Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Pages 48 - 51

‘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 finished the book before I started any treatment but it helped make me less afraid of what was going to be coming at me.

Quotes from the book will be in italics.

Discover Your Emotional Style (46):

My dominant style of expressing emotion is suppression. I restrain myself from venting real feelings. Denial is also my style where I push feelings out of my consciousness.

Review, release, and renew.

I choose to be hopeful.

Make Forgiveness A Habit (47):

Forgive and accept.

Nothing from the past is important enough to allow it to pollute our present.

Exude gratitude (48):

I am grateful just for being a part of this huge and wonderful world.

Today I am thankful that Wahid is on holidays and can be home with me. I am thankful for his company.

Practice Unconditional Loving (49):

Loving heals.

You don’t fight fears, you replace it with loving.

*Loving is the first and last word in healing, the great balm that quiets distress, the only real ‘magic bullet’ against cancer, and the strongest vaccine to combat malignancy. Our greatest enemy is not disease but despair. Unconditional loving is the healer.

Share This Hope (50):

Angelique bought me this book and it was/is so helpful.

Survey On Cancer And Recovery (Appendix):

I have Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I was diagnosed on February 8, 2006. It has metastasized in the bone marrow and bones. It is a Stage 4 cancer. My recommended treatment is chemo once a week for three cycles and then one week of rest. Dr. Grenier is a board-certified oncologist. I get Herceptin once a week and Pamidronite once a month.

The most difficult part of the diagnosis was emotional. Thinking and being caught up in fear. All of the ‘what-ifs?’

The cancer diagnosis affected all of my family in more or less the same way. ‘What-if’ fear. My family has all been helpful. Their positive ness and pursuit of knowledge has made me more hopeful. Actually I am very positive. Seeing how my Dad has lived his life with all of his setbacks has been very encouraging.

My faith has only been strengthened by the cancer diagnosis. My faith will help me destroy the cancer in my body.

Besides medical doctors I am in the process of surrounding myself with a team of individuals who practice alternative therapies.

I do use alternative treatments. Any that come my way that sound interesting I will use.

I haven’t yet attended a cancer support group but I have placed my name forward to attend some. I also would like to get a mentor.

I don’t believe that cancer has affected the fundamental values by which I live my life. It has only intensified how precious life is to me. However, it has changed my ideas of nutrition and exercise.

My advice to anyone with a diagnosis of cancer is to look at things realistically and positively and to know that they are an individual and that no test and no person can tell them how long they will live. Look at the fear, than move on to the good because fear and ‘what-ifs’ paralyze you. Be positive. Live a great life. We have here and now. Life is amazing.

This book was incredibly helpful to me.


Ces said...

Oh my goodness! I keep on highlighting the statements I agree with so I can expound on them and give my personal interpretation and I noticed that the highlight kept getting bigger and wider until I have finally highlighted the entire post!

Renee how could you say you suppress and deny your emotions when you and your blog have acted as a trigger and a prompt to the most candid exchange of ideas in "Da Internet". But I do believe you for we truly sometimes find it difficult to share our innermost feelings.

I have these set of images that I need to expunge from my mind and my heart so I can forget and forgive. They are scary and awful images, a sort of Alice in Dysfunctional Land. I was taking a shower this morning and visions of Medussa and serpent tongued creatures and bees with poisoned honey feeding me and I slowly turn to stone and crumble. I decided I will extract them, express them so I can forever relegate them to the trash bin of my soul.

And then I remembered, my drawing and painting wrist is shut.

I wish I was more like you with a loving and kind heart. I am not like that anymore. The serpent ate almost all of my heart.

Dede said...

Good Morning Renee! Thank you for reminding us that we are not promised a tomorrow. Live today! like there is no tomorrow.

Sonia ;) said...

I LOve You Lovey!!!!

I am positive for you and all your family....Kiss Sheldon on the forehead....Tell Jacquie, "Whats up..you spirit better be!!!"...

Yall inspire me and make me thankful...

xoxoxox Love ya

yoborobo said...

Renee, this really struck me:

"Our greatest enemy is not disease but despair. Unconditional loving is the healer."

This is something that I have only recently begun to notice. That when things are sliding toward chaos, if I stop and shoot some love towards someone, it doesn't halt the chaos, but it acts like a balm...it helps me to deal with it.

