Coming from Chinese and Japanese medicine, reiki is a gentle touch therapy that promotes relaxation and a sense of calm. Its use has become increasingly popular in hospital settings as a complementary treatment for cancer patients, as well as being used by practitioners in private practice and individuals who learn reiki for self-use. The Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute offers reiki treatment to its patients, as well as a self-treatment procedure patients can use at home as follow-up. This article explains, with photos, 10 reiki hand positions and procedures that can easily be used at home. In these stressful times, reiki can be another tool you can use to reduce stress and improve general health. While these techniques will help you get through the coronavirus social distancing period we’re experiencing, your reiki practice will be greatly enhanced by taking a reiki training class with a qualified instructor when you can.
There are many relaxation techniques we can use to decrease stress and improve our general health…..guided imagery is one of those many. Guided imagery uses and integrates all of the senses in a meditation technique, and has been shown to have many benefits, including lowering anxiety and pain, heightening short-term immune cell activity, and reducing stress and blood pressure. The practice can be effective when used for as little as 5 minutes or as many as 20 minutes. This article from healthcentral.com describes 5 different, inexpensive apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that can guide you through your practice. Set aside time for yourself each day and enjoy the benefits of guided imagery.
If you haven’t discovered the simplicity and benefits of tai chi, now might be a good time to explore. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese exercise form that integrates the mind and body through graceful movement. It can be easily learned and practiced anywhere. Studies have shown that tai chi improves muscular strength, flexibility, immunity, improves balance, relieves pain, and can bring tranquility and more clear thinking. Whether you are a blood cancer patient, a caregiver, or just want to deal more successfully with these trying times, learning and practicing tai chi can benefit you. In this video, Jake Mace of the Kung Fu and Tai Chi Center demonstrates his 10 favorite tai chi moves. Take a look and give it a try https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHBR5MZmEsY
These are stressful times, more so for some than others. Now is a good time to consider trying yoga if you haven’t already done so, since medical practitioners agree that yoga is helpful for dealing with stress and anxiety. Since going out to a yoga studio isn’t possible right now due to coronavirus restrictions in communities, there are many yoga studios that are offering on-line classes, and there are videos online that are easily accessible. Read more about what the Harvard Medical School has to say about the benefits of yoga....
The stress of fighting a blood cancer is high enough for any patient and family; to face financial stress due to the patient or a caregiver at home not being able to work makes it harder on everyone in the family. Read through the list below to find organizations that provide direct financial assistance for a variety of purposes for blood cancer patients.
Amy's Angels - provides comprehensive short and long-term assistance to individuals and their families dealing with the debilitating effects of serious illness or injury. Recommendation of a social worker, doctor, or nurse is required.
Ann’s Place Fund – help for families dealing with any type of cancer (CT and eastern NY state), including counseling, support groups, and help with financial issues.
B+ Foundation - Provides financial assistance and emotional support to families with a child fighting cancer.
Brainard Fund – Administered through the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, this fund provides financial assistance to families who are in financial distress due to substantial medical bills from a serious or chronic illness. Serves families only in 29 towns in the greater Hartford region.
CancerCare Financial Assistance – co-payments for chemotherapy and medications; transportation; home care; child care (funding areas may change)
Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation - provides financial assistance for rent or utilities to families in which the cancer patient is a child; distributes gifts to children in hospitals; provides funding for a camp experience for children in remission. Application must be made through a hospital social worker.
Children’s Leukemia Research Association - leukemia-related medical bills listed under Covered Treatments and Services
Circle of Care - provides financial assistance for living expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and transportation to families in which the cancer patient is a child. Applications must be made through a hospital social worker; applicants must be receiving treatment at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, CT Children’s Medical Center, or must be a CT resident who is receiving treatment in another state.
Connecticut Cancer Foundation – financial assistance for rent/mortgage, utilities, transportation, medications, etc.; reference by hospital social worker needed
Free Government Cell Phones – government Lifeline Assistance Program that gives free cell phones and free monthly service (including talk and text minutes) to those in need
Friends of Karen – families in which cancer patient is a child; assistance with childcare reimbursement, travel reimbursement, hospital lodging, co-payments for illness-related items, and household expenses; limited to certain counties in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York
Healing Meals Community Project – prepares and delivers organic meals for individuals and families (greater Hartford, CT) dealing with a health crisis
Healthwell Foundation – Helps to close the gap for underinsured patients by providing financial assistance to help with prescription co-pays; health insurance premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance; travel costs for treatment; and pediatric treatment costs.
HelpHOPELive – provides one-on-one fundraising help, bill pay support, and additional benefits based on our nonprofit status.
Joe Andruzzi Foundation - financial and emotional assistance to families in New England, New York, and New Jersey; financial assistance is designed to help families cover basic living expenses, such as mortgage, rent, electricity, gas, oil, telephone, cable, or other similar expenses
Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research - Medical Assistance program helps defray costs of treatment for blood cancers not covered by insurance; Life Assistance Program helps defray costs of non-medical expenses families face due to the treatment of a blood cancer.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Co-Pay Assistance Program – insurance premiums and co-pay obligations
Life Beyond Cancer - Information and links to programs that assist with paying bills not covered by health insurance.
Lymphoma Research Foundation Transportation Financial Assistance - provides financial assistance to T-cell lymphoma patients who are uninsured or have adequate medical insurance but struggle to pay for transportation costs (e.g., mileage, parking, tolls, gas, train tickets, etc.) to get to and from treatment.
