|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
"She was a former school teacher, I was a deli manager," Tornow says. "We talked about food a lot because she couldn't eat much. Her husband would bring in Indian food. A sister-in-law came up from Texas and gave her great support and cooked for her."
While social workers address practical matters such as obtaining financial aid and understanding insurance issues, the main emphasis, says Rose, is on the mental health of patients and families dealing with all kinds of cancers. Rose and other social workers work with patients on an individual basis, as well as in groups, to share stories and experiences.
"We have a weekly support group for patients and caregivers that is open to everybody including post-transplant patients," Rose says. "Every Wednesday before group, we go to patient rooms and invite them to participate and talk about why it's helpful to come to the group. We publicize the support group to clinic patients, as well."
The inpatient BMT nurses also hold occasional family fun days where patients and families gather to create an art project or do an activity that gives them the chance to relax and meet other people. On any given day, some patients arrange to meet in the family lounge to talk.
After 22 days in the hospital, Tornow was discharged; Geevarghese went home the next day. The two women continue to see each other at follow-up visits and plan to keep in touch despite living two hours apart. Tornow, now back in Adrian among family and friends, is thankful for her wide range of support.
"My neighbor Terri is a nurse," she says. "She goes to many of my appointments with me and helps me understand what the doctors are saying. We now take walks at 6 a.m. and are up to two miles."
Although Tornow must restrict her activity for 100 days to give her immune system time to rebuild, she is thankful to be home and cancer-free. She hopes to resume her normal hobbies, such as biking, riding horses and golfing, once she gets the "all-clear" from her doctor.
WhatNext is an online support network developed in partnership with the American Cancer Society. The site provides a way for individuals to share their cancer journeys and insights so others can get a better idea of what to expect during their own journeys. Find users most like you based on cancer type, treatment experiences and other diagnosis details. Visit whatnext.com.
Sharing Support Resources
National Cancer Institute: Organizations That Offer Support Services
List of more than 100 orgs nationwide that provide emotional, practical and financial support services for people with cancer and their families.
American Cancer Society: Online Communities and Support
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