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If you have been diagnosed with cancer, if you are supporting someone with cancer or you are a professional wanting to understand what a patient experiences when they are diagnosed with cancer; then this is the course for you.I will not only share my personal journey through ovarian cancer, but will share skills and tools that can make the journey a little easier. We will explore the emotional roller coaster of a diagnosis of cancer and also look at communication skills that are vital in creating the support structure to tackle this tough experience.
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|Section 1: Hello, nice to meet you|
I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1996 and went into remission in 1997, after undergoing chemotherapy treatment. During the last 18 years I have been extensively involved in patient support, as a counselor, caregiver and support group facilitator.
I co-produced The Cancer Coping Kit (an audio program for newly diagnosed patients) in association with The Cancer Association of South Africa and Denise Bernstein (a friend and cancer survivor). This program has been translated into 3 of the official South African languages and distributed to patients across South Africa.
My mom, Carol, was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and passed away in the same year and I was her caregiver. Having experienced cancer from so many dimensions, I believe that I have valuable skills that I can share with you.
We have also loaded pdf's of The Cancer Coping Kit for you.
|Section 2: Learning to surf the emotional wave|
I am sure (that just like me) this is not where you expected to find yourself! There are a range of emotions that are felt not only by the patient, but by family members and friends too. In this lecture, we start covering some of emotions you may experience: like shock & disbelief, denial and bargaining.
I will share with you my journey through these emotions, how I experienced them and we hope that this will allow you to become more aware of them in yourself.
Ok, so you thought we were through all of the emotions?? No, unfortunately the roller coaster is still rolling. So let's look at some other emotions that you might be experiencing: anger, fear, sadness, grief and depression.
Yes, these are tough ones to cope with, sometimes the toughest part is admitting that you are actually feeling them!
And....... just when you thought we were done! Here is the next set...... Uncertainty and guilt! Take a leap and be willing to really look at them. Right in the eye! In working through your emotions, be willing to admit that sometimes you may be the biggest obstacle to overcome.
Finally the roller coaster starts to slow down and we examine Acceptance. The enormous value and peace that is found in this place cannot be adequately described.
We'll also lighten the load by chatting a bit about tumor humor and finding things to laugh about!
Acceptance is the place that you want to be and I understand that sometimes getting there is tough. I hope that the tools we share here will make it a little easier.
Please download the Understanding Emotions.pdf and work through the exercise.
Getting to grips with emotions was a huge step forward in working through my emotions and arriving in a state of grace: Acceptance. In this lecture, I share with you some of my insights and experiences and even a few laughs, as I wrangled with my feelings.
Let's open the toolkit and find the right tools to work with each emotion as discussed in the previous lectures.
I love this quote from Jonatan Martensson: "Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf."
By choosing to work through your emotions, you will gain a sense of control, that will really help you on your journey through cancer.
Please download the Toolkit for Emotions.pdf and add this information to your toolkit for coping.
We have additional tools for you to use and put into practice that will help not only you, but those around you.
Download My Emotional Response.pdf and work through the exercises at your pace.
Please download the Toolkit for Emotions2.pdf and work through the exercise to get you more in touch with your emotions.
|Section 3: Communication is key!|
Let's open the communications toolkit and see what tools we have inside to help you become a better communicator!
I had to learn to communicate differently while on my journey, to ensure that I created a strong support structure that I could lean on when I needed to. It was also important for me to create the platform for those around me to be able to communicate effectively with me. I was fortunate to be surrounded by loving family members and friends, who were willing to learn with me.
This toolkit shares practical tools for communicating effectively:
In lecture 11, we chat about how to activate the communication skills that we have previously discussed.
Rumi so eloquently says: "Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field. I'll meet you there."
If you are able to implement the right mind set on communicating with others, you will find that your journey becomes that much easier. These tools can be applied in all areas of your life going forward. (Remember to practice them on your medical team too!)
Yes, you do have rights and choices with regards your illness and treatment. Please have a look at the charter for your country and don't allow yourself to be forced into making choices that you don't want to.
Remember that people with support COPE better and by developing great communication skills you will be able to attract this support, as well as being able to conveying your needs to those around you.
Download the Great Communications A.pdf and work through the exercises and my answers are available on Great Communications B.pdf
|Section 4: Good luck on your journey|
This is your journey and you can only do it your way!
Take it one day at a time and if you can't do that, then do one minute at a time.
We wish you strength on your journey!
Bev's warm and engaging manner combined with an intense belief in facing challenges head-on has assisted her in overcoming her own adversity to help people across all cultures take control of their lives. Prior to Bev's diagnosis with ovarian cancer in 1996, she had been studying and training in wellness, incorporating reflexology, massage, counseling and nutrition. She put into practice her training in order to motivate her own healing process and after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy she went into remission in 1997.
Bev's key-note talks and workshops on resilience and sustainable positive attitudes, offers practical tools that can create positive change in people.
As an industrial theater producer, workshop facilitator and international speaker she has connected with audiences of all age groups. Bev's industrial theater productions have played to thousands of South African children, giving the country's youth valuable tools with which to overcome fears and face their future.
Bev co-developed the Cancer Coping Kit, in conjunction with The Cancer Association of South Africa, which assists newly diagnosed patients and their families in coping with their illness.
She is based in Johannesburg and travels locally and internationally offering MC services, key-note talks and workshops.
Bev has made numerous television and radio appearances, and corporate visits, and has been interviewed extensively in the print media.
She shares her life with Leo, who keeps her sane and her dogs, Kai and Shadow, who lavish her with love and keep her fit.