Breast Cancer Support Group at Cork ARC – “Moving on in Wellness”

Our Breast Cancer Support Group will commence this Autumn. Set to run over eight weeks, this group is facilitated to create a safe space where people who are finished their cancer treatment can share experiences & learn tools to help them move on in their lives. Our Breast Cancer Nurse Counsellor, Fiona Moriarty, will facilitate the group.

Drop in Centre People meeting“Nothing helps as much as the shared experience” 

There will be information and group work to support you in your rehabilitation. All places are free, please contact Fiona Moriarty, Breast Cancer Nurse Counsellor at Cork ARC on 021 4276688.

Cork ARC Cancer Support House, “Cliffdale”, 5 O’Donovan Rossa Road, Cork. Tel:  021-4276688   Email: info@corkcancersupport.ie. Opening Hours:  Mon-Thurs: 9.30am – 4.30 pm, Fri: 9.30am- 3.00pm

http://www.corkcancersupport.ie

Prostate Cancer Survivor’s Story

Hi All,

Richard has kindly shared his story of prostate cancer diagnosis. We hope you will find it helpful and supportive.  As always you can call us on 021-4276688 or email us on info@corkcancersupport.ie for more information.

Thank You,

Ellen

Ellen Joyce, Director of Services at Cork ARC Cancer Support House

RICHARD’S STORY

“Dear Readers,

Thank you for hitting on my blog.  I hope you find it educational, supportive and above all gives you confidence and hope that you can recover, manage and/or live with Cancer.

I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in February this year, it’s now August and I am feeling ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC.  Did I ever believe I would write something like this during the past 6 months ABSOLUTELY NOT!! So read on reader, there is a happy ending to this.

But before I tell you about my story, I want to put a few disclaimers in place.

This is my first ever blog, so I am not in the media business or promoting anything other than hope. I am not good at this sort of thing; it’s just an honest download.

I understand that all cancers are different and we all manage to live with cancer in different ways, so I am not promoting that my methods, experiences and decisions are a recipe for success. I will only give you my best known methods from my perspective.

You may suffer from my Cancer or other types. You maybe a spouse, family member or friend of someone who is trying to cope. My blog is meant to reach out to you with ARC House so that we can help… I know I certainly needed someone and a facility like ARC House to get me through the past 6 months.

I am going to put RULES OF THUMB in place in the blog to help you, should you desire to follow my guidance.

I believe I am like any average guy. I am 55 years old.  I work hard, have a loving family and try to equally balance supporting both although I do this badly. My wife would say very badly. I put in a lot of working hours on a weekly basis. I don’t have hobbies but actually I love my job, so it’s a hobby in itself.  Oh I almost forgot I don’t do Cancer; other people get that and certainly ones close to me-more about that later. I am too busy to get ill and my health up until now holds testimony to that, I even rarely get a cold.   My weekly calendar has no time for illness, there’s so much to be done.

Every three years the company I work for gives me a health check. This is the time my assistance nags me to go and get myself checked-out. It’s a case of constant moving around the appointment to fit it in between meetings. But last October was different; I prioritized it for a special reason.

My brother in law, Dan, sadly passed away from Prostate Cancer three weeks previously.  Dan was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. I knew him for nearly 30 years. Dan was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer three years prior to this but it was one of those rare circumstances where the detection was too late.  Dan and his wife Maeve and his family’s story deserve a blog of their own as I witnessed the struggle, the bravery, the bond and the emptiness that he left behind. They put on brave faces every day, but I know it’s tough.

So dear reader , if by any chance that through Dan you improve your chances to live with or prevent Prostate Cancer affecting you or your loved ones, then I am sure that Dan’s family will get even more gratification from the legacy that he left them.

So with Dan front of mind, in I strolled to get my health check done –in between meetings and on my mobile I hasten to add.  Provided them with all the data to write a health assessment and gave them enough blood, urine etc. to ensure that graphs, charts could be created to show that I was in the best of health, that I need to watch my diet  and exercise more. Yada Yada Yada……. . my PSA was going to be excellent; I have no symptoms of any sort to suggest otherwise.

