Meet with us — online!

Dear Friends and Members,

We’re pleased to announce that the Women LISTEN cancer support group has successfully shifted our support group meetings online to the Zoom videoconferencing platform. To protect everyone’s health, our meetings are now being conducted by video only, online, Friday mornings at 10-11:30 a.m. Alaska time.

In order to protect the privacy of the meeting, we just ask that new participants email news@womenlisten.org (or message us via Facebook) to obtain the invite link to our meeting. This link will contain all the info needed to take part, including information on how to download the Zoom app.

We look forward to seeing you at 10 a.m. Fridays! 

Women LISTEN is an Anchorage-based nonprofit serving women diagnosed with cancer. Since 2002, the core of our services has been our weekly support group, an informal group of women cancer survivors who meet to Laugh, Inform, Support, Talk, Empower and Network (LISTEN). All women are welcome–from the newly diagnosed, to longtime survivors of any type of cancer. 

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about traveling to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

Because Seattle is the nearest of the major cancer centers, many Alaskans travel down there for consults or care with specialists in their specific cancer type. This sheet includes basic travel notes and pointers to SCCA resources.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about traveling to the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about lymphedema

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

Lymphedema is a circulatory drainage issue that can be caused by damage or loss of lymph nodes from surgery or radiation. It can occur immediately during treatment or at any time during the rest of our lives. There’s no way to predict who will develop it, so it’s important that we recognize it and know what to do should that happen. The sheet also covers precautions to avoid developing lymphedema and tips on managing it if it does happen.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about lymphedema

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about mastectomy

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

Good recovery from a mastectomy is more complicated than just sitting and waiting for some incisions to heal. This sheet covers those needs with tips on how to manage them.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about mastectomy

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about recovery from treatment

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

Even once our active treatment is over, we still need some recovery and healing time. This tip sheet also covers ongoing treatment, “scanxiety” during followup surveillance, and survivorship plans that help map out your future needs based upon your treatment.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about recovery from treatment

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about radiation

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

As with chemo, we should get some specific teaching before we actually begin treatment that covers what we can expect more accurately. But this sheets covers some of the basics along with some of the things that women were surprised that no one ever warned them about.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about radiation

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about chemo

This continues our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

While we should get specific teaching about our own specific chemo from our oncologist or infusion lab staff before our treatment actually begins, there are still a lot of common experiences that come up with many kinds of chemo. Plus, it’s just nice to prepare for what’s ahead in a general way, before we actually get there.

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about chemo

Everything You Wish You Had Known…about beginning cancer treatment

This begins our series of tip sheets about various aspects of cancer treatment. These sheets are based upon discussions and tips from our support group participants and facilitators.

In this tip sheet, we cover that daunting period between getting a diagnosis and beginning treatment. How do we pick a doctor and should we get a second opinion? How do I handle the anxiety? Where do I go to research? How do I get ready for treatment? Should I go Outside to a big cancer center?

Download the tip sheet with this link: “Everything You Wish You Had Known…about beginning cancer treatment

2nd Video support meeting goes well!

4/3/20 Our 2nd Zoom Friday group meeting and we are starting to work out how to make it work smoothly. Today three board members attended for additional assistance if necessary. We had 13 women online (including 3 board members and myself). One of our members was able to attend from Seattle! It was great to see her! Another checked in from Girdwood where she is in isolation.
Every attendee has an option of participating without a video camera, but everyone wanted video conferencing today. We really try to end on time and give everyone time to check-in. We had one new member and two members who attended 5 years ago and were checking to see how everyone was doing with the pandemic isolation.
We celebrated a birthday and someone finishing chemotherapy. We discussed some of the challenges of eating during a pandemic. Some suggestions were:
Alaskadinnerfactory.com – A meal delivery service
Costco, Fred Meyers, Walmart all have delivery. Also a number of restaurants have take out. Check their websites.
One woman is on Keytruda and another woman is considering it and they were able to discuss potential side effects.
We discussed funny books and movies. Muff will look for a list that was compiled previously. We need laughter!
Oncology Rehab (you still need a doctors order) is available on Zoom. Please let me know if you know of other resources we should include for exercise, meditation, yoga, groceries, etc. We all will get through these challenging times!! We have to support each other!
Muff

Alaska Dinner Factory delivers a great meal without all of the preparation and cleanup. Save time, money and stress for a new way to get a home cooked meal.

Support group meetings have resumed–online!

Dear Friends and Members,

We’re pleased to announce that the Women LISTEN cancer support group has successfully shifted our support group meetings online to a videoconferencing platform. To protect everyone’s health, our meetings are now being conducted by video only, online, Friday mornings at 10-11:30 a.m. Alaska time.

