According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. That translates to 47,173 Americans dying because of suicide just in 2017. Moreover, apart from these suicide cases, 1,400,000 more suicide attempts were recorded. These numbers mean that for every single waking day, 129 people die while taking their own lives. Some reports diagnosed mental health concerns in more than 90% of the people who die by suicide. This state makes it valid to target the behavioral health’s improvement to at least lower the number of suicide incidents. Continue reading “Behavioral Health’s Contribution To Lowering Suicide Incidents In The US”
Most people think of leukemia as predominantly a condition seen among children, but it is something that adults usually have. It is more common in men compared to women, and more in whites compared to African-Americans. Families with loved ones inflicted with leukemia should have enough knowledge of what it is and how it affects the lives of their loved ones.
When I was a kid, I was diagnosed with cancer, and the doctor said there’s no source for a little bit of survival. He said that my parents should take me home so I can allow myself to live for a couple of years. The doctor insisted that there’s nothing they can do to help me. But my parents were eager and determined to look for ways. They believe they still got choices. They can either quit searching for a cure or continue fighting with the disease.
The Greatest Love Of All
My mom only asked me one question, and I know it somehow breaks her heart when I answered it truthfully. She asked me what I want if I have only one wish left. I promptly said, “I want to live and spend the rest of my life being happy.” She shed tears, and it was so painful to see her in that situation. But I have to act tough because it’s the only thing I can do for her at that time. At an early age, I want to know the chances of surviving cancer. That’s when I begin to understand the importance of hope in every battle.
In a very fortunate and unfortunate turn of events, my parents met a doctor who experiments on cancer-related drugs. He said their group is trying to give a trial test of cancer patients, particularly kids. Within a month, most tested individuals passed away. And after a couple of months, only one survived the procedure – me. Though I felt a bit lucky, I know deep inside it is not the thought of being alive. I looked at my mom’s face, and I realized. It is because I don’t have the same pain as my mom every time she looks at the injection of drugs on us poor kids. She endured that moment of continuously hoping that something could have been better than that. From that moment, I thought life is entirely unfair.
One day, I was finally allowed to go home. I thought everything is going to be okay. But the doctor told my parents that even if I survived cancer, I wouldn’t be able to live a normal life. The possibility of going to school is at zero percent, and reaching my teenage years will be a miracle. But my mom never listened to what the doctor said and believed in a miracle instead. That’s because she hoped I would get better. My mom started arranging things for me by setting up a great environment, providing me with healthy stuff, and always taking care of my emotional and mental development.
Soon after she delivered all her sacrifices, everything changed for me. I now live with my own family and now have a kid. So if there is one thing I learned from my experience; that is never to lose hope. There might be a lot of hiccups along the way, but that’s okay. The instilled hope in our lives is incomparable to anything in the world.
To say that getting a cancer diagnosis is saddening is an understatement. It entails that you have dangerous cells within the body that can travel and expand the problem areas. It means that you’ll need to take a handful of pills daily, possibly receive chemo- or radiation therapy, and pay thousands of dollars per appointment with the specialist. So, yes, that is beyond terrifying.
Some cancer patients end up developing depression because of it. After all, it’s easy to experience an all-time low when you hear that you’re already in the second or third stage of the illness. The comorbidity happening does not make the situation more manageable either. Your stress level heightens; you feel too hopeless to continue your treatments.
In case you want to snap out of your miserable thoughts, you should do these positive changes.
- Learn About Your Cancer
When I got diagnosed with a blood disease, it was so surreal for me. The doctor was saying, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have cancer.” Then, he began to mention the medications I could try to eliminate the cancerous cells. He also told me that I should consider chemotherapy if pills are not enough to cure my illness.
During a session like that, you tend to feel helpless since you are suddenly facing a massive battle with your body, and there’s a high probability that you’ll lose. You might fear the unknown as well, considering the specialist only explained the disease briefly before moving on to talk about treatments.
If your goal is to avoid depression, you shouldn’t be afraid to learn more about your type of cancer. Say, what physical symptoms will you go through when it flares up? Are there foods that you have to forego? How fast will the illness spread? Your physician should be able to answer all of that and more. Alternatively, you can also use the internet to become knowledgeable regarding your ailment.
