Make connections and get all the help you can and need! If you're facing a major illness, like cancer, or any other stressful life change, you don't have to do it alone.
"Serious illness can be a lonely journey. When danger hovers over a group of monkeys, arousing their anxiety, they instinctively huddle together and groom each other feverishly. This doesn't reduce the danger, but it relieves their... loneliness. Our Western values, with their worship of concrete results, may blind us to our profound animal need for presence when facing danger and uncertainty. Gentle, constant, reliable presence is often the most beautiful gift our dear ones can give us. But not many of them know that."
-David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD, Anticancer
Your healing has to begin with you, but that doesn't mean it's something you have to do alone. You need a team: Doctors, nurses, cancer mentors, councellors, homeopaths, acupuncturists, family, relatives, friends, loved ones, and anyone else who can be of emotional, physical, spiritual, practical assistance. All your caregivers need to work together when you are on your healing journey through cancer by healing your life. I can be your coach or mentor, because I'm familiar what it takes to be a winner, but you must be the captain of the team - responsible for selecting the players of your team or crew of your ship, assigning the positions you want other team members to fill and encouraging everyone to participate wholeheartedly.
If you don't like the metaphor of the team or crew you can chose other ones. Try viewing your healing as an orchestra. You will need a variety of instruments: some require physical strength and make sounds that get everyone's attention, while others take a gentle touch and have a more peaceful influence. You choose who is in the orchestra and what instruments they will play, you select the music and conduct the musicians to create harmonies and rhythms that make you feel comfortable.
Whenever you view your healing ensemble as a team, a crew or an orchestra, the important thing is to acknowledge that when it come to healing, no one person can do everything.
Everyone on the team needs to agree to say no to anything they don't want to do. You don't want people taking care of each other out of guilt or a sense of pity - that kind of giving can lead to resentment and even illness.When people care for each other out of love, the gifts they give benefit both parties.
Just as your team mates have the right to say no to your requests, they also have the right to drop out of the team. We all have limited time, our own issues to deal with and our own life's to heal. The person who is leaving or another team member can invite someone else to join.
Don't whine about what your needs are - be honest. Give your team a list so they know what you need and when you need it. Be specific about things as simple as when you want or not a visit. Speak up when you want someone to hold your hand during a painful test or treatment.It is vitally important that you and your team listen to each other. We can't communicate our needs if no one is listening.
As captain of the team, you call the plays and everyone must understand that they are to represent you even if they don't agree with you. Are they free to express their own opinion, though they don't agree with yours? yes, because constructive criticism polishes your mirror.
To get the best treatment you need, you and your team must be willing to be assertive. Tell your team to speak up and ask for what you need and for what they need as well. You will be amazed at how rules can be changed when you are assertive. Disagree with the recommended treatment, or the manner in which the staff is providing it, and watch what happens.
When you hunt for information from other people with, i. e. cancer, be aware that you meet only people who view their illness, like you, as a powerful transformation and not as one to avoid responsibilities for their healing.
Let your team to do all the leg work to safe your energy.
When you make choices about your healing, look to your intuition for guidance. Involve your team members in this, too. Ask them to share their intuitive feelings about what is right for you.
Remember that healing works both ways - you can give a team member a physical or emotional hug, too, when she or he is having a bad day. later, when you are up to it, you can hold for your team a party to thank them for what they did for you.
Don't forget that love and laughter are always appropriate. Make sure that your team know s how important humor is for you - and for them. They can laugh while the spent time looking out for funny dvd's or anything what could make you laugh. Let them know that's alright to be a clown at times, and to share tears at other times. We must live what we feel in order to heal.
If you and your team follow the principles and suggestions here, you will empower yourselves and make a winning team. You won't be immortal, but you will be winners because you will be living fully.
Most often , to avoid feelings of dependency and embarrassment, people turn to the individual to whom they are closest, be that a friend, relative or partner.This is totally natural, but has certain inherent problems.
- First of all, your relationship with that person will become dominated by the illness.
- Second, any existing tensions or weaknesses in the relationship will be exaggerated, may be critically. The last thing you need is a key relationship crumbling at a time when you are most vulnerable and certainly the intense needs associated with illness and its treatments are not a particular good way to try to test, improve or receive a difficult relationship.
- The third reason is that if most of your distress is being mopped up buy the person closest to you, this will almost inevitably, directly or indirectly, rebound on you in some way.
It is therefor important to built for yourself a support system that is large enough for the purpose right from the start. This means including other people to spread the load and prevent the team becoming tired of supporting you.
It may helps you to read the page of Navigating through the Maze of Cancer, where I mentioned that you need a crew and companions, sailing with you through the journey of cancer. ( the maze of cancer) )
Getting Involved in Your Healing is one of the Most Powerful Tools and Helps you to Stay in Control of Life and Treatment.