The following Monday 5th Nov, I got a call from the doctor as I was about to have a quick dinner with my wife before catching a flight to say my PSA was 9!!!   This was a HOLY GOD moment as over the years with Dan and a neighbour who also since passed away from Prostate Cancer, I became somewhat of an expert in PSA’s and Gleeson Scores.  I knew I was in trouble.   I am not in the medical profession and this is not a paper in PSA theory and the potential risks on PSA readings, this is just my story.

I immediately went to my local Doctor the following morning and asked for support, advice. He could see me losing it in front of him, normally I am strong but this absolutely gets to you like nothing else. He put me in touch with a Urologist, whom I met 2 days later, where I had to do two further PSA tests to ensure that they could get a consistent reading.

Both PSA’s through November and December gave readings of 6.5 ish.  By this stage the nightmares are well and truly in place, EVERY night. You are completely distracted as you are very quickly faced all sorts of potential ramifications.  Yes, I did Google mortality rates on Prostate Cancer. I was not even diagnosed!!!  but you do, at least I did.  I read all sorts of crap.

My urologist then decided to do an MRI and Biopsy to determine why my PSA was high. Even though 6.5 is not that high, it was enough to suggest something was not right. At this stage in my mind I had about 3 years to live… I was leaving this world and thought about a horrible state of decline to a 1 way ticket to Switzerland.  No one can understand the torment you go through. I had no one to speak to, except my wife. I could write another blog about her. My best friend, my rock, my everything. I don’t know how I could have got through this without her and yet she did not tell me once she was worried, I knew she was, she just gave me 1 liner’s all through the 6 months – We will get through this. You will be fine.  The diagnosis, the prognosis, the operation, the post care…. You will be fine!

I know dear readers, some of you may not have a spouse, but you can have a buddy. ARC house can help, it’s a very dark place and you need someone to listen to you, you need to talk.

We decided not to tell our 2 grown up children until as late as possible.  We did not want to worry them. It was only when I was going in for the biopsy that we decided to tell them that I was going in for tests.  For me, even the MRI was a scary moment, it was surreal. I felt great, I had no symptoms and yet I was getting this MRI that other Cancer patients get to access the location, etc. Even though they are young adults I miss-underestimated their strength but also their fears, looking back I did not do a good enough job in helping them through the process.

Even though I did take control of the situation, I was in denial. Initially I fooled myself into thinking I was taking control but I spent more time travelling, worked harder, longer hours just to distract myself from reality. The sleepless night continued and the moments alone depressed me more and more as I feared the worst. In other words I talked a good game but I did not act.

I went for the biopsy in February, if I look back now I should have done it sooner. There was no reason to put it off other than being scared of the outcome. Bad decision on my part.

The result showed that I had a tumour in the prostate and my Gleeson Score was 4+3. Now I was in serious trouble.  My Urologist was telling me all sorts of options and treatments and not to worry. He explained in detail about the situation and not to worry… now on the other side of the table, I was trying to absorb the information like a supercomputer–I HAVE CANCER- all the options to me – I HAVE CANCER-   all the treatments –I HAVE CANCER, not to worry –I HAVE CANCER.

As we drove home, we revisited the meeting for the next 2 hours, I was somewhat of an expert, but what did he say again? What did he mean when he said…??  Only for the notes. Only for another educated ear in the room.

We were given 2 weeks to agree on a treatment. I thought that I would be told what treatment to take, but in my case as it was caught early, I had several options for treatment.

Now it was time to tell family members AND to get educated.

Telling them was tough, you want to be really honest with potential ramifications but you also want to protect them. If I look back now, I don’t think I did a great job and helping them accepting my cancer. If I asked any of them were they OK, of course they said yes.