You are a very smart lady. :) I always come back and read these posts again...because I have a thick head and it take a little while for things to sink in. :)
Love you muchly - Pam xoxo

lori vliegen said...

hi renee! what a beautiful post! i learned a long time ago when i was facing daily panic attacks that "be here now" is the best way to live. thanks for reminding us that each day is such a gift! and.... thanks so much for visiting my blog....i enjoyed reading your sweet comment! :))

studio lolo said...

I love this book.
Little did you know that you'd help people heal just by sharing bits of it here and there.
You also help people heal by sharing bits of yourself and all that you've experienced.
You are the mentor you seek.


Deborah said...

Renee, YOU are amazing. You come from an amazing family. Your roots are deep and strong. This book seems to be a guide for the human spirit, not only through illness, but through life. All my love, Deb

yoborobo said...

Oh, Renee it as as thick as a woodpecker's. Or a water buffalo's. Soooooo thick. ;)

Diana Evans said...

Hi Renee!!!

I truly believe that you are here to help us all ...understand and appreciate things...I always feel like you're our angel and you teach us things each and every day....

Bless your heart!!!

and I think we need to get Ces' heart back from the serpent!!!


Artistic Accents by Darla said...

Beautiful post Renee!
Love, Darla

Sarah said...

Good morning hon!! I think I need to get this book. I think everyone should get this book!! So to the point about being present in life!!!
You have been on my mind all week hon!! How are Jacquie and Sheldon doing? You are all in my thoughts and prayers. You my dear Renee are with me all the time. Hoping you are feeling well today!
Hugs and love you, Sarah

Great-Granny Grandma said...

From what I've been reading in these posts of yours, it sounds like it would be a really good book even for people who don't have cancer.

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Renee - how good for you and what a blessing for us that you review your learnings here in this blog.

I can understand that you reveal so much in your blog and yet know you fall in the category of "repress and deny" - it seems much easier to express on a blog than in real life. Perhaps this experience of blogging, however, is moving you more and more out of those categories.

Have you read The China Study? Amazing! What about AntiCancer by Servan-Schreiber? Also amazing in terms of practical suggestions to prevent cancer from getting a blood supply and for preventing inflammation in the body - which is the best environment for cancer.

I am on the verge of going vegan after reading those 2 books.

Thank you for being such an inspiration!

Flor Larios Art said...

Hi Renee,
I love coming to your blog...there is always good words and I feel much better everytime I pass thru here.

Meghann LittleStudio said...

You are an exceptional woman Renee, and every day I read your blog it reinforces how blessed I am to have found you. You are so intelligent, open, honest and healthily positive. Not over-positive, but realistically positive and I love it. You are fabulous and thank you for enriching all of our lives.
Many gentle hugs,
Meg xoxo

Marie S said...

Good morning beautiful! This is profound and hurts my head on tuesday morning.
Deep thought and denial on my part is probably the reason. And yet I come again and again. I love what you write and share, so brave and face forward, directly in the line of fire.
Love is truly all there is, it is all that is supported by the universe and eventually all the rest drops away.
This path you have walked has opened so many minds including mine and we are all better for it.
"Nothing from the past is important enough to allow it to pollute our present."
Thank you for being so brave my pretty, I love you!!!

Ps. I am glad that Ces has a little left for us, aren't you?

Allegra Smith said...

Oh love, please don't cry. We have no reason to cry. We are so fortunate you and I. Look, we are alive, we have each other, we can tell each other secrets from heart to heart without having to talk. What is there to be sad because I remember the future? Life is unfolding as it should and we are a part of this miracle that is life. Oh, a little rusted and rough by some unwelcome bumps along the way, but we are. We are. You have my promise, whoever flies out first will keep the other in her heart alive, from life to life. Forever.

I have firmly attached wings to a little box that is coming your way. I will explain its contents later.

Today, I am grateful for you.

karengberger said...

Your use of this book, and the way you are so honest and thoughtful with your answers, passing it on to others here, are gifts to yourself, your family and your large community. I just recommended the book (again!) yesterday, because of your openness about it here. Thank you!

Caio Fernandes said...

