Prior to completing this discussion, read Chapter 9 in the textbook, the SOC313 Family Document, and review the Instructor Guidance.
Our stage of life, intellectual/cognitive abilities, and sociocultural position in life, affect our perspectives and resultant behaviors about a number of conditions including cancer. Consider the information provided in the SOC313 Family Document. Both Ella and Evan have been diagnosed with cancer. Ella has been fighting cancer with complementary and alternative methods with some success for many years. Evan, her grandson, is 10 years old and has recently been diagnosed with leukemia but has not yet begun treatment.
Putting yourself in either Ella or Evan’s place, what might your perspective on your cancer be? Integrate how the stage of life, cognitive abilities, and sociocultural position of your chosen person influences her/his perspective on his/her individual disease.
Guided Response: Read several of your classmates’ posts and respond to two of your peers. Did your classmates select the same or different individual? Respond to similarities and differences in your perspective and your classmates’ perspectives. Taking on the role of either Evan’s mother or Ella’s husband, comment on how your perspective of the disease differs from your classmates’ perspectives. Share any additional insights you have after reading these different perspectives.
SOC313 Family Document
Throughout this class, we will meet two families, the Maldonado’s and the Olson’s. The two families are
considered extended family via Sarah and Joe Miller. We will learn about their relationships, work
environments, and the psychosocial effects related to health challenges faced by each family. You will
use this document for the discussions and written assignments. We begin with the Maldonado family.
Manny and Donna Maldonado have been married for 42 years. Manny is age 65 and Donna is 63. Sarah,
Mike and Becky are the children of Manny and Donna Maldonado. Sarah is the eldest daughter,
followed by her brother, Mike, and her sister, Becky.
Manny is Hispanic American and owns a 20,000-acre produce farm that has been in his family for
three generations. Although Manny speaks and understands some English, he prefers to speak
Spanish. This creates a language barrier between Manny and other family members who do not
speak Spanish. Donna is fluent in Spanish, having learned the language from Manny and his family.
Donna works on the farm with her husband. She has long suffered from mood swings, which is
mostly frustrating to Manny. He says it is “brujeria,” meaning her moods are caused by witchcraft
and “mal d ojo” or “evil eye.” He believes someone put a spell on Donna. When this is believed to
be the case, the person will visit a Curandero (healer) who will perform a healing ritual.
o Sarah works as a nurse, and recently took Family Leave of Medical Absence (FMLA) due to
her children’s recent issues.
o Joe is the President of Illusion Technologies. Joe’s parents are John and Ella Miller. More
details about Joe are shared in the Olson family section below.
Lucy, age 20, has a history of severe substance use disorder, along with having been
diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In the past two years, Lucy has had four different jobs.
She is unable to hold a job long-term. She now works on her grandparent’s produce
Josh, age 17, has been sneaking away with friends, smoking marijuana and skipping
Evan, age 10, was recently diagnosed with leukemia; however, he has not yet started
treatments. Even’s doctors have recommended chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone
marrow transplant. Sarah and Joe intend to follow this treatment plan.
o Mike Maldonado is age 36. He currently works for a state University as a tenured faculty of
the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Mike was recently diagnosed with HIV. Mike
and Dan did not have any children.
o Dan was Mike’s husband. He recently passed away at the age of 38 due to an AIDS-related
illness. They were married for 10 years.
o Becky is age 33. She is divorced and working on the family produce farm as well as
attending a local college at night to complete her bachelor’s degree in Child Psychology. She
has one child, Abe.
Abe is age 12. He is a good student, but his behavior has changed recently, showing
anger and defiance towards both of his parents and several teachers at school. His
mother, Becky, has been treating Abe’s behavioral changes with diet and alternative
Next, we will meet the Olson family.
Frederic Olson was married to Mary Olson. Mary passed away 10 years ago at the age of 77. Frederic is
age 87. Ella is the only child of Frederic and Mary Olson.
Fredric has pronounced symptoms from Parkinson’s disease. He has tremors and balance problems,
along with muscle stiffness and gait (manor of walking) changes. He struggles to begin any
movement. However, once he is moving, he cannot stop easily. His gait has changed to smaller
steps and shuffling.