I find people strange in general but none more so in this case. Some ran away, some wanted the scoop, some were great and very understanding, and some did not want to know. The worst thing I wanted to hear, and in Cork I heard it a lot –“Ah sure you’ll be fine”   “Sure didn’t they catch it in time!” they all meant well but I wanted facts and someone to listen to my fears, someone I could open up to …. for some reason I did not know ARC House in Cork was there for that very reason. A big miss on my part.

Going out as couples from Feb with friends was awkward. Women in general did not want to talk about it and the guys wouldn’t talk about it… Another great Irish habit is to describe someone in a situation far worse than you. “Gad, your lucky, I know someone who was riddled….” . One of the great mysteries in life. Honestly I could not care and it adds no value or real perspective to my situation. It’s a sort of comforting gossip conveyed by the messenger.

You need to talk, you need to listen but ultimately you need to take control. GET EDUCATED. I needed to know about the cause and effects of Prostate Cancer. I saw what it had done to Dan. I wanted to know more about each of the treatments. I got on Cancer Web Forums, I searched for on line information, I researched the treatments and the short and long term impacts they were going to have on my life, my risks to long term incontinence and erectile dysfunction and above all best possible chances of cure.

I purchased White Papers from the JOHNS HOPKINS MEDICINE INSTITUTE, based out of Boston. I would recommend these; I found them informative, easy to read from a layman’s perspective and helped me understand how the treatments and the ramifications of such were going to have.

I found talking to men who have suffered from Prostate Cancer the most value to me. They really understood what I was going through and gave me huge confidence with what I was going through and open and honest with potential lifestyle changes that I would expect to have in the coming years.

I created a spreadsheet and outlined all the various treatments, percentage cure, impact to my life, work, recovery time and overall weighting on a prioritization I wanted: 1-Cure; 2-Dry and 3-Erect. Above all I wanted to be cured and get the best treatment to create the optimum long term survival. Being continent from a quality of life perspective was next on my priority list and then erectile functionality.

I found I wanted to simplify the decision making process and focus on what was most important and not try to ultimately confuse my priorities. So I used a weighting factor of 70/ 20/ 10. This made the decision to have a prostatectomy the best treatment for me.

One other important factor, make sure you decide this as a couple. It’s not only how you are going to get though the cancer treatment and any impact the treatment and or consequences these will have on your life thereafter. It’s fundamental that you make the right decision as a ‘team’.

I found as I gained in knowledge, I became more positive about the outcome. I also noticed that as I became more positive, my relatives and friends in turn responded and this created a spiral effect where we all felt as a family more in control and more capable of dealing with the illness. We were all going to be OK.

THE ‘OPERATION’

One I made the decision.  I could not wait for the prostatectomy to take place. You keep thinking that the tumour is growing inside you and would it have metastasized, despite what the experts tell you. I wanted it out!!! I worked up until the 23rd of April and on April 24th   I was admitted and waited in my room, the surgeon came to see me asking me how I felt. Again, I told him that it was surreal as I thought it was still just a nightmare and with no symptoms, I expected to wake up as any moment. I was more interested in the welfare of the surgeon at that stage, I was committed, I was hoping that he had an early night, no drink for several days and was going to have the mother of all surgical procedures – btw I told him so. .  I also came well prepared in the fact that I had my A TEAM with me: my wife and my sister in law, Maeve. They were by my side throughout the whole procedure. It takes a lot of courage to lose your husband to Prostate Cancer and then 6 months later helps someone through a similar situation.

I won’t bore you with the details of the operation in the blog, but if anyone would like to know more of what I went through then I would be happy to, we all love telling people about our operations. The operation itself was a 100% success, my prostate removed, nerves spared and no sign of any cancer in the lymph nodes taken.  I would have to wait for the histology results in 5 weeks for the definitive result.