In order to protect the privacy of the meeting, we just ask that new participants email news@womenlisten.org (or message us via Facebook) to obtain the invite link to our meeting. This link will contain all the info needed to take part, including information on how to download the appropriate app.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Women LISTEN is an Anchorage-based nonprofit serving women diagnosed with cancer. Since 2002, the core of our services has been our weekly support group, an informal group of women cancer survivors who meet to Laugh, Inform, Support, Talk, Empower and Network (LISTEN). All women are welcome–from the newly diagnosed, to longtime survivors of any type of cancer. 

Find an Online Class and Yoga Community During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Yoga Journal wants to encourage you to take this time to build a strong practice, find a virtual community for support, and use your yoga off the mat to help those in need. Here, your resource guide for practicing at home, staying balanced, boosting immunity, and keeping local teachers employed and families healthy.

And from Anchorage Healing Chair Yoga instructor Margo Sorum comes these suggestions:

Please continue to take time to rest, restore and recharge everyday!
Here is a link to a beautiful Yoga Nidra Practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfIikxpis9s.
Please continue to enjoy nourishing cardio everyday: https://youtu.be/ysdXNrnz6mo.
Please continue to feed your mind with healthy thoughts, here is a link to our Metta Meditation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQZCsoy4V2I&t=35s.

May we all be happy, healthy, safe and at ease during this time and always.
Love and light,
Margo Sorum

Coronavirus and Cancer Resources for Survivors

We’ve been hoping to find one high-quality news source for women with cancer, and today the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship launched their resource page that provides just that:

NCCS has heard from many survivors who feel uniquely vulnerable due to their history of cancer treatments. And we have heard from people currently in treatment, who are worried about delays in care and navigating a stressed health care system.

We’re partnering and consulting with several cancer organizations and experts to address the questions and concerns survivors have shared. Please bookmark this page, as it will be updated frequently.

As noted, this information comes from highly-respected and authoritative sources, going far beyond the basic CDC guidelines for the non-cancer population. Even so, if you’re in doubt about how any specific piece of information pertains to your own situation, it’s best to call your own oncologist or family practitioner.

Things to do while you’re stuck at home

We posted yesterday about a free yoga resource, in addition to the resources we’ve included before on meditative yoga nidra practices.

We’ve also assembled some free entertainment options—books and audiobooks and videos and music—available through the Anchorage Public Library system. Additionally, the Internet Archive offers a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.

But many organizations and individuals are pitching in to identify other options. For example, the Metropolitan Opera is offering free online opera performances:

The Metropolitan Opera announced that it would stream encore presentations from the award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions on the company website for the duration of the closure. The new offering will begin in Monday March 16 with…performance of Bizet’s Carmen.

All “Nightly Met Opera Streams” will begin at 7:30pm and will remain available via the homepage of metopera.org for 20 hours. (source)

Google Arts & Culture has teamed up with 500 museums and galleries worldwide to offer virtual tours and online exhibits.

Finally, Twitter user LoveIsLikeJazz is assembling a list of places and attractions you can tour online that includes things like the San Diego Zoo, Mongerey Bay Aquarium, The Sistine Chapel, Stonehenge, and many more.

Yoga & Qigong cancelled

From Anchorage & Valley Radiation Therapy Center (AVRT) comes notice today that their free Qigong and healing chair yoga classes are cancelled until further notice. Yes, that’s the yoga practice at Regional with Margo Sorum.

Deha Yoga, which also offers free chair yoga, has not cancelled their sessions but does have a new list of precautions posted on their website.

AVRT also shared the free resource DoYogaWithMe, which offers a wide variety of online practices at all levels. They announced Friday in response to the pandemic that:

To do our part, we are offering all current free members and new visitors 2 months of free access to our premium content.

Women LISTEN urges every woman with cancer to carefully evaluate both her own risk, speaking with her oncologists if necessary, and the risks to society posed by attending group functions during the pandemic.

Keeping current with Women LISTEN

Women LISTEN has several news channels. Through our Facebook account, we post much the same content as we do here on our “Latest news” feed, only with fewer links and sometimes abbreviated text required to meet Facebook limitations.

But we also have a Twitter news feed. Yeah, we know: “I don’t do Twitter.” We hear that all the time. But here’s the thing: you don’t have to “do” Twitter to take advantage of that feed. Why would you want to? Because we post more useful links and more up-to-date coverage of breaking issues like COVID-19 there.

You can take advantage of this feed without needing a Twitter account, without being exposed to any of the Twitter you don’t want to see, and without the rest of Twitter being able to see you. To view just our fltered posts, open the link https://twitter.com/WomenLISTEN_AK/ in your browser. Scroll down the page (keep going past the “who to follow” box) and you’ll see them all. And like any webpage, you can bookmark it to come back to as often as you want to check the latest updates.

Of course, if you are already on Twitter, just follow @WomenLISTEN_AK to add us to your feed and retweet our posts on to others.