As he progresses through the stages of the disease, Frederic needs increasing assistance with his
activities of daily living (ADLs), which entails bathing, dressing, food preparation, eating, taking
medications, et cetera. He recently moved to an Assisted Living community and only leaves the
facility for medical appointments. The family visits Grandpa Frederic on an alternating schedule at
his new home every week. The Assisted Living community has regularly scheduled social events in
which Grandpa Frederic actively participates.
o Ella is married to John Miller. Ella and John are both 70 years old. John and Manny
Maldonado became best friends when John married Ella. Ella and Manny grew up together
on their neighboring farms. Ella and John recently sold their 10,000-acre farm to the
Maldonado family since the two farms were adjacent to each other.
o Ella has been trying to heal herself from breast cancer using a variety of natural means. She
grew up on a farm and was accustomed to using home remedies. Therefore, Ella is not
willing to utilize Western medicine practices.
o While the alternative health care methods kept Ella in remission for a few years, recently
she learned the cancer has returned. In addition, the cancer has metastasized to her lungs
and bones. Ella has chosen to forego Western medical treatment options such as
chemotherapy, radiation, and pharmacological breast cancer treatment medications. She
has requested to live out her last days at home. Ella has agreed to be admitted to Hospice
home care, with John as her primary caregiver. Ella and John are seeking quality palliative
end of life care.
o John, Ella’s husband, is of Native American origin. He is well educated and uses Western
medicine, but relies heavily on Native American methods, such as meditation and banishing
bad spirits from their home.
o John is an attorney for the Maldonado produce farm and his son’s company, Illusion
o John and Ella’s children are Sam, age 50, Lila, age 45, and Joe, age 43.
Sam is divorced and has no children. He works as a foreman on the Maldonado produce
farm. He is an alcoholic and has been diagnosed with severe substance use disorder due
to his alcohol addiction. His alcohol use is affecting his position as the foreman. Over
the past few months, he has experienced emotional outbursts, missed work, and started
arguments with the workers, third-party wholesalers, and Al Goldberg (Olson family).
Sam has been upset that his parents sold the family farm to the Maldonado family
instead of passing it down to him.
Lila, age 47, is married to Al Goldberg. She is a Social Worker for the state. Her job is
very stressful as her caseload includes at-risk children. There is a great deal of
documentation required; therefore, she works many 10 to 12 hour days. Lila is
overweight and has Type II diabetes. She has not controlled her weight or diabetes well.
Recently, her doctor changed her medication. She is now taking daily insulin injections
to help manage her diabetes.
Al, age 47, Lila’s husband, is the general manager of the Maldonado family produce
farm. Al had first option for buying the Olson family farm. He opted out of purchasing
the farm and agreed with the sale to the Maldonado family. He has no known health
issues; however, due to an early childhood trauma, he is afraid of hospitals and funeral
Alisha is Lila and Al’s only child. She is 20 years old and is currently attending college
full time on a nursing scholarship. The college campus is an hour away from her
parent’s home. She lives on campus in the dorms, does not work at this time, and
has no known health problems.
Joe, who is Sarah (from the Maldonado family) Miller’s husband, is the President of
Illusion Technologies, a rapidly growing company with 50 employees. He has a patent
pending on two security-based software programs that could be worth millions. He and
his father are in negotiations to purchase land to build a state-of-the-art office building.
Sarah, Joe’s wife, is a nurse and recently took a Family Medical Leave of Absence (FMLA)
due to the health and behavioral problems with her children. Details about Joe and
Sara’s children are shared in the Maldonado family section.
The family members share a long history of friendship and love of farming. They have shared many life
events, such as holidays, births, and deaths. Their families have been intertwined for generations
through the raising of the children and grandchildren. For the most part, the families get along well.
However, even though they share some of the same cultural traditions and backgrounds, they do clash
from time to time. For instance, some of the Olson family members are not in full agreement with Ella’s
use of home remedies and alternative treatments for her breast cancer. However, the Maldonado
family understands and supports her choices. Further, Ella is encouraging Sarah Miller and Mike
Maldonado to pursue Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) to treat Evan’s leukemia and
Mike’s HIV. The members of both families are dealing with very busy schedules and major health
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