I cannot sit still by nature, but the recovery process is tedious. You do need time to recover.  Your body has gone through a major operation. I judged myself every day and if I did not see any dramatic recovery, I got worried. Looking back now, it’s a matter of time; we all recover in different timescales. My company was brilliant and gave me 10 weeks off, I needed every day of that. It took me until mid June before I felt good and got out to play 4 games of crap golf(the way I usually play) in the last 2 weeks of June.

I got my continence back after 6 weeks which was a huge relief. Some take longer so don’t use this as a benchmark. There are awkward moments during that period. I know others who have catheter’s full time but they too get on with life and adjust, which proves my 30% weighting.

I got great news from the histology results 5 weeks after the operation that the cancer was contained within the prostate. They did find 2 additional tumours and with a 4+3 Gleeson Score it did show that this was aggressive and I was lucky that my PSA test was done at the right time.  It goes without saying that if you don’t look after your body and get it checked on a regular basis then you will run the risk of waiting until something serious happens before you act. So get tested on a regular basis.

Finally, I returned to work on July 1. It’s great to be back and whilst it’s still surreal, it was a horrible rollercoaster ride.  I will have to get tested on a regular basis over the next 10 years to ensure that it’s identified early if it comes back. Will I have moments of doubt and trepidation with every test, of course I will. I have 1 test done and my PSA was 0.1, I am extremely confident that I have nailed this one. I can either worry for the next 10 years or change my approach and live every day to the full and enjoy the moment.  It’s great to be alive folks.

I have a great family, relatives, friends and NEW friends whom I have met in the past 6 months. Your family and close friends are the most important people you will ever meet. Look after them – they are the ones you will depend on in your hour of greatest need.

So dear reader, enjoy life, you deserve it.

Rick

Rick’s 10 Rules of Thumb

RULE OF THUMB 1: It’s your life and your only one, take control of the situation and own it. It’s not the doctors or specialist’s responsibility to manage the situation for you.

RULE OF THUMB 2: Be careful of what you read on the web. By nature we are pessimistic, so you will read the worst case scenarios, 99% of the time it’s not you.

RULE OF THUMB 3: Bring your spouse/family member and have her take notes, excellent notes as we did.

RULE OF THUMB 4: It’s your decision on the direction you take.

RULE OF THUMB 5: Get as knowledgeable as you can.

RULE OF THUMB 6: Make the right decision for you and your spouse.

RULE OF THUMB 7: Stay positive.

RULE OF THUMB 8: Take the right amount of time to recover.

RULE OF THUMB 9: Get tested regularly

RULE OF THUMB 10: Enjoy life, you deserve it.

Benefits of Yoga for Cancer Patients

Young Woman Meditating on the Floor

Hi all,

Over the last ten years we have been running Yoga classes here in Cork ARC. Our next class will take place on Tuesday 10th September. We would like to share with you an article about the benefits of Yoga for cancer patients, taken from the Clinical Journal of Oncology, August 2013.

Visit our programmes page on our website for more information about upcoming classes and groups here

We would be glad to hear of your own experience, and as always please contact us on 021 4276688 or complete the below contact form.
MULTICENTER, RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL OF YOGA FOR SLEEP QUALITY AMONG CANCER SURVIVORS

J. Clin. Oncol. 2013 Aug 12;[EPub Ahead of Print], KM Mustian, LK Sprod, M Janelsins, LJ Peppone, OG Palesh, K Chandwani, PS Reddy, MK Melnik, C Heckler, GR Morrow.

The authors report improved sleep quality and a 21% decrease in the use of nocturnal sedatives with a 4-week yoga intervention in cancer survivors. There was no placebo control arm.

ABSTRACT
 
Purpose: Thirty percent to 90% of cancer survivors report impaired sleep quality post-treatment, which can be severe enough to increase morbidity and mortality. Lifestyle interventions, such as exercise, are recommended in conjunction with drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of impaired sleep. Preliminary evidence indicates that yoga—a mind-body practice and form of exercise—may improve sleep among cancer survivors. The primary aim of this randomized, controlled clinical trial was to determine the efficacy of a standardized yoga intervention compared with standard care for improving global sleep quality (primary outcome) among post-treatment cancer survivors.

