Information and Resources

Started by Kizzie, April 23, 2019, 04:21:54 PM

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Chronic Illness Trauma Studies is a web site by physician & trauma survivor Veronique Mead about the science behind the link between trauma and chronic illnesses.  Lots of resources and tools here.

The Healing Journey Program is for people who want to learn how to help themselves when they have cancer, or other serious chronic diseases. It is a practical course, providing simple, psychological and spiritual tools which promote inner harmony, peace and healing, methods that can help any of us become a "healed person". The program has been developed and tested over more than 25 years at a large cancer treatment and research centre. Our published research, and the research of other scientists, shows that using these methods regularly can significantly diminish anxiety and depression, restore a sense of control, and relieve symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and pain. We have also published some evidence that when people with advanced cancers get very involved with helping themselves psychologically and spiritually they may live longer than medically predicted.

This site offers a free downloadable pdf "Healing Journey, Level I Workbook."

Brailey, L. (2019). Cancer as Trauma: How to Best Support Patients Through the Trauma of Treatment, Oncology Nursing News.  This one was personal for me because I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in 2007 and it was the information, support and care I received (all things I didn't have as a child), that got me through with no residual/lasting sense of trauma.

A new theory on depression: It's a disease caused by the body's immune system, by Alexandra Shimo, Special to The Globe and Mail, October 2019. 

Now a new theory about the cause of depression has emerged: That it is a disease caused by the body's immune system. The idea is that chronic stress causes hormonal dysregulation, and this leads to depression and other inflammatory disorders, such as arthritis, lupus, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.

We believe inflammation is a critical factor in the mind-body connection. Chronic stress causes an inflammatory cascade, leading to an increased likelihood of developing diseases linked to inflammation, and those inflammatory disorders increase the risk of depression. This is why a person who has an inflammatory disorder such as heart disease or arthritis is more likely to develop depression.


Survivor Squared?  is an amazing article by Cissy White, a writer and trauma survivor who is dealing with Ovarian Cancer.

One of the main takeaways from the article for me was the intersection of relational and medical trauma. It resonated deeply for me because I  survived Ovarian Cancer. It was before I knew I had Complex PTSD so her reflections on what she is going through helped me to understand just how much I endured because of my past trauma (which reared up throughout treatment and recovery). It would have helped greatly if the oncology team and I had known about my Complex PTSD and there was support/treatment to deal with both.  Medical professionals need to become more knowledgeable and proactive about patients with a history of relational trauma given our vulnerability to comorbidities and the additional stress this places on us when we are dealing with serious, even life threatening medical conditions.   

Here's an excerpt:

Survivors of trauma know that just being alive isn't enough and that to be alive without dignity, safety, choices, and respect can wear one's will to live rather than support or enhance or promote it.

Plus, I also shared with the oncologist the study my ex-husband had forwarded to me that was published the week before that found that those who'd had PTSD, ever, had twice ovarian cancer as those who had not. If PTSD symptoms make getting ovarian cancer more common and likely, surely managing PTSD symptoms while living with ovarian cancer makes some medical sense.

I wrote to the study authors about that, in fact, and it's not something anyone can say for sure, because there's not been a study on that. I shared the study with my oncologist and surgeon.

Treating ovarian cancer and PTSD, together, figuring out how they are related, even when studies suggest a link, isn't yet a thing routinely done by surgeons, oncologists, or even geneticists.

That's part of what all of us increasing awareness about adverse childhood experiences and their lifelong impact on health and disease are trying to change. We know there are correlations and overlaps and epi-genetics and social determinants of health.