Resources

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Given that your time with the doctor is limited, it’s helpful to prepare for the visit in advance by prioritizing the questions that are important to you. You may want to start your discussion with the doctor with a statement about your personal goal for this appointment (i.e., the main question or concern you want to address).
Let the doctor know in advance how involved you would like to be in decision-making, and how much detailed information you would like him or her to give you.
It is not uncommon during the first few office visits to be overwhelmed and to forget much of what is said. You might consider bringing a family member, loved one and a recording device to your first few visits. Having another person there to ask questions and to review the information with you afterwards can be extremely helpful.
It also is a good idea to bring a notebook with a list of questions for your doctor and a pen to jot down important information. You also can ask your doctor to send you a copy of his or her evaluation and treatment recommendations.
If you would like help in preparing for your doctor’s visit, one of our staff at OjaiCARES can help you identify your key questions and concerns. This service is provided free of charge. Call OjaiCARES at (805) 646-6433 for more information.

Diagnosis

• What stage is my cancer?
• Can you tell if this is a fast-growing type of cancer, or a slow-growing type?

Tests

• What tests will I have?
• When should I expect the results from these tests?
• What will these tests tell me about my cancer?
• How long after I have these tests will I know the results?
• Who will call me with the results of these tests? Or, whom should I call to get the results?
• If I need to get copies of my records, scans, X-rays, whom do I contact?
• Do I have to do anything special to prepare for the tests?
• Do these tests have any side effects?

Doctors

• How many doctors will be involved in my care? Who are they? What are their roles?
• Who will be the doctor in charge of coordinating my care and the rest of the doctors?
• What other health care professionals can I expect to be involved in my care?

Treatment

• What is the standard treatment for my type of cancer?
• How many patients have you treated with this treatment? What have been the results?
• How does this compare to other institutions?
• What is the future outlook (prognosis) for my type of cancer with standard treatment?
• Are there any other treatments that might be appropriate for my type of cancer?
• What treatment do you recommend? On what do you base your recommendation?
• What are the risks or benefits of the treatment you are recommending?
• Who would you recommend that I talk to for a second opinion?
• What percentage of patients usually responds to this treatment?
• How long does each treatment last?
• How long is the entire course of therapy?
• How often will I be treated?
• What type of results should I expect to see with the treatment?
• Will there be tests during my treatment to determine if it is working?
• What will it feel like to get treated?
• Can someone accompany me to my treatment?
• Can I drive to and from my appointments? Is parking available?
• Can I stay alone after my treatments, or do I need to have someone stay with me?
• Will I have to be in the hospital to receive my treatments?
• Who will administer my treatments?
• How often, during treatment, will I see a doctor? The nurse?
• Will a reduction in or delay of the recommended therapy reduce my chances of being cured?
• Are there foods or medications or activities that I should avoid while I am going through treatment?
• How soon after treatment can I go back to work?

Clinical Trials

• Are there any clinical trials or research being done on my type of cancer?
• Are there any clinical trials that you particularly recommend?
• Am I a candidate for any of the clinical trials that you recommend?
• Where can I find related research information?
• Is there anyone else in the area that is involved in research that I might contact to discuss my cancer?
• How much time do I have to make a decision about my treatment options?

Financial Issues

• Will the required treatment require out of pocket expenses?
• Is there someone in your office (or facility) who assists patients with questions about insurance? Who would that be?
• If my insurance doesn’t pay for a particular treatment or medication, will you recommend an alternative treatment? What if it is less effective?
• Who can I talk to about getting treatment if I don’t have insurance?
• Who can I talk to about pharmacy assistance programs if my insurance doesn’t cover a particular medication?

Support

• Where can I get literature about my illness?
• Are you willing to speak to my spouse or other family members about my illness and my treatments?
• Do I need to be on a special diet?
• Are there any lifestyle changes you would recommend?
• Who do I call if I have an emergency medical situation during my treatment, or shortly afterwards?
• What are the telephone numbers I should have in order to reach you? The nurse? The hospital?

Side Effects

• Should I watch for any particular symptoms?
• How likely are they to occur?
• What should I do if I have side effects?
• Who should I call if I experience severe side effects?
• What can be done to prevent these side effects or reduce their severity?
• When might these side effects occur?
• Could these side effects be life threatening?
• How long will the side effects last?
• What treatments are available to manage these side effects?

