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Reflections From a Friend of the Young Leadership Council

Thursday, October 3, 2013

I remember every little detail of that cool and crisp October morning—what I was eating, what I was wearing when my mom broke the news. She had gone in for a routine check-up and the doctor noticed something on her face. She had gone to a specialist a week after her doctor’s appointment without telling anyone—even my father—and my mom was told she had skin cancer.

Getting Help Through Uncertain Paths

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I lost my mother to cancer just a month after I turned 24. Following her diagnosis of stage 4 esophageal cancer, she braved through more than two years of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Losing people you love to cancer is of course tremendous to bear. Ask anyone who has experienced it—what’s said will likely bring you to tears. Stories of dashed hopes, of unanswered prayers, of lost time could shake your faith to the core. They knell of unavoidable pain as well as of our own fragility.

Where Do People Get Support?

Friday, June 7, 2013

As a social worker on an inpatient unit of a New York City hospital, I am reminded, on a daily basis, of just how important psychosocial support is in the lives of individuals affected by illness. Although many of my patients are fortunate to have wonderful support networks, equally as many (if not more) of my patients have very limited family/friend support. Sometimes, I even come across patients who state they do not have anyone to list as their emergency contact person. My role as the unit’s social worker is to help my patients and their families cope with and understand the various medical, psychological, and social issues related to their illness. I work with the patients, their families/friends, and the medical team to determine a safe, appropriate discharge plan. For those patients with limited or no family/friend support, I try my best to make them feel that they are not alone during their hospitalization. However, I do not continue to follow my patients once they leave the hospital. Upon discharge, patients are set up with medical follow up appointments and are referred for home care or rehabilitation, if necessary. But, where will they turn for psychosocial support?