Having a significant illness poses a major threat to our sense of wellbeing, and some diagnoses, such a cancer, are more threatening than others. A diagnosis of cancer brings many conflicting emotions because you must confront not only the disease but also the powerful treatments to overcome it.
A diagnosis of cancer is often the first step in a
long, convoluted emotional, mentally and physically journey and also through the healthcare system. The cancer maze can be sometimes very confusing at both ends - complimentary and conventional. You and your family can easily get lost in the maze. For many people, a diagnosis of cancer invokes a sense of uncertainty and fear of the unknown.
When you are diagnosed with cancer many questions instantly benign to flood your mind. At times, these can be overwhelming.
Questions like this are very common and normal:
Why, why me? How did I get cancer? What will happen to me? Where should I go for treatment? What kind of treatment do I need? Will I die? Did the doctor made a mistake? Does the doctor really know what's going on? What about my children and family? Will I loose my hair? Will I be disfigured - will I lose my breast? How am going to pay for it? Will my family and friends still care for me?
On your journey through cancer, it is important for these and many other question to be answered sensitively and appropriately to your individual needs. Intensive fears and beliefs about cancer, even if they are not always accurate, can influence every aspect of your experience. If your mind is filled with fear, doubts and worries about your medical care, it will be impossible for you to make the best choices about your treatment or benefit from it.
Cancer includes many different illnesses, each with a different presentation, different history and treatment approach. People affected by one of these different forms of cancer are themselves very different from one another. Two people may receive identical diagnoses, but the fact that their illness have the same name is less important. The differences in your overall physical condition, your emotional make up, your beliefs about cancer, your expectation about treatment and your social and support network is also important.
Befriend - Don't Fight Your Cancer
You don't need a war to fight cancer. You need to be empowered to heal from cancer.
I feel that the terminology frequently used in conjunction with a cancer challenge isn’t a happy choice. ‘Defeating cancer/winning one’s battle with cancer/beating cancer nutritionally’ and similar phrases all seem to come from a place of fighting and tension. I rather like to choose the expression of “ I have a firm determination to “overcome cancer” or “it can be done”.
If you look at the results of our oppositional attitude within society, it just seems to be creating more suffering, intolerance and environmental degradation because when we fight amongst ourselves, we are really just fighting ourselves.
When we focus on waging a war or fighting a battle versus healing our lives and bodies, we are interfering with the healing process. When you heal your life and find peace of mind your body gets the message too.
Use the Wisdom of Your Body, Mind and Spirit to shift your life. You can read more about the language of your body, the opportunity an illness can have for the transformation for healing and the messages an illness can have in the following chapters:
When our minds and bodies are involved in a battle and a war our response is one of protection. That means we are prepared to run for our lives. Stress hormone levels are elevated and immune function is suppressed during this time.
We are not killers, consciously or unconsciously, and yet when you listen to the language of medicine you hear words like; poison, blast, kill, amputate, destroy, eliminate, assault and more. Unfortunately not many doctors are not taught how to communicate with patients and so our words and the words given to patients to read induce negative side affects.
Words are powerful and can become swords. (Link: The power of words the power of words)
On the Internet you can find organisations that vow to stamp out cancer, to kick it’s but. But is this entire oppositional attitude helpful? Can we fight cancer and win? Can it be beaten?
You can heal yourself. You can change your life for the better When we are involved in healing and see life as a labour pain of self birthing, then the side effects of cancer and its treatments are diminished and our body is reprogrammed to grow and heal as the stress level is reduced and immune function enhanced.
When we are involved in healing (see also Healing vs Curing: Healing vs Curing ) and see life as a labor pain of self birthing, then the side effects are diminished and our body is reprogrammed to grow and heal as the stress level is reduced and immune function enhanced. What impressed me years ago and has kept me involved in Mind - Bodywork is learning from the people who don’t die when they are supposed to. I'm one of them.
When we begin to fight against our bodies, or aspects of our bodies, it becomes even more apparent that we are fighting against our self and the result is frustration, exhaustion and death. The trouble with fighting cancer is that you are fighting an aspect of your body, which is an aspect of your self. Has beating yourself up ever been a good strategy? Cancer is not an alien invasion. It’s not an attack form an outside source. It’s an inside job.
If you have cancer, those cells are part of your body and they have manifested in your life for a reason. What could have caused some of your cells to become misaligned and apparently oppositional to the healthy working of your body? Could it be that they are the embodiment of all the misalignment and oppositional thoughts, behaviours and stresses of your life?
Once cells have become cancerous, they are no longer listening to the chemical and energetic messages of your body. They can grow unchecked until thy cause death by either using up the body’s resources or interfering with necessary functions. Or, they can be brought back into alignment by the body’s immune system. Opposing cancer is just adding more conflict to an already conflicted situation and it only makes things worse, especially if you consider that anger, fear and aggression cause the body to release adrenaline – which suppresses T cells – a necessary component of your immune system.
You can choose to pursue healing through medical or alternative treatment but if you are not prepared to also explore the underlying life-stresses that were contributing to the creation of your cancer, then you could be missing out on an opportunity to make the most of your experience. Our emotions have an impact on our health and healing. To explore different emotional states which can have an influence on your well being you can read more about these issues by clicking on the following link: Your emotional healing
You can change your life by dieing or you can change it by listening to the messages of your cancer and deciding to make your world, inside and outside, a more peaceful, life-promoting place. The trouble with fighting cancer is that you are fighting an aspect of your body, which is an aspect of your self. Has beating yourself up ever been a good strategy?
It’s not an attack form an outside source. It’s an inside job. Opposing cancer is just adding more conflict to an already conflicted situation and it only makes things worse, especially if you consider that anger, fear and aggression cause the body to release adrenaline – which suppresses T cells – a necessary component of your immune system.
