skip to main content

Spring, 2008

Facing cancer in the prime of youth. Valeria Delekta, Toni Spano-English and Jason Zao all experienced a cancer diagnosis at a time when their expectations were to go out and get their lives started. Valerie had just begun to work as an elementary music teacher -- and relocated to Atlanta. For Toni, cancer took a serious toll on her relationships, leaving her feeling isolated. All Jason wanted to do was graduate from high school with honors and then go on to do the same at the university of his choosing. His brain tumor forced a few adjustments to his plans.

We talked with the Tobacco Consultation Services for U-M's M-Healthy Program, about kicking the addiction. The average smoker makes nine to 11 quit attempts before becoming an ex-smoker. It’s important to realize you’re not weak if you’ve tried a couple times and haven’t been successful. Nicotine is a real addiction; staying off it requires management similar to any chronic disease. The only failure in quitting smoking is when a person quits trying to quit.

Many of us just don't know how to talk about the bad stuff in life. It's easier to keep mum than to express compassion. Often, when some people try to express concern, they end up blathering on inconsiderately about really awful stuff -- like how frightened you might be or a great-uncle who died of cancer. To help, we've assembled some tips to help keep your conversations with friends and acquaintances out of the weeds.

Eating well during cancer treatment is tricky enough, but add a second health condition into the mix -- like heart disease or diabetes -- and the situation gets a lot more complicated.