Renee , you are a such wonderful example for me !!!
i love the way you are strong and pass it for people that reads you !
and about the cancer . i don't even doubt that you will win this , and soon your blog will be just about how health you are and to helps even more people that has the same problem you "had" .
well , i learn a lot coming here .
kisses dear Renne .
have fun !!!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Bonjour Rene!
Thank you for coming to my site! I am glad that it is a place where people can at least get a little chuckle from my silliness! I a very impressed and touched by your post on the book you have been reading; thank God for your survival and I can't imagine the journey that you have been through. You seem to be a brave soul and I am grateful for people like you that have such strength. We are all here together, battling whatever nemesis that wishes to keep us from growing. Please visit us again; I do more than just funny little plays. I enjoy interior decorating and whatever comes into my thoughts! We are all a circle of friends and we all enjoy each other's arts and creativity. God bless you! Anita

Marie S said...

Or maybe even Jupiter Renee.
I don't see any dragons, just a huge loving heart.
OK now some juvenile behavior...
Takes one to know one dear!!!!

mermaid said...

'Our greatest enemy is not disease but despair.'

By far my favorite line. I am aksing myself what keeps hpe alive and despair at bay? Trust? Faith? Love?

Your reflections continue to even heal me.

I'm surprised that your dominant style of expressing emotion is despair, as you seem to share it well through writing.

Coastal Sisters said...

You are right in the fact that no one can tell you how long you will live. 18 years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer they gave me three months to live. I am still here. They were wrong :)


Anonymous me said...

Hello Renee I hope you're doing OK today. Love eh? Well love has answers on so many levels ... it heals on so many levels too. It is more than a balm, it is an answer in it's own right I think.

I think suppressing and denying your emotions can be seen not as a fact but as a stage we go through on life's journey. Becoming conscious of it enables us to evaluate if it is something we want to deal with ... it's not compulsory of course but it enables us to know ourselves better ... and to share ourselves better too.

Every day the sun comes up I remember my promise Renee, I pray and then I wish some more ... and then I hope some more. xx Jos

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Deareset Rene,
Yes, learning a language early as a child is so beneficial; I am actually Hispanic and my first language was nothing but Spanish! It certainly helped me to learn French at the age of 34 and master it to the point of passing all the necessary language requirements for teaching! I love teaching in the immersion setting. It is the best for the kids, and the best way for the teacher to stay in the language. My best wishes to your kids and to you; you have encouraged many, many people Rene. Blessings, Anita

Catherine said...

Renee, Your posts are so encouraging to me. You are so strong yet vulnerable, that is real strength. I am so glad you have such a supportive group of people around you, I know how priceless that is. Praying for you, Sheldon, and Jacquie.

Love, Catherine

Sarah said...

You never cease to amaze me with your words and I never cease to amaze myself at my lack of ones with which to reply. I love what Ces said about how you don't repress emotions on the blog-not having known you that long, this is just what I think you are like. And you spread love around you wherever you go and I can feel that even all the way over here in London. As always I want to send you some back, and to Jacqui and Sheldon too.

Debra said...

I am glad this book has helped you. Have you shared it with Jacquie and Sheldon? How are they doing? Did my card arrive?

I have been M.I.A., bit if stuff at home to deal with myself.

Anonymous me said...

Ah my friend, I am doing OK today thanks. How lovely you are to ask that when you have so much to think about closer to home. How are Sheldon & Jacquie doing?

I struggle with depression as you know but the days just now are a little less bleak than of late. Life is good as reading your blog never fails to remind me. xx Jos

YayaOrchid said...

Renee, your generosity of spirit is evident in that you share your journey in order to help others going through the same ordeal. Love is what keeps us real.

You have so much to live for my friend. I just know you're going to be victorious! Hugs to your babies Josephine and Domenic!

Coralie Cederna Johnson said...

So many important life lessons. Forgiveness, I believe, is one of the most important. I think it is wonderful that you are sharing the book with us! Thank you!

lakeviewer said...

Great advice for anyone.
Glad to know your husband is home and you two have some time together.

Ces said...

Well, well, well! I am having a Milky Way bar instead!

Where do you get your enthusiasm? You start so quietly and end with a Bang!

Maybe it is because I loved reading fables and mythology plus my world is black and white but I dream in color.

Ces said...

HEHEHEHEH! You are so wicked! I am getting out of here, lest I get into trouble!

Maybe I shall see you tonight! Maybe we can ask Bella to join us for a date!

