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What Is in My MPN Coping Toolkit?

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Published on December 3, 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Learn essentials for your toolkit to help deal with cancer-related anxiety.
  • Physical activity and mindfulness can help alleviate stress.
  • Understanding and coping with your feelings give can provide a stronger sense of control.

During this Partners program highlight, a panel including myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients, care partners and an expert discuss strategies for managing anxiety and stress, and share suggestions for others to keep in their day-to-day “toolkit” when cancer becomes a part of your life. Watch as the panel explains why techniques like deep breathing, exercise, getting outdoors and can help patients process emotion and gain a stronger sense of control.

The Partners series is sponsored by Incyte Corporation. This organization has no editorial control. It is produced solely by Patient Power.


Saturday's program was absolutely fantastic - I learned so much that was useful and helpful. Understanding this mind-bending (MPN) disease is a challenge indeed. It was obvious to me that a lot of careful planning and thought went into the preparation of this program. Please extend my thanks to the staff who did the hard work behind the scenes to make it so fruitful. And Hooray for Patient Power! The online lessons are terrific.

— Jeannette

Transcript | What Is in My MPN Coping Toolkit?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Beth Probert:               

I’m more a little type A and anxious, and I want to fix everything right now. And so what comes along with that when anyone is affected with a disease, or they’re the care partner, dealing with their loved one going through this disease is managing things like anxiety and depression.

I thought it would be great to just go around real quickly and maybe pick one thing that you can say was like, “Wow, this really really really helped me with anxiety and depression.”

And, Lindsey, including you as well, like one thing that you think is just like has to be in that toolkit of how we’re going to manage getting through this.

So, Esther, I’m going to pick you first. One thing that you do that just clears your head or helps you manage that.

Esther Schorr:              

Deep breathing and yoga. I took two.

Beth Probert:               

Well, they go together.

Esther Schorr:              

They go together. I discovered yoga much farther down the road than at the beginning, when Andrew was first diagnosed. But I find that that particular form of exercise and taking care of myself gives me a beginning, middle and end space in whatever day I do it, and I do it a couple of times a week. I work as hard as I feel like I can that day, but it’s a time when I just clear the dust out of my head, and I’m not focused on all the things I’m anxious about. I’m focused on my body, I’m focused on feeling good, of cleansing. And for me, that works. That gave me one thing. So I would say that, and taking the deep breath when I need to.

Beth Probert:               

I think that’s awesome. Lindsey, if you could say like one thing that—you know, you’ve already talked about so many support things, but one thing that’s really essential that you would say to your patients to have in their toolkit.

Lindsey Lyle:                

I would say get outside and be in nature. And even if that means just sitting on a bench in a park, I have found that that’s helpful for me in whatever things I’m kind of dealing with. And as I’ve said this to some of my patients, I’ve had really good feedback, it’s just nice to kind of in a way similar to Esther, kind of get out of your head and get out of what’s going on, and just sit outside, listen to birds. Take a time. You know, we don’t do that very often. And so that’s what I would say. Just get outside.

Beth Probert:               

I love that. I think they call that earthing, that we don’t do enough of earthing. And I agree, I totally agree.

And, Maryann, one thing that when you’re just having that anxiety and depression, what’s that one thing that kinda picks you up?

Dr. Gray:                      

Well, first of all, I agree with Esther and Lindsey. For the sake of variety, I’ll add a third, and that is I used to tell myself, “Oh, I shouldn’t feel this way. This is a bad feeling. I shouldn’t be depressed. It’s weak. I shouldn’t be anxious. It’s useless.”

Now I say, you know, my feelings are my feelings. They’re here, so what am I gonna do with it? Feelings are energy, basically, so can I take that energy and use it in some way?

I also think we live in a society where people are quick to label grief and sadness as depression. There’s a big difference, of course, between those. So sadness, grief, fear, I think they’re appropriate in the face of a diagnosis. Can we move through them? Can we use those feelings as energy to motivate us to think about what really matters? How we want to use the time we have? What we can do with our limited energy? And then I can feel a stronger sense of control, and then I can get outside and to the gym and start to feel better.

Beth Probert:               

Wow. That is just great. Those are great words of wisdom. And when I was first diagnosed, and I remember I actually learned this on a Patient Power program, when I was desperate to figure out how am I supposed to feel? What’s happening to me? And the advice given on that particular program was, you have to take the time to almost grieve the life you were living yesterday before you were diagnosed, and your new life. And it goes with what you just said, Maryann, was like wow. I mean, it is okay to stop and be able to feel sad and almost grieve that my life has changed. So I really understand what you just said, and thank you for sharing that.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.


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