Patients and Methods: In all, 410 survivors suffering from moderate or greater sleep disruption between 2 and 24 months after surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy were randomly assigned to standard care or standard care plus the 4-week yoga intervention. The yoga intervention used the Yoga for Cancer Survivors (YOCAS) program consisting of pranayama (breathing exercises), 16 Gentle Hatha and Restorative yoga asanas (postures), and meditation. Participants attended two 75-minute sessions per week. Sleep quality was assessed by using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and actigraphy pre- and postintervention.

Results: In all, 410 survivors were accrued (96% female; mean age, 54 years; 75% had breast cancer). Yoga participants demonstrated greater improvements in global sleep quality and, secondarily, subjective sleep quality, daytime dysfunction, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, and medication use at postintervention (all P ≤ .05) compared with standard care participants.

Conclusion: Yoga, specifically the YOCAS program, is a useful treatment for improving sleep quality and reducing sleep medication use among cancer survivors.

Prostate Cancer Group at Cork ARC Cancer Support House

Hi All,

We are running a prostate cancer programme, commencing Tuesday 24th September 2013. We are inviting any of you who are interested in the subject to have a read of what the programme is all about below. This programme is being delivered in partnership with the Irish Cancer Society. If you are interested please leave a comment or reply below or contact us at 021 4276688 or info@corkcancersupport.ie

Warm Regards,

Ellen

Ellen Joyce, Director of Services at Cork ARC Cancer Support House

 

PROSTATE CANCER GROUP PROGRAMME / SEPTEMBER 2013

AIMS OF THE PROGRAMME

  • To enhance the physical and psychosocial well -being and quality of life for prostate cancer survivors by
  • Identifying and responding to supportive /survivor care needs.
  • Developing healthy coping strategies.
  • Managing lifestyle changes.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE ATTENDING

Opportunities for prostate cancer survivors to:

  • Share their experiences and concerns.
  • Enhance their understanding of the prostate cancer experience and its consequences.
  • Explore their attitudes towards prostate cancer and its consequences.
  • Develop their skills in coping with and surviving prostate cancer.

TOPICS

  • Informational / Practical needs
  • Physical Health and Well-being
  • Sexual Functioning / issues and concerns
  • Psychological/Emotional Health and Stress management
  • Social needs related to involvement in relationships.
  • Spiritual needs related to hope, belonging, meaning and purpose in life

PROGRAMME DETAILS

This course will commence at 6.30pm – 8.30pm on Tuesday 24th September 2013 and will run for six consecutive weeks. The facilitator will be Jimmy Connolly who has run several of these courses around the country in conjunction with the Irish Cancer Society on prostate cancer.

With thanks to Jimmy Connolly.

Reflections of a Relative

Hi All

Today’s post is about the reflections of a relative. Anxiety and distress are also common in families and friends of cancer patients. It is not unusual for relatives to be more worried and anxious than the patient themselves.   If you are a relative or close friend to someone with cancer you might have felt something like what Mary Shinnick describes below.

Ellen Joyce, Director of Services

 

REFLECTIONS OF A RELATIVE

by Mary Shinnick

‘The appointment’ was marked in the calendar and looking out at us after tearing off May’s page…Jun 27th was looming. Even though it was still over 3 weeks away, it was like an intruder in our kitchen….watching and waiting. The days slipped by, fast at first but slower as the date approached. I had booked the day off work. There was no point going in a half day as that would only add to the stress of the day.

For a few days before ‘The appointment ’, she was quieter than usual. And her interest in her favourite conversation pieces had waned…the weather, the latest goings-on with politicians, and the seasonal farm work no longer brought a smile or a quick comment.  ’The appointment’ was on her mind and there was little room for anything else. Jun 27th arrived. That morning, she looked pale and drawn. I hadn’t slept much last night and by her demeanour, she hadn’t either and probably not for the last week.

