Cancer is a disease that makes victims and their families rethink their priorities. In this scenario, thinking about the future always comes with anxiety because a patient needs to focus on the present and the fight they are facing.

After treatment, many survivors continue with their lives and return to mid and long-term activities such as studying, saving money, investing time in a relationship, and looking for new developmental opportunities. In contrast, others prefer to concentrate on the day-to-day and choose short-term endeavors because of their fear of relapse.

An excellent way to deal with anxiety about the future and obtain more confidence to make long-term plans is by joining support groups and counseling where the survivor can meet with people who have similar stories and experiences.

Also, the survivor can perform activities such as exercising, art, playing video games, and reading books to help tremendously with their mental recovery. Literature is well known to open doors to new worlds and have experiences that anyone can relive countless times.

Each patient chooses a different path

However, how patients deal with cancer during and after their treatment is something that they need to determine themselves, and the family needs to respect that. This doesn’t mean the patient’s decisions cannot change and eventually turn into long-term plans, but it is a process that might take time.

As many people have experienced, cancer is a family illness, not an individual one. For this reason, a patient needs to feel that their family supports their view of the world and the approach they have towards it. Many different feelings can go through the mind of a cancer patient, and the family might discover itself changing their view altogether.

If these feelings are not addressed the consequences might affect cancer patients and eventually compromise their general health condition.

Combating anxiety for the future must be faced in the right way

It is also essential the patient has proper tools for managing their emotions. Due to psychological stress, it is crucial to avoid harmful ideas and negative thoughts that might complicate the cancer treatment. A healthy activity to cope with those ideas is to keep a journal of daily thoughts, create stories, or perhaps even create a fictional character a patient can use to channel their feelings.

Some patients find calm when sharing their thoughts with other patients or people who have cancer and have taken new steps in their life.

For example, the talented SNL actress Vanessa Bayer, who had lymphoblastic leukemia when she was 15 years old, mentioned that her illness inspired her love for comedy, making her take steps toward that direction, turning this personal therapy into a career years later.

Afraid of Knowing

Former patients of cancer might also feel anxiety because of a fear of relapse. If these feelings are not addressed, the consequences might affect their lives and eventually compromise their general health condition.

The best option is to visit a therapist (psychologist) because many patients are reluctant to share their thoughts with their family and close friends. The therapist will also help them deal with excessive concerns about their health. We can reduce anxiety effectively if we trust professional help and let negative thoughts disappear.

Remember, fear is of no use if it is not to be overcome. There are plenty of alternatives and resources that can help patients and survivors of cancer to live a life without anxiety and instead choose openness to the future.

By Eduardo Guillen

There is one simple and effective way to bring smiles to children while teaching them lessons about life and boosting their confidence levels, and it is by reading books.

Children love the interaction, communication, and roleplay. They play being an astronaut, a policeman, a doctor, a trashman, and dozens of different people thanks to their powerful imagination.

Reading helps them project their ego and gain confidence to interact with society.

Thanks to books, children learn about interactions with family and close friends, discover and develop social skills, learn new words, and identify new behavioral patterns. In that way, children can effectively convey confidence, doubt, fear, bravery, and several other emotions.

The effective management of these social skills will determine in a great measure their success in the future.

 

Moreover, books teach children new words and logic to communicate their needs while learning more complex subjects.

Stories with simple and complex characters show children that every person is physically and mentally different and can change their minds under different circumstances.

Books and their stories are the first steps into exploring and later comprehending daily life.

Moreover, books teach children new words and logic to communicate their needs while learning more complex matters.

Confidence and Learning in Children 


When children start reading, their confidence gets boosted because they control the time and rhythm of the story while discovering the characters and plot of the story.

In addition, the pictures allow children to associate colors and shapes with symbols, cultural references, social customs, and norms (like etiquette and transit signs). They also show them new places and past, present, and future possibilities.

Furthermore, some stories can teach life lessons to children, such as sharing with friends and siblings or obeying the parents, and not being lazy or offensive.

Children learn by reading and associate those lessons with their life occurrences.

 

Books Heal and Bring Smiles


Books are also great beacons to examine and heal traumas such as illness, death, violence, and its counterpart health, life, and peace. Children can explore these and more subjects through fiction in a playful way, thanks to the art of storytelling.

In this context, African American author Rick Daniels explores topics such as bullying and cancer, which brings children to wonder if there is a reason for all their pain and why they are going through it.

Likewise, it shows that children who suffer from these difficulties are still part of a society that needs them and wants them to be active in their development.

Through books, children can also learn about themselves, their defects, and virtues, and how to work upon their behavior. Because reading is a relaxing activity, children can use books to cope and find solace from everyday’ s struggles and challenges.

Also, a book can provide resources for children to talk and interact with others, but it can also give them new knowledge about infinite subjects, therefore, surprising them with discovery after flipping a page.

Reading is an essential part of child development; it encourages them to go forward, make friends, and discover themselves. In addition, books can reveal how your children react to particular situations allowing you to provide explanations and guidance.

Remember that when life hits and problems persist, a book will help your children grow, but it will also bring their favorite characters back to life to heal them with a smile.

 

By Eduardo Guillen

 

A book can provide resources for children to talk and interact with others, but it can also give them new knowledge about infinite subjects, therefore, surprising them with discovery after flipping a page.

Leianna is an almost-two-year-old baby who loves the world, daydreaming, and playing with her parents. Her family likes to call her “warrior princess” because she is a little girl with amazing strength, joy, and happiness who knows no limits.