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Evaluating Heath Information

Health information can be extremely useful, empowering us to make important health decisions. However, health information also can be confusing and overwhelming. Given the wealth of information available through the Internet, journals and other sources, it’s important to be able to assess its quality. This can be difficult because health information is constantly changing as a result of new research and because there may be different valid approaches to treating particular conditions. Although there is no simple rule to determine the validity of online information, there are some useful guides that can be used to assess its credibility and accuracy.

Is the Source Credible?

Ideally, information in a journal or on the Web should have an identifiable source or an author. In considering the credibility of the source, ask yourself whether the particular source you are reading is likely to be fair, objective and lacking in hidden motives.

Take care to examine the credentials of the source to determine whether the author or organization has the required expertise and training to provide the information. If the information is medical, credibility is generally enhanced if it is provided by a medical institution, an entity that brings together medically knowledgeable professionals, or a government health agency.

Knowing that a publication has undergone peer review by a panel of professionals in the field can add to the credibility of the information. If the publisher’s or author’s contact information is listed in the form of a mailing address or phone number, this also can add to the legitimacy of the information.

An important clue to the identity of the publisher can be found in the Web address:

•.edu — A Web address that ends in “.edu” is published by an organization that is associated with an educational institution such as a university.

•.gov — An ending of “.gov” signifies that the web page belongs to a governmental organization.

•.org — An address ending in “.org” belongs to a nonprofit.

•.com — An ending of “.com” belongs to a for-profit company.

To summarize, when assessing credibility, consider the following:

•Who published the information?

•Who are the authors?

•What are their credentials?

•Do the authors have a hidden agenda?

•Is the information peer reviewed?

Is the Information Accurate?

When assessing the accuracy, try to determine whether the information is supported by evidence from scientific studies, other data or expert opinion. If you receive information from a medical journal, note the size and category of the study. Is the information based on a large or small sample? Read the article carefully to see if the authors discuss any limitations or weaknesses of the study.

The most reliable evidence comes from randomized controlled studies. However, other types of studies or the opinions of respected authorities in the field also can lend validity to the information.

If you receive information from a secondary source such as an Internet site or a newspaper article, keep in mind that you are relying on another person’s interpretation of the data. Is the information based on evidence from a study, on expert opinion or is it merely the opinion of the writer? Although your local newspaper may provide excellent information on certain topics, it lacks the expertise of a cancer journal or a national organization specializing in the field of cancer.

If you need to make an important medical decision, substantiate the information you receive through the local paper with information from a doctor and other credible sources. Also check to see when the information was published or when the Web page was last updated. This is particularly important in the health care field, where information is constantly changing as new discoveries are made.

To summarize, when assessing accuracy, consider the following:

•Is the information based on scientific evidence?

•Is the information supported by facts?

•Is the original source listed?

•Do other sources back up the information?

•Is the information current?

Red Flags

Information that has no identifiable publisher or author should not be relied on, unless it is backed up by information from other sources that meet the criteria for credibility.

If the purpose of the information is primarily to sell a product, there may be a conflict of interest since the manufacturer may not want to present findings that would discourage you from purchasing the product. If you suspect that the intent is to sell you a product, consider getting additional information from a more neutral source.

At other times, the source may not disclose all of the information or may have a bias that is more subtle and difficult to detect. Even well respected medical journals or websites may have a slight bias, depending on their experience. For example, a journal targeting surgeons may not discuss other valid treatment options such as radiation or chemotherapy. Although the information may be accurate, it may have a slight bias because of its particular perspective.

When reading health information, notice the date of publication. Given that health information is constantly changing as new discoveries are made, it is important to make sure that the information is current. If the information is based on a study done several years ago, you should look for more recent information to ensure that the information is still valid. For example, a website that has not been updated recently or an article that is several years old may not include information on new promising treatments.

Be skeptical of sensationalist claims of a “secret cure” or a “miraculous result” that no one else has heard about and that is not backed by evidence.