After an attempt at breakfast, we headed off for the city. In the car, the conversation was kept light, with no mention of where we were going. Eventually we fall silent. The hospital drop off is logistically challenging. But we have plenty time to spare and this isn’t our first visit so we both know the drill. While waiting in the chairs, I observe the others around us and wonder have they had a similar morning and build up to this day. Some are accompanied by their partners, others their sons or daughters, some siblings. No one is alone.

I flick through the magazines. I always manage to select one out of season. Today, in June, I am looking at the ‘must haves’ in winter coats and boots. If we had a winter appointment, it would have been the seasons best in swimwear!! The clinic is busy and running late, so I move on from the magazines to try the crossword on the Examiner’s supplement. To distract her, I get her to help me with it. ‘4 down…what is ..’. I don’t get any further as her name is called.

A lovely nurse escorts us to the consulting room. Her smile is warm and genuine, when she apologises for the delay. We wait in this room for the consultant. It’s only a few minutes wait but it seems like an eternity. As we wait in silence, the room seems to get smaller, with only the ticking of my watch to be heard.  It’s in these few moments that I dread what the outcome will be and I brace myself to be strong if the news is not good.

The dread of the unknown wells like a stormy sea inside me and I tell myself to cop-on, I am not the patient and to keep it together. A new face enters the room, that of a doctor working as an intern with the consultant. Her friendly face and broad smile put my mother instantly at ease. The consultation goes quickly, results of recent scans and blood tests are given, and questions are asked and answered. And all is well for now, what a relief. I feel the tension slowly release from every fibre of my being.

We return to the reception beaming, like 2 lotto winners, to make an appointment for 3 months’ time.  I go to get the car. When I pull up with the car, she walks out the hospital door, elated with her good news. On the journey home, we fall into a contented silence. Further along the road, I note she has fallen asleep, exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions experienced that day. She wakes when I stop at the shop. I go to buy cake…it’s time to celebrate a 3 month reprieve!!

If you are worried or anxious yourself do make contact with us on Tel: 021 4276688 or visit http://www.corkcancersupport.ie. Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs 9.30am – 4.30pm & Fri 9.30am – 3.00pm.

Dragon Boat Paddling: A fun way to help you get fit after cancer

Are you thinking of something fun you can do to exercise and keep you fit after a cancer diagnosis? Read on… This post is a piece taken from the recent HSE Health Matters e-zine and offers readers a great insight into Dragon Boat paddling with the Cork Dragons.

PADDLING TO FITNESS

from: HSE Health Matters Magazine & E-zine, Summer 2013:

by Shirley O’Shea, Health Promotion Officer, HSE South

Cork-Dragons-Logo

IFDB-Regatta-June-2013-49

SHIRLEY O’SHEA, CORK DRAGONS

 “I have worked in Health Promotion, HSE South since 1999 and I am a senior health promotion officer, with responsibility for physical activity in Cork and Kerry,” says Shirley O’Shea, HSE Health Promotion Officer. “My role involves the promotion of physical activity for people of different ages in schools, communities and workplaces.

“Despite my active lifestyle I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. While I was in the middle of my treatment, a breast cancer dragon boat crew called Plurabelle Paddlers featured on the RTÉ programme Nationwide. I got in contact with the captain of the team, who are based in the Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, and found out that a charitable maritime organisation in Cork, Meithal Mara, had dragon boats.

ARC Cancer Support House got involved and promoted the idea to all those who used their services. Prince Clinic, who specialise in physical therapy and lymphodema, also got involved and helped with marketing. We formed a steering committee meeting and planned a launch and a very successful ‘come and try’ day.

