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Let's Talk Life: It's cancer

Published:Saturday | March 13, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Yvonnie Bailey- Davidson, Contributor

Dear Counsellor:

I have been diagnosed with cancer and it has been frightening to the family. We are scared and not hopeful for the future. The family is finding it difficult to cope.

- Ann

Dear Ann:

A cancer diagnosis brings many challenges. Nowadays, such diagnosis means you have developed a chronic illness. It means that you will undergo several procedures and will have to take tablets for a long time.

There is hope, however, as the survival rates are very good for some types of cancer if they are caught early. You should follow the instructions of your health providers. You may need to see various specialists so that the best outcome occurs.

Your entire family will be caught up in the healing process and the adjustments that are necessary. Whenever someone is sick, the entire family has to adjust in order to help.

Everyone needs to do his or her part in being supportive. Praying together is helpful to the family members, as diagnosis tends to push relatives over the edge, some even becoming worrywarts.

Relatives can take turns carrying the individual to the doctor. It's important that they do their best to encourage the individual. The family bonds may be strengthened as members will learn to empathise with each other's needs.

Use the time to celebrate moments together so that pleasant memories can be cherished. Your family should participate in a variety of activities to enhance the relationship and cheer up the sick.

Overweight and unhappy

Dear Counsellor:

I am obese, and I am worried about it. I feel depressed and I am unable to sleep well at nights.

- Joan

Dear Joan:

Obesity and depression go hand in hand for some people. Feeding oneself is a basic skill and everyone indulges in this activity. We all fantasise about having the 'ideal' body type and a perfect metabolic rate.

Some people eat for no particular reason while others just cannot resist food. Anxiety, worry, fear and depression sometimes drive vulnerable persons to seek food as comfort, thus filling the gaps in their lives.

Treatment for obesity starts with an individual conducting spiritual self-evaluation. Spirituality is the essence of life and we need to have a good relationship with our Supreme Being. Getting our spiritual self together will go a long way to helping to lose weight and fight depression.

Get yourself on a diet and get involved in an exercise programme daily, even if it means walking for half an hour. It is best to seek the help of a dietitian and a fitness expert to start your programme. Seek the help of a doctor to rule out the medical causes of obesity and depression.

Email questions for psychiatrist Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to or call her at 978-8602.