We want to take this opportunity to remember the beautiful life and spirit of a very special person that we were so fortunate to have gotten to know throughout this project. Her name is Bette Martin, and she passed away after her long battle with cancer.
You can read Bette’s obituary here.
Bette was enthusiastic about the mission of Facing Cancer Together from the beginning, and openly shared her story in the hopes that others would find some courage to face their own situation with hope.
She helped to illustrate the fear that a person really faces when they hear the words: “You have cancer,” and the inner struggle that a person experiences when you're faced with a new perspective on how to live.
She wrote in her blog titled, "How now shall I live?":
"My relationship with God has been strengthened and continues to grow. I think that the timing of events since the diagnosis has confirmed God’s presence in my life. Evidence of divine intervention has been instrumental in clarifying my trust in God’s love and concern for me. There is much more growth needed in this area of my life. I thank the Creator every morning that I open my eyes and see the light of another day, allowing for the development of a deeper relationship with Him."
She taught us to explore what’s out there, like alternative therapies for mind and body healing, and to tap into our spirituality for strength and guidance.
We thankBette for her honesty, courage, and partnership.
She will be deeply missed but her story will live on in the countless people that she touched throughout her life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Bette's family and friends.
-The Facing Cancer Together team
“I have been a very lucky woman to live a creative life as a painter, art teacher, and to write a book,” says Anita Cherry, a resident of York, PA.
Anita also describes herself as a “cancer traveler,” who has been able to move beyond the pain of overcoming the darkness of ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer in her life.
Her book, “Letters to Sam,” is the product of thirty years of writing. She says, “The pages went into a private drawer. Before my last surgery four years ago, I went to this drawer, took all of the writing out, and pitched them. After the surgery I wrote the distilled version of all of those pages.”
Writing “Letters to Sam,” not only helped Anita to process her own journey, but it has made her look outside herself and see that her words have helped others face their own fears.
The chapters in her book are moments and feelings that others can relate to. The words let them know that they are not facing their fears alone. Anita says, “It made me feel beautiful inside, and it was a validation that I was a worthwhile person to myself. Nothing creatively had ever set me so free. This book is what I am most proud of.”
A description of the book:
A poetic telling to her adopted daughter of the author's reflections on early-adulthood ovarian cancer, infertility, and recurring thyroid cancer, and of moving beyond the pain to celebrate life and growth.
Anita has generously shared her book (.pdf file), with our community… Because, we truly are in this together.
Click on the book cover to read her inspiring journey and we invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, praise in the comments below.
Enjoy, “Letters to Sam” by Anita Cherry:
We’re in this together… many thanks, Anita, for your moving words.
Reader reviews: "Letters To Sam" This is a poetic journey which maps the triumph of the mind and the spirit of the extraordinary author,Anita Cherry, as she faces life as a cancer traveller.Her sensitivity and sweetness light the way with an upbeat and powerful strength of will which produces a shared bond of joy and hope in the reader. I recommend this book highly and believe it will one day be find its way to the Oprah Show. -Roslyn
Another reader shared in a handwritten note to Anita:
(Lancaster) -- Many times, the first thing a person does when experiencing some unusual medical symptoms is head to the Internet.
But using a search engine may not always be the best way to diagnose an ailment or health-related issue.
witf's Megan Lello spoke with Dr. Paul Conslato, medical director for Lancaster General Medical Group, about how to responsibly read through diagnoses online. Dr. Conslato says that some independent learning on symptoms that they are experiencing is usually a good idea.
Listen to their conversation:
Dr. Conslato says, “The reality is, a more informed patient usually leads to a more productive engagement where the physician is acting as a partner in finding a solution to a person’s healthcare needs,” he explains.
But, with every potential innovation in healthcare there are some downsides. What he sees on an infrequent basis is a heightened concern about symptoms.
“An e-Patient is someone that is empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled,” says Christine Amy from Aligning Forces for Quality --- South Central Pennsylvania. Amy works to help people become better so-called “e-Patients” by using technology to stay informed about their health.
Amy highlights some of the characteristics of an engaged patient in this video.
The healthcare industry is just starting to incorporate electronic medical records, patient portals, and apps into their practices. And, although it is just the beginning, Dr. Karen Jones, an Internist & Medical Director for Quality and Innovation at WellSpan Health, says that the future is not too far out in changing how care is delivered and received. Watch the video here.
“For me, the most exciting part of the Digital Age in health care is the potential we have to help people understand and have more control of their health care,” says Dr. Jones.
And, check out this video to learn more about how medical apps are streamlining care and are helping patients become more engaged in their care.
Where do you turn for information about a diagnosis or symptoms you're experiencing? Do you feel that doing some research before a visit with your doctor makes it a more meaningful interaction? Please share your thoughts in a comment below.
(Hershey) -- The upcoming opening of the new Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital building has one former patient and her family reflecting on the role of the facility in the community.
“An e-Patient is someone that is empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled,” says Christine Amy from Aligning Forces for Quality --- South Central Pennsylvania.
Telemedicine is a new option to improve efficiency and outcomes for services when time or availability to reach a patient is important. It is a system that works between two computers to allow a physician and patient to see and talk to each other without being in the same location, much like video chat.
Tobacco has been a cash crop since the time of exploration of the Americas, to the establishment of the colonies and on through our time of independence. Pennsylvania has a strong heritage in agriculture. And, if you drive through Lancaster County today you’ll see lots of fields where tobacco is growing.
Since April 2011, witf has worked with three health systems in presenting a broad-based, multimedia exploration of cancer called Facing Cancer Together. With the support and counsel of nonprofits, PinnacleHealth, WellSpan Health and Lancaster General Health, Facing Cancer Together produced 419 media pieces, plus live events and social media posts.
Now witf and its Facing Cancer Together partners have agreed to continue the project with a new focus. Now called Transforming Health, the new effort will launch on Nov. 12 and be followed with a Transforming Health Community Forum on “Smart Talk TV” at 8 p.m. Nov. 15.
Cancer is the epidemic of modern times. Unlike other diseases that have plagued people throughout history like tuberculosis and polio, we haven’t yet discovered a vaccine against it. One of the most common manifestations of this disease is breast cancer, which affects not only one in eight women, but also thousands of men in the United States.
Dr. Shou Ling Leong, an educator at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, explains that smoking cigarettes in the past was something that only men did, not women and children. But clever advertising campaigns targeted to women and children changed that.