How to Support Friends with Cancer

This is a sponsored post. Photos provided by Jaime Jenkins.

having a friends with cancer can not only feel terrible, it can also leave a friend feeling helpless and emotional – not to mention awkward. many times it’s hard to know what things to say, how to help, and how to act. having dealt first hand with having friends being diagnosed and/or dealing with cancer, i have definitely felt all these emotions. i struggle with how to best support them and also how to cope with my own emotions. that is why i partnered with Dr. Luis Sandoval of Kaiser Permanente Orange County to give you some helpful information on How to Support Friends with Cancer.

Dr. Luis Sandoval works in Psychiatry, at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Ana Medical Offices. he works with many cancer patients, and also patients that have experienced loved ones with cancer. he pointed out that there is no one way to support friends with cancer, as each person has different needs. the main issue that he sees, is a lot of times, friends of cancer patients tend to do things that help themselves and make themselves feel better, over what might be best for the patient. meaning that instead of listening to the friend with cancers true wants, we pick what help ourself feel better.

this is where we have to be careful and ask ourselves, what is really happening here. are we doing this because we are feeling sad? or is it really helping our friend. a cancer diagnosis can be really emotional not only on the person who has cancer, but also on the friends of that person. so, it is important for us to take care of our emotional needs as well, so that we can be a better friend.

Dr. Sandoval also mentioned that cancer patients don’t like to be constantly reminded that they are sick. you don’t have to treat them differently than before. of course they will probably need more support and help than they did before, but you don’t need to act differently, or hide your own problems and feelings, or do things for them that they can do for themselves. people don’t like feeling helpless or useless.

to further my knowledge on How to Support Friends with Cancer, i enlisted the help of one of my good friends Jaime Jenkins. she has been battling stage 4 breast cancer since 2014, and is also a patient at Kaiser Permanente Orange County. she has had a wonderful experience at Kaiser and loves all of her doctors. i knew that she could give me some great tips and advice on this subject. if you haven’t met Jaime, she is an extremely positive and uplifting person, even in the face of such a devastating disease. she is loved by everyone in the community and is a light among us.

Jaime mentioned that since her diagnosis, many many people have offered help, love and support. she appreciates everything so much. one thing that she did stress is how lonely cancer can leave you. there are many times where you are just too sick to have people around, or times where you are stuck inside and have to miss fun activities and events with your friends and family. it’s really nice when people drop off a gift or a meal, but it’s the continued stream of support that is really needed. it can just be a simple text checking in on her, or a quick visit that means so much.

Jaime also mentioned that she doesn’t want her friends to think they can’t come to her with their own problems. which coincides with Dr. Sandoval’s point that cancer patients don’t want to be treated differently. Jaime doesn’t want a friend to not share with her their own problems just because she is dealing with cancer. she often hears people tell her that they don’t want to mention a problem in their life because they know that she is dealing with something much worse. Jaime wanted to let everyone know that she does want to hear about their lives and problems so that she too can support them in anyway she can. she might not be able to physically help them, but she can definitely be a listening ear, offer advice or encouragement, and be their biggest cheerleader. it’s not fun to feel helpless and a burden on others.

no matter how you put it, cancer is a hard thing. there is no one way to support friends with cancer, but hopefully with a few of these thoughts, you find ways to support your friend and also help yourself. by keeping things positive and healthy, all those involved can focus more on positive light and healing.

you may not have thought about Kaiser Permanente Orange County as a hospital system that treats cancers, but they first they focus on healthy living and early detection, to reduce your risk of cancer and help you live your best life. Kaiser Permanente offers smoking cessation classes and medications, nutritional counseling, weight management programs and other health education opportunities to help members thrive. you can also read about ways to reduce your cancer risk on their website.

and if you do develop a cancer, Kaiser Permanente physicians will employ the latest treatment options to combat the disease as quickly as possible. they make sure patients receive the safest and most effective chemotherapy, cancer care using an electronic health record that provides dosage and treatment protocols. the system is constantly updated with recommendations from cancer experts from throughout the organization as well as results from the latest clinical trials.

