Thursday, 18 June 2009

Pages 18 - 22

‘Cancer – 50 Essential Things to Do’ is a book by Greg Anderson which I used as a guide to journal what I needed to work through in the immediate aftermath of being diagnosed with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer in February, 2006. I was trying to figure out a way to encourage myself while at the same time find strength to get through the treatments.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Believe in Your Treatment Program (13):

It is my personal responsibility to believe in my treatment program.

*I saw those chemicals as a great healing agent, something coming into my body to make me well. I welcomed my chemotherapy with open arms.

Develop a confidence and an excited belief in my treatment program.

*Nadalene made me feel so much better about the blood transfusion by saying “Think of each drop of blood as the donor’s prayers that the person receiving their blood is getting healthy.” Too true.

*Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us.

Overcome Nausea (14):

Make sure you eat something before chemo.
Smaller Meals.
Fresh fruit.
Limit liquids with meals. But lots of liquids at other times.
Clear broth.
Toast (dry); popcorn; crackers.
Salty foods.
Avoid sweet foods; greasy foods; spicy foods.
Do not lie down for two hours after eating.
Fresh air.
Take slow deep breaths through your mouth.
Place a cool washcloth over your eyes.
Get distracted; do imagery, relaxation.

Make the Most of Your Appointments (15):

When you want information; ask for it. Don’t wait for it to be volunteered; because it won’t be. You need to stay informed.

You have the right to bring a list of questions to every medical appointment. Don’t feel rushed. Get answers.

Remember that your health care team are not mind readers.

*Your ability to ask questions is one of your most significant points of power.

*Get in the habit of expressing your sincere gratitude to your medical team. Remember, they are people who respond to you just as you respond to them.

Acts of appreciation to health care team as individuals: doctors, nurses, volunteers. Cards, flowers, coffee.

Monitor Your Progress (16):

It is uplifting to know you are making progress. But even a report that is less encouraging can have a positive side. It should lead you and your doctor to consider other forms of treatment. Many exist.

Ask the doctor how and when she will check the progress of my treatment?

Live Well (17):

*Lifestyle is critical in the survival journey. Lifestyle issues are a matter of intentional choice.

Wellness recognizes and acts on the fact that everything one thinks, says, does, feels, and believes has an impact on one’s well-being.

Your mental, emotional, and spiritual health has a powerful effect on your well-being.

*Although wellness may be obscured by illness, it is a matter of personal choice whether wellness will be destroyed by illness. It is possible to discover high-level wellness in the very midst of life-threatening illness.

On my way to wellness I will eat three vegetables and fruit every day.

I will live life at a new and higher level of wellness no matter what.

Operate Under New Assumptions (18):

The medical team are my healing partners.

Pain and illness are messages to value and act upon.

Mind and emotions are a major factor in health.

Body, mind, and spirit form one unit and always affect each other.

Schedule Your Wellness (19):

*All important tasks demand a schedule. And there is no more important work in my life right now than the work of getting well again.

Getting well is my new top priority.

I need a major lifestyle shift.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco


Debbie said...

Getting well does need to be the biggest priority. I love the advice about scheduling it in.

Anonymous said...

Yes, visualization and prayer is a large part of the healing process.

(FYI - my brother is doing better since the brain surgery. He is now talking and laughing when he can.)

Keep the faith!

Sarah said...

As I read these each week I wounder about the one who wrote the book - wht wonderful insight!! Thank you for sharing this hon. How are you doing my dear?? Huge hugs and love, Sarah

jacquie said...


you have soldiered on thru the trenches of hell and you have always made the best of it, and even in your darkest hours you did it! i am so in awe of you and you may not even know it.
together strong means more to me today then it did on days already gone. i am weeping for both of us and am so proud of you and i am enriched having you as my sister.
i love you to the moon and back.
together strong

studio lolo said...

I love that book Renee.
I think I should start applying all of these in my life today, from this moment on.
I really want to be that healthy woman again. Yoga woman, that's my goal.

How are you today? Love you!

Shelly said...

If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves – Thomas Edison

Renee, you have literally astounded me!

Meghann said...

I absolutely agree about getting healthy - we so often ignore our own health in pursuit of helping others, you need to make time for YOU, you deserve it :)
Hugs and prayers, I hope you have a good day,

Marion said...

Renee, you are a strong, courageous, beautiful woman. I love how you help and encourage others, don't whine and share the hard-earned wisdom you've learned on your path. You are a true saint, IMO. I'm sending you positive, healing vibes/prayers and buckets of pure love and blessings!!

Ces said...

Good morning Renee. I am here. It is good to hear from you. I felt better yesterday. Things are turning around. I sent you a message from someone special last night, did you get it? I have the three dancing girls on my blog today. I definitely miss Bella. I go through the motions and I don't feel anything with my drawings, it is as if I am missing the blood from my drawing arm. My stomach won't settle until I know she and her epsilons are in her mother's warm embrace.