Leianna spent many of her days in her native state Hawaii, enjoying the wonderful sun and the day-by-day occurrences of her siblings.

One day, her parents noticed that Leianna’s tummy was swollen. Thinking it was a simple affliction, they set up a telemedicine appointment. During the interview, Leianna’s doctor told them that her tummy needed to be analyzed and advised them to visit the Kapiolani ER that same day.

After some tests that included ultrasounds, MRI biopsies, and blood tests, one of their biggest fears came to pass. The specialists confirmed that Leianna was suffering from an aggressive stage IV Neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer. Her parents, Kalei, and Tony were devastated, and the family started to fight along with their baby, in perhaps the most important battle of her life.

Warrior Princess

From that moment on, part of Leianna’s treatment now includes exhausting chemotherapies (around 7 cycles of 5 days each), bone marrow harvesting, transplantation, and even radiation sessions. A taxing process that will take about 3 and ½ years.

Despite everything, Leianna has always kept the happiness and the innocence that radiates the purest forms of love. She continues this battle with the best attitude thanks to her family and the support of all who witness her daily challenges.

Books Bring Smiles

Friends of Rick Daniels spotted her case and sent her a package with the book ‘Noah and Saby’s Magical Storybook Adventure’, so she can give away dozens of smiles to her family and friends and to show her that despite all the difficult treatment sessions, diet, and time she must spend in bed there is still a way to find joy thanks to our imagination.

Recently, Prince – a super cute 8-weeks-old English bulldog – arrived at Leianna’s life. Leianna’s happiness went to the moon. Prince has been recently signed up for puppy training and later he will complete an advanced course with the Hawaii Dog Training Services.

Childhood, Imagination, and Books

 

A child’s development needs not only time and economic support but also love. Lots of love. What happens during the first years of someone’s life will determine their behavior and how the new adult will face life. A great way to do this is by teaching lessons about how the toughest times in life can be navigated through imagination and love.

A book, for example, can bring that kind of teaching in an effective, playful, and entertaining way. Fueled by their imagination, children interact with everything they come in contact with, and this is only another reason why it is important to bring them closer to educative and functional material. Books are a great resource of knowledge at all ages and can include a myriad of different content and therefore lessons to apply under the harshest conditions.

Remember to always have a book close to you. Something that can take you somewhere else, where you can navigate forever over a sea of words and pictures. Just as Warrior Princess Leianna who together with her family sails every day towards the next sunset.

 

By Eduardo Guillen

 

The story of Blake Payne is one full of love, hope, and courage. A life that ended far too soon, but that has taught us the meaning of real strength.

Blake Payne was the son of CNN correspondent Rene Marsh. Blake was a joyful two-year-old who passed on April 14 after battling pediatric brain cancer. In the words of his mother, Blake has taught her what is truly important and showed her how much strength she had stored in her heart.

A month before, Blake was reaching his second birthday together with Rene Marsh and her husband, Kedric Payne.

Motherly Love

During this time, Rene grew more than she could have ever imagined. The meaning each day had with Blake was full of lessons of love and compassion. A communion that is only reserved for those strong enough to fight against such a difficult disease.

Rene took this battle against cancer as a mission for the rest of her life. She has decided to do so as her tribute to Blake. Marsh also mentioned that she received news from doctors explaining that Blake’s cancer was in remission, but last November, it returned and spread.

It is important to highlight the fact that Rene, like many other mothers, had to emotionally experience her child’s illness too, so he could go through the treatment and care that cancer demands.

During those days, it is common for many parents to feel lost and confused. However, they know they are the light that needs to guide their children to safety, to normality. Beyond treatments and medicines that we all hope to make cancer disappear, there are also tons of love that are poured out by these parents.

It is important to highlight the fact that Rene, like many other mothers, had to emotionally experience her child’s illness too, so he could go through the treatment and care that cancer demands. 

Feelings and Imagination

Among these times, there are moments in which children might feel excluded as a result of trying to understand the reason behind the separation from their daily activities and interactions. It is in these moments that parents need to assist their children and teach them ways on how to manage anxiety, fear, guilt, depression, and anger.

These reactions change according to the age and condition of the child, and it gets more complex as they get older. There are, of course, psychological resources the parents can use, however, it is important these feelings be addressed, or they can evolve into disorders and depression. As Nancy Keene, Wendy Hobbie, and Kathy Ruccione describe in their book Childhood Cancer Survivors, “Suffering is diminished when it is shared.”

Books can help

One way of sharing these episodes and limitations caused by the illness is by revealing hopes and fears. In this field, we have access to several resources, and one of the most important is that of books. Books help children to release their imagination and escape from their physical limitations, taking them to different realities and situations.

It is in this reading dimension that we can explore new stories and be one with the characters, as well as their life and challenges.

Books to Face Difficulties and Seek Hope

These expressions are fundamental for children and their families. Parents need to not only be ready to assist their children with their doubts but also live with them in their challenges and expectations.

That is why it is not surprising that among Blake’s favorite activities, we can find books. The use of colors and joyful acts shone a new light over a landscape that perhaps, due to his illness, was turning grey in some aspects. Books, together with music, another great equalizer of experience, help parents and children get together in creating a stronger bond.    

It is in this scenario that Blake and Rene’s relationship teaches us how to approach this situation with bravery, by sharing and living every day at its fullest, with their minds aimed to comfort each other; showing to the world that love transcends and triumphs over every act and experience, even cancer.

 

By Eduardo Guillen