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  • Conquering Fear

    Posted 7/27/2017 by hhill

      Since we all know that fear is a companion of a cancer diagnosis, we also would all agree that any strategies to better manage it can be welcome.I suspect that conquering is optimistic, but even better managing would be positive. Especially if some strategies work in the middle of the dark night

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  • Cancer Fatigue

    Posted 7/26/2017 by hhill

      People who have not undergone cancer treatment don't understand cancer fatigue. As we all know, it is not the way one feels after a poor night's sleep or working out at the gym or just staying up too late. It is a pervasive feeling of exhaustion and the usual remedies don't help much.

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  • The Language of Cancer

    Posted 7/25/2017 by hhill

      I was delighted to see this piece from CNN as it gives me another opportunity to rant and rave about the language of cancer. My biggest complaint is this common sentence: Ms. X failed Taxol." Anyone with half a brain and even a tiny slice of heart would recognize the insult of this comment. Ms. X did most certainly did not fail Taxol! Taxol failed her.

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  • Guide to Financial Concerns

    Posted 7/24/2017 by hhill

      Everyone has heard the old saying that the primary causes of stress and fights in marriages are sex, money, and in-laws. I suspect that two of the three are responsible for a lot of the stress during cancer--with health and prognosis worries replacing in-laws as the third.

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  • Drug Works or Your Money Back

    Posted 7/21/2017 by hhill

      Sometimes something comes along that is a big reminder of the kind of work I do, the kind of world I live in, the kind of perspective that I carry. In a million years, it would never have occurred to me that it might be possible to have a money back guarantee for drugs. Sure, I return things all the time (most recently a landline phone that just does not work), but drugs? Never. As clearly as I know anything, I know that it is impossible to promise that a particular drug or treatment will work for everyone. How many times do we hear the phrase: Everyone is different? 

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  • Cancer and Sex

    Posted 7/20/2017 by hhill

      Back to one of our favorite topics. This is an introduction to a really excellent long article by Abigail Jones, just published in Newsweek. Ms. Jones interviewed my husband and me as part of her research, so she sent the link yesterday.

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  • Cancer Screening

    Posted 7/19/2017 by hhill

      Most of us pay a lot of attention to recommended cancer screening: mammograms, colonoscopies, PAP smears, sometimes other tests in specific situations. Is this always wise? 

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  • Peripheral Neuropathy

    Posted 7/18/2017 by hhill

      As you read the title of today's blog, you likely either don't know/don't much care what this is or you recognize it as a real problem. Peripheral neuropathy refers to damage to the peripheral nervous system, the huge and complex system of nerves and information transmission from the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and every other part of our bodies. For cancer patients, this usually refers to damage caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. The usual drug culprits are the Taxanes, and the side effect ranges from very minor to a huge life-long problem.

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  • Lab Mistakes

    Posted 7/17/2017 by hhill

      I have thought about including this article for several days, as it is both distressing and hopeful. The hopeful part is that there may be a solution, but the distressing part is that it confirms our dark suspicions that labs do make mistakes. Of course they do; they are staffed by humans. Generally all specimens and reports and double-read to reduce the risks, but it is plenty scary to contemplate.

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  • Personal Finance after Cancer

    Posted 7/14/2017 by hhill

      On top of everything else, cancer is expensive and too often creates lots of financial problems. Suze Orman is a well known financial adviser, and in this interview, she brings her considerable expertise to the particular issues of people coping with cancer. Although this is from, the information is completely relevant to everyone.

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

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About the Blogger

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C is the Manager of Oncology Social Work at BIDMC. For more than thirty years, her daily work at BIDMC has been primarily focused on supporting women with breast cancer. A nationally known writer and speaker, she was the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's first Hatcher Survivorship Professor. In 1993, and again in 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through the standard treatments of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy. These experiences have given her great credibility with her patients and transformed her life's work to her life. Ms. Schnipper lives gratefully with her husband in an ancient farmhouse outside of Boston and spends as much time as possible in a water front cottage on Mt Desert Island. Between them, they have five adult children and seven grandchildren; she claims biological responsibility for two and three of them.