Remember to use good judgment about information from forums such as Internet chat rooms and bulletin boards. Keep in mind that the experience of one individual does not necessarily apply to you. Although such forums can provide valuable information, there are very few safeguards in place to ensure the credibility or accuracy of the information. Any individual, regardless of expertise or experience, can dispense advice. Information from such forums should be substantiated by more reliable sources of information.

Also, bad grammar or spelling errors indicate poor quality control and may suggest cause for caution.

To summarize, be skeptical of information when you find these red flags:

•The information is anonymous

•There is a conflict of interest

•The information is one-sided or biased

•The information is outdated

•There is a claim of a miracle or secret cure

•No evidence is cited

•The grammar is poor and words are misspelled

It is important to recognize that the search for information can be confusing, even when you find credible sources of information. At times, even reputable sources provide conflicting information or recommend different treatments. Differences of opinion arise when there is no solid evidence about the best way to treat a particular condition. In these cases, you may want to consult with different practitioners to decide the best course of treatment for you.

In reviewing information, use your judgment, recognizing that evaluating quality is something of an art. Although very few sources will have all the criteria for credibility and accuracy, familiarizing yourself with these criteria can help you sift through information more critically and will provide important cues that will help you differentiate between good quality and poor quality information.

 

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Communicating With Your Doctor

The relationship with a doctor is a very personal one, built on communication and trust. In choosing a doctor, the “chemistry” between the two of you must work. You must be able to trust, confide in and tell your doctor about your health problems, including all symptoms. Your doctor, in turn, should listen to you, give you options and feedback and have your best interest in mind.
Here are some things you can do to help build an effective partnership:

Be Organized

Doctors are busy, so you need to know how to get the most from their limited time with you. This means that you must be organized and focused on the issues you want to address.
Think in advance about the questions you want answered. Write down and prioritize those questions, highlighting the main three or four you want to discuss. Send a list of the questions to your doctor in advance, if you think that would be helpful.

Keep Good Records

Provide your doctor with good, accurate information about your symptoms and medications so he or she has the necessary tools to accurately diagnose your condition and prescribe appropriate treatment. A list of medications and supplements you are taking, recent symptoms and the dates at which they occurred, any recent tests and names of other doctors you are seeing can be useful information to share with your doctor.
The better you are able to communicate your needs and concerns, the better your doctor can respond.

Set the Tone

Let your doctor know how much or how little you want to participate in the decision-making process and whether you want very detailed information about all treatment options or just general information. Inform your doctor of any cultural beliefs that may affect your treatment choices or preferences.

Be Assertive

There is virtually nothing more important than your health. Just as you would not buy a car without asking questions, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions. If your concerns are not addressed to your satisfaction, be assertive. Let your doctor know that you still have questions and ask if an additional appointment can be set up, whether the appointment can be extended or if there are other staff members who can address your questions.

Be Understanding

Balance assertiveness with respect and understanding. Although it’s important to let your doctor know your needs or if you are dissatisfied, it’s equally important to voice appreciation for positive aspects of your communication and treatment. Keep in mind that many of your questions can be addressed by a nurse, nurse practioner or social worker.

Know How to Keep in Touch

Before you leave, find out the best way to keep in touch between office visits, whether through the nurse, via email or by leaving messages at the front desk.

Before Your Visit

• Take a list of specific questions to your appointment, making sure to list the most important ones first.
• Familiarize yourself with your medical history, so you can convey it concisely to your doctor. Writing out a brief synopsis to give a new doctor can be helpful and save time.
• Keep a diary to track your symptoms and concerns. Convey these clearly to your doctor.
• List medications you are taking with their dosages. Tell your doctor about any medication changes.
• Notify your oncologist or the scheduler ahead of time if you think your questions will take an extended time to answer. This allows the staff to arrange the schedule accordingly.

