Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Pages 3 To 6

When I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer in February, 2006, I chose to use the book ‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ by Greg Anderson as a prompt to journal what thoughts the book triggered into a workbook. It helped me to focus on what was happening and took me out of my head and onto some paper hardcore.

When I would write things out in the workbook, Angelique would pick it up as fast as I put it down to see into my head. I think it helped her to see where I was at.

Quotes from the book will be in italics. Angelique’s words will be in bold.

Medical Treatment – meet with oncologists at St. Boniface Hospital. Put treatment plan in place and go forward. Chemotherapy; surgery; radiation. What is hormonal therapy? Immunotherapy? Herceptin?

Take charge of my management of my medical treatment. I need to be informed and understand my treatment.

*Do not be intimidated by medical personnel or the process. You are the one in charge.

Creative Thinking – mobilize the mind to heal. Daily affirmations. Meditation. Yoga. Imagery. White light.

Recognize negative feelings, but choose more empowering emotions. Live in the present moment.

Elizabeth’s relaxation techniques; get her to do them before/after chemo? Reflexology? Massage? Music therapy.

Diet and Nutrition – eat with awareness. Raise my nutritional IQ. Deliver premium nutrients to the body; not eating for emotional or psychological reasons.

Fresh food, whole grain. No red meat or refined sugar. Vitamins? Supplements?

Exercise – regular physical activity. Swimming! Walking! Dance!

Take charge of your body. Command your body to move. *Exercise is a key recovery strategy, more powerful than can be imagined.

Check out Boni-Vital. Angelique checking out yoga stretches/meditation combo to come to my home. Dance therapy?

Beliefs and Attitudes – choose beliefs and attitudes that empower. Stay away from attitudes and beliefs that defeat you.

*The most fundamental and empowering belief is that cancer does not equate with death.

Be a tough-minded realist using a ‘just think positive approach to find solutions’. Look for why I can do things; not why I can’t.

I choose to conceive of my medical treatment as highly effective, believing that I will have minimal and manageable side effects.

*My personal involvement is essential in my recovery process. It is my personal responsibility to make getting well the number one priority in my life.

Cancer does not equate with death.
Treatment is effective.
I have a significant role to play.

Purpose/Play – I am needed by my husband and my children. My life has special and unique meaning.

It is important to be able to separate being needed from being unduly depended upon.

I need to learn to have fun for fun’s sake.

Spiritual – I love God and I am spiritual.

*I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Not a human being having a spiritual experience.

Discovering the divinity within; experiencing inner peace.

Social Support – I have more social support than is really fair for one person to have. However, I am truly grateful. My social support builds me up.

There is a strong relationship between positive social support and health.

*Authoritative research shows survival rates doubled for support group participants when compared with non-joiners.

I am aligning myself with my body’s immense natural power to heal itself. I recognize that health and healing spring from within.


one little acorn said...

Such positivity and strength. You continue to inspire me and no doubt many others too with your love and outlook. And the social support - we all need as much as we can get - and you deserve every bit of it.

Lots of love to you Renee.

I have just given you an awe-summm award for being such an awesome blogger! Come and drop by my blog and join in the celebrations!

Sarah said...

*I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Not a human being having a spiritual experience.
Wow it all struck me hon - but this part really hit home - in thinking about what you have been through and continue to deal with every day - but also with my stress at the moment.
Wonderful post hon. I wonder if you realize how powerful these honest raw posts are - they pave a path for those who follow you with cancer and those of us that could have it someday - that there is a path to follow and it isn't a path to die - but a path to live. Thank you so deeply hon! Love, Sarah

Anna Lefler said...

Renee...you never cease to impress and amaze me. I learn so much from your blog!

Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us!



Anonymous said...

Renee, thank you so much for sharing a part of your personal journal. You inspire and encourage me with your strength and wisdom. I particularly like the line about being a spiritual being having a human experience. The other thing that resonated with me was cutting out red meat and refined sugar - I did the same almost immediately. Interestingly, I keep getting drawn back to the refined sugar, which cancer LOVES, but continue to avoid MOST red meat!
Love to you!

