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A few years ago, I met Sue Mercer. She told me that she had supported her husband Dave Mercer through a CML diagnosis, an emotional rollercoaster of medications that didn’t work, and then finally a stem cell transplant. But as we all know the story doesn’t end there – the people who support those who are living with life-threatening diseases do so for as long as they are in that relationship. Even when the disease is no longer there, the lingering physical and/or emotional side effects constantly hover, always a reminder. Sue talked about feelings of anger, guilt and sadness. She talked about how caregivers often feel isolated, never asked how they are managing.
At this year’s Living Well with CML conference in Toronto, we dedicated much of the day to the people who care for us. We used the word ‘Caregiver,’ but it just didn’t sound right. Lamis Barakeh‘s lovely husband Feras suggested that we should use ‘Partner’ instead – and yes, of course… the word Partner makes perfect sense.
Corinne MacNab (ToddCorinne Winsor) did a beautiful job of opening the conference with her talk on resilience and how a cancer diagnosis can change a relationship. Corinne knows what she is talking about. A social worker, she has experienced first-hand the shift that happens in a relationship with a scary diagnosis, not once, but twice. Her husband Todd has been living with CML for years, and more recently found out that he had prostate cancer as well.
We also heard from Teri Henderson, a social worker and caregiver expert at Kensington Health in Toronto. She also used words like partnership and resilience, but also communication, support and understanding.
Big shout-out for all of you out there who care for someone. Who care enough to prop us up when we are down, even when you are having your own bad day. We appreciate all of it.
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Highlight of the Evening of the Extraordinary… the beautiful Cadence Grace accepting recognition in the category of Extraordinary CML Story. Cadence was nominated for her advocacy in raising awareness of CML, the need for stem cell donors and transplant support. Plus, she is just plain awesome. 🙂 We also officially launched the Cadence Grace Support Fund to provide financial support for people undergoing transplants. Thanks Cadence for all that you do! See MoreSee Less

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An important slide showed that cannabis may increase the toxicity of imatinib and may increase the likelihood of adverse events like nausea, elevated liver enzymes, infection, and others. See MoreSee Less

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