Do You Have An Illness Support System?

Zachary, Miranda, Me, and Trey-c. Part of my support system.

Zachary, Miranda, Me, and Trey-c. Part of my support system.

As a cancer patient or a caregiver, you will learn so much about a devastating disease that rarely leaves survivors. Everyone is hoping and praying for a cure to be found quickly, but more research is needed in order for this to happen. However, there are other ways, in which you can help yourself fight to live. This will be a spiritual, physical, emotional journey for everyone around you.

Laugh Everyday

Learning to laugh every day, no matter what you may be facing in the future is important for anyone touched by cancer. Start by finding a sense of hope, in the midst of an unsure future and pain beyond description. Cancer sucks, but we most make the most out of the time we have with our families. Don’t fret over the small things, instead go out and have a day of fun that your loved one will never forget.

Focus on You

Next, look for a hobby or spend the night dancing with someone you love. Spend time doing the things you love, like taking a vacation to the mountains or visit an amusement park. Always find new ways, to help you beat the cancer blues and the fear involved in the cancers. Current research shows that loneliness and sadness lead to a quicker death. So, go have fun, instead of feeling helpless and frustrated with your current situation.

Create Memories

Then, be sure to write a book about your life, as a keepsake for your family and their children. In addition, you could make a scrapbook for each of your children, but first you will need to gather up your favorite pictures. Try to forget your troubles and focus on pleasing yourself instead, since most doctors agree the laughter is the best medicine. Be sure to get your daily dose and pass it on to your loved one and friends.

Get Healthy

Research has show that changing old habits will help you live longer, so quit smoking and adopt a low fat diet. Remember to eat lots of veggie and fruits, in order to build up your body’s immune system. Exercise regularly, in order to maintain your physical strength and health. Start slowly and work your way up to 30 minutes of Cardio exercise a day. Then, you will want to add strength training into your daily routine.


Enjoy the precious gift of life that you were given, no matter what you are facing tomorrow or in the future. Furthermore, lean on your faith for spiritual comfort, while traveling on this bumpy road. It is necessary to make yourself happy and change your unhealthy habits, so you will begin thriving. Therefore, focus on learning to live and laugh, because it is another important step toward becoming a healthy survivor!

My Husband and my son. They are also part of my support system.

My Husband and my son. They are also part of my support system.


My husband Karl

My Husband Karl

Build an Illness Support System

illness support 1

Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic disease or medical condition? Are you looking for a support group, online or locally, to find a shoulder to lean on? There are several types of support groups to choose from, no matter what condition or disease you have. Many groups offer individual help in a local location and some are located on the Internet. However, you must be sure to that you choose one, which will benefit your personal needs.

Online Support Communities

Did you know there are thousands of different support communities on the Internet? They are usually open twenty-four hours a day and can be accessed from any home computer. This way, the families that are unable to visit a local group in their town, due to their condition or circumstances. Many groups offer several types of services and resources for patients and their loved ones. Before signing up, be sure to talk with the members and see what they think.

Local Support Groups

Have you asked your doctor about local support groups in your town? These types of groups will help you deal with your diagnosis or condition? In addition, you could talk to other patients or nurses, because someone will know about an existing group. After you find a group, be sure to talk to the members, in order to learn more about their mission. Unfortunately, most groups usually meet once a week, so you may want to have a separate support system.

Professional Counseling

Sometimes you will need more support than any type of support group can offer, so it is important to find a psychologist. They can help in ways a support group can not, since you may need medicine to help with depression or anxiety. Ask your doctor to refer you to someone he trusts or talk to your church minister about your needs. However, be sure to pick one that you feel comfortable talking to. This is important, because you will be discussing personal things with them.

Family and Friends

Are you close to your family and friends, who live near you? Do you have friends that will drop everything, if you need them? If, so lean on them throughout this frightening time and allow each of them to help you in any way you need. However, if you not close to your family, then it is important for you to lean on members of your support group. That is why it important to look for a group with members you can trust, just in case you need a shoulder to lean on.


Today, there are many avenues for a patient and caregivers to find support for those, who suffer from a chronic illness. Start by researching the best options that are available to you and your family. Be sure to find someone that you trust, no matter what kind of support you need. It is important for you to find a group that allows you to feel comfortable. Therefore, you will find the right support system, which you will need to make it through your journey against your illness..
Previously Published in 2007

©2007, Crystal S. Kauffman



This morning was lonely when I woke up, because Bella’s parents come to pick her up Saturday morning. After eight months of being her foster mom, I got used to the way that she talked to me each morning as I head to the bathroom. She would bark or howl to get my attention, but as soon as I said, “Good morning, Bella Girl!”

She would go nuts rubbing her face on my legs and wait for me to love on her. I admit, at first I was against fostering her while her parents got settled. But, with each passing day, week, and month…I began falling in love with her. One day, my girlfriend Laura brought up some temporary hair chalk a few months back and I gave Bella a purple mohawk. However, before I could get the picture, she rubbed up against me and the hairdo didn’t stay up.

Bella, I had no idea how attached I became to you, during the time that I helped my mom care for you. Furthermore, Monkey misses you too, because you became his surrogate mother, once I brought him home at eight weeks old. Now, who is going to protect him from Grumpy Ol’ Gizmo?