- Stop Pushing Loved Ones Away
You won’t merely see cancer patients leaving their family behind after getting a diagnosis in the movies. I have heard of old parents who act rude and temperamental around their kids to hide their pain. Some couples split because the ill person doesn’t want to be a burden in the other fellow’s life.
Although the depression and the drugs you’re taking make your decisions wobbly, you should never push your loved ones away. It is especially true once you reveal your disease to them, and yet they still wish to be with you. That signifies how much loved you are, to be honest. Thus, be thankful for having these special people around you.
- Avoid Hating Yourself
In your most depressed state, you might say, “Why am I so weak?” “Why can’t I have a strong body that is never prone to cancer?” “Why aren’t the treatments 100% effective on me?” If the hopelessness becomes severe, you may even stop showering, changing clothes, or eating. You assume that those mundane activities are no longer necessary since you’re going to die sooner than later.
The truth is that cancer won’t be the cause of your death in this scenario. It will be your negativity. You hate yourself; you hate your situation. There’s no sense of being patient with you. It’s like you don’t want to wait for months or years for the medication to work.
However, you ought to realize that such depressive thoughts can only worsen your situation. The more you absorb that negative energy, the more you might suffer because of it. The simplest way to make your life manageable is to strengthen your intrapersonal relationship and believe that you can beat the illness.
Cancer, frankly speaking, is not the easiest opponent to crush. You may go through many things to win over it. The treatments you’ll submit yourself to may have awful side effects. Nevertheless, once you persevere and keep depression out of your system, you’ll inadvertently increase your chances of overcoming the illness.
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Way back when I wasn’t dealing with cancer yet, there was a female colleague who got diagnosed with it. Her condition was a hush-hush topic around the office, although everyone seemed to be up-to-date about her well-being. People became extra caring to this person as well, to the point that they didn’t allow her to carry the laptop bag or a bunch of files.
As for me, well, I didn’t talk to the colleague much. The ultimate reason was that I had no clue of what to say to a cancer patient. Was it cool to ask if she was okay when I already knew that she’s far from feeling that way? Would she become offended if I compliment her new hat that covered the baldness brought by radiation therapy?
Ever since experiencing almost the same things that that person had to go through to beat the C word, though, I can now tell you the things that cancer patients don’t want – or need – to hear from anyone.
Advice Regarding Activities They Should Have Done To Prevent It
The initial topic you should avoid is the one that involves the stuff that the ill folks should have or have not done to thwart the illness. You don’t have to become Mr. or Ms. Know-It-All and enumerate the things they did wrong in the past. That is their doctor’s job, not yours.
The best subject matter to focus on is the activities they can do now to keep the cancer cells from spreading. You may also get out of your way to search for those happenings on the patient’s behalf so that they realize that you genuinely care.
Questions About Survival Rate
Furthermore, you need to stop yourself from asking about the number of months or years that patients of a specific type of cancer have before succumbing to the disease entirely. That will be no different from inquiring when you’ll have to send flowers to their funeral.
There are better questions to throw than that, you know. “What foods can you have?” “Do you want me to accompany you on your next treatment?” “Would you like me to drive you home today?” As long as you don’t ask regarding their survival rate, it’s all good.
Being Compared With The Person They’re Talking To
It’s an unspoken rule that you should never compare your previous health scares to that of another human being who deals with cancer when you have never had that disease. For one, you won’t be able to fathom the pain they experience before, during, and after chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The treatment may only go on for a few weeks, but the side effects might still be apparent even if a year already passed.
It’s also rude to speak of the possibility of getting misdiagnosed, especially when the fellow has blood cancer. The symptoms of leukemia, for instance, are as bright as the day since the bruises appear in odd places and wounds don’t heal immediately.
Finally, you ought to keep in mind that cancer patients want don’t want to hear nothing from you. They may have thought long and hard before deciding to tell you the scope of their health condition. The least you can do is react to it in any way.
When you choose to stay silent because you don’t know how to comfort that individual, it’s likely for them to take your speechlessness wrongly. They might assume that you feel disgusted or that you are already coming up with a plan to cut ties with them. Though both ideas are far from reality, they won’t know the truth if your mouth remains shut.
Thus, even if you can’t form coherent sentences after hearing the unfortunate news, you shouldn’t forget to say something. Anything is better than nothing, after all.