cancer support is just one of the many services that Kaiser Permanente Orange County provides to our community. i have really loved working with them this past year because i have learned a lot of great healthy living information that i’ve been able to use daily.

if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys
Sun Safety in Orange County
Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress
Choosing the Right Birth Control for You

Choosing the Best Birth Control for You

This is a sponsored post.

as you know, just over a year ago i had my fourth baby, our little girl Dani Kat. there’s a seven year gap between her and the youngest of my three boys. and in case you were wondering, no, she wasn’t planned. she was a surprise….a happy one since i have always wanted a little girl, but my husband and i had already figured that we were done having babies. after a long time of not getting pregnant and with such a big gap since having our last baby, we figured we were done with babies and onto the next stage of our lives.

i guess we should’ve been more careful, because that was not the case! i wasn’t on birth control, mainly because i was very overwhelmed with which method i should choose and after so many years of not getting pregnant, my husband and i just weren’t as careful as we used to be. i got pregnant with baby Dani, now we are the parents of four sweet children.

Picking the Right Birth Control Method for You

it can be very overwhelming picking the right birth control. so i decided that this was a great topic to discuss in my series of Kaiser Permanente Orange County posts. to get knowledgeable information on birth control, i spoke to Dr. Laura Sech, an OB/gyn at the Kaiser Permanente Anaheim office for all the facts. when her patients are deciding on a birth control method, she likes to do Contraceptive Counseling, and give her patients all the options available.

the first question she asks is – “Ideally, when would you want to be pregnant?” if the patient’s answer is that they are “Not sure”, then the birth control method should be non-permanent. if the patient’s answer is “Never”, then here are also some permanent options in addition to the non-permanent options available for her.

Permanent But Reversible Birth Control Options

First Tier
Depro-Provera – patient gets a shot every 3 months. there is no need for a full doctors appointment once established, a nurse visit is all that is needed for each shot thereafter. the failure rate is 6% at 1 year. if you forget, you have a higher failure rate. the failure rate is only 2% with proper usage (getting the shot on schedule). the disadvantages to Depro-Provera are irregular bleeding or no bleeding, and weight gain…but weight gain is mostly only seen in adolescent girls who are already overweight. also there is a decrease in bone health, because Depro-Provera reduces bone mineral density. this is 100% reversible once you stop it. some people claim that there is hair loss, but data shows that this is not true.

Nexplanon Implant – this is the most effective, not permanent option. it’s a small arm implant that provides up to 3 years of continuous birth control. it’s placed under the skin of your inner, upper arm by your health care provider. it can be removed anytime and you may try to become pregnant almost immediately after its removal.

Intrauterine Device – the two that Kaiser uses are copper PARAGARD and Mirena (which is hormonal). they are inserted into the uterus and prevents fertilization – the sperm from ever meeting the egg. out of 100 women, less then one would get pregnant using and intrauterine device. the best thing them are that they are easily REVERSIBLE and almost as effective as permanent. the side effects are, they can cause changes in bleeding, and menstrual flow….but Dr. Sech says in a good way. Mirena makes periods lighter periods or absent. the hormone in Mirena makes lining thin. thin lining reduces cancer. it is okay to have absent periods on Mirena, but some women like having a regular period, and the absence of one causes them to worry.

Next tier
Pills, Patch and Ring –  the Pill you have to take orally every day, the Patch you wear and switch out every week, and the Ring you insert into the vagina every three weeks. what’s important about these, is that they have Estrogen. Estrogen is great for skin, help with less acne. they are not great for women who can‘t have estrogen, have high blood pressure, or a history of blood clots, diabetes, or stroke. they are good for women who want regular monthly bleeding because they have that predictability factor. data suggests that all of these have an equal failure rate of 8%…mostly due to human error.

Last Tier
Barriers – condoms, diaprams, ovulation tracking. these all have a 20% failure rate due to user error.

