Cancer is Trauma

Nancy-WEB-DSC_0199Cancer is Trauma … for the person grappling with living and dying, for the kids, for the partner, and for the community of friends and family. I want to be helpful. The theme of my work is “I am with you.”

When I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer over 12 years ago, I was treated by an especially wise oncologist who understood the profound emotional roller coaster in front of me. He advised me to seek the services and support of a caring psychologist, specifically one who had experienced cancer and who had endured the trauma and torment and perhaps transformation.

I am a clinical psychologist. I work with many cancer patients and those who love and care for them. My clients are newly-diagnosed cancer patients and their friends and families as well as long-term survivors in all stages of their recovery and transition.

I have experienced and survived a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. I know the power of ‘talk-therapy’ in working through the ever-present fears and anxieties about recurrence. I know what is available to help a person living with cancer to survive and thrive. I can help navigate the medical system, find the financial supports, develop an A-team of supportive friends and neighbors, offer strength and courage to the children, guide and educate the caregivers. Most importantly, I understand the emotional, psychological and spiritual issues that we confront when we are faced with a cancer diagnosis.

I serve as an advocate for the souls and spirits of those living with cancer and those who love and care for them. I hold hands and hearts. The goal in my work is to help you find the internal strength to meet your challenges and hold onto your spirit and your hopes and your love.

Sometimes, our conversations may be very difficult as we ponder anger, fear, mystery, uncertainty, fear, sadness and disappointment, and then, more fear. Sometimes, oftentimes, our conversations may be hopeful and liberating as we discover how to bring meaning to your experience and to consciously create your life with purpose and gratitude.

We talk about the themes that concern you … how you define yourself, your resiliency, authenticity, purpose, intuition, wisdom, and inspiration. If you wish, I can also work with your partner, children, and family members who are frightened, alone, and need a hand and a heart. I tell them, “I am with you.”

Those were the words offered by my oncologist when we spoke about my diagnosis and prognosis. Those words sustain me, give me hope, and define my understanding of the healing process. That is the way I work with my clients and the way I live my life.

My clients are from many parts of the country. Many come to my office in Austin, Texas; others call on the phone; some visits are on Skype.

I invite you and those who love and care for you to consider working together.

Nancy Novack, Ph.D.

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