During Your Visit

• Tape-record your visit or bring a pencil and notebook to take notes. You also may bring a trusted friend or relative to take notes for you.
• Keep your discussion focused, making sure to cover your main questions and concerns, your symptoms and how they impact your life.
• Ask for clarification if you don’t understand what you have been told or if you still have questions.
• Ask for explanations of treatment goals and side effects.
• Many cancer specialists work closely with other team members. Ask if there is anyone else you should meet.
• Let your doctor know if you are seeing other doctors or health care providers.
• Share information about any recent medical tests.
• Let your doctor know how much information you want and if you have religious or cultural beliefs that affect your treatment.
• Stand up for yourself or have a friend or family member advocate for you if your concerns are not addressed.
• Balance assertiveness with friendliness and understanding.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Coping With Fatigue

Fatigue caused by cancer and cancer treatment can make it difficult to accomplish even the smallest of tasks. Having other people around who can help you with these everyday tasks can alleviate the fatigue, but delegating responsibilities to others can be a difficult task in itself. Here are some tips to help guide you in delegating tasks to others.

Know What Needs to Be Done

• Make a list of what you need done.
• Plan and prioritize your list into items that must get done, items that can be done later and those that can be dropped.
• Make a list of all your friends and family members who might be recruited to assist you. Also, think of individuals associated with an organization, such as a church or synagogue, who might be able to help recruiting others. Remember that the more people there are to help, the easier it is for everyone.
• If possible, find a friend or family member who can divide duties among your family members and friends, considering their skill and knowledge level, motivation and personal traits. An easy way to let people know how they can help is by sending out an email list or calling individuals and asking them to pick one or two tasks they would like to do. It’s important to be clear about the responsibility and your expectations.
• Evaluate and provide praise. Thank people for their good work and, to the extent possible, resist the temptation to take over if things go wrong.

Communicate

• Openly and honestly, let your friends and family members know your feelings.
• Use “I feel” and “I want” statements.
• Communicate who, what, where, when, how and why.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Coping With Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy Is an Individual Experience

Every person experiences chemotherapy differently, both physically and emotionally. Each person experiences side effects from chemotherapy differently, and different chemotherapy drugs cause different side effects. Fortunately, as the science of cancer treatment has advanced, so has the science of managing treatment side effects.

Whatever you experience, remember there is no relationship between how the chemotherapy makes you feel and whether you derive benefit from it.

Many people feel fine for the first few hours following chemotherapy. Usually, some reaction occurs about four to six hours later. However, some people don’t react until 12 or even 24 to 48 hours after treatment. Some people experience almost all of the side effects described below, while others experience almost none.

There are many treatments to help you deal with side effects. Please let your doctor know how you are feeling, so that they can address your concerns and help make you more comfortable.

Before Starting Chemotherapy

Before starting chemotherapy we suggest that you take care of some of your basic health needs. If time permits, have your teeth cleaned before rather than while you are having chemotherapy. If you need major dental work, try to postpone it until after chemotherapy. If you need your teeth cleaned while receiving chemotherapy, please let your doctor or nurse know beforehand. Please discuss any concerns with your doctor or nurse.

Emotional Support

If it is possible for you to have a family member, friend or support person accompany you to your chemotherapy sessions it will be helpful.

To varying degrees, all people with cancer struggle with the challenges of coping and adjusting to these life changes. At  OjaiCARES, we have a number of programs to support you through the process, such as one on one peer support, support groups and individual counseling that are available to all cancer patients.

Fever

Remember, always call your doctor if you have a temperature over 100.4 F (38.0C)

Flu-Like Symptoms

Around the third day following a chemotherapy treatment, some people may experience flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches and pains. If you experience these aches, you can take over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil. If necessary, contact your doctor for stronger medication.

Nausea

Medications called antiemetics or anti-nausea drugs are used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause nausea. Many anti-nausea drugs are available, and your doctor or nurse will recommend what is expected to work best for you.

If possible, have your prescriptions filled before your treatment day. Please call your doctor or nurse if your medications do not give you adequate relief or if you experience side effects with the anti-nausea medication.

Practical Hints for Nausea

  • Before your chemotherapy appointment, eat a small, light meal. Most people do better if they have something in their stomach.
  • Eat what sounds good to you. Generally starches such as rice, bread, potatoes, hot cereals and puddings are well tolerated.
  • Try not to skip meals. An empty stomach will worsen all symptoms. If you don’t feel like sitting down to a meal, try nibbling on something that appeals to you.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Herbal teas, water, sports drinks and diluted juices are recommended more than soda.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • Freeze meals so that you don’t have to cook. Ask your family and friends to help with meals, especially following chemotherapy when you are most likely to feel nauseous

Fatigue

Chemotherapy can make you feel tired. This fatigue may or may not worsen as you are treated with more cycles of chemotherapy.

