Best of Cancerwise 2012: Wisdom from cancer caregivers

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This year, some inspiring and selfless caregivers have shared their stories here on Cancerwise. They've taught us about love and perseverance, and showed us how they make a difference.

cancer caregivers1218.JPGPatient and caregiver, heal thyself

By Toni Franciosi, Department of Social Work

Receiving a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness like cancer may be one of the greatest agents of change that exists -- a change that can lead to the pursuit of healing, not only for the body, but also for the mind and spirit.

For cancer patients and their caregivers alike, diagnosis and treatment may become an all-consuming, anxiety-provoking game of survival.

The strain of undergoing treatment and caretaking may seem relentless at times.  But it's important to remember that our own thoughts and perceptions about what's happening can fuel an even greater "stress response," that can compromise healing.

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cancer caregivers Chesley.JPGWaiting room wisdom: The power of shared experience

By Chesley Cheatham, Patient Education Office

Just when you think you know something, life will teach you that you don't.

I thought I had a pretty good understanding of patients' experiences. I've worked in the Patient Education Office almost six years; I teach the New Patient/Family Orientation Class; I help develop patient education programs; and I even give tours of MD Anderson.

However, when my aunt was diagnosed with a rare type of sarcoma in March 2011 and became a patient here, well ... that's when I really learned a thing or two.

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