Healing involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of illness.” Healing is a journey and means that you are taking back control of your life. There are no rules or road maps for this trek...everyone’s journey of recovery is unique.
The best thing you can do to strengthen the will to live is to involve yourself as an active participant in healing your illness. When patients approach their disease in this way, they are no longer helpless victims. Instead, they become active partners with their health creation and medical support team for improvement, remission or cure.
This partnership must be based on honesty, open communication, shared responsibility, and education about the nature of the disease, therapy options and rehabilitation. The result of this partnership is an increased ability to cope that, in turn, nurtures the will to live.
Look out for a person who cares for you, who likes to be your warm and caring companion to walk the journey to health with you.
Family members can only do so much. Your family and friends are there for you, however, it can become too much for them and they are going through their own emotions and need support.
Seek additional support from friends, clergy, neighbours self - help organizations or for an experienced cancer mentor.
Mentoring Mentor support
- Mentoring empowers you to go beyond what you could do by yourself.
You may feel you should be able to accomplish your goals on your own, but often, people get tripped up by their own limiting beliefs about what's possible for them, or simply overwhelmed by all that life demands. As a result, even though they may know what to do, they don't take action.
- A mentor helps you to see past your own thought process and beliefs to see new possibilities. A mentor helps you achieve more in less time by helping you plan a strategy and giving you unconditional support and encouragement.
- A mentor helps you come up with achievable action steps that will bring you closer to your goals.
Health - Creation Mentors are equipped to help you see the big picture, and engage all your resources in your healing. There's a good chance that a “Cancer Coach”, who's been there with many others and who knows the essentials of creating that all-important road map, can help you.
You will need help as you do your own healing work, examining your beliefs, learning from your illness and transforming your life.
Support groups can offer the help family members and friends may not able to give.
Choose your support group carefully, though. Some are dominating by whining and "poor me" victim attitudes. You want to find a group that focuses on survival behaviour and healing.
If you find one with people who have had experiences similar to yours, you will find mentors and role models and will experience a sense of hope. When you join a support group you become a member of a new healthy family.
A support group can help you cope better and feel less isolated as you make connections with others facing similar challenges. A support group shouldn't replace your traditional medical care, but it can be a valuable resource to help you cope.
What Are Some Benefits of Participating in a Support Groups?
Support groups offer a variety of benefits, from the emotional to the practical. Some benefits include:
Healing needs a supportive environment in which to thrive. People need others who have faith in their abilities, who understand and provide encouragement, and who will emphatically listen to them. They need supporters who believe in them and will support them in their quest to recover.
For many, attending a support group brings an instant sense of community and connection; knowing that “you are not alone.” Many people feel isolated and alone after being diagnosed with a serious illness, like cancer. Being able to talk about how having a diagnosis has affected their life among others who truly understand can increase a sense of belonging, purpose and self-worth - all of which promotes positive mental health.
Listening to others tell their stories (especially the success stories) can help others to start to feel hope for the future because others have experienced, and overcome, adversity. They also learn that their own experiences are seen as normal. It is very powerful indeed to be able to share one’s story in an atmosphere of trust and understanding without the fear of being judged or ridiculed. Members can experience the feeling of acceptance and understanding, often for the first time, by people who truly understand because, they too, “have been there.”
Emotional connection and support
Sharing your honest feelings with a group of people with similar concerns can help you to feel more emotionally connected and less alone, especially if you're feeling isolated from friends and family. A safe and welcoming environment, filled with compassion, reassurance and understanding, can also reduce any stigma you may feel over your condition.
Support group members often realize how their experiences in the group have created a special bond and identity between group members. By sharing feelings, accomplishments, losses, and humor, members can develop strong emotional ties to one another. Participants sometimes form friendships that can continue beyond the support group.
Understanding and shared experiences:
It helps to know you're not alone and to talk to others who have been through similar experiences. Hearing others' stories can be very validating and can help you to see that your reactions, struggles or feelings are not "crazy." A support group can offer acceptance, and can appreciate you for who you are. It is often a relief and reassuring to find others with the same illness and understand what you are going through.
Exchange of useful information:
A group can provide and share information about the issue that the group focuses on, whether it is community resources, medical information, treatment developments, or related community events. People involved often say this exchange of information is one of the most valuable elements of participating in a support group.
Group members share ideas for coping. Support groups offer the chance to draw on collective experiences. Others who have "been there" may have tips or advice about coping with your condition that hasn't occurred to you.
Brainstorming with others may inspire even more ideas. For instance, swapping information about medications can help you see how others handle side effects. By learning how others have coped with similar problems, and witnessing the coping styles of others, members can improve their own problem-solving abilities. Furthermore, groups can offer members realistic feedback as they consider or try out new coping strategies.
Support groups offer people the opportunity to appropriately release powerful emotions you may otherwise keep to yourself. It is an opportunity for you to share your feelings, fears, and concerns. Members who already have a highly supportive network of family and friends can find that a group provides a place to continue to share feelings without overburdening their loved ones. A safe, non-judgmental environment enables participants to acknowledge and verbalize their feelings.
