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March 6, 1998     Cape Gazette
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March 6, 1998

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 6 HEALTH & FITNESS - March 12,1998- 37 Healing methods ease terminal cancer €:,andition By Kerry Kester "When you first hear the news, it's like being at a ballgame that's called because of the rain. You feel like you're out of the game," said Carol Short, 52, of Rehoboth Beach• Seven years after waging war against the breast cancer that invaded her body in 1989, Short learned her cancer had returned, metasticized and the prognosis was terminal. "I've learned that cancer is a tricky thing," said Short. "It always out- smarts the treatment you have•" When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer, she underwent a typical treat- SHORT ment regimen: a modified radical mastectomy followed by drug therapy and frequent checkups. After her surgery, her physician told her he believed that he had re- moved any potentially diseased lymph nodes and she could look forward to resuming her normal lifestyle• "I never thought another thing about it," said Short. "I believed them," she said. "The doctors said that as a cancer patient, the only thing I had to be afraid of was a pain that would never go away•" Then, in 1996, she developed a pain in her shoulder. The physician she was seeing at an out-of-state can- cer center sent her to an or- thopaedic surgeon for a bone scan. After the scan, the physician told her to return to the cancer center. "If there had been one thing good that the oncologist could have said, it would have been, 'we could have found it,' but the news was just terrible," said Short• "I heard the word 'metastatic,' and my whole life changed then." "If I had one thing to do again, I might seek a large cancer center again, but I would want a local doctor, a local connection, right away," she said, noting that with her second cancer diagnosis, she hired Dr. Sandra Foote, an oncol- ogist who works through Bay- health-Milford Memorial Hospi- tal. Foote gave her the personalized care that she sought, and she over- saw ShoWs treatments. "And the nurses at Milford Memorial were wonderful to me, too," said Short. Coping with chemo Like any other human being, Short doesn't know how long she'll live, but unlike most people, she is not taking her life for grant- ed. " 'Some day' is now," she said. "I decided my job was to stay well, and I've done every- thing I can to heal myself." One of the first steps in her healing process was undergoing chemotherapy. "Chemotherapy is everything people say it is," said Short, "but there are lots of mod- em techniques for handling it, to make it easier. "I used to cry every day on my way to chemotherapy, because I: knew what was going to happen." Besides coping with nausea, Short lost her hair. One way she coped with the emotional impact of losing her hair was through support from Linda Steel, a Dover hairdresser with special training to help cancer patients. "My hair fell out at her salon," said Short. "She made me feel proud that I sur- vived having my hair fall out, be- cause there were lots of other women who had gone through the • same experience• She knew just what to do to make me feel good about it. She handled it." Shout's attitude remained posi- tive throughout the therapy or- deal. "I felt like I had a good day if I was worrying about my hair when I went through chemothera- py. I'm just grateful [now] to have hair•" Family mem- bers also helped her with coping strategies when she lost her hair. Just before Short began her thera- py, her aunt gave her a "hat par- ty." Guests brought a variety of creative, head adornments, includ- ing a mop, a tiara and ear muffs. "Modem women have survived worse things than chemotherapy," she said, "but it was at that point, when I was going through chemotherapy, at I really got in- to healing." " Her first step was to contact Gertie Hillman, owner and founder of Gertie's Greengrocer of Lewes, Hillman taught Short about a vitamin strategy she calls ACES - vitamins A, C, E and sele- nium. She taught her about 32 different vitamins and supple- ments, and eventually Short nar- rowed her focus to only those products well suited to her indi- vidual needs. "I had to find things that worked best for me," said Short. Next, Short contacted Joanne Gherke, who introduced her to Barley Green, a natural dried juice powder containing vitamins, min- erals, amino acids and enzymes. "It's really true that when you take the Barley Green, you feel wonderful every day," she said. "I think nutrition is important." Connecting mind, body While developing her nutrition- al strategies, Short also worked on her physical health. She went to The Wellness Center in Easton, where she underwent acupuncture with David Mercier. "I try to walk every day with my walking partner, Donna Fischer," said Short, adding that she also tries to engage in Yoga every day. She learned Yoga from Andrea Winward of Millsboro, who teaches at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lewes and at 3 Seasons Campground. "I can't say enough about that," said Short. "Even af- ter I had chemotherapy, I would just lie down