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  • When the Patient is an Oncologist

    Posted 5/21/2015 by hhill

      For obvious reasons, this wonderful interview with Dr. Laura Lieberman, a physician at Memorial Sloan Kettering who was diagnosed with Stage IV lymphoma caught my eye. Being an oncology social worker, married to an oncologist, and having two breast cancers has been quite a challenging experience. While it has been very helpful to know a lot, there have been many times when knowing less would have been better. My poor husband had to try to regain a poker face on more than one occasion when I had glimpsed his distress. 

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  • Cancer and Friendships

    Posted 5/21/2015 by hhill
    The impact of cancer on friendships can be shocking. A cancer diagnosis is a litmus test of relationships, and everyone has surprises. We generally assume that our friends will be supportive in a crisis, and this may or may not turn out to be true. If, in the beginning, you make a list of friends who will be helpful and others who will not, your list surely will not be accurate.  It also won’t include the people whom you barely know who will turn out to be faithful and important friends. Read more... Comments (0)
  • Hair Loss or Alopecia

    Posted 5/20/2015 by hhill

      Alopecia is the fancy medical name for hair loss. When we think about it, the loss is due to radiation or chemotherapy; however, there is primary alopecia, a disease of its own, that causes lifelong baldness or very thin hair. Hair that falls out due to chemotherapy always returns although it may be thinner, curlier, of a different color or texture. Hair that falls out due to radiation therapy usually does not come back. This is especially difficult for women who receive whole brain radiation, so the permanent hair loss covers most of the scalp. For lots of women who have breast cancer radiation that includes the axillary lymph nodes, the underarm hair may not return; that is usually not experienced as a big problem.

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  • Problems with Sleep

    Posted 5/19/2015 by hhill

      In order to have a decent quality of life, you have to sleep at night. We all have different sleep needs and patterns before we are diagnosed with cancer, but it is safe to suggest that no one's sleep is improved by this diagnosis. In the beginning, anxiety and sadness and stress may keep us awake. Everything seems worse in the middle of the night, and there is plenty to worry about in the early days.

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  • The Aging Brain

    Posted 5/18/2015 by hhill

      Although at first glance this may seem unrelated to our (cancer) topic, I think it is actually quite relevant. What happens cognitively to everyone as they age is quite similar to our concerns about chemo brain. For those of us who have had cancer treatment and are aging (YAY!), any information about how to stay mentally sharp is useful.

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Cancer Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

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