|Carry Hendrix and Denise Sleipen|
Research shows that being empowered in a debilitating situation has fundamental and beneficial effects on your immune system; enabling one to be more resilient and bounce back from treatments and setbacks better than others facing the same conditions. The initial shock of being diagnosed with Cancer can be mind-numbing. Once a doctor utters the word “cancer,” the rest sounds like a blur. No matter how clearly he or she spells out the truth, the terminology still feels foreign. It’s a language you don’t want to learn. Worried about what happens next or thinking about the impact on your life, along with the many emotions. This is the journey that Denise Sliepen and Carry Hendrix found themselves facing.
Here is a portion of Denise and Carry’s story:
“In 2015, we were diagnosed with different types of cancer. Ever since we were diagnosed until the end of our treatment we were more than convinced our body could fight this and we eventually would win the battle. We were a fanatic with sports and always focused on eating healthy. We immediately started to look for information on how to keep our body in the best shape during the chemo. During the first appointments we had at the hospital with a nurse specialized in cancer treatment, we received a lot of information on the treatment itself and its possible side effects. However, there was no information regarding healthy food, which products are best to eat during treatment or information on the possibility to continue exercising.
Our search started by using the internet to look up questions such as: Is it healthy to sport during treatment? What is the best food to eat? Should we be adding supplements to our daily meals? Who can help to keep my body in the best shape?
Through the dietician at the general practitioners office Carry received a list of products, which could effect the treatment and also some products to prevent loosing too much weight. We did not know if we had to expect a weight loss, because that is what we think chemo does to your bodies. We often forget is that we receive a lot of medicines to fight the treatment side effects, which have again their own side effects, such as potentially gaining weight (take for example prednisone, one tends to store a lot of body liquids that could cause weight increase).
The information from the GPs dietician was not sufficient, therefore we asked for the advice of a dietician at the hospital. During the first appointment we asked different kinds of questions, but we were shocked by the answers.”
Do all cancer patients struggle with the information being provided on nutrition and exercise during treatment? They realized healthy eating and nutrition support can improve a patient's quality of life during cancer treatment, but there must be platform to share this information. This was the stepping-stone to their initiative CoreCareCollective.
Let’s meet CoreCareCollective
How much nutrition advice can a doctor give during an appointment? Chances are, none. Most appointments last less than 15 minutes, which doesn’t leave time for a thorough diet assessment, but that doesn’t mean that physicians shouldn’t broach the subject at all. Where can they get this additional information?
This made them realize, if they have all these questions, there must be others who also want answers. They searched the internet to find anything that could benefit them and offer support. What if other people facing the same diagnosis had questions such as: How do I fight lingering fatigue? What should I eat to help prevent a recurrence? Should I Only Eat Organically Grown Foods?
What if we were to share the stories, share what works for them. Everyone impacted by cancer has a unique story and experience to share. From their discussions, their alliance saw the need for a platform that is open and supportive.
Support emotionally and socially
The CoreCareCollective initiative was created by Denise Sliepen and Carry Hendrix to support the emotional and social needs of people living with cancer. This initiative promises to create a professionally led network of cancer support dedicated to ensuring all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community. This is a unique collective that brings people together to share their experiences, identify issues that impact their lives, access resources, and learn and support each other. A platform to empower people facing cancer with techniques, tools, tips and shared experiences that will help them in their own healing and move away from being helpless and traditional patients.
Every person who faces cancer has a story. The beating heart of CoreCareCollective is a space where the individual and collective voices impacted by cancer can be heard, shared and to understand the social and emotional needs of patients, families and caregivers throughout the cancer journey. A platform that will honour the individual experience and create a community of understanding that extends to the entire health care delivery system.
Denise and Carry are on a mission to improve how cancer patients receive care and to collaborate as they generate and build a powerful platform to help people engage with their cancer in a positive immune boosting way. It is the hope that every person and family battling cancer will reach out to the many others who want to help and get connected to a community that cares.
Sharing the stories of the initiatives, each with a promising and innovative approach to reinvent healthcare.
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