Staying Positive with Cancer

I wanted to write this article because I had a client of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and needed an operation to have a cancerous tumor removed. After the operation, the client then sat with the specialist and was told some interesting facts.

My client was lucky, so to speak, that the cancer had not spread any further.

Then the doctor preceded to tell my client about her options. The doctor said that even though there was no cancer evident else in the body they still thought it best to start chemotherapy on a just in case basis because there still may be cancerous stem cells in the tissue. The doctor then showed on a white board the below graph.

Alive in 10 years (on average):

95% chance – with Chemotherapy & Radiation & Hormone Replacement

90% chance – with Radiation therapy & Hormone Replacement

88% chance – with Hormone Replacement Therapy

85% chance – without Treatment

The doctor then preceded to say that it really is a numbers game. Some people do absolutely everything and the cancer comes back. Some people do absolutely nothing, no treatment, and the cancer never comes back.

So what I'm saying to you here and what my client thought also, was that you could go down the chemotherapy and radiation therapy line and have the cancer come back, or you could not go down that line and live a perfectly healthy life thereafter. So, it is really up to you. I suggest that you look at all the options, not just the poisonous options of chemo and radiation therapy but also the holistic options as well. Now I’m no doctor but healthier holistic options do sound better me thinks.

Let’s now move onto how one can stay positive during treatment of cancer. It's important to say that you don't always have to be positive. Allowing yourself to grieve and allowing yourself time to vent your anger, frustration, and fears with a good friend is just as important as staying positive. But it simply feels better to find the glass half full rather than half empty. Plus, good positive feelings release feel-good chemicals into the blood stream which do promote better health. Anyone facing cancer certainly deserves as much happiness as possible. We all know how our mood can change when we answer the phone or a friend or family member drops in, so let's begin with relationships.

Build you support network

You are probably already thinking of those friends and family members who bring a smile to your face simply by being present. When you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, they walk in like a ray of sunshine and almost effortlessly lighten your load. These positive friends and family are there to support you when you need it. These guys will not back away when you want to talk about your deepest fears and they bring out the best in you, giving you a gentle push when you need it. They will inspire you to be courageous when you are feeling afraid and make difficult decisions less daunting. Remembering that it is OK to be afraid.

But steer clear of those folks that can brighten up a whole room by leaving it. I mean some people have a real case of stinking thinking and you want to stay away from this crew. Your attitude in these times is too important to have it dragged down by pessimistic numpties.

In addition to the positive people in your life, surrounding yourself with positive energy. For example: inspirational books, uplifting music, humorous films and TV series can add an extra touch of buoyancy to keep you afloat but also release those feel good healing chemicals into the blood stream as you face the Dark Side known as a cancer treatment. And remember to laugh until the tears flow.

Change your Mind

It is not what you are doing, or who you are with, or where you are, or the concerns that you have which makes you happy or unhappy. It is the way your mind is processing it that does.

Cognitive reframing is changing the way you think about something. The situation does not change, but you do. Inlay terms, it means finding a way of shifting your perspective so that instead of seeing the glass half empty, you can see the glass half full. An example or two might help explain this:

  • If you are scheduled to have say 10 treatments. You can whine and pity yourself about how you still must face 5 more sessions. Or instead, you can say I am now on the home stretch.

  • Or, instead of grieving the loss of hair, you can tease those around you that unlike them, you do not need to shave.

Remove Stress from your Life

Recent estimates indicate that as many as 90% of all the people seeking medical care are doing so because of stress related disorders. More and more researchers are establishing links between physical illnesses and extreme emotional conditions and reactions.

Our immune system cannot detect early tumour cells and discard them, when we are fighting an emergency elsewhere requiring all our energy. Cancer cells can reproduce rapidly when the immune system is shut down in response to constant stress. Quite simply, the more we negatively react to the stressors in our lives, the more frequently we get sick, and the effects of a compromised immune system show up in many forms.

For a more in depth look at Stress Management please follow the below link:

Mantra & Affirmations

We might joke about people "chanting," but self-affirmation is one method of coping when an illness threatens our very integrity. Some people with cancer have found that they can help turn their negative thoughts in a positive direction by repeating a mantra or phrase. You may want to learn how to use a mantra meditation for stress relief. Similarly, verbal affirmations can reprogram your subconscious mind. There are also visualization techniques that work a treat. See the link below on how to write and use affirmations.

What do you love to do?

Amidst the flurry of diagnosis second opinions, and treatments, it is easy to forget that you actually have a life. Take a moment to close your eyes and step back from the world of cancer, and dream of things you would enjoy doing. Your thoughts may surprise you. If you're having difficulty picturing yourself feeling passionate about something again, think back over the last several years of your life. What were the highlights and what truly brought you happiness?

Now think of things you have never done but at some point, in your life have thought you would enjoy. What's wrong with pursuing a new passion now? Ask a close friend what kind of passion or hobby they believe would bring you pleasure. Then have a go.

Find the Silver Lining

In looking for silver linings, consider the ways that you have grown since your diagnosis. Research is now telling us that many cancer survivors experience "posttraumatic growth." For example, cancer survivors often develop a greater sense of compassion for others, a greater appreciation for life, and more. Can you think of ways that you have become a better person because of your diagnosis?

Show Compassion

Being too tired to walk, run, cycle, rock climb, surf, swim, or dance because of cancer may be a special blessing. After all, these activities, though honorable and commendable, are not likely to touch the heart of that quiet, bald woman who self-consciously and tearfully walks down the supermarket aisle nearby. A simple touch, a beautiful smile, or a gentle hug can leave her to continue on her way with her chin just a little higher. Just like a diamond, things such as these, that seem so small, may shine in the heart of another facing this disease for a long time to come.

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