Breakout Session Descriptions

Below are the full course descriptions for the 2015 Moving Beyond Cancer to Wellness Event.

Spirituality and Finding Meaning
J Fields, MA, LMFT
Gretchen Schodde, MN, ARNP, FNP-BC, NC-BC
Harmony Hill

Illness can be a painful, frightening and isolating experience full of uncertainties and loss.  Sometimes illness can push one to the point of experiencing spiritual and emotional chaos, pain and distress.  But it can also be an opportunity to celebrate, change and experience expressions of being cared for in new ways.  Spirituality and Finding Meaning will provide information and resources on how you can find the spiritual and emotional support needed as you move forward as a cancer survivor.

Cognitive Function after Cancer
Myron Goldberg, PhD, ABPP-CN
Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington

Mild cognitive impairment following cancer treatment is one of the most common symptoms reported by cancer survivors. Cognitive Function after Cancer will provide an update on what we know about the troubling deterioration in cognitive function after cancer commonly called “chemobrain” or “chemofog,” Dr. Myron Goldberg will also provide suggested strategies to cope with post-cancer cognitive difficulties.


Communication and Relationships after Cancer
Leslie Heron, ARNP
Survivorship Program, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Please join us in the Communication and Relationships after Cancer class to discuss the challenges cancer puts on all our relationships. We welcome all patients and survivors who are single, married, partnered, or looking. We will discuss how to improve communication with current partners and how to communicate with family, friends or while dating.  This class will have some interactive time, where we can all learn from each other.  Please note: we are offering classes specifically on Intimacy after Cancer and will not be covering this topic in the Communication and Relationships after Cancer class.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: What you need to know to get the best of both worlds
Dan Labriola, ND
Northwest Natural Health

Studies have shown that a significant percentage of cancer survivors deal with chronic health problems that may be related to their cancer treatment. In Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Dr. Labriola will review the natural medicine treatments available that keep cancer survivors as strong and healthy as possible, avoid unwanted interactions with medical oncology, radiation and surgery, and also add to fighting the cancer. Please note: we are offering a class specifically on vitamins and supplements and will not be covering this topic in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine class.

Heart Disease After Cancer: What you can do to stay healthy
Eric Chow, MD
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Many cancer treatments increase the risk of subsequent heart disease.  However, certain prevention strategies, including changes in lifestyle may help mitigate those risks.  During this talk, Dr. Chow will review the current understanding of heart disease among cancer survivors, including what survivors might be able to do to reduce their risk.

Exercise for Cancer Survivors
Carol Baltaxe, PT, CLT
Physical Therapy, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Surviving cancer and making it through cancer treatment are major accomplishments. Most, if not all, survivors find a new priority in life: keeping cancer from returning. The latest research suggests that exercise for cancer patients may help. Exercise for Cancer Survivors explores this and other benefits of exercise and oncology physical therapist, Carol Baltaxe, will suggest safe exercise options for cancer survivors.

Successfully Living with Advanced Disease
Pamela Davies, MS, ARNP, ACHPN
Supportive & Palliative Care Service, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Some people with advanced cancers may survive for years.  This session, taught by a Supportive and Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, will include strategies for successfully coping with advanced disease.  Topics will include pain and symptom management, and coping strategies.  Also discussed will be the "paperwork" that we all need to do to "get our affairs in order," such as Health Care Directives (Living Will) and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.

Andrea Leiserowitz, DPT
Physical Therapy, Oncology Rehabilitation Specialists, Inc.

Lymphedema 101: Lymphedema is swelling caused by a buildup of lymph fluid that occurs for several reasons, including radiation treatment and lymph node removal from cancer surgeries.   This session will discuss who is at risk for developing lymphedema, prevention strategies for those at risk and treatment recommendations for those with diagnosed lymphedema.

Nutrition for Cancer Survivors
Sarah Washburn, MS, RD, CSO
Oncology Dietitian

Your nutritional wellness and your diet are vital components of your health and your quality of life after a cancer diagnosis. Come explore the benefits of a whole foods diet in relation to helping prevent cancer recurrence.  Sarah Washburn, an Oncology Dietitian, will review the latest research regarding diet and cancer survivorship. 

Intimacy after Cancer – Male and Female Issues
Shannon Solie, LMHCA

You may have changes in your sex life after cancer treatment - many people do. Sexual problems after cancer treatment are often caused by changes to your body - from surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, or by the effects of certain medicines. Sometimes emotional issues can be the cause of sexual problems. Intimacy after Cancer will address the common concerns about sex and intimacy after cancer and will provide strategies for improving intimate relationships after cancer treatment. There will be two sessions: the 11am class will be directed towards female survivors and the 12pm session will be directed towards male survivors. Please note: we are offering a class specifically on Communication and Relationships after Cancer and will not be covering this topic in the Intimacy after Cancer class.

Stressed Out! The Science and Practice of Stress Management for Cancer Survivors 
Bonnie McGregor, PhD

Dr. McGregor will briefly review the current data on the effects of stress on health and how stress management can improve not only emotional but also physical well-being.  Dr. McGregor will then teach the group empirically validated stress management techniques and close the group with a brief guided relaxation exercise.

Finding Joy through Art Therapy
Kathryn Winter Russell, MA, LMHCA
The Healing Art Studio

Coping with Cancer (and the aftermath) can cause emotional shifts that are challenging to handle with conventional means.  Creative/Expressive Arts Therapy explores the obstacles, transforms the focus, opens the heart and clears the path for joy and contentment to be part of the everyday experience - even with a current diagnosis.  Our innate joy is never lost, even in the most tragic of circumstances, but it can be seemingly inaccessible or tenuous.  The act of creativity is remarkably empowering and reveals incredible insights to support the many milestones of the cancer journey.  In this experiential presentation, we'll explore the therapeutic benefits of the expressive arts; through guided visualization, journaling, art and playful interaction, we'll demonstrate the creative spirit inherent in all of us.

Mem Rippey & Marcie Leek

At any stage of the journey, therapeutic yoga can help cancer patients, caregivers and survivors by helping them develop personal resilience and awareness.  Mem and Marcie use gentle and mindful movement, breathing, sound and meditation to support students in nourishing and replenishing their minds and bodies.  This experiential yoga class will exemplify the free resources at SCCA that are available to patients, caregivers and survivors.  Familiarity with yoga is not necessary for participation.  Marcie and Mem will conclude the class with an interactive question and answer session.

Care for the Caregivers: Mindfulness & Stress Management to Reduce Stress and Burnout
Erica Rayner-Horn, MA, LMHCA
Seattle Mindfulness Center

Caregivers play a crucial role in the cancer patient's life yet they often experience stress and exhaustion and tend to neglect their own health and well-being.  Caring for a loved one requires that caregivers take excellent care of themselves!  Care for the Caregiver will teach simple, effective, research-based mindfulness and stress management tools to improve physical and emotional health, reduce stress and help avoid the pitfalls of burnout.  There will be brief guided relaxation and mindfulness meditations, and a short interactive discussion on the challenges of caregiving.  We will conclude with information on coping strategies and practical ways caregivers can pay better attention to their own needs and find resources and support.

Vitamins and Supplements: What works and what is safe with cancer
Dan Labriola, ND
Northwest Natural Health

Vitamins and supplements are often recommended to and taken by many cancer survivors who cannot gain their daily requirement through diet alone. For example, some use supplements to treat post-treatment fatigue or neuropathy. Dr. Labriola will discuss how suppliments work with cancer, how to choose the ones that are safe and effective, and when it is useful to use them. Please note: we are also offering classes on Nutrition for Cancer Survivors and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which will not be discussing the topic of vitamins and supplements.