Angela Recada said...

Good morning, dear Renee. There is so much wisdom in this post. From what I have witnessed as the daughter, sister-in-law, niece and friend of those with cancer, the power of the mind is incredible and limitless.

When my mother had cancer the first time (in the 1980s), her oncologist told her to envision the little pac-man characters from the old video game devouring the cancer cells when she was undergoing her chemo treatments. This helped her focus on healing, and she has been able to use imagery when necessary her ever since.

This book you found to help you sounds like a treasure, the way it shows you how to use the power of your mind, body, spirit, love, and science to focus on your healing. By posting this, I know you are helping others to find the strength you have found.

You are awesome. And your daughter sounds like an angel!


Anonymous said...

You are so positive and uplifting. You inspired me to write today's post. Check it out...

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Renee, you totally inspire so many. Thank you!

Diana Evans said...

Positive thinking and a great focus can make all the difference in the world...

you are amazing Renee and you are helping so many people with your wisdom and sharing....I am so happy to have met you via blogging....


Ces said...

Renee, you are doing very well. Yes, you deserve all your social and emotional support. There is no limit and there is no quota. You get what you have.

I think part of healing is one's active participation in the treatment process and that takes a lot of courage. It is easy to read a book but you do more. You are taking charge of your life.

You are an inspiration. You are loved and admired and most of all I can't think of you without smiling!

Sonia ;) said...


I love reading your blog...your attitude, care, humor inspire me. I know ya hear it all the time. But it is rare to have a person in ones life inspire. I actually kept this post and showed my daughter (has depression) the positivity of you. I also kept it for me as to always remember what to do and how to stay positive...

Ok I will stop fussing over you...plehhhhh , yuck and ew mushy.

Sonia ;)

karengberger said...

This book sounds like a wonderful tool...thank you for bringing it to our attention. I've already passed the word on to a friend of mine who facilitates cancer support groups. It's very encouraging to see how you used it & made it "your own." Blessings to you!

Ces said...

You on the other hand do not need to show photographs to describe your happy smiling and laughing self!

Renee, Circling My head and my face with a giant smile!

studio lolo said...

I love your list, your beliefs and your attitude. You're a natural for drawing people to you, so it's no wonder you have a support group that could fill a nation.
That would never, ever be you on that raft alone in the middle of the deep sea. We'd never let you sink.
I love Angelique's additions. She will always have your best interest at heart ;)

love you!

Shelly said...

What a great gift you have given yourself in this daughter, I can just imagine Ang reviewing your journal and in her quiet strength and wisdom adding to your notes.

herceptin-refined sugar-reflexology-massage-white light = Body-Mind-Spirit…she has it all covered.

Love the picture, but I don’t love what it signifies for you.

Ces said...


You circle my head with laughter Renee and my heart with love! Thank you!

REPUBLICAN Renee. The word is Republican. I am a registered Republican but I am a conservative first and foremost...and guess what?! I was a liberal for the first few months after I came to the US but it did not take me that long to learn my lesson.

I love you. I really do. The kind where I love you not because you can do something for me or you are good to me or you give me this and that, etc. I love you because loving you makes me happy, that's all.

Anonymous said...

Hi Renee,
Very insightful to read but very difficult also. You deserve all the support you have. Blessings, Barb

Ces said...

Okay, just for you, you can think I am a conservative DEMOCRAT! :)

Would that make you happy?

What would make you happy?

Ces said...

Okay, I am sending good vibes, healing thoughts and prayers. Say hello to Angelique. Thinking of you! Love xoxox

Marie S said...

You do deserve all the support Renee, every single bit of it! You are an angel on earth.
Thank you for the insight in to what some of my people might have been feeling that they did not say.
Bless you little angel!

Marion said...

Renee, you are one of the strongest women I know and every day your words inspire me and help me in my own journey in this crazy world we live in. I love you and thank God daily that you came into my life. Hugs from lovely Louisiana---

lakeviewer said...

