Survivor Turns Negative Thoughts Into Laughable Moments During Cancer Treatment

Video

A survivor shares how she chose to approach her mindset during cancer treatments to keep herself from spiraling.

A survivor of non-Hodgkin lymphoma who went on to create an adult coloring book making light of uncomfortable aspects of cancer treatments explains how she was able to approach the experience from a positive, comedic angle.

In an interview with CURE®, Jeri Davis spoke about combatting negative thoughts with humor in order to keep herself from spiraling into a dark place.

“I found ways to laugh through it all,” said Davis. “And it seemed to – what I got from it was also that the people who were working with me, the nurses and the aids and the doctors, they were kind of feeding off of it, too. So it was sort of this I wouldn't say joyous approach, but just the fact that we could have this candor with each other, and treat each other with a little bit more humanity.”

Transcription:

Well, it wasn't that I didn't have the sad or negative thoughts. But I kind of convinced myself because I got forced into this so fast that because there were so many different things this could have been, I got myself in a mindset that I would acknowledge all that stuff. I wasn't going to let that really heavy stuff through unless I knew it to be true. And that was, I don't know, how I did it. I didn't plan it that way. I remember very consciously thinking I had to do that because otherwise I was going to be a basket case while they were talking about sending me possibly to MD Anderson for head and neck surgery and all this kind of stuff, like everything was just swirling. But by the same token, I'm laughing at myself getting up to go the bathroom and having to bring along my IV. And kind of just laughing with the nurse about my predicament, about having to force right through the MG tube to try and unclog it, and get a shower with this. I found ways to laugh through it all. And it seemed to – what I got from it was also that the people who were working with me, the nurses and the aids and the doctors, they were kind of feeding off of it, too. So it was sort of this I wouldn't say joyous approach, but just the fact that we could have this candor with each other, and treat each other with a little bit more humanity. You didn't feel like we're stepping on eggshells anymore, I guess is what it did. It led me to the moment that kind of brought the humanity back. That's what I needed.

Related Videos
Image of a woman with short brown hair and glasses.
Image of a man with brown hair and a suit and tie.
Image of a woman with brown bobbed hair with glasses.
Image of Dr. Minesh Mehta at ASCO 2024.
Image of a woman with blond hai
Image of a man with rectangular glasses and short dark hair.
Jessica McDade, B.S.N., RN, OCN, in an interview with CURE
For patients with cancer, the ongoing chemotherapy shortage may cause some anxiety as they wonder how they will receive their drugs. However, measuring drugs “down to the minutiae of the milligrams” helped patients receive the drugs they needed, said Alison Tray. Tray is an advanced oncology certified nurse practitioner and current vice president of ambulatory operations at Rutgers Cancer Institute in New Jersey.  If patients are concerned about getting their cancer drugs, Tray noted that having “an open conversation” between patients and providers is key.  “As a provider and a nurse myself, having that conversation, that reassurance and sharing the information is a two-way conversation,” she said. “So just knowing that we're taking care of you, we're going to make sure that you receive the care that you need is the key takeaway.” In June 2023, many patients were unable to receive certain chemotherapy drugs, such as carboplatin and cisplatin because of an ongoing shortage. By October 2023, experts saw an improvement, although the “ongoing crisis” remained.  READ MORE: Patients With Lung Cancer Face Unmet Needs During Drug Shortages “We’re really proud of the work that we could do and achieve that through a critical drug shortage,” Tray said. “None of our patients missed a dose of chemotherapy and we were able to provide that for them.” Tray sat down with CURE® during the 49th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Annual Congress to discuss the ongoing chemo shortage and how patients and care teams approached these challenges. Transcript: Particularly at Hartford HealthCare, when we established this infrastructure, our goal was to make sure that every patient would get the treatment that they need and require, utilizing the data that we have from ASCO guidelines to ensure that we're getting the optimal high-quality standard of care in a timely fashion that we didn't have to delay therapies. So, we were able to do that by going down to the minutiae of the milligrams on hand, particularly when we had a lot of critical drug shortages. So it was really creating that process to really ensure that every patient would get the treatment that they needed. For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.