By Daphne Bottos
I come from a huge extended family. My mother is the second youngest of 10 and beyond that, I have 30 first cousins, 20 second cousins and 30 third cousins -- all family members just on my mother's side.
When one of the top 10 gets sick, it's like playing the telephone game with a bunch of children. Interesting twists to stories, odd facts and the 'he said/she said' make it hard to nail down pertinent information.
Back in 1993, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. I can't imagine the stress it put on my dad when he had to call each of my mother's siblings.
Having to tell multiple people the same news over and over again is tiring and stressful. Having to tell multiple family members that you have cancer is just depressing.
CarePages: an easier way to share cancer updates
Recently, my mom was diagnosed with skin cancer again, but this time, my family is having a much easier time sharing updates. That's because my parents are able to share information with friends and family through a site called CarePages.
CarePages is a free service for MD Anderson patients and their families. By setting up your own CarePages website, you can easily stay in touch with family and friends before, during and after your cancer treatment.
Cancer patients and caregivers can also share photos, learn more about health care issues and connect with others going through the same experience. MD Anderson's CarePages site has information about patient and caregiver resources, as well as visiting hours for our hospital.
Getting started with CarePages
You can share news and updates about your cancer diagnosis and treatment with all of your family, friends and colleagues at once just by posting an update on your private, personalized page. CarePages is fully secure and password protected. It complies with all patient privacy regulations.
When you create a CarePage, you will be able to select the level of access to your viewers by selecting one of the following: community access, friends and family access, or invitation-only access. The level of access you choose dictates what information can be seen.
Once you have checked the level of access, friends and family -- or whomever you send information to -- will be able to read your notes or post messages of support, making it easier to stay in touch during your cancer journey.
Getting started is easy! Just visit www.carepages.com/mdanderson. Click on "Create a CarePage," and then register and follow the simple steps to complete your page.
Make things easier on yourself sharing information with everyone at once
Cancer is upsetting enough as it is. Why not make things a little easier on yourself by setting up a CarePages account so you don't have to keep telling everyone in your life the same information, over and over?
It has certainly helped make my family's cancer journey easier. Plus, my mom really enjoys reading the words of encouragement from her visitors.
To learn more about Patient Education programs, please call 713-792-7128.