You can use different metaphors, if this helps you, to visualize your journey back to health.
Your healing has to begin with you, but that does not mean it's something you must do alone. Healing is a team sport, you need a crew and a navigator or mountain guide. 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.
Whatever 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.You can learn more about the importance of reaching out for support and about creating a healing team by clicking on the following links:
SET YOUR SAILS WHEN THE WINDS OF CHANGE START TO BLOW
In the following example I'm using the analogy of a ship / vessel / boat, and a captain when I think about life or the journey through cancer. A captain always goes out with a purpose and has charted his course. He isn’t aimlessly pulling into harbours or waiting to see what happens before deciding where he’s going. ‘Captain’ in this sense is being used as a metaphor for you and the ship is the metaphor for your life and cancer journey. Are you in charge of your life and know where you’re going? Or are you like a shipmate waiting to be told what you will be, do and have? What’s your destination and are you on course?
So, imagine you are on a trip through a big river, called life.
Sometimes the river runs smoothly and slow, at other times the river is frightening wild with sharp turns. Having to sail a sailing vessel into the wind to reach your desired destination requires different skills to what you would use when sailing with the wind: you have to learn how to tack. Tacking is a skill which has to be learned because, if done carelessly, your boat could easily be capsized if a sudden surge of wind catches the sail and drives it in the wrong direction.
You are the captain of your vessel.
In order to get to your destination you will need an experienced guide who can navigate you, who knows the river with all its twist and turns and how to support you along the way.
This guide is your doctor and the relationship between you and him or her is extremely important. But the journey down the river also requires the participation of your companions and the crew of your boat. The crew includes your medical support staff, your cancer mentor, councellor, complementary medicine practitioners, nutritionists, social workers and spiritual guide. Your companions are your family and friends. Be aware of the profound effect your companions and crew members can have on your journey. If the people beside you in the boat are angry or rushed, if they are impatient or distracted, or not really loving their work, it will influence the quality of your experience in a significant way.
Be especially alert to the feelings and beliefs of your navigator, crew and companions.
Do they share your philosophy that cancer is a journey, or at the very last an opportunity for learning and spiritual growth? Or do they see it as an ordeal, or a punishment to be endured? Although it may seems challenging for you that the journey through cancer should not be rushed. However, it is important to take appropriate amount of time to make informed, empowered decisions. For that reason it is helpful to stop at various places along the way to look over the terrain, to reflect on what's really happening and see what you can learn from the entire experience.
The Maze of life is about rediscovering what is missing in our lives, and learning to deal with change, not as a source of stress but rather as a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.
The maze of life harnesses the power of hope and healing, enabling each of us, in our own special way, to create a personal path for well being. Its ageless wisdom illuminates a practical series of steps - "questions on the walls" for effectively resolving the many uncertainties that negatively impact us.
The maze provides a soul-searching experience that will positively shape your future one step at a time. Written for anyone stressed by the pressures of change in our fast-paced society to individuals facing the greatest challenges of their lives, MAZE of LIFE is a road map for navigating a clear path to health, happiness and inner peace.
A person with cancer is riddled with mental, spiritual, physical, and financial hurdles. Each of these hurdles poses new and unique challenges that cannot be overcome with medicine alone. Doctors’ visits and hospital rooms can become increasingly irritating and tiresome. And all of this occurs while the individual is dealing with day-to-day stress and pain of their illness.
It is normal that you cannot see where you are going, you simply have a vague idea of the place you are aiming for. There are all sorts of opportunities presented to you and different healing paths you can take and yet you have only a vague idea of where we you trying to get to.
It is important that you find a moment of calm and do not become overwhelmed with the challenges you are now facing and do not become depressed by all the information you will be given and read.
You are a unique person, with your own particular set of circumstances, experiences, background, and resources. The journey you're about to embark upon will challenge you in many ways, and will call upon inner resources that you may not know you have. Your reaction may vary, since your family situation, support network, workplace setting, financial status, and perceptions about cancer are unique to you.
You must take for yourself a moment of peace. The peace from this moment will help you to pace yourself throughout the day. It will clear your mind, focus your thoughts and put space between what you feel, hear and how you respond.
You don't have to "do cancer" just like anybody else has done it - this is your journey. You approach to your illness will also depend on your personality.
Some people find it is easier to face the reality of a new or scary situation if they learn as much as they can about it. This is especially true when you are dealing with a complex group of diseases like cancer. There is often a great fear of the unknown and uncertainty about what is going to happen. Knowledge can help lessen the fear of the unknown. You can learn a lot about the type of cancer you have, its treatment, and your chances for recovery.
Be your own advocate.
Even though people facing cancer cannot change their diagnosis, they can seek out reliable, up-to-date information and talk to family members, friends, and their health care team. Finding good sources of support can help people with cancer take control of their situation and make informed decisions.
Links: coping with cancer, Cancer Patient Support, Health Creation Programme, Cancer Lifeline Kit
You might would like to contact a personal Health Creation Mentor, who will back you on your journey through cancer and guide, encourage and support you to make the changes you need to make, especially when you feel disheartened and vulnerable.
It's important to work through your maze of feelings about cancer, because how you feel can affect how you look at yourself, how you view life, and what decisions you are making about treatment. It is easy to feel sometimes, tired and powerless throughout your healing journey, particularly when you are not well or simply everything becomes too much. You might feel drowning in overwhelming emotions and might experience days of endless rounds of “what if”. You might be tired to fight or even stay afloat. Despite your efforts to keep a positive mind sometimes, negative thoughts sneak in. At these times it’s easy to loose faith and trust.