Most people have to make some adjustment in work and family responsibilities; the degree of change is very individual. Try to balance activity and rest. As much as possible try to maintain your everyday activities; it can be very beneficial to both your physical and emotional recovery. The fatigue will gradually go away after you recover from chemotherapy.

Practical Hints for Fatigue

  • Plan your activities, such as grocery shopping, for a time when you feel the best.
  • If you have children, rest when they are napping. When you feel most tired, consider hiring a babysitter for a few hours so that you can relax or take a nap.
  • Take naps early in the day so you do not disturb your sleep pattern at night.
  • Consider exercising every day or several times a week. Good forms of exercise include swimming, walking and yoga. Call OjaiCARES for information on free exercise classes at 805.646.6433

Hair Loss

Many people feel that hair loss is one of the most difficult aspects of chemotherapy treatment. Not all chemotherapy drugs cause hair loss, so talk to your physician or nurse about what to expect.

Most often, hair loss begins about two to three weeks after starting chemotherapy. Some people will lose relatively little hair, while others may lose the hair on their head, eyelashes and eyebrows, as well as other body hair. You may want to cover your head with a wig, scarf, hat or turban, or you may not want to cover your head at all. Do what makes you most comfortable. Many people choose different head coverings for different situations.

We have many resources to assist you during this time. Please visit OjaiCARES at 960 East Ojai Avenue, Suite 105 for additional referrals and resources for wig and head covering boutiques.

If you decide to buy a wig, try to buy one while you still have your own hair because you can better match color and style. You may want to ask your doctor for a prescription for a “cranial prosthesis” (i.e., a wig), as some insurance companies will only pay for a wig with a prescription for a cranial prosthesis.

Your hair will begin to grow back after you stop chemotherapy. It usually takes from two to three months to see the change from no hair to some hair. Your new hair may be slightly different in color and texture than your old hair. Often, the new hair will be baby soft and curly, but will generally return to its original texture after some time.

Practical Hints for Hair Loss

  • It is not always necessary to buy a real wig. Synthetic wigs can look as good and are less expensive, easier to care for, lighter in weight and may be more comfortable to wear.
  • Before possible hair loss, some people like to cut their hair short. The hair loss won’t be quite so shocking if there is less hair to lose.
  • Put a towel over your pillow so that clean up in the morning will be easier while you are shedding your hair.
  • Buy a drain catch for your shower. Other people choose to shave their head hair when hair loss begins.
  • Refer to our wig information sheet for places to shop near you.
  • When buying a wig, take a friend for emotional support and maybe even a laugh!

Appetite and Taste Changes

During chemotherapy, you may experience taste and appetite changes and a heightened sensitivity to odors. Don’t worry if you don’t have an appetite the first few days or a week following chemotherapy; it is not unusual. As you feel better, your appetite will improve.

Reflux — when food backs up into your esophagus — burping, or a burning sensation may worsen nausea. Please report these symptoms to your physician or nurse so that they can be treated. You may find that you can tolerate only certain foods. We encourage you to eat what appeals to you during this time, and to drink enough fluids: 8 to 10 eight-ounce glasses per day, more if you have a fever or diarrhea.

Recommendations for healthy nutrition include a diet low in fat (less than 20 percent fat) and high in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plant-based proteins. Some people want to begin dietary changes during active therapy; others prefer to wait until chemotherapy is completed. Some people prefer small, slow changes, while others benefit from a “major overhaul.” We encourage you to become informed and make healthy dietary and lifestyle changes.

Practical Hints for Taste and Appetite Changes

  • Eat what appeals to you during this time.
  • Eat foods that are warm rather than hot.
  • Avoid places where food is being cooked, such as the kitchen at dinnertime.
  • Avoid smells that are unappealing.
  • To try drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluid a day.

Mouth Sores

Another side effect of chemotherapy can be mouth sores and discomfort when swallowing. Mouth sores occur because chemotherapy not only destroys cancer cells, but also rapidly dividing cells, such as those that line your mouth and esophagus. Please call your practitioner should you develop painful mouth sores or have difficulty swallowing. A special mouth rinse may be prescribed.