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

There were so many positive points that jumped out at me from your post! Predominantly: You don’t fight fears, you replace it with loving. This is such a valuable lesson for even those without cancer and one we all need to remember. You have such a great way of writing your thoughts!

Barbara said...

Oh Renee,
What a beautiful post! Like some of the others who've left comments, I see you as wise and generous with your feelings. This place, perhaps, is what that's all about. Finding a way to BE in all our wierd clothes. Pretty, or shabby. Allegra's post made me cry, too. Oy. So many good friends, Renee. And even though we're on the internet, the circle ever widens and includes. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for this beautiful post. :p)

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Renee,

I love that you are so strong and wise. You are a mentor and inspiration to us all.
Thank you dear Renee.
Enjoy your time, with your husband home.
My thoughts and prayers are with you Renee, Jackie and Sheldon.


Mim said...

you are so right - that last set of sentences really resonated with me.

TheChicGeek said...

Renee, it is so great that you share this with us...so many wonderful sentiments.
I love this, "Nothing from the past is important enough to allow it to pollute our present."

I need to memorize that and remember to always be in the moment. The past is the past, no sense in dwelling there, move forward to a bright and beautiful future, exude love and gratefulness, appreciate even the smallest bit of joy...never forget every breath given to us on this earth is a gift.

You have inspired me beyond words! Thank you!

Daria said...

I so agree with you ... look at the fear and move on with a positive attitude.

You have been such a great role model for me ... and I thank you for that.

Jeanne said...

It's so good to have a place I can come for wisdom....

Annie said...

What a wonderful book. I can see it has helped you a lot. Even without cancer, all any of us has is NOW. There is no promise of tomorrow. Love and hugs. xoxo

~* The Beldame on Peach Street *~ said...

Thinking of you and just wanted you to know! ;)

Love & Hugs,


nollyposh said...

As are ~You~ completely wonderful & helpful to me xox

kj said...

renee, sometimes i just can't read these posts because every word matters so much. very powerful: both the book and your thoughts.

one of my best friends has just been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. she starts chemo on monday. thanks to you , i will order greg anderson's book for her, and i know she will welcome it.

i wish you calm, moon sister.

love always,

Bella Sinclair said...

My beautiful, fair, northward maiden,

The seas have calmed, and I think you are doing an outstanding job of navigating your way through the field of rocks. Not only are you wise and courageous, but you have such a wild aura of love and optimism. It is infectious, and we are all the better for knowing you. Doesn't matter if we are near or far. Your spirit travels far, travels deep.

Love to you, Jacquie & Sheldon

Poetic Artist said...

I hope you are having good days and peaceful nights..You are such a blessing and I need to be thankful for today.

a fanciful twist said...

Even though you do not know this...

I think about you all the time.

Your name is engraved in a little heart shaped stone I carry in my soul...

Sometimes, when I think about what you are going through, I look up at the sky, and ask for some of your pain to be sent my way, so that maybe i can take a little off your shoulders on a tough day...

There are lots of little sparkles and hearts I send your way, and i hope, that every now and then you might feel a few ;)

These things, I now share with you, have been a part of me, since I first read your blog...

I send all my love, and shirley temple cheers to continued strength of mind and postive thoughts... And an occassional day for a tantrum too ;) Love, V


Renee..You do know that your name in itself means "Renew"!

I think I share this before:

I know this to be true because it is my name too. My middle name, my Mother's and my Grandmother's too. We are all name after my Great-Grandmother, our Maternal-Grand-Dame.

Every cell is renewed and refreshed with every thought, every breath.

Be well.
Do good.
All ways.
All days.
Stay true.

Anonymous me said...

Renee, the sun is just coming up here. I will hold Jacquie and Sheldon in my heart too as I pray today. I will wish and hope as always. I'm so sorry to hear that they aren't doing so well. I hope you are doing OK today Renee, don't forget to look after you too. xx Jos

Ces said...

Today I opened my eyes from slumber and walked into the kitche. I thought of you and Jaquie and Sheldon and your family and how you shared neds with your sisters when you were little, and how proud you are of Dominic and Josephine. God bless your beautiful family Renee and thank you for sharing your love and wisdom.

Anonymous said...