Yoli said...

My mother in law is living with pancreatic cancer. She is one of the strongest women I know. I think she has lived as long as she has because of her positive attitude.

lakeviewer said...

Hi Renee,
I'm back. The trip was way too stressful for my state of mind these days.

I'm sorry to hear about Bella's loss. Her friends will be her salvation, if she allows them to circle around and help her. We need each other all the time.

You are sorting through and trying to remain strong the way you want to be. It's O.k. to accept things we cannot change.

yoborobo said...

Renee - you have taught me so much in the short time I have known you. I want you to know that I take your words to heart, and they are a part of me, and will lead me. That's how powerful you are! Have a good day, dear one. xoxox Pam

karengberger said...

Nadalene's comment about the transfusion is the same way I looked at the a liquid form of prayers of the researchers, drug companies, technicians, doctors and nurses - for healing!
Thank you so much for sharing about how you use this book. It is doing a lot of good for others to learn about it, including me.
God bless you.

Deborah said...

Good morning, Love. Jacquie's note to you is beautiful. YOU are beautiful. You have enriched all of our lives. I bring a prayer request to you from PFC Ryan: "well im going out now. I just have a weird feeling so pray for us. I love you and the whole family." Sending you all my love, Deborah

Sonia ;) said...

I think Laurel is correct. This book would be wonderful to use in everyday life as well. I really enjoy this post every week...Very enlightening....Im hugging you back from cubicle thank you for the hugs and kisses my daughter gave me from u yesterday from her cubicle...LOL

Sonia xoxoxo

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

* Eat those fruits & veggies
* keep inspiring us all with your strength
* get well
* Notify me if you ever plan a trip to Grand Forks :)
Sorry about the to-do list
* Love ya!


Marie S said...

You are to me an amazing Light in the world, by your sharing and your example, I am forever better knowing you.

Love and huge hugs,

PurestGreen said...

Well done you for taking control of your healing. Have you done any research into raw and living foods? I've just moved to a mostly raw food diet and it making a huge difference to me. This link is a great start:

There is great power in the food you eat. Keep on shining and staying positive.:)

Anonymous me said...

It can be so hard sometimes to stay in the moment, to live life second by second ... to appreciate that treatment can be viewed as cumulative prayer, and that the quest for wellness is not selfish but paramount all the same, a prioity above all else. Renee you are an amazing woman, you inspire me. I hope you are having a good day today. xxJ

Lynn from For Love or Funny said...

I'm so glad you recommended that book. It sounds wonderful.

yoborobo said...

Renee - I know what you mean. Today I counted Cheerios as a vegetable. :)

Anonymous said...

Renee, a prayer to you from this gypsy woman all the way from the Middle East. Love your spirit.

Anonymous said...


You are incredible, yes incredible! And might I add you will continue your battle with cancer as long as you can; mind, body, soul and most of because your dad went on-and-on-and-on beating the odds.... Yes we are odd, so all together GANG, lets do get healthy! Thanks for the inspiration; I have just got back from the dietician....

Love you

Tykerb is available in Canada!!!

Ingrid Mida said...

Your beautiful spirit and positive attitude are admirable in the face of the challenges of cancer. Your example is something that all of us can learn from. Thank you for the gift you give with each post!

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Hope you won't mind another award. I know you have this one already but I wanted to give it to you again♥

Anonymous said...

I underatnd the idea of welcoming the chemicals as a healing agent, but it runs so counter to their actual immediate effect on you. I'd think that would be very, very hard to master.

And yes, getting well is everything right now. ((((many hugs)))

Ces said...

You must have incredible genes:

"Develop a confidence and an excited belief in my treatment program.

*Nadalene made me feel so much better about the blood transfusion by saying “Think of each drop of blood as the donor’s prayers that the person receiving their blood is getting healthy.” Too true."

As someone who performed the blood transfusions on patients who desperately needed them --- YES! YES! --- Unless someone donated blood in exchange for a pack of cigarettes (yes, they will sell their blood for a smoke or a drink) a blood donor gives blood in the hope that it will help someone, even save a life...

Ces said...

Okay, you are making me laugh for no apparent reason. What is so funny that you are laughing?

Ces said...

Goes to show that you are MISTAKEN! Hardy HAR HAR!.
The most number of units I have given on one patient was 54 bags of red packed cells in a half hour. I was literally standing there squeezing the bags because we run out of blood pumps. The patient received 54 packs in two ports in 1/2 hour. So therefore, if I am what you think I am, you would think that I would be so pale like a Japanese geisha and I would have snuck a bag by sticking a straw into it - ah forget the straw, just suck it right our of the bag.

In conclusion: YOU ARE WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! Yo es no vampira!

Baino said...