Renee, you got a real primer here-lots of solid advice for anyone facing health or other issues. Thank you.

Ces said...

Also, please try not to think that you are in the same situation as that poor girl on the raft without an oar or anything to stop her from falling over.

Yoli said...

My beautiful Renee, I am sending you healing thoughts. Your attitude will go a long ways in this process. Know, you have a lot of people, whom you have never met, that are rooting for you and that care for you deeply.

Elizabeth said...

you are a beautiful person -- I am passing on this blog entry to a friend of mine who has colon cancer -- your words are so inspiring

much gratitude...

yoon see said...

Thanks for sharing Renee as I suffer from severe psoraisis for more than 10 years.
I feel relief to read about your insights and ups and downs experience.
I am most encourage by you. Sometimes, I cry too reviewing my condition....
You are so much stronger than me in faith, spiritually and everything.
May God be with you always Renee:)

Daria said...

Good job finding that book and acting on it.

I think by doing something, we feel like we have more control over the situation.

All the best to you,

Carrie @ Cottage Cozy said...

Of course we should ALL be doing each and every one of those things every day whether we have been diagnosed with a particular illness or not...thanks for the positive reminder for me today, Renee.

Stay Cozy, Carrie

Deborah said...

Oh YES Renee, dance therapy. Meet me in my garden tonight and under the twinkling of white Christmas lights we shall dance the dance of wild gypsies, sway our hips to the beat of the earth, and we shall sing loudly and out of key until the neighbors call the cops and when they arrive, we will melt into a puddle of laughter right there next to the pond. Sending you all my love, Deborah

Deb a.k.a.The Invisible Blogger.... said...

Whoa, I cannot help thinking that has to help even if you don't have "cancer".

Well it is a lot better than the book I would have written, my pages would have been more like: Go out and find cancers ass, and kick it,. it's okay to have a meltdown now an again. It's alright to threaten your doctor with "If I die , you won't get paid" and my personal fav, " If you accidentally rip off a persons head, you can reattach with duct tape and an apology"

I hope you know I think it is great that you took control and had such focus. Still I think having a good laugh now and then should have been in there somewhere.....

Sascalia said...

Thank you so much for your comments on my blog! I am so pleased to have found yours it is so inspirational!!!

studio lolo said...

Dear Renee,

I thought of you when I came across this artist. ( Jeanie Tomanek) What deeply spiritual stuff. Wow!!


glorv1 said...

I am glad that your attitude is a positive one. Yes exercise is the best thing you can do for sense of well being. Your strength does inspire me. My son's name was Valiant, you asked me on my blog. Have a great Wednesday. Take care.

Baino said...

Wow that's a fantastic idea and reinforces your positivity. Actually those points are easily transferred into other conditions such as depression. Having been through this with my father I can't agree more about taking charge and not being intimidated by the medical process. And if you are (it's sometimes difficult not to be intimidated, especially when you're tired and suffering the effects of chemo) let someone else take up the baton. You're a brave woman Renee. I admire your spirit.

Angela Recada said...

Hi, dear Renee! Me again. The painting of the woman on my post that you referred to is a (rather fuzzy) detail of the first self-portrait I ever did. I did it for one of my first posts last year.

And thank you for asking about my mother. She is doing very well. She turned 73 this year, and it's almost 27 years since her diagnosis.

Lots of love,

Lola said...

Ciao Renee,
thank you for sharing yourself with these page posts, they are always a breezy window opened onto your innermost self. I like peering in and seeing a very brave woman smiling and using tools and books to heal herself.

I'm feeling better today. It probably was only PMS...

Love ya

YayaOrchid said...

I liked reading that you are feeling good with a positive outlook! I will continue to pray along with you for your healing Renee.

Sue said...

An amazing post once again Renee. Inspiring, positive, full of strength. Pearls of wisdom that everyone, regardless if they are fighting a serious health issue or not, would do well to file away.

