Fighting Cancer Requires Emotional Strength
There's one diagnosis that seems to overwhelm even the strongest among us – cancer. Battling it requires not only the right medical care, but the right emotional support as well.
When someone receives a diagnosis of cancer, pretty much the first thing to go is your peace of mind. The Cancer Support Community of the Greater Lehigh Valley aims to help restore that peace through a combination of education, support, and activities.
Steven Drechsler discovered the program after his diagnosis five years ago. “Well, my brother was dying of prostate cancer when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And my father had died of prostate cancer. So I kind of knew what I was going to go through. “
Jen Sinclair, Program Director for the Cancer Support Community, says, "We aim to help them re-establish a sense of control. A cancer diagnosis brings up many chaotic feelings and it’s often a very confusing, overwhelming time. So to help them re-establish a sense of control and maybe redefine their sense of hope and help them build a sense of community again.”
They do that through mind-body-spirit classes like Qi Gong, yoga, and tai chi; support groups, art, writing, and other programs. Larry Gasda saw the full calendar in his doctor’s office when he went for chemotherapy.
Says Gasda, “I looked at those calendars for the support community for a long time in the doctor’s office. And you don’t want to say, “Gee, I’m one of those people that needs to go there.”
"People come in and they are understandably bewildered and scared and not sure what their first step or next step could be, says Sinclair. "And we see them build confidence."
David Nemeroff teaches Qi Gong. “If you’re able to slow down and just take a second and breathe, you know, that does a world of benefit for you. And just letting your body, you know, have a second to relax.”
Nemeroff compares your body to a computer. If you never turn it off, never give it “down” time, it’s more prone to malfunction.
“And the same happens with your mind. If you don’t give it a chance to stop and reset and relax, you know, your mind’s going to suffer as well as your body. So Qi Gong is a way to slow down, you know, from our everyday lives.”
Drechsler says he incorporates the breathing techniques he's learned into his everyday life...like when he's gardening.
“I've spent a lot of time working at becoming peaceful. I started out saying “It is what it is,” and move on from there day by day."
Gasda remakrs, “I tell people all the time you don’t know how bad you felt until you start to feel good again. And this, I think, has really helped me physically get back on my feet.”
A very important thing to note is that the Cancer Support Community offers all of its programs to cancer patients, survivors, and their families for free in keeping with their objective of supporting the whole family, the whole time.
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