Denise Remembers Her Mom
- Actress Denise Richards remembers her late mom, Joni, on her mom’s 68th birthday; Joni passed from kidney cancer in November 2007.
- After losing a parent to cancer, a therapist or psychologist can help you process your grief in a healthy, effective way.
- Coping with a cancer diagnosis can also be helped with therapy, and even medication, if someone is experiencing clinical depression.
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Richards continues to say, “Oh, how I miss you and need you more than ever right now. I love you so much…Happy birthday mom, Joni, Nana.”
Richards also acknowledged her followers who may have experienced similar loss.
“And to all of my beautiful loyal followers that are also dealing with this on some level ….my heart is with all of you too,” she wrote.
Fans lavished Richards with loving support, with some even sharing that they, too, had lost loved ones to cancer. Vulnerability is a powerful and effective way to confront the emotions surrounding grief, and process them in a healthy manner (as opposed to bottling them up).
Coping with the Loss of a Parent to Cancer
Speaking of vulnerability – many people find that therapy is a helpful way to process the trauma of losing a loved one, like a parent, to cancer. A talented therapist or psychologist can help you work through your emotions in a safe environment.
That’s exactly what happened for Camila Legaspi, who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was still in highschool She says, “Therapy saved my life. I was dealing with some really intense anxiety and depression at that point.”
“It just changed my life, because I was so drained by all the negativity that was going on,” says Legaspi. “Going to a therapist helped me realize that there was still so much out there for me, that I still had my family, that I still had my siblings. The reality is, is when you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard. And it’s totally OK to talk to someone.”
Coping with the Emotions of a Cancer Diagnosis
Joni was 50 when she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Being diagnosed with cancer can feel scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Some people may find that they experience anger, anxiety, and even depression. A small percentage of people (around 15%) diagnosed with cancer will experience clinical depression. Help is available, though.
In an earlier interview, Dr. Scott Irwin, the director of supportive care services at Cedars-Sinai, explains the importance of treating depression – should it arise – alongside cancer. He says, “Depression is a really interesting topic, because a lot of people assume that, oh, they have cancer. They must be depressed. That’s actually not true. 85% of patients do not get what would be considered a clinical depression. 15% do.”
“For prescribing medications for depression in the context of cancer, I often try to choose medications with the lowest side effect profile. If patients are getting hormonal therapy, there’s particular antidepressants that we can’t use, because they may lower the effectiveness of that hormonal therapy. And so we choose antidepressants that don’t impact the cancer care.”