 

with all these methods, you should still be able to try an conceive when the time is right for you. they are completely reversible and easy to stop.

when you don’t want to ever become pregnant again or ever, here are some permanent options available to you or your partner.

Permanent Birth Control Options

Vasectomy – procedure for male sterilization or permanent contraception. During the procedure, the male vas deferens are cut and tied or sealed so as to prevent sperm from entering into the urethra and thereby prevent fertilization.

Tubal ligation – removal of filopean tubes. studies have shown that the benefits of removal reduces risk of ovarian cancer. the disadvantages are that the proceedure is invasive, and there’s an increase for irregular bleeding or needing a historectomy.

Essure – insertion of nickel coils into the fallopian tubes tubes to scar tubes. the disadvantages are that it is invasive, and there is a increase for irregular bleeding or historectomy.

Myths About Birth Control

there are some myths about birth control that you hear women complain or warn about. the number one issue is weight gain. the sad fact is that on average, women gain two pounds per year – due to age, metabolism, activity, etc. so many times, although women feel the weight is due to the birth control, it really has to do with age. also, studies have shown that contraceptive do not cause low sex drive, if you experience low-sex drive, it is likely caused by a different factor. another myth is that many people think that once you stop birth control, it take longer to get pregnant, than if you weren’t on birth control. however, studies show that the average time conceive once you stop birth control is 3-4 months, the same amount of time for those who use no contraception.

it’s a great thing that at this time in life, women have so many methods and options in birth control. there are so many options that it can be overwhelming, but hopefully having information about each one in one place can make the decision easier. a big plus that Dr. Sech has seen with birth control is women feeling more secure. knowing they are protected and in control of not becoming pregnant, tends to make women have a healthier more satisfying sex life

Kaiser Permanente Orange County has a full team of knowledgable OB/gyn’s like Dr. Sech, so you are sure to find a doctor you trust near you. plus, everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. i have really loved working with them this past year because i have learned a lot of great healthy living information that i’ve been able to use daily.

if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys
Sun Safety in Orange County
Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress

 

Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress

This is a sponsored post.

last year i worked with Kaiser Permanente on a post about Great Tips for Mens Health. it got a great response from many of you thanking me for the information, and also wanting to hear more. apparently there are far less articles written about mens health than women’s health on blogs such as mine. so i decided to that i would love to further explore the topic of mens health on here. i met with Dr. Michael Hanna, head of the mental wellness programs at Kaiser Permanente Orange County’ s Center for Healthy Living. Dr. Hanna and i discussed one of the biggest things he sees a lot in men – stress. he was able to share with me some great Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress, because at the Center for Healthy Living, they provide some great quality stress workshops.

Tips on Dealing with Mens Stress

often, when people hear the word stress, they think bad. but did you know that stress can also be good? some things like welcoming a new baby, a wedding, a project, things at work, a family reunion – these would be considered positive stresses with a positive goal. Negative or “bad” stress would be things like tragic events, financial problems, illness, life struggles. sometimes you hear something like “up to 85% of stress is self-imposed.” mental health professionals tell us that is referring to “subjective stress” versus “objective stress”. objective stress are stressors that most people would consider bad or unfortunate such as the tragic school shootings these days. subjective stress are the stressors or situations that are not so obviously painful or sad, yet we read a lot into them such as not being invited to something or certain words that are spoken to us. we often give way too much power and worry to these things. so a lot can be said about what we do and where we go with these non-essential and really non-important distractions.

stress is seen more in large metropolitan areas – that includes Orange County. we live in an area where life is faster paced, there is more traffic and the costs of living is higher.

men have a lot of stress…just like women. some of this stress is the same as what women feel, and some is unique to them. mens have a lot of expectations put on themselves by others and by themselves of what should they be doing. many times they feel they should be doing more. this causes the stress, and when they feel stress, they often deal with it different than women. they hold in their feeling and needs, feel like they have to be strong and stoic. this is not a great way to deal with stress and can lead to detrimental behaviors and sometimes breakdowns.  men often don’t have the friend support as women do, so it’s important that they find someone, a personal contact that they can confide in to let go of stress. 1-3 people that they can talk to – a close friend, someone of the same sex, who they can have a man to man conversation with.

