Getting breast cancer many years ago was devastating for me for many reasons. The most disturbing reason: Conventional doctors could not tell me what caused the disease, except for my taking hormones for 10 years. Being a take charge kind of person, I refused to feel like a victim to cancer. I did my research outside the conventional medical community in order to understand cancer and then made treatment choices based on what felt right for me at that time.
Based on current medical beliefs about the causes of cancer, patients are told there is little they can do to influence their outcomes. When doctors do not give patients something to do to participate in their recovery, they are filled with fear and frustration. This situation also leaves patients and their families worrying about the future because nothing can be done to prevent a recurrence. Let’s prescribe wellness instead of uncertainty! Research studies support this statement. The World Health Organization reports that 30 percent of cancer deaths are due to five behavioral and dietary risks – excess weight, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of exercise, and use of tobacco, and use of alcohol.
Some patients do not want to participate in their recovery, and that is their right. For those who need a positive distraction, doctors could suggest to their patients, “After your treatment, you might want to make wellness a priority in your life. Some experts believe that lifestyle makes a difference in long-term recovery.” That is a message of hope. I go to a hospital-run fitness and wellness center, and the messages and pictures for integrative wellness are all around the place, from relationships to healthy food choices. Integrative wellness is a mind, body, spirit and lifestyle endeavor, and choosing wellness to prevent disease is just common sense medicine.
What can you or someone you love do if your cancer team does not encourage you to participate in your recovery? Some options to help you go from feeling powerless to powerful are these:
Acquire Knowledge: Be curious about what it takes to stay healthy and gather information from diverse sources. Information is power when dealing with cancer and other chronic diseases. Some amazing research is going on in the world of nutrition and supplements, mind-body medicine, exercise and more. Internet searches and health summits, book stores, wellness centers and other informed people are great places to begin. Life-saving information is available to you, but you need to set aside the time to explore and discover reliable resources. It also takes being open-minded and willing to change. Health care experts are available to help you create your wellness plan, but you can also analyze, evaluate and make choices that are right for you. Your intuition can be a trusted guide too.
Take Action: When you find something that resonates like truth to you, give it a try. Through trial and error, you will discover what your body or soul wants and then notice the differences that are happening in your body and life. For example: When you decide to forgive someone, be aware of how that feels in your body, observe how your perceptions change and acknowledge if something positive happens with the person you forgave. These approaches have proven to be effective in getting well and staying healthy: exercise, diet, supplements, visualization, emotional support, acupuncture, yoga, meridian tapping, pleasurable activities, meditation and prayer.
Become Mindful: Your mind is one of your greatest healing tools. Science is proving how mind and emotions not only affect chemicals within the body but also affect how your genes regulate and express themselves to promote health or illness, including cancer. For example: A former client was going through chemotherapy, and we came up with a great healing visualization. She also drank a “green cocktail” from an integrative doctor. She remained healthy during the treatment, and her oncologist noticed it. Apprehension can be put aside while you are focusing on something positive. Using your mind is easy to do without compromising conventional treatment options; it might even enhance them. A cancer patient could focus on the chemotherapy killing cancer cells and replacing them with healthy, happy cells. Imagination is a powerful tool for healing.
Until we have a “silver bullet” to knock out cancer, it is important that people do what is within their power to get healthy and beat the cancer odds. I learned that my healthy lifestyle before cancer was only scratching the surface for optimal health. I now live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle (a previous blog post—link below) and turn the outcome over to a Higher Power. The book, AntiCancer – A New Way of Life, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber is a great resource to understand what is causing cancer and how to achieve long-term wellness. Hope and empowerment are possible when cancer patients focus on wellness and participate in their recovery.
In memory of Darlene Gant – An empowered, courageous cancer patient who did it her way and beat the cancer odds. She is an inspiration to many!
http://anticancerclub.com/ is a website promoting integrative approaches to treating and preventing cancer. You can sign up for their free weekly newsletter.
http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/ is a great resource for complementary and alternative cancer treatments. It provides Information that promotes informed decisions when it comes to beating the cancer adds.
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