Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Pages 36 - 41
‘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 am grieving for my life at this point and trying to keep my head above water.
Quotes from the book will be in italics.
Practice Visualization (35):
Visualize the cancer disappearing and your body returning to health.
The most important criterion for picturing the disease is to think of the cancer as weak and confused. Don’t give it power.
Imagine your treatment as strong and powerful, damaging only the weak cancer cells. Imagine your healthy cells remaining intact.
Give your body the command to heal itself. End the imagery by seeing yourself well, free of disease, and filled with energy.
Self-direction is necessary to beginning the pursuit of any life goal.
*At first reality will lag behind the vision we have of the desired outcome. But that vision will tend to pull us in the direction we need to go.
- Evoke the relaxation response – The Lord is my Shepherd. Lord I am not worthy to receive you, only say the word and I will be healed.
- Picture your cancer cells as weak and confused.
- Create a mental image of your treatment and your immune system overcoming the cancer.
- Imagine your body’s natural processes eliminating the disease from your system.
- Envision the cancer shrinking until it disappears – my imagery is the cancer cells are crushed ice cubes with hot water being poured on them. They are dissolving rapidly and leaving my body. So long cancer – don’t come back as you are unwelcome.
- Imagine yourself well, filled with vitality for living.
*Daily evoke the relaxation response, follow it with a visualization exercise.
Minimize Treatment Side Effects (36):
When you see treatment as a friend, a more positive perception starts to work favourably with the treatment.
Understand the Message of Illness (37):
*Being diagnosed with breast cancer does not mean you have been handed a death sentence. What it does mean is that you have a serious problem for which you have many options.
I honestly think that the more you talk about it the easier it is to deal with it. In the beginning it’s really hard to say ‘I’ve got breast cancer.’ And you cry every time you say it. But the more you talk about it, the easier it gets. There’ll be times when you don’t want to talk or think about it, but trust me it gets easier.
Listen, listen, listen, and then ask strategic questions.
Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.
Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle them.
You always have choice and the conscious brain can only hold one thought at a time. Choose a positive thought.
Stress is related to 99% of all illnesses.
Five things to do when your on your own are head to a bookstore; visit your parents; go to a spa; take a class; and or do a crossword puzzle.
Illness is more of a challenge than a threat. It can be a call for personal growth.
This is a turning point, a time to replace ineffective and limited ways of coping.
*Understand that if we have participated in our illness, then by definition, we can participate in our wellness.
Define your true needs.
Perhaps the greatest fear we have is that of the unknown. Cancer capitalizes on that fear.
Distress levels in spouses are as high as those in patients. Cancer is a family affair.
*Communicate your needs and don’t feel as though you have to soldier on. Cancer made it acceptable for me to turn and get help. That’s one of the privileges of the illness.
Thank you God! I love you!
Give yourself permission to define your true needs.
High-stress events that occurred in the year or two prior to diagnosis or recurrence included Mom was very ill and put on oxygen; money – working or not working; disappointment (30th anniversary); and a few others that I am not listing. I definitely can identify major stresses in my life prior to the onset of cancer.
My three major emotional responses to these high stress events were to swallow them and I did not express emotions; did not process how I felt at all; became depressed; put others needs before mine; pretended I was invincible and showed no emotions; and did not seek support from others.
My emotional self-care was ineffective.
I could have changed these circumstances by honouring my own emotional needs first; speak my mind; refuse to swallow family garbage, so that the family felt better; and I could have been more hopeful.
I could have changed my emotional response by processing the emotions and working through them opposed to swallowing and dismissing them.
There is no need to keep the peace/calm at any cost.