Summer 2023 Newsletter

Summer Newsletter 2023 main image
Summer newsletter header

Cancer Wellness Connections: New Direction, Same Mission

Cancer Wellness Connections was originally designed to provide comfort and care directly into the infusion clinics where people were actively receiving outpatient chemotherapy bringing bright spots to treatment times. During the pandemic, we transitioned to virtual programming offering similar support to people in our community impacted by Gynecologic Cancers, helping them connect with wellness. Inside this edition we outline the new programs we have launched, focused on the areas of care that contribute to overall wellbeing but are often financially inaccessible or simply overlooked. It’s an exciting step to meet people where they are on their cancer journeys and support their social, emotional, and physical needs. Because there is more to life than cancer!

Our race logo this year represents the colors associated with each individual Gynecologic Cancer, coming together into our unified purple ribbon of community support. A registration for this year’s race shows support for ALL those who have been impacted by Gynecologic Cancers. Additionally, funding raised this year will be shared with Dr. Richard Moore’s gynecologic cancers research team for local research.

Other benefits of funding for the race: get your team name on the official race t-shirt!

President's Message

BetsyThe COVID-19 pandemic forced us to evolve and learn new things since we could no longer safely deliver in-person support services to the hospitals and outpatient clinics. So we paused and strategized on how to continue to honor the original intent of our founders, Eileen Grossman, Dr. Cynthia Angel & Dr. Brent DuBeshter. The result is a series of completely free online programs that holistically address the physical, social and emotional needs of anyone experiencing gynecologic cancers. We realized that with virtual programing we could meet you where you are – be it your office or your comfy chair in your family room. In this newsletter, we have included QR codes along with each of our new programs (another new skill we’ve learned!) and if you open the camera on your phone and hold it over the code, a registration link should pop up and take you directly to the sign-up form! Both patients and caregivers are welcome to join all of our programming, always free of charge, and we look forward to supporting you at any point on your cancer journeys.

Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter that comes out monthly with program updates and information. And don’t forget to sign up for the 16th Annual Gynecologic Cancers 5k on 9/9/23 and help us honor and celebrate people in our community who have been touched by a Gynecologic Cancer

CWC food & nutrition logo

Food & Nutrition – Cooking Demonstrations with
Sweet Pea Plant- Based Kitchen
Patients & Families

Cancer Wellness Connections is partnering with Rochester’s Sweet Pea meal delivery and nutrition
coaching services, with classically trained chefs developing recipes, and Registered Dieticians leading
the programming. Virtual programming assures that all participants can safely attend, regardless of health
issues related to treatment.
Nutrition series topics include:

  • The importance of a healthy diet during treatment
  • How to make healthy food choices and fight inflammation
  • How to manage side effects of cancer treatment
  • How to prepare meals for oneself or how caregivers can prepare nutritionally dense meals for patients
  • Utilizing seasonal fresh and local foods

Next session: Thursday, August 17, 6:00pm

sweet pea logo
sweet pea logo

Sweet Pea’s Smoothie Recipe

Great for breakfast or a snack!

  • 1/4-1/2 C rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal 
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 C unsweetened plant-based milk
    (we recommend organic soy milk, more nutrient dense)

Optional: 1 handful spinach or other leafy greens, you may need a little more liquid with this addition.

1. If you want to save some time with prep – put all the dry ingredients into the blender and place into the
fridge (rolled oats, flaxseed meal, spinach).
2. When you’re ready to have it, toss in the frozen berries, banana, and plant-based milk and blend!
3. Enjoy!

Sexual Wellness
During & After Gynecologic
GROUP PROGRAM for women in
the Rochester area who have
experienced Gynecologic Cancer

This FREE group program is for people at varying stages of gynecologic cancer treatment who would like to work toward improving their sexual experience.

Topics include:

  • sexual health education specific to cancer survivors
  • relaxation training
  • cultivating self-compassion
  • improving & healing the relationship with the physical body

Additional monthly check-ins will be held or course ‘alumni’ to help participants continue their care with the help of professional providers.

Next Session Starts: Orientation
9/23 9-12pm, Sessions Tuesday 9/26, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 6:00 – 7:30p.m.

Sessions led by:

“It Was So Nice Not to Feel Alone”

How CWC’s Sexual Wellness Program Gives Women a Sense of Community

Nicole is an Elevate Ambassador for the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS), and her goal is to advocate and support those going through cancer and those in survivorship. She spent an hour plus talking with us about her recent experience participating in CWC’s Sexual Wellness During and After Gynecologic Cancers program. Here’s just a few snippets from our conversation:

How did Dr. Kranz and Jessica Janik help folks feel comfortable to participate more fully?
They are both so warm and welcoming, and before starting every session there was a group check in about the past week. They went at everyone’s pace and always stopped for any questions at any point along the way.

Was the program helpful? What were the most useful takeaways from participating in the program?
​It was so helpful to speak with other women who have had very similar physical and mental struggles. The whole process of cancer treatment is so isolating in many ways, but it was so nice to not feel alone in the group of survivors, and to share strategies and ideas with each other. I learned there are infinite ways to connect and be intimate with loved ones other than physical ways. Overall, I feel more relaxed and that has helped my relationship since finishing the program. I would even want to do it again to catch what I may have missed!

A takeaway lesson: Give yourself permission to focus on the things that give you the most fulfillment and let go of any guilt or shame about doing any of the rest that don’t resonate with you.

Learn more about Nicole's personal journey

Bibliotherapy is the use of story to promote health and healing. As such, book clubs can be beneficial in multiple ways and can improve overall quality of life for anyone coping with cancer.

  • According to scientific research on the
    outcomes of bibliotherapy, cancer patients
    have most often reported overall stress
    reduction, relief of anxiety and depression,
    and more effective coping in general
  • Books provide a welcome safe haven and
    positive distraction from cancer-related
  • A book club provides a setting to connect
    with others sharing similar life experiences
    while focusing on a noncancer activity.
    Because there’s more to life than cancer!

July Book Club Selection: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

by Sangu Mandanna

Wednesday, July 26, 7:00p.m.

A warm and uplifting novel about an isolated witch whose opportunity to embrace a quirky new family–and a new love– changes the course of her life. Register now and receive a FREE print, audio or e-copy of the book

Book Club Moderator Emily Hessney Lynch is a digital strategist, writer, and reader. Emily is a Trustee of the Monroe County Library System and enjoys writing short stories and spending time with her husband and their three rescue dogs.

“Mid-Month Mindfulness”

CWC is partnering with Laura Gavigan, Founder of Mindful Matters, to offer several sessions of “Mid-Month Mindfulness” skills. Laura uses a blended model of teaching, counseling and coaching integrating mindful meditation skills to help people understand and manage stress.

Register for one or all! For patients and families.

  • August 15th, 7-8:15 pm – Mindful Self-Care and Compassion
  • September 12th, 7-8:15 pm – Mindful Balance and Equanimity
  • October 17th, 7-8:15 pm – Mindful Transitions: Present Moment Acceptance
Laura Gavigan
Mindful Matters logo

Mindful means being aware of what is happening in the present moment, without judgment. It is a way of paying attention that is calm, deliberate, and accepting. For cancer patients and their caregivers, it helps return the focus to the present moment and steers them away from the worry of the unknowns that cancer brings.

Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned and practiced and is a powerful tool for navigating through tough times. It can be helpful to cancer patients in a number of ways, including:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep
  • Reducing pain
  • Improving quality of life
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Increased resilience