“That resulted in the setting up of our Cork Dragons team and the women embarked on a programme of getting fit with the help of Carrie Skinner, personal fitness trainer. She took into account the different fitness levels and the treatment and surgery everyone had been through. We have been on the water since March…”

“We are very grateful to the Cork Sports Partnership for funding that has enabled us to get training for the crew. Starting off is always expensive. Our website is sponsored by a very talented designer in Skibbereen, Paul Goode, who has also designed our recruitment flyer. Jury’s Inn has provided us with conference rooms for training.

“We have charitable status.  Sponsorship and support is needed to develop the team and purchase vital equipment. I am delighted to be involved with the Cork Dragons and always believe something good can come out of something bad. I’m really proud of all those involved, and the effort they have put in.”

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TARA SHERIDAN, CAPTAIN OF CORK DRAGONS

Captain of the Cork Dragons Tara Sheridan is a five-time cancer survivor. Her first diagnosis occurred in 1995, and the last only five months ago. She’s had countless chemotherapy sessions, radiotherapy, a stem cell transplant, took the maintenance drug Rituximab for two years, had a left mastectomy and had a tumour removed from her lung two months ago.

Chemotherapy also meant Tara’s ovaries were damaged and this prevented her and her husband John from having children. Six years after starting the adoption process they were told they were not eligible to adopt because of Tara’s medical history. “So cancer prevented us from having children and now cancer was preventing us from adopting.” It was another tough blow to take.

“At the risk of using a much overused cliché, cancer and your subsequent defeat of it gives you what I believe to be a healthier perspective on life,” she says. “You learn not to sweat the ‘small stuff’. Having to face the cold, hard truth of your own mortality means you want to make the most of every single day – not in a negative way; with gratitude. Of course some days are better than others. This attitude is what led me to the Cork Dragons. Their tag line on the flyer inviting people to come and try dragon boating was: ‘Are you a breast cancer survivor looking for a new adventure?’ It caught me hook, line and sinker.

‘‘I nervously went down to the pontoon on the day and was immediately surrounded by fellow survivors who have quickly become a second family. After less than an hour on the water, I was addicted. We practise on the water once a week from April to October and are already planning to take part in our first regatta. We may not win any medals this year but we’re focused on improving every week. We’ve undergone intensive paddle training and some are training to become helms. I am continuously in awe of my fellow crew members. Many had a fear of water and still do, and yet show up every week regardless. Some have never been in a boat before. One crew member told me they hadn’t exercised since school. We gain new recruits every week and everyone is welcomed warmly.

‘‘Traditional thinking emphasised rest and compression of the area for lympoedema sufferers. However, there has been a turnaround in this thinking and now exercise is encouraged. The paddling movement itself is believed to help alleviate and in some cases prevent lymphoedema, a complication for many patients following breast surgery.

“As many patients have undergone hormonal treatment, the risk of osteoporosis is higher. Regular exercise helps keep the bones strong and reduces this risk.

“I’m lucky not to have suffered from lymphoedema but that’s not to say that it won’t strike in the future. So, it’s good to be proactive in its prevention.

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SUPPORTIVE GROUP

‘‘For me personally, a cancer diagnosis can bring with it a feeling of despair and hopelessness. Being a member of the Cork Dragons Crew, you are surrounded by a supportive group of women (and our token man, the envy of our Dublin peers the Plurabelle Paddlers) who understand and know the stages your cancer journey brings you through. You are literally all in the same boat.

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“Aside from that you’re helping your body become stronger. Keeping yourself as fit and as healthy as possible can bring back a feeling of control that can be temporarily lost after diagnosis. I also find the fresh air and exercise boosts those all-important endorphins. There’s nothing that despair and hopelessness detest more than an injection of endorphins. It will be a challenging few months, but no better group to come out on top. We’ve definitely taken our power back.”

If anyone would like to talk to a crew member, they can call 087 937 5193 or alternatively ring the HSE Health Promotion Department on 087 667 0857. Check out our website on http://www.corkdragons.com or for general physical activity advice go to http://www.getirelandactive.ie.