on the floor and wig- gle my toes, but that was wonder- ful. "I had to take care of my mental health, too, because I was a wreck," said Short. She started therapy with Jerri Cassidy at The Promises on Savannah Road in Lewes. She also joined Cancer in Common, a cancer support group that meets the third Tuesday of each month at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach. "And all during this time, I've been in a support group on the In- ternet," said Short. "All the peo- Continued on page 39 Choosing a therapist Part I: shared values You made a New Year's resolu- tion of your own or at the urging of a friend or spouse to get help in 1998. Help with free-floating anx- iety, or panic attacks, or a troubled relationship. Now that you've promised to take the plunge, how do you de- cide who to call? Which psy- chotherapist is the one for you? The easiest and often most reli- able source of referral is someone who has been in therapy success- fully and with whom you share a similar belief and value system• Word of mouth is usually the best advertisement for a specialist of any kind. Or, if you don't know anyone who has been in counseling, and have listened only to the local syndicated radio columnist, Dr. Laura, you may think all thera- pists are confrontive, intolerant and judgmental. But there are ways and techniques of counsel- ing that are much different than Dr. Laura's. And, in deciding who's right for you, one needs to take into ac- count the counselor's personal style, education, experiences and credentials, as well as his or her methods - called "modalities" in psychobabble - for offering men- tal health care. We'll tackle very simple de- scriptions of the modalities first• Twenty years ago, there were only three basic therapeutic ways to bring about change: psychody- namic, behavioral and humanistic. Freudian and neo-Freudian ideas of psychosexual motivations for behavior is the oldest treatment method• Freud believed that people are made up of three parts: the id, or the base instincts toward pleasure; the superego, parent and authori- tarian, and usually naysayer to the id; and the ego, or adult who has successfully overcome or resolved a "transference experience" with the therapist of his or her sexual yearning for her father or his mother. Only when the mature adult has integrated all into the ego is therapy completed. Two obvious objections to psy- chodynamically oriented ap- proaches are that transference can take years to complete, and that to do so, .€ou h' to 6c1'c imo ou childhood rather than confronting and dealing with problems you have in the present• For example, you may have come to a therapist to learn how to better discipline, set limits and boundaries and communicate with your teen-ager. A traditional psychodynamic counselor would begin with your own childhood, while at home your teen continues to cause hav- oc. Behavior therapy could deal with the above teen's problems much more quickly and effective- ly by educating the parents con- ceming the use of charts to record behaviors, rewards and discipline measures for certain behaviors, and posting the "rules of the house" prominently. In the rules, parents set bound- aries for the teen in the form of curfew, chores to be completed and nonviolent consequences for breaking the rules, including with- drawal of privileges, having to stay within the house for a certain period of time, or "grounding." and timeout. In behavior therapy, the focus is on what someone is doing. If your behavior is changed for the better, your thinking and Humanistic approaches empha- size your feelings. A humanistic therapist will use empathy, or walking in your shoes, provide you with total acceptance and re- flect your feelings about a prob- lem back to you. When what you are saying makes no sense, the therapist will confront you gently and point out why it doesn't make sense, or the incongruence of your thinking. Thus, your behavior and thinking will also change• In the 1980s and 1990s all these focuses have become more inclu- sive. Cognitive-behavioral ap- proaches are the most popular. These promote the integration of thinking, feeling and behaving, and your personal responsibility and choice for your actions. Underlying this approach is the existential (reality is as you per- ceive it to be) and that you have the Choice as to how you will act and will "own" or take full re- sponsibility for your behavior and its consequences. These approaches stress the role of your commitment as the client lto practice new behaviors, to fol- llow through with a realistic plan ffor change, and to develop ways "to carry out your plan in everyday life• Today, too, many psychothera- pists practice an eclectic ap- proach, selecting what is best from many techniques for use with each unique and individual client, tn other words, "whatever works" for a particular person in helping him or her reach short and long-term goals set for themselves as therapeutic outcomes. Part 2 of this series examines ways to investigate potential ther- apists, where you can look and what kinds of things to look for. HEALTH TOPICS L.P.C.M.H., is a psychothera- pist in private practice with Gover Counseling Psycholo- gy Services in Rehoboth Beach.