Modest Needs - for families who are working but living just above poverty level, and are generally ineligible for most other types of social service assistance
Needy Meds - information resource devoted to helping people in need find assistance programs to help them afford their medications and costs related to health care. Also offers a free drug discount card that may help patient obtain a substantially lower price on medications; card can be used instead of insurance or by anyone without insurance.
Novartis Patient Assistance Program - assistance paying for Novartis medications
Patient Access Network – support for patients that cannot access the treatments needed due to out-of-pocket health care costs.
Patient Advocate Foundation / National Financial Resource Directory – searchable database of possible financial resources. Patient Advocate Foundation - serves as an active liaison between the patient and their insurer, employer or creditors to resolve insurance, job discrimination or debt crisis matters related to their diagnosis. Special program offers financial assistance to lymphoma patients who need help with co-pays for drugs that treat lymphoma, anemia, and neutropenia. Call Counselors assist patients with application process. Patients may receive up to $4,000 per year. Funds are limited, become available on the first of each month; patients may be reimbursed for previous expenses up to one year from grant award date.
Pinky Swear Foundation - provides financial assistance for living expenses such as rent or mortgage, groceries, mortgage, car repairs, childcare, etc. to families in which the cancer patient is a child. Applications can be made by the family or through the healthcare provider; application is available online.
The Bone Marrow Foundation - costs associated with transplants, such as donor searches, compatibility testing, bone marrow harvesting, medications, home and child care services, medical equipment, transportation, cord blood banking and housing; assistance with fundraising
The Jane Lloyd Fund – day to day living expenses; limited to residents of Connecticut towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Falls Village, Kent, Salisbury and Sharon
The Shannon Mosher Memorial Foundation – (for leukemia patients) expenses not covered by insurance
The Susan Fund - provides educational scholarships to students who live in Fairfield County, CT and are diagnosed with cancer
Town That Cares (West Hartford residents only) - Emergency funds may be offered for paying utility bills, rent, or medical expenses. Other resources include free food, shelter, and information on government benefits such as food stamps. Town That Cares is located at 50 South Main Street, West Hartford, Connecticut, dial 860-561-7561.
Weber Foundation of Helping Hands – families in dire need; limited to Northeast US
YouCaring - provides personal fundraising pages and fundraising coaching to help people raise money for out-of-pocket medical expenses including co-pays, travel and living expenses
Zichron Schlome Refuah – assistance in a variety of areas, including medical expenses, housekeepers, mortgage/rent/utilities, insurance, transportation, vitamin therapy, and wigs
It’s time for fun and games! Bingo games, that is!
Plan now for a night of just good, plain fun! In The Bag Bingo is Saturday, January 11, 2020, at the West Hartford Conference Center near Blue Back Square.
Whether you’re looking for a girls’ night out, a family game night out, or a night to be social with your co-workers, this is it!
Your $35 ticket is good for 10 games of bingo and the chance to win a designer bag or themed bag filled with goodies! Make a party of the night and bring your own snacks and drinks if you chose (alcohol permitted).
Finding a positive attitude when you’ve been diagnosed with a blood cancer can be difficult, but in the long run, we know that maintaining a positive attitude can make a difference in how we feel and how we live every day. What’s inspired families The Rob Branham Foundation has worked with? Hear what they have to say....
“I told myself to keep hoping and to have faith, and most importantly, keep a positive attitude about things...tell yourself you will make it through. Also, be compliant and informed about your care.”
“I will keep fighting to live for my husband and children.”
“In my case I live on a houseboat so because of the fact that both times I was diagnosed stage 4 the only thing outside my family keeping me motivated was to watch the water with ships and other boats, knowing some day I would be back out sailing.”
“I have a beautiful daughter who was my inspiration to get better.”
What inspires you to fight your blood cancer or provide support for a friend or family member who’s in the fight?
For one Darien, CT family, the diagnosis of multiple myeloma doesn’t lead them to thinking about ‘What ifs….;’ they think, instead, of ‘What can we do about it?’
When JP Kealy was diagnosed in 2014, he and his wife Annemarie didn’t even know what the disease was. After treatment that got his disease under control, they became involved with Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, a program through the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, that raises funds for research, promotes awareness of the disease, and provides hope for patients through their participation in challenging hiking trips around the world.
Read about how their experiences have inspired them to move mountains to work for a cure.
Annamarie & JP Kealy
So many blood cancer patients get blindsided by the diagnosis, and feel helpless to deal with all the emotions and changes it brings. Staying positive can be hard, but good advice comes from teenager Kimberly Peacock after her 2-year battle with leukemia: “I’d probably tell them just to keep your focus forward and have confidence in yourself and everything will play out. You just kind of have to stick with it. It feels like you have no control, but you do have control over how you react to things and I think that’s a big part of it."
Read Kimberly’s inspiring story here.
Patients fighting blood cancer usually have one big goal - to get their cancer under control and beat the disease. Brian Smith of Bremerton, NY had another big goal on November 3rd of this year - to run and complete the New York City marathon….a 26-mile run through all 5 boroughs. Brian was one of more than 65 athletes running as part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s Team for Cures, raising money for cancer research.
Read why running as part of this team is an inspiration to Brian. Local cancer patient to run in NYC Marathon