SUPPORTED BY:

Prince Clinic / Meitheal Mara / Cork ARC Cancer Support House / HSE Health Promotion Unit

For a wide range of cancer support services please contact Cork ARC Cancer Support House on 021-4276688 or email info@corkcancersupport.ie.  All services are provided free of charge. http://www.corkcancersupport.ie

Welcome back to the Cork ARC Cancer Support House Blog

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Hi All,

We are glad to publish our findings from the blog pilot we ran earlier in 2013.

Our hope from now on is to continue this blog and hope all of you will become more familiar with it and join us with comments and posts.

A BIG THANK YOU

I cannot go any further without giving Robert O’ Connor, Masters of Social Work graduate of UCC and the project lead of our blog pilot  in partnership with the CARL (Community Academic Research Links) Project at UCC a huge ‘buala bas’.

Pictured above L-R are: Ellen Joyce, Cork ARC Director of Services, Rob O'Connor Masters of Social Work, UCC; Dr. Anna Kingston CARL Co-Ordinator UCC and Dr. Kenneth Burns Master of Social Work Deputy Director and Research Associate with ISS21

Pictured above L-R are: Ellen Joyce, Cork ARC Director of Services, Rob O’Connor Masters of Social Work, UCC; Dr. Anna Kingston CARL Co-Ordinator UCC and Dr. Kenneth Burns Master of Social Work Deputy Director and Research Associate with ISS21

Without his interest and dedication none of this would have happened. He was patient, enthusiastic, flexible and tenacious right throughout this project. His genuine compassion for those affected by cancer is what brought him to volunteer in ARC.  We had no idea that this quite unassuming guy had a brilliant mind and was a wizard at I.T.  I believe that his belief in Cork ARC providing this kind of support for patients and relatives of cancer will be a legacy for all visitors to our blog.

READ THE REPORT HERE

The report Rob prepared is available online in pdf format – click here.

THE CARL PROJECT

Rob introduced us to the CARL Project and this was pivotal in driving us forward. The CARL Project is a service provided by research institutes for the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in their region and carried out free of financial cost as much as possible. To visit their website – click here.

We would like to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Anna Kingston, CARL Co-ordinator, UCC and Dr. Kenneth Burns, Master of Social Work Deputy Director and Research Association with ISS21 and all involved in the CARL Project and UCC for the part they played in support us and understanding our shortcomings.

CORK ARC CANCER SUPPORT BLOG – NEXT STEPS

For the future our aim for  the blog is to provide support, information, shared experiences and a connection for all of you who view it.  Don’t be shy… do comment and respond…

With sincere thanks to all,

Ellen

Ellen Joyce, Director of Services at Cork ARC

http://www.corkcancersupport.ie

Report on the ARC Blog

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all those that took the time to complete our survey. I am just in the middle of putting together our Report on the Blog, based on your responses. The report will listen closely to what you have said and inform where the Blog goes from here. The report will be available here on the Blog soon if you’d like to read it. Watch this space…..

Last Call….

Last Call

Good Morning World,

This is our LAST CALL asking for people to please complete our little survey to let us know how you guys have found the Blog over the last few months. Our survey closes on Monday!

Unfortunately, we haven’t got a very big response so far so we would REALLY appreciate if you took a moment to help us out by completing the survey.

Here is the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CorkARCcancersupporthouseblogsurvey

Remember, if you have liked checking in with our Blog you need to let us know in our survey so we know if it is something you would like to see continue or not.

Thank you all!

Don’t Forget…..

Hi Everyone,

Just a little reminder, please

Don't forget

to take a few moments to complete our little survey about how you found the Blog over the last few months. If the Blog continues or not is really up to YOU and the feedback that you give us. So we would be really grateful for you contribution.

Please click on the link below to complete the survey…

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CorkARCcancersupporthouseblogsurvey

Many Many Thanks

Rob