12 Ways for Men to Deal with Stress

(i must say that these are also great for women.)

1. Decide what is most important. deal with the major problems not the minor problems first. Put effort on the important stuff – Prioritize. write a stress list and break it down to what is most important. this will put things in perspective so that you can let the small things go. this is the “key to healthy successful living.”  for example: an ill child would be the most important, and politics,…not that important.

2. Learn to say no. it can be freeing. only take on what you can, sometimes you need to focus on yourself and not others.

3. Do one thing at a time. our culture has us multitasking all the time. but this is counter intuitive from how our brains works (within reason). women tend to deal with multitasking better, so don’t be so hard on yourself to do to much at once. it is better to lock in on one thing at a time.

4. Get organizing. write things down (using apps, tablets and computers are great for this). set alarms, create a system and streamline tasks. as a family, sit down an organize your life. do your best to stay on track.

5. Don’t put things off. do your worst task first. when you put things off, things get further behind. do as much as you can in one day that you can handle. this will help you stay more control.

6. Self Care. save time for yourself. it is important to have date nights, alone time, and time to reflect on your life.

7. UnPlug. put the phone down. you only got this one time of life with your children. savor the moments and be intentional. make an effort with the family and have individual time with each of your children. even just for a day, weekend or a short time is beneficial for all. decide what you value the most and focus on that. the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey is a great book to read to refocus yourself. and always stay to your values. invest in what is important so you have no regrets in the future.

8. Physical care. get sleep. it needs to be enough sleep that you feel refreshed and restored. not enough sleep will wear down your body, cause you to be vulnerable. make sure to prioritize sleep and also wake up at the same time each day (within reason, and not too late).

9. Food. Moderation is key. eat and enjoy many things, but in moderation.food can beenergizing. food can help with sleep, for example cherry juice is great for melatonin (a hormone which controls sleep). eat therapeutic food groups in balance – such as protein and carbs, cheese, and crackers, milk and cereal, fruit and granola.natural foods…things that are closer to orignal form in nature. take a food plate: half should be fruits and vegetables (think “colorful”),  one quarter protein such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy or beans, final quarter grains(fiber)and carbs. food deprivation isn’t good for stress.

10. Hydrate. Not enough fluid can cause brain to shrink making it harder to function mentally. not being hydrated can cause leg cramps.

11. Be mindful. be in tune with your body and it’s needs. meditate. exercise. breathe.

12. Home is home and work is work. Men, the most important task is to create a hedge between work and home. bringing work home can bring stress into your safe place.

remember to tell yourself when life gets stressful, that it will pass and you will get through it. breathe, meditate, get some sleep, and rely on others to confide in. i hope that men (and women) can take this advice from Dr. Hanna to better deal with their stress and hopefully enjoy life to the fullest.

as i mentioned at the beginning, Dr. Michael Hanna, is head of the mental wellness programs at the Center for Healthy Living. it’s one of the great resources that Kaiser Permanente Orange County provides to their members and patients. at the center, you’ll find resources for educating and empowering people with the tools they need for life skills, diabetes, heart disease, smoking, sleep, etc. they focus on mind, body and health. the hub of the Center for Healthy Living is at Kaiser’s Orange Health Pavilion. there are also satellite resources at Kaiser’s medical offices, clinics and hospitals. all the information provided is very updated and almost always FREE. the yoga classes have a minimal fee since they are equipped with certified instructors. the centers provide educational handouts, interactive materials for each individual’s needs.

i have really loved working with Kaiser Permanente Orange County this past year because i have learned a lot of great healthy living information that i’ve been able to use daily. if you have missed some of the other healthy living posts that  i have written, check them out here:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
Remembering the Baby Milestones
Tips on Raising Boys
Sun Safety in Orange County