You can’t always expect people to know the right words to say in front of an ill individual. Cancer is known as a terrifying illness; that’s why some folks tend to commit the mistakes above. Despite that, in case you don’t wish to have to forgive your naïve friends, relatives, and officemates all the time, it won’t hurt to inform them in advance of the things you prefer not to hear from them. Ever.
As someone who has had a blood cancer for years, I can tell that a blood-based disease like leukemia can be tricky to identify. Of course, you may argue that a little blood work in the lab may show the abnormality in your cells. However, the challenging part is knowing when you should contact a physician to get that test done.
The reason is that the initial signs of it seem too familiar for people who experience lack of sleep, anemia, or other typical problems. If you want to understand the subtle symptoms I’m talking about, continue reading below.
Physical Weakness And Exhaustion
This signal appears when there’s an imbalance between your red and white blood cells. You don’t get enough of the former coursing through your veins, so you tend to feel woozy and powerless at times.
As mentioned above, you might blame the issue of anemia at first. In case you always take iron supplements, though, and you still keep on feeling weak and fatigued, that may be a sign that you need to get checked for leukemia.
The disease can contribute as well to making your heart beat faster. It doesn’t matter whether you only walked across the room or up the stairs – you may feel that organ palpitating as if you ran a mile.
It’s typical for folks who have cardiovascular illnesses to think that it’s the cause of those tremors. There’s a possibility, however, that the palpitations are due to your heart working double time to give you the red blood cells you lack, no thanks to leukemia.
Bleeding Out Too Much
It seems reasonable for your gum to bleed if you floss too hard. You might also shed a bit of blood if you accidentally prick your finger while attaching a pin to your clothes. What you should realize that is beyond the norm is experiencing bleeding in those areas for days.
The thing is, in case you’re healthy, minor cuts like those should heal instantly. Considering you eat carbs or drink milkshakes rarely, you can’t assume that it’s because you have diabetes. No, leukemia may be the culprit; that’s why you need to speak with your doctor soon.
Getting a bruise near that time of the month is quite common for women. That’s a symptom of the pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder. However, for bruising to come, you usually have to bump onto a table or bedpost before the spots appear on your body.
In case you see bruises past your period, or you’re not even a woman, you should feel concerned. Leukemia tends to make it challenging for your blood to clot as it takes away your platelets. In fact, you might notice bruising in random places like the back, triceps, stomach, et cetera.
There’s nothing wrong about receiving a general checkup regularly. It reassures you that you are perfectly fine. Aside from that, it allows you to see if there’s a disease lurking in your body and treat it before it messes you up. You should do it not only when you notice the subtle symptoms above.
What most people know is that we all have inactive cancer cells that are merely waiting to become activated. It is impossible to foresee when it might happen. Hence, for some individuals, it feels like preventing blood cancer may be a tough feat that no one can ever circumvent.
The thing is, how real is this idea? Is there a chance to avoid having cancer?
Before answering that, let us talk about the things that may cause the disease.
You bask in the sun without any skin protection, thinking only of the nice tan you will get from it. You light candles often to relax. You bop to trendy and classic songs with the stereo on full blast. You like to always be on the go, so you cook a big batch of food a week ahead and reheat everything in the microwave oven when hungry. However, what do you get out of all these fun things? Radiation, no less.
In reality, radiation is one of the main reasons why people develop blood cancer. We tend to do a lot of exciting things and embrace technology, oblivious of their side effects. You don’t need to live like a primitive and forego everything that makes life easy, but it won’t hurt to moderate the activities that involve radiation-emitting stuff.
- Insecticides And Herbicides
Some individuals seem big about only eating non-GMO fruits and vegetables, and other people honestly find them ridiculous. “Whatever harmful substance is in those ingredients, they will go away once you cook them,” the latter may insist. As much as you want to agree that high heat can sterilize everything, though, you should realize that it is mostly helpful for killing bacteria and germs.
You see, the fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides used to grow the plants and keep the weeds away are not microorganisms, so heat won’t have much effect on them. They have been created from organic and inorganic chemicals that can enter the body, bind with other compounds in there, and practically make you sick. You can wash the fresh produces thoroughly, but they may be too deep inside the leaves and fruits for your cleaning solutions to reach.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle
Folks who consider themselves foodies may be prone to getting blood cancer too. The reason is that they are more willing to consume different foods, regardless if it’s healthy or not, for the sake of being able to say that they have tried everything in one place. There goes the possibility of eating double-fried dishes, sweets, and other stuff that aren’t good for your system.