Thank you so much for being you!


Pattee said...

Hi Renee...

All of those are ways to live aren't they?
The human experience and spiritual experience is something I'm thinking about quite a lot now.

You inspire me on so so many levels....

I left you an award on my blog because you make such a difference in my life knowing you.


Manon Doyle said...

You are a very strong and positive woman Renee! I so believe in the power of positive thinking and taking care of the spirit like you do! You inspire each one of us! Thank you!!

Bella Sinclair said...

This little girl on the raft.... She's off on a new voyage. There may be rough seas, but she is brave. She is optimistic, too, because she has not even bothered to pack supplies. And her look is not of fear or worry. She's thinking, "Damn, did I remember to turn off the stove?"

I can't help but notice how, though freshly diagnosed, your writing then was still so positive, full of determination. You did not run and hide. You kept your eyes wide open. So, darling Renee. Have you learned to have fun for fun's sake? Judging by the guffaws you manage to give me, I'd say so.

Two things remaining on your checklist. Eat better and get up and move. I am a sloth, and I love being a sloth, but when I (inadvertently) exercise, I am surprised by how great I feel afterward -- mentally, emotionally. Dance! Yes! I wish I were there. I'd pull you up and crank up some music! Let's go to Ces's disco cafe, shall we?

Deborah said...

No sorries...it was many many years ago...and I am extremely grateful to have my own angels. I think about them every day. Renee, I think by no coincidence is your middle name Gabrielle...perhaps it was She who led me to you. Enter the **God Zone**

Anonymous said...

"*I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Not a human being having a spiritual experience."

I absolutely love this. LOVE it. It's an amazing way to think of our lives. I feel like I need to just sit with this idea for a while.

kendalee said...

Renee, your courage and grace are inspiring. As is your humour, your appreciation of love and beauty, your determination... Inspiring. Thank you!
Kenda xo

Woman in a Window said...

I hate to admit it but I heard this first on Oprah, "I am a spiritual being having a human experience. Not a human being having a spiritual experience." And while I'm not religious, I felt it spoke directly to me. There is so much in this one statement to hold onto.

You are a wakeup call to me, to be more honest, to be more posititive, to be more thankful. Thank you, Renee~

yoborobo said...

Renee - you just rock, girlfriend. I can't say enough good stuff about you. And the funny thing is, I have never met you, or even talked to you - but you're here in my little pointed head, and it's a very nice thing that you are. I am sending you the biggest hug ever - and the strength of 1,000 women, which you know can kick some serious tail. :)

BT said...

An interesting and above all, inspiring post. Keep on keeping on Renee. Whatever you are doing, it is working. Love

Ces said...

Thinking of you. How was your visit? I suppose that no matter how close we surround you, you will still feel like that girl. I just hope you know that you can always reach out and someone will extend her hand if she has not done so already!

Pattee said...

LOL I never ever won awards in school either... so this spiritual award does go to you... and I so happy we've met... it's a blessing~

Draffin Bears said...

Renee, I admire your strength and courage.
I love to read your blog as you are such a beautiful and inspirational

Thinking of you and wishing you only the very best wishes.


Ces said...

HAAAAAAH! I just opened the email with my beautiful twin's photos. What a ham. She is sooooo cute. The jacket , I can see why you have to give up your leg. About Josephine, how old is she again? She is standing there in the mirror looking at herself and quite taken by her own self! I love her. She is just like me. Don't Josephine and I just love ourselves! She is so impish. She has bright twinkling eyes and so full of life. Yep, She is a Gemini alright, the outgoing one! Thank you for sharing and making me smile. Pure delight.

She is in love with her beautiful self. What confidence! Hahaha! So cute.

Bella Sinclair said...

WAAAAAAAAA! Oh, God, Renee. I've melted into an ooey gooey puddle!!! Josephine is a BUTTON! I love that pixie smile. She is such a happy little munchkin, I LOVE HER!!! And her flower girl dress and coat -- she looks like a [North] American Girl doll! Oooh, there I go again....melting...melting......