Practical Hints for Mouth Sores

  • Brush your teeth with a soft toothbrush three times daily.
  • Rinse your mouth with a solution of one teaspoon baking soda and one teaspoon of salt, diluted in a glass of lukewarm water, three or four times daily.
  • Most commercial mouthwashes contain alcohol. You can ask your health care provider about mouthwashes that are not irritating to your mouth.
  • Ulcer-ease is a commercial product that may provide temporary relief from sores.

Neuropathy

Neuropathy, which literally means disease or dysfunction of the nerves, can happen to some people. Some of the most common symptoms of the type of neuropathy caused by chemotherapy include tingling and burning, numbness or pain in the affected areas, loss of your sense of position — knowing where a body part is without looking at it — and loss of balance. The most commonly affected areas are the tips of fingers and toes, although other areas are sometimes affected as well.

Tell your doctor about any symptoms that you experience. Early detection and treatment are the best way to control your symptoms and prevent further nerve damage.

Practical Hints Regarding Neuropathy

  • Tight shoes and socks can worsen pain and tingling, and may lead to sores that won’t heal. Wear soft, loose cotton socks and padded shoes.
  • If you have burning pain, cool your feet or hands in cold, but not icy, water for 15 minutes twice a day.
  • Massage your hands and feet, or have someone massage them for you, to improve circulation, stimulate nerves and temporarily relieve pain.

Menopause

For women, chemotherapy may temporarily stop your periods or result in permanent menopause. The effects depend on the type of chemotherapy administered, your age and how close you are to naturally occurring menopause.

With menopause, you may experience symptoms such as hot flashes, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, mood changes and sleeping disturbances. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor or nurse to get information and treatment for the symptoms.

If your periods continue during treatment, they are likely to change in duration, flow and regularity. The changes may be temporary, lasting only while on chemotherapy, or the changes may lead to menopause.

Practical Hints for Menopausal Symptoms

  • Your doctor may recommend prescription medications for hot flashes.
  • Wear light cotton pajamas to help prevent overheating when sleeping.
  • Use vaginal moisturizers on a regular basis or other water-based lubricants as needed, especially during and before sexual activity. These products will help with vaginal dryness and irritation.
  • Try an opened vitamin E capsule or olive oil or coconut oil spread on the vagina to increase lubrication.
  • There are prescription medications that give a local dose of estrogen to the tissues in the vagina to treat vaginal dryness.

Please remember that we are here to make this time less difficult for you and call us with any questions or concerns.

 

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Caring For Caregivers

A cancer diagnosis not only affects the patient. It also can affect the caregiver. Caregiver fatigue, or even burnout, can be brought on by the physical and emotional demands of caring for a loved one with cancer.

Below is a list of tips to help combat the fatigue you may face as a caregiver. It is important to maintain your health and well-being so that you can provide the best possible care to your loved one.

• Take time for yourself and your own needs. Watch for signs of stress such as impatience, loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, or difficulty concentrating or remembering. Be aware of any changes in your mood, decreased interest in usual activities or inability to accomplish usual tasks.
• Eat a well-balanced diet. Drink plenty of water or juice every day.
• Exercise by taking short walks daily, or at least three times a week.
• Listen to relaxation tapes or music to help reduce stress.
• Space your activities with short rest periods. Get a good night’s sleep.
• Set limits with your loved one. Determine what self-care tasks he or she can perform.
• Don’t overload your daily “things to do” list. Be realistic.
• Find time several times a week for activities that are meaningful and pleasurable to you.
• Let family members and friends help. Delegate household chores, meals, childcare, or shopping.
• Visit OjaiCARES for referrals to respite care and other community resources to allow yourself some time to rejuvenate.
• Keep the lines of communication open between your loved one, your family and friends, and the oncology nurse.
• Share your feelings with family members or other caregivers, or join a support group.
• Give yourself credit — the care you give does make a difference.

 

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Resources For End Of Life

Support and Counseling

OjaiCARES has a list of bereavement support groups, counselors, hospice and other organizations dealing with end-of-life issues in the Ventura Area. Please call OjaiCARES at 805-746-1263 for the most updated list.