"Think of each drop of blood as the donor’s prayers that the person receiving their blood is getting healthy.” That's a wonderful thing. I hope when I give blood that it's going to benefit someone like you. I feel that way about organ donation as well .. @Ces . .you pay people to give blood?

You need a major lifestyle shift? How so? It seems you're doing everything you can to promote good health.

Linda Sue said...

Dearest Renee- Your information is so good, so real, so experienced - it all really should be compiled in a book- there is a thing soon to happen at our indie book store where you can publish yourself- no middle man...When they get it set up I will let you know Perhaps your surviving treatment and other wisdom could be published.

Anonymous said...

Renee, I love that you share your journey in this way! It is so inspiring and so helpful for others who are walking the same path! I bought the book at your suggestion - I probably told you that already - and I absolutely love the straight up, common sense approach that he takes. I also love his message that the patient needs to be an active member of their health care team! Very mempowering.
Love and hugs

Marie S said...

I am so glad you like it!
And yes, no matter what!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Renee,

You are an inspiration to so many and I am pleased that I have got to know you here a little bit. Thank you.

Good luck with your top priority, my friend of getting well.

Sending hugs and love
Carolyn xo

kj said...

dearest ms. renee, did i hear something about potato chips somewhere in these here blogs? :)

this is a fantastic book--obvious affirming statements that bring the power where it belongs. and you renee took it and ran.

i do creative visualizations with my clients, including escorting those cancer cells right out the mind's door. but don't forget i'm also in your garden saying 'fuck fuck fuck' to them. remember they hate that word, so i'm happy to say it over and over.


Woman in a Window said...

"I will live life at a new and higher level of wellness no matter what."

I think this, Renee, is so important for any of us at any stage. Thank you for sharing so well.

Stepping off the edge said...

I read your blog almost daily. Most days without comment simply because words fail me. I realise that you blog partly because it is a way to help you cope, and because you are such a generous, giving and caring person. But as I read today, and your comment about a life shift... I am paused to ask if you realise how many people you touch with your words. The inspirations you give so many and the strenght and courage that you portray with every syllable of every word. You are by definition- hope. To make such an impact on the world as you do- touching the lives of so many- and giving so much of yourself- I can not imagine what shift you could be refering to. You live a life of faith, integrity, honesty, grace and genuine caring for those around you- you accomplish what most take a lifetime to strive for and never reach. And I am blessed to know you.
Never give up. Never surrender.
many hugs.

Sue said...

Ah Renee, as SteppingOffTheEdge said, words fail me....

So many times I read your blog and the truths and thoughts expressed in your posts are so powerful and get a squeezy feeling deep in my stomach. Positive reaction is so real, however how to express it is difficult.

You continue to inspire on a daily basis by just being YOU.


sinnlighet said...

Yes yes yes.....I enjoy your blogg!!!

Agneta from Sweden

Ribbon said...

beautiful Renee...

"we are all the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"

lovley life lessons that you're sharing here... thank you

best wishes

Sara Williams said...

thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I just wanted to answer your question on the port thing. I think in the UK they prefer not to put a port in because of the risk of infection, the nuisance of it and last of all resources. However, if my veins collapsed then they would put a port in.

Chrisy said...

Thank you dearest for your wisdom....and to your lovely blog friends whose comments I devour...what precious jewels they are...

Rebecca Ramsey said...

What a helpful post. I'm sure you will make a difference in the lives of many people!
Hugs to you!

Lola said...

You are like an elf. You bring help and guidance to others with no effort, you do it because you are you. Compassionate, loyal and staggeringly generous.

These pages you share with your readers are precious gems. Do you know how much help you provide with them?

You are the best, Renee.

Rusted Wings said...

Through all the trials and tribulations of life you are growing more beautiful and strong, and are being equipped as a teacher and leader and inspiration to so many!!! Prayers continue for your healing and well being. I just started on a raw food diet, and after much experience over the years in lifestyle programs, I highly recommend it!!! Those liVe enzymes are powerful!!

india said...

living every day approaching each experience as though it will be the first ....and also the perhaps the last...time you will do things

is something i find nourishing

Prometheus said...

Overcome Nausea

The points listed are what I am trying to do now, that I have started working out. Not only will they help with the nausea they will help you stay healthy.

I hope the treatment doesnt make you feel like you want to throw up :(

rochambeau said...

Greg Anderson is a wise man! Thank you again sharing some of his book here with us! Some of these essential things, are applicable to many stressful medical situations. Like, seeing your health care providers as your team for getting well. Also, it is our right and our responsibility to stand up and ask questions!!! We hire doctors. They are working for and with us. They are not God. The more information we gather, the better.

One of my girlfriends (who is not a doctor), diagnosed a disease my father had, when the doctors could not through reading medical books.

Also, she figured out something VERY important about my mother's rare condition.

Knowledge IS power!

We all need one another!