Summer 2015

Cancer Newsline is an audio podcast series featuring MD Anderson experts and cancer survivors, discussing a wide variety of cancer and cancer-related topics.

Winter 2017

Cancer Newsline is a podcast series featuring MD Anderson experts and cancer survivors discussing a wide variety of cancer and cancer-related topics. Listen now.

A caregiver’s advice for preserving quality of life

Singer Kimmie Rhodes had been married to legendary music producer Joe Gracey for 28 years when he died of metastatic esophageal cancer in November 2011. The couple met in 1979, after Joe completed treatment at MD Anderson for his first bout with cancer — which involved the complete removal of his tongue. “I was actually married to a man who didn’t speak,” Kimmie says. “In a way, I became the voice he lost, but he could communicate very well without speaking.” The couple married in 1982, and Joe reinvented himself as a record producer, while Kimmie kept performing. They enjoyed almost 30 years together before Joe’s cancer returned in the spring of 2008. A long-time Austin resident, Kimmie had never heard of MD Anderson before meeting her husband. But once here, she learned a lot about being a caregiver to a cancer patient. Here’s Kimmie’s advice for other caregivers. 1. Take care of yourself The first thing Kimmie learned was the importance of taking care of herself. “People caring for cancer patients can get hyper-focused, but you don’t have to let yourself be consumed by it,” Kimmie says. “Shift your attention and think about something else for a while. Ask for help if you need it. And have hope. That’s what MD Anderson is all about.” 2. Make plans Kimmie maintained the couple’s quality of life by planning activities around town — both solo and together — while her husband was receiving treatment here. “You don’t have to think about cancer all the time,” she says. “You can still have fun. So look around and find things that feed...