Cancer survivor creates website to help other survivors reflect

By KBJR News 1

March 22, 2014 Updated Mar 22, 2014 at 7:08 PM CDT

Duluth, Minn. (NNCNOW.com) -- Battling cancer can not only be a troubling experience for the person diagnosed with the disease, but also for friends, family and caregivers.

Having a place to vent feelings about the experience can help those affected keep a positive attitude.

Reflecting Pool a website for people who are struggling with cancer, was one of the many resources highlighted at Essentia Health St. Mary's Cancer Survivor Conference on Saturday.

"I wanted to find a place, and I wound up creating, where I could express my own fears and thoughts," said Lisa McKhann.

McKhann created the website to give people a place to vent while they cope with the disease.

"They can write about their experience, express their feelings and thoughts in a very private, very anonymous space," said McKhann.

McKhann is a 6-year ovarian cancer survivor. She said fighting cancer is a traumatizing experience, and feelings of anxiety may not go away even after the battle has been won.

"I thought about a year after I felt, wow, I'm still terrified. I look really good now and people think I'm out of the woods, but I don't feel out of the woods," said McKhann.

Some physicians say it is just as important to acknowledge your feelings to ensure a healthy outlook on life.

"Voicing your thoughts and your feelings, including the embarrassing ones about fear and shame, can be very healing," said Dr. Wendy Harpham, who is a 23-year breast cancer survivor. She was the key note speaker at the survivor conference.

Dr. Harpham has also written seven books about how to be a healthy survivor of cancer.

Representatives from Essentia Health's Cancer Resource Center got on board with the idea and are helping expand the site to meet the needs of different groups of people.

"We are creating new groups; men with cancer, women with cancer, and caregivers with cancer. We can make smaller groups based on what the needs are of the people," said Colleen Baggs, program manager of Essentia's Cancer Resource Center.

Reflecting Pool is a service of Project Lulu a nonprofit organization dedicated to creative expression of individuals.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.
kanderson@kbjr.com

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