Ces said...

Geminians love to love and they start practicing at a very young age, with themselves, Hahahahah! Do you know that Manon and Linda are Geminis?

Prometheus said...

Great post.

Your positive thinking is having a good impact on me. Thank you! Even though you can't see us, hopefully us onliners are providing you with social support :)

Ces said...

One! She has the spunk and confidence of a five year old going to school and she tells her Mom to go home! She does not look older she looks very confident and sure.

The word verification is describing me: forkpot

Anonymous said...

In bold print: "Bold is under-rated". Bold print connotes large, black print. Think of 'bold' as something of bright, luminescent color...much like yourself.

Colors conquer all. Be the rainbow that you are!


Ces said...

No, that is one of the walls in my house! Hehe.

A Spoonful Of Sugar said...

You are so awesome Renee! Your positive attitude and courage come shining through - truly inspirational. Hope you are having a great week!

Ces said...

Yes, there is a person in every frame. There are also hidden objects.

Sandrine said...

Have no words other than Thank you and tears in my eyes...need to read you over again...

deepazartz said...

You know what...You are always Inspiring!!! You are one filled with positivity....and that makes you one of my favs:)

Keep Inspiring and a have a blasting day!

kj said...

renee, two things stand out for me in angelique's suggestions: no sugar and white light. the first will help your body purify itself and the second will surround and protect you. after my friend willa got cancer, she extracted a promise from me that i would begin eating only organic eggs, butter and milk. she said that was a giant start. i falter on the milk sometimes but i've kept true to my word to her.


Chrisy said...

gosh I just admire your commitment to writing when you were starting out on this trip...
..thank you for sharing it with us

Marie S said...

I think that maybe some of them didn't share because the fear was bigger than they were and some because if they didn't look at it it would go away.
But when my husband went through his time and treatments, I was in a dream and I did what I could to get through each day, it was very surreal. He didn't talk much about it because I think he didn't want me to worry. My priorities changed, his did too, we try to stay and live in this moment right here right now. And be grateful for each one.
The past is history, the future is a mystery, and the present, it is a gift.
I think you speak with a clear mind because it is you Renee.
By doing Renee you enable others to do. This is big, very big!
Arms circling around your heart.

Bella Sinclair said...

Woooooo. I've just regained my composure. Josephine is a blessing. She makes me want to pop out another! It's a miracle, being able to experience and see the world again through new eyes. The simplest things are celebrated with such joy. Kids rejuvenate us. Enjoy her as much as you can!

Vanessa Brantley Newton said...

Such a wonderful and positive message! Hey Renee, Hope that all is well you Funny Lady. You were on my heart today and I just wanted to come by and say I love you!!! Oh... As for you illustration I love this one too. It's so story like!! You are such an awesome person to know. Hugs all around Lady cause you ROCK!!!!
Love you much

soulbrush said...

i have no words to express how i feel :->

A Cuban In London said...

I love your positive attitude. Keep on, head up and walk tall.

Greetings from London.

pRiyA said...

renee, before the truck rammed into you head on, i have visions of you gorging on red meat, sugar and potato chips, sitting on a couch and swearing at everything.

i am sure it wasn't that way, but gee, the fact that white sugar can attract the speeding truck towards you is scary!

Tessa said...

You teach us all, Renee. Your light shines very brightly despite all you suffered and continue to suffer. I admire you enormously.

Sarah said...

Hi Renee,
I think this sounds like an essential book that needs some of the right people to use it-you and your family. It is so lovely that not only do you have strength for yourself but you inspire and help so many others.
It was fun reading half a conversation between you and Ces and trying to piece together the missing bits. Or is that just nosey?!
Lots of love,
Sarah x

Ribbon said...

with or without an illness this is a wonderful guide for life.

cancer is a word..... just a word. cancer does not equal death.

big love to you ... I know we don't know each other, but love's the same colour all over the world.

best wishes always

PS thank you for all that you share here.