U.S. women. No reduction in cancer risk was seen except for lung cancer deaths in that trial.

No funding was provided for the new Lancet analysis but several of the authors have been paid for work for companies that make aspirin and similar drugs.

Scientists said it would take some time to digest the study results and figure out which people should take aspirin.

Eric Jacobs, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist, called it a “major contribution” and said the study results, in addition to previous research, suggested aspirin’s effects on the risk of dying from several cancers “appear likely.”

Others said the study wasn’t strong enough for doctors to start recommending aspirin.

“I definitely think we wouldn’t want to make any treatment decisions based on this study,” said Dr. Raymond DuBois, a cancer prevention specialist who is provost of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

One concern is that the studies were designed to look at cardiovascular risks, so the groups of people being compared may differ on things that affect cancer risk, such as family history of the disease. DuBois also questioned drawing conclusions about people’s cancer risk beyond the several years they were tracked.

Aspirin has long been recommended for some people with heart problems. But it can have serious side effects, like bleeding in the stomach and intestines, and poses risks in groups like the elderly who are prone to falls.

“Balancing the risks and benefits of aspirin is really important and probably something that needs to be done on an individual basis,” said Ed Yong, Cancer Research U.K.’s head of health evidence and information. He was not linked to the study.

“If anyone is considering aspirin on a regular basis, they should talk to their doctor first,” Yong said. He warned people should not think of aspirin as a guarantee against cancer and other prevention strategies like not smoking and keeping a healthy body weight were essential.

A U.S. health task force specifically recommends against aspirin for people with an average cancer risk.

Gaps

by Dianne May, president & CEO

One of my favorite authors, Louise Penny, recently wrote this: “my books, while clearly and happily [are] murder mysteries [they] are really about duality. The gap between what is said and what is felt. The public face and the inner truth.”

The gap between what is said and what is felt. How often have you felt trapped in that place? Wanting to have an honest and authentic conversation with someone, but worried about how he or she might react. It’s scary to set aside social conventions and expectations in order to share deeply personal thoughts and feelings. What if the listener is uncomfortable? What if I can’t find the words I need?

Maybe you’ve been the person waiting for another to open up and share. You sense there is more to be said, but you don’t want to force your loved one to talk if she is not ready. The truth is she might be waiting for a sign from you that it is okay to share her feelings.

Some people need time to prepare for conversations and some need only the right time or place. Humor might make it easier for him to start a conversation. And a simple question might provide the right opening for her. However we find the way to traverse the gap between our public faces and inner truths, sharing our true feelings with people whom we love and who love us, is a good thing. Is there a gap you want to cross?

Annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration

We have amazing volunteers and this morning, we hosted our annual Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at Ceruti’s to honor them. More than 200 volunteers attended and enjoyed a delicious breakfast and entertainment by the Alley Kats.

We could not do what we do without our volunteers and we think we have some of the best ones around. Here are some statistics about them in 2010.

Support group facilitators, members of the advisory board, and Finance and Friend Development committee members have planned, led, attended and participated in 320 meetings

Volunteers provided 355 trips for our clients to and from treatment centers in the wind, rain and snow.

Our volunteer receptionists come in every week and greet our clients with warm smiles, answering 6 phone lines, and keeping things running during lunch time. They have given 467 hours to us this year.

Volunteers helped us have a presence at 35 different health fairs or educational events.

Our Monday morning volunteers who show up faithfully each week cut bed pads, inspect bed pads, assemble folders, shred papers, and help with mailings. They have donated 534 hours this year.

We had 22 volunteer massage therapists who participated in an advanced training class for working with oncology patients. In July we launched our Caring Touch program and since then have given 301 massages to our clients and their primary caregivers.

Our special events volunteers, who help plan Survivors Day, The Tribute Dinner, Design on Life, Tie 1 On, and Lapper, donated more than 1,200 hours in planning, implementing, and assisting with our events.

Our sewing groups donated 7,185 hours washing, ironing, cutting, pinning, and sewing 6,620 bed pads for us.

All together, our volunteers donated 12,150 hours in 2010!

Our Volunteer Coordinator, Cheryl Dafforn, left our volunteers with this special message.

One of my favorite things to do in my job is to plan this event for you. You hold such a dear place in all of our hearts and we love it when we can all come together and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

This year we have chosen a coffee cup as your thank-you. Did you know that coffee is a very ancient drink, and that people have been drinking it for over two thousand years? In fact coffee is now one of the most popular drinks in the world, and is almost as valuable as petroleum. Now a coffee bean by itself may not appear to be anything special, but when you add water things change. It becomes a rich, bold, invigorating beverage that some of us hold very dear. It also gives us a boost and keeps us going.

You, as volunteers give us a boost and keep us going.

Wilfred A Peterson once said “Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made nothing happens.” Your decision to become a volunteer with Cancer Services allows us to utilize your gifts to lessen and ease the changes our clients face each day.

The reality is…cancer changes people. Our objective, here at Cancer Services, is to make those changes as painless as possible. Without volunteers like you, we could not do that. Your volunteer moments count. Just by volunteering your time you demonstrate what counts. Moments count, people count, count the moments we have together.

Thank-you for making the decision to volunteer. We realize you may not always see the end results of your volunteer efforts, or the impact it has with our clients but please know this… Our cup runneth over with great volunteers, and we are truly blessed by each and every one of you.

Thank you for being “Bold” enough to volunteer, and making our lives “Richer”

What Special Days of Life Do You Mark?

Donna doesn’t remember what day it was when the doctor said, “you’re cancer-free.” But her husband Tom does and every year on that day he tells her how much he loves and appreciates her.

Mark had a birthday party when he turned 11, but it was the “No More Chemo” party later that year that he really remembers.

Mary Jo’s surgery was the same day as her daughter’s 21st birthday. Neither of them felt like celebrating, but it was so good to be together that night.

Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, days of “firsts”—what special days of life do you mark? No one would argue that calendars and dates aren’t important, but we remember our own life’s journey by events and important moments. Sometimes, the moments are painful or scary, like when you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. The fear can block out everything around us.

Cancer Services provides a bright spot of hope for people dealing with cancer. Here families find help and understanding. It is an important day when someone comes to Cancer Services. They may need practical supplies and equipment or simply the friendly face of someone who understands. We want to be here every day for people who have cancer.

Please help us spread the word so that no one has to travel this journey alone. You can start by bookmarking this blog and sharing it with others.

Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

by Gail Hamm, program director

Holidays are notorious for too much food, too many relatives, and too little sleep for the cook. There’s too little time to clean the house, thaw the bird, and manage travel. Let’s be serious. Holidays can be very hectic and rarely are relaxing. But it’s important to your health to step back from all the hassle and refocus on yourself. This is especially true if you, or a loved one, are going through cancer treatment. It’s ok to give yourself permission to simplify. This may mean letting someone else host the affair this year. It may mean changing the menu from roasting a bird to ordering pizza. Perhaps it’s time to reduce the size of the guest list. Maybe you’ll decide to stay in your jammies and let the holiday slide on by, just this once. Whatever you do, you do not have to explain yourself. You do not have to feel like a failure. You do not have to feel guilty. You can say, “I am taking care of myself.” Who knows, you just might find a new way to celebrate!

Cancer Services Announces Expanded Hours to Begin in 2011

In response to requests from clients and family members, Cancer Services will begin offering evening hours until 7:00pm on Monday nights starting January 10. A Client Advocate will be available to meet with individuals and provide access to all the services offered. We know life during cancer is complicated and we want to help. This is one more way Cancer Services is here for you.

Hours of Operation:

Monday 9am to 7pm, Tues-Friday 9am to 5pm

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