I am so glad you are home with your mom and dad, but this house is not the same without you. I miss WP_20140507_001 (1)your special way of talking to me and everyone. I will cherish every memory that we have made together and you will always have a special spot inside my heart. I do hope to see you again soon!

A Glimpse into My Family’s Lives

We miss you papa and granny. This is my memorial to you and the generations of family that you both helped to create in your 49 years together. We love you! I hope you are dancing together in heaven. Please subscribe to my channel to see more videos from me. Thanks for reading and watching!

My Best Friend


Your doctor told me it won’t be long,

Right now, I have got to be strong.

Holding you close to my heart,

Now, your new journey is about the start.

Do you know what is happening to you?

Are you ever sad, angry, or blue?

How can you continue to tell your tale?

Are you suffering and going through hell.

Our friendship was filled with trust and love,

Soon, you will fly away, as a spotless dove.

Today, I am praying for one last wish,

That God will allow you to eat from his dish.

My best friend, who always showed he cared,

Please do not forget the bond we shared.

Your memory is alive inside of me,

Allow God to set your spirit free.

April @2008

Random Acts of Kindness….Pass it On!

This picture was taken in 2007., during our Blankets of Hope Projects.

This picture was taken in 2007., during our Blankets of Hope Projects.

About Picture

This year, while gathering up Christmas presents for your family and friends. Try to grab a gift or two for a neighbor that you know has no family or a family that may be under privileged. These little random acts of kindness will bring joy to those, who may be lonely or feel sad during the holiday season.

For example. this picture  taken in 2007, when we first started giving out gifts and blankets to those who have no one during Christmas at cancer centers, nursing, homes, or other places joy is needed. Additionally, this particular year in 2007, my children and I visited the trauma unit at Shands during our give away.

Laugh at Cancer Support Community is so thankful for the many different donations, which have been given to us over the years. Since, these simple presents brought joy into the lives of many others. The idea for the support community and the blankets and small gifts came from examples in my own life.

A Glimpse Into My Blessed Life

Over fifteen years ago, my daughters 4th birthday was coming, but I got sick enough to be admitted into Orange Park Hospital and stayed during her birthday. My lovely roommate surprised me! She had her daughter bring in several presents for my daughter like: Barbie, Barbie’s horse, and clothing for the Barbie doll. I felt so blessed when this happened that I cried as I tried to tell her thank you. She hugged me and said he said just pass it on when you can.

Later, for the next five years, I found myself in the hospital over the holiday season for one reason or another on Thanksgiving, Christmas, (My birthday), New Years Eve, and New Years Day. During Christmas, the nurses would bring in gifts for me and my children, which made me feel blessed and grateful. The nurses from each shift brought me some things to use to write with, since they knew I loved to write short stories. They even loved reading what I wrote, which made me feel honored and set me on the path to writing. I am not perfect, but I know I get better every single day.

This year, I am collecting donations for the Blankets of Hope Project, which can be throw blankets or small gifts for adults or children. However, if you cannot help us out, then take time to help someone near you that needs help this year. If you can help us, contact me for my email for the address to send your donations to. I hope you will take a moment and let us know how we are doing, as well letting us now if you plan to donate. We can also use Christmas cards that are not signed, instead put “Thinking About You” at the bottom of the card.

Please help spread the word by sharing this blog!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Alzheimer’s, Memory and Emotions

alzheimers patients

By, David M. Gillespie (Guest Blogger)

During 2009, 2010, I worked as an advocate for residents of long term care communities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. This experience brought me close to many people suffering from Alzheimer’s. Several years ago, my own father –in-law died from a similar disease. I learned first hand about the effect this illness has on the patient’s family members, particularly ones most responsible for the patient’s care. I learned about unconditional love and that the patient’s personality changes are symptoms of the disease rather than the person. This is advice from a friend, not a clinician, but it may help you. Please take videos and candid photos of your loved ones – the sooner the better. They will be a blessing later on.

Support direct care givers. They need help attention and moral support – not sympathy. Even small things such as taking them out for a bite to eat, can be a much needed pick-me up. I know it’s not a new idea but still worth keeping in mind. Something my experience with Alzheimer’s patients taught me that was a bit of a revelation when I saw it, is that while cognitive or factual memory is laid waste by the disease, the patient does not lose affective, or emotional memory in the same way. An Alzheimer’s patient’s suffering can be mitigated immensely by exposure to positive emotional memories. Colors, smells and sounds that the patient always loved and which made him or her feel calm and happy, are colors, smells and sounds, etc., which he or she STILL loves.

Sadly, patients are sometimes ignored because, well, “they don’t even know me anymore… “. Listen, the emotional self is still there. Continually surround your Alzheimer’s patient with music, voices, aromas and colors which brought pleasure in the past. When doing so, please avoid just using these things to “test” the patient’s cognitive memory. He need not be able to tell you that the sweet smell in the house right now is apple pie in the oven, or that he always loved going to the beach, or that his favorite song is “Fascination” for the smell, beach picture and favorite song to comfort and calm him. They can really help him cope with the challenge of making it through another day. It may also help you keep your close emotional bond throughout this journey.