by Heather Dommer, ARNP
Happy Holidays from the Nassif Community Cancer Center.
We hope you are all finding ways to enjoy the holidays this year. We know the holidays are supposed to be happy and joyful. Unfortunately, this is not always the case for everyone. I know sometimes I have a hard time with the holidays because it brings up memories of those no longer with us. However, I always try to think of the good times and remember how blessed I was for the time I did have.
One way I cope with these memories is through my spirituality. Most Americans have some type of spiritual beliefs. Many have a Christian background, but as we know the diversity in this country continues to increase. Others such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism are also practiced. No matter what type of religion you personally practice spirituality has an important role in our lives and can play a big part in the quality of our lives.
A cancer diagnosis often leads one to question those beliefs or to at least think about them a bit more. For some it may lead to spiritual distress and for others their spirituality may be what they find the most comforting. It is very normal to have strong spiritual feelings and to want to discuss these feelings with others.
Many healthcare providers can find it difficult to discuss spiritual concerns with their patients. One reason for this is because they are afraid, they might not understand a patient’s beliefs if they are different from their own. They are also uncomfortable sharing such personal information with their patients. There has been a recent trend to try to change this because studies have shown the importance of healthcare providers to address all aspects of a patient’s life and not just the physical or mental aspects. Studies have also shown by addressing all aspects patients have overall better outcomes in all areas. This includes fewer physical symptoms, less depression, and better relationships with others.
Spirituality and religion can be difficult topics to explore in a healthcare setting. However, I encourage you to be honest with your healthcare providers and let them know what your beliefs are. Keeping lines of communication open is always a good thing. It is important you feel comfortable in discussing this so they can better help you navigate your cancer journey and so your wishes can always be upheld.
The Nassif Community Cancer Center is here to help in all aspects of your life and your cancer journey. We have two licensed social workers available to talk with and help with resources in the community. We offer mediation classes monthly and exercise classes regularly. We have our Cancer Connections program that matches patients with others who have been through similar situations. We have an exercise specialist for one-on-one exercise and dietitians available to help with any diet concerns.
The Cancer Center also offers reduced-cost massage, Healing Energy therapy, and acupuncture. If you would like to schedule an appointment for any of these services or would like further information, please call (319) 558-4876.