Your words are beautiful and I am so glad that I could be here with you in the now. I can always feel your warmth when I visit- it makes me smile. Sounds like a great book for living life the way it should be.

Rebecca Ramsey said...

You amaze me.
What a beautiful post.

Angela Recada said...

"Be positive. Live a great life. We have here and now. Life is amazing."

You generously continue to dredge up your deepest feelings for us to see and learn from, dear Renee. Does it help you too, to re-read what you have thought and felt? I hope so!

Once again there were so many morsels of wisdom here, but I think the quote at the end of your post, which I've copied above, is so profoundly important, yet so simple.

I just wish I would remember it each day. It's so easy to forget, until you are faced with a crisis, as you have been.

Love you, my wise and generous friend,

Anonymous me said...

Renne I have just got your message. I am so sorry that today is a hard one for you. Praying seems so inadequate an offering in terms of help ... and yet it's all I have from here ... so far away. Well, far in physical terms but believe me, I am holding your hand ... wishing and hoping, offering what strength I can.
xx Jos

Karin Bartimole said...

Every time I read these pages posts I am inspired. Your words resonate deeply in my soul and affirm truth at it's highest, for me.
It appears to me that you have evolved further than when you wrote those words originally - as you seem to have overcome the suppression and denial of your feelings as an expressive style, and seem to express them so clearly and powerfully - in a way that frees the energy of 'bad' situations, so that they are faced and conquered rather than pushed aside.

with admiration and love, Karin

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dearest Rene,
How are you today? Just checking; you are such an inspiration! Fondly, Anita

Liara Covert said...

Karin Bartimole directed me to your wonderful website. Thank you for sharing such candid insights. I have had family members (by marriage) who experienced breast cancer and direct family who experience what are described as rare forms of widely metastacized cancer. I also have friends who have suffered and died from this illness. Every person who knows cancer first-hand has a deeply personal experience. The book you describe empowers cancer patients to get to know themselves better and work through the emotional and other issues that contribute to a healing process.

My book, Self-Disclosure: Changes from Within, is an inspiring tool for anyone seeking deeper meaning of their perceived conditions. It encourages readers to be more honest with themselves about their thoughts and feelings in different areas of their lives. Exercises in the book inspire readers to journal personal experiences and add context to dialogue presented. Every human being engages in similar kinds of dialogue wih different levels of the conscious and unconscious mind. It is the alignment process that empowers you to find new balance, hope and inner healing, whatever your perceived health or other life issues.

Michelle said...

As this post was incredibly helpful to me as well.

Allegra Smith said...

Where are you Moon Maiden? I try to reach you and you are nowhere to be found. Miss you much and want to know about everything, all of it this very minute. What do you mean impatient? What is impatience if not the heart's thirst for reassurance? Come by and share the tea, the pot is boiling.

(The verification word is dismses, wondering if computers have their own Tao Te Ching mysterious book of knowledge)

mansuetude said...

that Roberta Flack song on your sidebar gets to me... ooohhfff.

Love.. it is the only healer... how to keep it and never spin off, that is the game plan. Wow!

You are eternal...

@eloh said...

Your selections of art and poety are as always, without compare.
Hang in there Renee, continue to fight the good fight. God be with you.

Sophia said...

I really need to get a copy of this book, considering all of the health issues that I have had to deal with and still face.

You are so inspiring. Your last paragraph really spoke to me.

Lady P said...

oh sweetie - i do not know you, but came here through your friend's blogs. my dad passed away of bladder cancer just 2 years ago and i moved back home to just be with my parents and help. mom now lives just doors away. i am sending you a smile and a moment of sun filling your limbs and making you feel light and loved

Clarity said...

You are a dear friend even though we've never met physically, we KNOW each other. I feel for you and had a selfish thought today: God I pray Renee is in my life for a long time. You are a golden warrior and I believe you will be.

The Texas Woman said...

It's Sunday night and I have arrived in Houston, Tx, to go to MD Anderson tomorrow. I have invasive ductal carcinoma. A friend send me your blog link so I will be wandering through your archives as I wait for my tests. The setting is familiar to me since I've been here many times with my sister who has ovarian cancer and has had it for 12 years. She still has a spot in her lungs. I am so sorry to read about your other family problems too. My blog is thetexaswoman.blogspot.com. Come anytime. Regards and best wishes, Cher