The danger increases when you rarely exercise or sleep. The former entails you are always chilling, while the former means you don’t get enough rest. You have to find a balance between the two since such an unhealthy lifestyle can give you the C word in no time.
The idea of self-medicating has never been acceptable in the medical community. Some patients assume that doctors do not recommend it because it keeps them from paying their professional fees. However, the truth is that taking drugs without a specialist assessing the condition first can lead to wrong dosage, incorrect choice of medicine, and harmful chemical reaction in the body.
Self-diagnosis often comes when you self-medicate as well. When you feel fatigue or have a fever, for instance, you might merely take paracetamol. If you experience it over and over, though, you need to stop doing that and consult a medical professional since these are early symptoms of cancer.
Can You Prevent Blood Cancer?
Now that you have seen the things that may activate the cancer cells, you already know that the prevention of the disease is possible. There is no 100% guarantee that you won’t have cancer if you avoid the things mentioned above, for sure. Despite that, not letting yourself be in danger’s way by not using gadgets too much, living healthily, and checking in with a doctor regularly can undoubtedly increase your chances of becoming cancer-free.
Share this article to your friends and family to help them prevent blood cancer too. Cheers!
During the months I spent in the chemotherapy center when I still had blood cancer, I got to speak and exchange stories with various patients and their loved ones every session. Sometimes, it would be young kids who seemed so lively when they arrive. Other times, I would meet folks around my age who merely wanted to beat the C word and live the rest of their lives cancer-free like me.
In rare occasions, though, there would be people beyond 40 years old with multiple myeloma. This kind of blood disease is considerably incurable, so one tends to wonder why these individuals would still subject themselves to a treatment that could never guarantee to heal. Nevertheless, a standard answer I heard was, “I want to live longer. If chemotherapy can slow down cancer’s progression, I’ll take it.”
Other than feeling inspired by the strength that multiple myeloma patients show, I also got interested to know more about this unique blood cancer. Let me share some things I found out about the disease.
It Is Not Interchangeable With Leukemia
Having multiple myeloma entails that your B cells inside the bone transform into plasma cells when an infection occurs. As for leukemia, the bone marrow produces an excessive amount of white blood cells, to the point that the platelet and red blood cell counts become imbalanced. With this apparent difference in mind, the two blood cancers should not ever get interchanged.
The Abnormalities Occur At Chromosomal Level
What scientists have learned about myeloma is that it can affect the chromosomes, a part of a cell that houses the DNA. These usually get numbered from one to 46, given that a human being has 13 male and female chromosomes each. With the infection going on, some of the chromosomes may change positions. In other cases, deletion may take place, so one of the chromosomes may end up missing. Either occurrence can impede the growth of healthy cells.
It Can Be Hereditary
Quite interestingly, multiple myeloma is a condition that your ancestors can pass down on you and other descendants. Once it develops in one family member, it seems impossible for another person from the same brood to show symptoms of the disease as well.
Bone Damage May Be Inevitable
Considering the illness starts within the bone, it is not surprising to know that 80 percent of the individuals living with multiple myeloma acquire different types of bone diseases. Many are in pain 24/7 because of the destructive lesions or fractures that form on the problematic areas. Others may not be able to walk or move and come down with more health conditions since their bodies hardly generate cells that boost immunity.
High Blood Calcium Causes More Symptoms To Appear
When you have myeloma, it is also not impossible for an excessive amount of calcium to enter your bloodstream. Once this issue does not get contained instantly, you may deal with constipation, confusion, and frequent urination, which can only increase the weakness you already feel.
Multiple myeloma remains as a mysterious form of blood cancer. It baffles the medical world due to how the cells change within its core and the fact that African-American men are more prone to the disease than women or others from various races. Doctors say that it is incurable up to this day too.
If it serves as any consolation, though, you should also be aware of the fact that research is ongoing for multiple myeloma. Although there’s no guarantee that there will be a cure in the coming years, the scientists are investigating other ways to treat the illness more efficiently.