Emotional and psychological boost:
Support groups can improve your mood and decrease anxiety and stress. Sharing experiences and making connections can make you feel better about life in general. Seeing others making progress in coping with their illness may give you hope and optimism about your own future. Also, your self-esteem will increase as you improve your coping abilities and as you get a sense of perspective that comes from facing difficult life challenges. Facing your challenges together as a group can make it easier to achieve personal growth through your struggles.
An environment of positive reinforcement, emotional support and hopefulness can encourage you to take good care of yourself. Meeting with a group of understanding individuals on a regular basis can help you to feel motivated to follow through on goals. With encouragement from a support group, you may find it easier to take a more active role in your treatment, to seek out more information, or to follow through on your doctor's recommendations.
A support group is also a place to contribute, so that you might reach out to help others, and in so doing you might lift yourself up as well. Contributing is a good way to increase your sense of meaning and purpose in life, and to make use of all that you have learned on your journey through a difficult experience. At support groups you can hear about opportunities to participate in events that educate the larger community about your condition, or that support research efforts.
You may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you don't know. So at first, you may benefit from a support group simply by listening. Over time, though, contributing your own ideas and experiences can help you get more out of a support group.
Does this sounds like you?
- Have you been diagnosed with chronic or life threatening illness and want to improve your health and prognosis through self - help?
- Do you long come fully alive and be as healthy, vital and passionate as you can be?
- Do you have a genuine interest in making an on-going personal effort to engage with your illness and your recovery?
- Are you are willing to be active in your healing and you believe that what you do can make a difference in the outcome?
- Do you have a healthy level of maturity and stability that allows you to do conscious self – exploration?
- Do you recognize that you need to be the decision maker on your healing team, whether you’ve been able to accomplish that yet or not?
- Do you have great ideas and ambitions, but lack the support and encouragement to get things moving?
- Do you know deep inside that there is more to life physically, emotionally and spiritually than you are currently experiencing?
- Do you know what would make you feel stronger and happier but lack the motivation or energy to change?
- Do you sabotage your health and life expectancy with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes overeating or lack of exercise?
- Are you functioning ways below par due to illness, exhaustion, emotional strain and stress or tow self-esteem?
- Do you care long-term for someone else who is ill or disabled and neglect yourself, risking stress related illness or relationship burnout?
- Do you sometimes feel like you’ve gone crazy, that your life is spinning out of control?
- Do you want to find a way to take charge of your life again?
- Do you often have trouble sleeping, with uneasy feelings, fear or anger keeping you from going to sleep or waking you at 3 AM?
- Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by powerful emotions like fear, sadness, and anger? You may even feel paralyzed by the fear, not knowing what to do next or who to turn to.
- Do you worry about whether everything is really being done that could be done to heal your cancer? Do you wonder how to be sure your doctor is a good doctor, and that she/he really knows what is the best treatment for you? Do you know how to find out?
- Are you often frustrated when you don’t understand or remember what your doctor or other medical providers say to you? Or are you concerned that they don’t listen to you and give you the answers you need?
- Do you feel isolated, even when surrounded by loving, caring people? Do your loved ones mean to be helpful, but often say or do things that annoy you more than help you?
- Do you want to explore other ways to ease your nausea or pain besides taking more drugs?
- Do you sometimes feel ashamed or guilty because you got cancer? Are you afraid you "brought it on yourself?" Would you like to find some peace from the constant, nagging blame and worry?
If you’ve identified with any of these situations, or experience something like them, there may be a way for you to relieve your concerns, improve your quality of life and speed your healing. If this sounds like you, it is likely you will gain substantially from working with a Health Creation Mentor.
When you have fallen off track, focus on what went right.
You might want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Who (what person) or what experience made me feel generous, magnanimous and expansive, so far in my life?
- Did I experience any "ah-ha" moments, insights and breakthroughs in my life?
- Where have I found the joy in my life so far in my life?
- Who or what made me laugh out loud?
- What happened that gave me a sense of relief and peace?
- Who helped me along my way and have I said thank you?
- Who or what caused me to feel a sense of accomplishment?
- Did I take even one step forward towards my dream or goal and if so, what was that step or steps?
- If I could do my life over, what one thing would I have done differently perhaps?
- Did I take some time to celebrate my victories along the way?
- Remember it is not the size of the victory that matters, but the fact that you took the time to acknowledge it. It helps to build your "success muscle" so to speak.
- So far what was the most "delicious" moment of my life? The one that made my heart sing, smile that secret smile, and really feel that life is truly worth living!
You can take these joyful, positive and productive experiences and use them to catapult you into the rest of your life, where you can build upon them. You are moving forward; you have established momentum, whether it feels like it or not yet.