Internet

• GriefNet
• Growth House, Inc.
• On Our Own Terms
• Web Healing
• Willowgreen

Library Materials

The following materials are available for a two-week loan period at the Cancer Resource Center. You also can buy them online or at any major bookstore.

• Bereaved Children and Teens, by Earl Grollman (Beacon Press, 1995)
• The Courage to Laugh, by Allen Klein (Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1998)
• Dying Well, by Dr. Ira Byock (Riverhead Books, 1997)
• Handbook for Mortals, by Dr. Joanne Lynn and Dr. Joan Harrold (Oxford University Press, 1999)
• How We Die, by Sherwin B. Nuland (Vintage Books, 1993)
• Intoxicated by My Illness, by Anatole Broyard (Fawcett Columbine, 1992)
• Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen (Bantam Books, 1983)
• Talking About Death: A Dialogue between Parent and Child, by Earl Grollman (Beacon Press, 1990)
• The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, by Sogyal Rinpoche (Harper San Francisco, 1993)
• Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Albom (Doubleday, 1997)
• When Someone Very Special Dies, by Marge Heegard (Woodland Press, 1988)
• “Death Is Not an Outrage,” by Ram Doss (audio).
• “Health Journeys for People Experiencing Grief,” by Belleruth Naparstek (audio).
• “A New Vision of Living and Dying,” by Sogyal Rinpoche (video).
• “On Our Own Terms,” by Bill Moyers (video).

Other resources:

• About Hospice Care
• Livingston Hospice Care

More Information:

For additional information or resources, please visit:
OjaiCARES
960 East Ojai Avenue
Ojai, CA 93023
805.646.6433

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.

Helpful Websites

Clicking on the purple links below will take you to each website:

Custom Wristbands

Custom Wristbands helps small non-profit cancer support organizations who cannot afford promotional products for their cause.

Lots of Helping Hands

Connecting people through the power of community – whether you need help or you want to provide help.

Caring Bridge

This interactive website offers personalized websites, free of charge to people facing serious medical conditions, hospitalizations, undergoing medical treatments etc.

California Patient’s Guide

This guide is intended to inform you of your rights to receive quality health care and what steps you can take if you encounter problems

CA Department of Managed Health Care

CDHCS works to protect and promote the health status of Californians through the financing and delivery of individual health care services. The DHCS finances and administers a number of individual health care service delivery programs, including the California Medical Assistance Program (Medi-Cal).

Ventura County Health Care Agency

Hematology-Oncology Clinic

3291 Loma Vista Rd. Bldg 340, Suite 503, Ventura, CA 93003 (805) 652-6218 

Valley Outreach

Low Income Ojai Valley Residents Only – Help of Ojai -805-640-3322

Provides limited rental assistance, utility bill assistance, prescription drug payment assistance.

Cancer Detection Program (CDP) Every Woman Counts

This program is for women in need of a mammogram but do not have medical insurance.  If diagnosed with cancer this program may assist with treatment expenses. 800-824-0088

IMPACT

Provides high quality FREE prostate cancer treatment to Californian men with little or no health insurance.

National Cancer Institute 

Credible current cancer information

National Center for Complimentary & Alternative Medicine

A United States government agency that investigates complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) healing practices.

California Health Collaborative

The California Health Collaborative is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) health organization committed to enhancing the quality of life and health of the people of California, particularly the underserved.

California HealthCare Foundation 

The California HealthCare Foundation, based in Oakland, is an independent philanthropy committed to improving California’s health care delivery and financing systems. Formed in 1996, our goal is to ensure that all Californians have access to affordable, quality health care. California Department of Health Care Services

California Department of Public Health

Our mission is to protect and promote the health status of Californians through population-based public health programs and services, from maintaining safe drinking water to protecting our communities from communicable diseases, epidemics, and contaminated food.

American Dietetic Association

As the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, the ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being. Their web site offers an updated search engine to help you locate the wealth of timely, science-based food and nutrition information you can trust.

American Institute for Cancer Research

The American Institute for Cancer Research is the cancer charity that fosters research on diet and cancer prevention and educates the public about the results. Research articles and recipes available.

Hospice Care:

Livingston Memorial Visiting Nurses Association

A community-supported non-profit organization dedicated to provide comprehensive home health and hospice care services.