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Ask an Oncology Expert with Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm

September 8, 2022
Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm is a mind-body specialist for Integrative and Palliative Medicine in the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute. She has a master's degree in Palliative and Integrative Medicine and has worked for Gilchrist for three years. Prior to that, she worked for 10 years at R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma and the University of Maryland Medical Center. 

Lolly has experience with meditation and mind-body techniques for healing, including guided imagery, expressive arts and others. She appreciates that the team at the Berman Cancer Institute is willing to include non-pharmacological techniques and tools as a valid and important part of patient and family care. 

On Wednesday, September 7, Lolly shared many techniques for our patients to use during their treatment journey. Here are some key takeaways from this informative conversation:
  • The mind and body are fully connected. The mind affects the body and vice versa. According to Lolly, evidence suggests patients who utilize mind-body therapy have a much better time handling their pain, stress and anxiety. Some of the techniques Lolly encourages patients to use are guided imagery, art and music therapy, and breath work. These practices can help patients prepare for procedures, such as having to stay still for long periods of time during radiation treatment.
  • Lolly uses a three-step process to help patients cope with feelings of stress and anxiety. These techniques, combined with relaxing breath work, have proven to calm anxious minds. She encourages both her patients and their caregivers to practice the three-step process: acknowledge and name your feelings; allow the feeling and listen to the message it’s sending you; and shift the feeling by doing a body scan and find a peaceful pause.
  • Lolly typically sees each patient for eight sessions and then moves into “check-in” sessions, as needed. Luckily, she was able to continue to see patients virtually during the height of COVID-19 and was proud of her patients who continued to do the work.
  • Lolly shared that art therapy is more than painting and sculpting. She encourages patients to get creative and use activities they are most interested in, such as gardening or even cooking.
Our integrative medicine team is focused on caring for a patient's mind, body, and spirit. Services are offered free of charge to help prevent and manage symptoms for cancer patients who are experiencing pain, fatigue, depression, or anxiety. GBMC is proud to be able to offer this because it's the right thing to do, and what we would want for our own loved ones. To support Lolly, her work, and most importantly her patients, please consider a donation to the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute.
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