New or Exaggerated Behaviors

You need to not only assess your child's mood, but also look for new or exaggerated behaviors. For example, you should be concerned if your child who is usually outgoing becomes withdrawn, or if your child begins to act out at home or at school. If your child is usually neat but begins to become obsessive about keeping his or her room clean, this change could be a warning sign. (The opposite change is just as significant.) If your child usually needs prompting to bathe but now completely...

Table 72 Safe and Unsafe Physical Therapy Techniques

Modalities That Might Not Be Safe for People with Cancer Superficial heat (for example, hot packs) and deep heat (for example, ultrasound) Usually not used directly over a tumor site because of the theoretical concern that increased blood flow may encourage tumor growth. However, this issue is controversial. Massage manipulation percussion soft tissue mobilization Generally avoided in the area of a malignancy. This is another controversial issue there is also the suggestion that massage may be...

Table 111 Symptoms of Grief and Symptoms of Depression

Sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, decreased ability to concentrate, less interest in social activities, alterations in usual behavior patterns (for example, more irritable or angry) Depression Symptoms similar to those of grief but also may feel hopeless, helpless, worthless, and guilty and in some instances may have thoughts of suicide Generally waxes and wanes and the person vacillates between feeling hopeful and sad still able to enjoy activities Constant feelings of intense sadness...

Prayer

Another of my colleagues who works in the field of oncology, Dr. Jerome Groopman (probably best known for his book The Anatomy of Hope), wrote in a journal article about one of his patients who had cancer. She told him, Doctor, I'm frightened. I pray every day. I want you to pray for me. Dr. Groopman didn't know what to say. He explained, None of the training I received in medical school, residency, fellowship, or practice had taught me how to respond to Anna. . . . should I cross the boundary...

Setbacks

Recall that early in this book I mentioned that setbacks are a part of the healing process. As a rehabilitation doctor, I treat many patients with serious injuries and illnesses. Some of the people who come to see me are what we call multi-trauma patients for instance, they might have been in a car accident and have sustained several injuries. It can take months or even years to heal, and the road is usually not smooth. I often see other people who have a single, relatively straightforward...

Table 101 Potential Problems with Opioid Medications

Serious side effects of opioids can include respiratory depression (slowed breathing), so it's recommended that these medications not be used in conjunction with alcohol, antihistamines, barbiturates, or benzodiazepines. (There are exceptions if you are taking opioids, just be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you're taking that can be sedating or cause respiratory depression.) Other side effects may include rash or itching, nausea with or without vomiting, constipation,...

Beware the Charlatans Mystics and Quacks

I do not advise people to rely solely on nontraditional practitioners, though I believe that some of them can be very helpful. I do not want to taint legitimate alternative healers, but I want you to be aware of the booming CAM industry and to recognize its long and often sordid history with respect to cancer. In Bathshebas Breast, a fascinating history of breast cancer, James Olson writes about how frightened and vulnerable cancer patients have been exploited Desperation drives cancer patients...

Your Baseline Mood

My mother and father had a deep and abiding love for each other, and when my father died, my mother was truly despondent. I remember one conversation I had with her a few months after his death, when she told me about a TV interview of Dr. Joyce Brothers that she had seen. Dr. Brothers talked about how most of us have an emotional baseline, whether it's generally happy or chronically depressed or somewhere in between. When we suffer a terrible blow, for whatever reason, our emotional status can...

Fighting Fatigue with Food

Fatigue is a common problem in people who are undergoing cancer treatment or have finished with therapy and are in the process of healing. Although a person's diet may be just one factor among the many reasons for fatigue, in some people diet plays a significant role. So, what can you do diet-wise to have more energy and endurance Consider the following suggestions Be sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. Talk to your doctor and your dietitian about your protein needs. It may help...