Cancer – Taking Your Power Back! Part 3

“Take care of yourself”. We hear it daily, but what does that really mean?

I think to each of us it means something a little different. This could very well be the most important concept that so many of us are just plain missing in our lives. Our daily lives are filled with places to go, things we feel we must do, jobs, kids, family, appointments, but what about us? What about alone time? Many of you may laugh and think, “I don’t have time for that.” Yet, if you neglect yourself and your alone time, your inner battery often starts to wear thin. You begin to feel tired, worn out, and ragged which can lead to a sense of sadness and even depression. When you get depressed life goes even further down the tubes. You don’t care to see anyone, do anything, nothing makes you happy anymore and you just want to hide in your own little self-carved out cave, which only perpetuates the morbid feeling. How long would your cell phone work if you never put it back on the charger? It’s the same concept.

By taking care of yourself first before others, even your kids, your husband or anyone else, you do not only yourself a favor, but really them as well. You want to be the best you that you can be for yourself and for them.

Doing something nice for yourself each day – these are just a few suggestions.

Taking 15-20 min every day to be still and just breathe or read a book

Take a hot bath

Go for a walk in nature

Treat yourself to your favorite food or a cup of coffee/tea you love

Get a manicure or pedicure – or both!

Take a ride in the car

Go for a bicycle ride

Walk your dog /play with your cat

Pamper yourself

Sing

Dance around the house

Call a friend and just chat

Buy yourself a treat next time you grocery shop

Meditate (you knew I was going to suggest that one didn’t you?)

And the most important one of all? This is a big one…

Saying “No” when you mean no.

This is a tough one for a lot of people. You want to say yes and make the other person happy, and happy with you. It makes you feel good but the double-edged sword on that is that it also makes you feel bad because what you actually mean is “no”. “No, I cannot do that for you right now, I am sorry.”, is what you mean but what often comes out is “ok”.

Try it. Next time someone asks you to do something and your initial gut reaction is no, say, “No.”, and just pause. Sit with it for a minute and see how you feel. My guess is you will feel a slight rush of empowerment. And taking back your power is vital for your happiness and your recovery.

THIS is where true health starts. Happy = Healthy.

People who genuinely love and care about you will accept “no” as an answer. They may not like it at first, they may be resistant to change, but ultimately if they see you are putting your best interests first in order to regain your health, they will accept it. Those who can’t or don’t are likely not truly looking out for you and could be considered toxic relationships.

I know that this seems like a harsh term but in actuality, it’s very fitting. When a relationship, whether it be a friendship, a family connection or a love connection is off balance or one-sided where it’s all give and no take or vice versa, is not healthy for either party.

What do you do? Putting yourself first is new to so many of us that it doesn’t feel natural at first. Guilt may even be associated with it when first embarking on this journey.

There is no clinical definition of a toxic relationship, although we all have some idea of what it means to have a toxic friend.  The term “toxic relationships” is useful as a sidewalk definition, says clinical psychologist Clinton W. McLemore, PhD, author of Toxic Relationships and How to Change Them: Health and Holiness and Everyday Life. “Think of a scale — from nourishing on one end to toxic on the other. A toxic relationship is with someone who continually throws you surprises or curves, keeps you off balance, raises your anxiety for no apparent reason, and leaves you feeling badly about yourself.”

Toxic relationships can cause you to become depressed or anxious, warns McLemore. Even worse, repression of emotions does lead to stress which, over time, gives way to dangerous, even life threatening, illness when not faced and dealt with. Here are some signs that a relationship may be hurting you and your health rather than helping to heal you.

1) They put you down verbally, in private or in front of others.

2) They may tell you he/she loves you but behavior shows otherwise.

3) They don’t want you to see or talk to friends or family.

4) They are jealous of the time you spend with your kids.

5) They show up often at your work unexpectedly or open your mail/email.

6) They call you often to see what you are doing.

7) You cry often or feel depressed over this relationship.

8) They think you would have the perfect relationship if only you would change.

9) They prefer you to be dependant on them rather than independent.

10) He or she does things for you and then uses them to make you feel obligated.

11) Your thoughts, opinions, accomplishments or words are devalued.

12) You don’t know who you are anymore without him/her, or how you would survive.

13) Your friends/family don’t like this person or don’t think she/he is good for you.

14) You have changed things about yourself to suit this person, even when it is not your taste.

15) You always go where they want to, like movies, restaurants, etc.

16) They make you feel afraid or unsafe, and you have been afraid to speak the truth at times for fear of upsetting him/her (walking on eggshells).

17) You don’t feel you have control of your life anymore.

18) Your self-esteem is lower when you are with this person.

19) You think it’s up to you to make the relationship work.

20) You keep secrets about this relationship from others who love you because they wouldn’t understand.

21) They make you feel unattractive or stupid.

22) If it’s a love relationship, they may accuse you of cheating and are overly jealous.

23) They can be really sweet to you one minute, and really mean the next.

24) They seem really sweet/loving to you when he/she thinks you are about to leave the relationship, or after he/she has been mean to you.

25) You can’t remember the last time you felt happy for more than a few days straight.

These primarily were written to go with a love relationship, but can apply equally to friendships or family relationships as well. Spending time with other people should make you feel good, energized, and up lifted. If they don’t, you may want to reconsider whom you surround yourself with. Being alone is better than being with someone who brings you down.

Friendships and bonds should be mutually supportive.

Ok, yes – you agree. But now that you have identified these toxic relationships, what do you do about them? You can’t just stop talking to your mother-in- law or husband…. Can you?

Well, it is your life.  You are in charge and you can do anything you please. But before banishing them from your realm, here are a few things to try.

First – acknowledge to yourself how this relationship is affecting you. Writing helps tremendously here. Sit down and write a letter to that person telling them everything about how you are feeling and how the relationship makes you feel. You do not have to give it to them; this is for your healing, not theirs. Though, if you feel that they should read it, by all means do give it to them. Always follow your intuition and feelings.

Second – Sit and talk with them. Tell them how you feel (or give them the letter you wrote). They may be unhappy to hear this at first. Don’t berate them or start a fight, just tell plainly how you feel and let it be. It helps to use “I feel” statements rather than blame statements of “you” and “you make me feel” – as no one can actually “make” you feel or do anything and it automatically puts the other person on the defensive as they feel attacked. It will likely take some time to sink in. The most important thing here is getting these feelings out of you. Their reaction is secondary.

Third – Set boundaries. Let them know what will and will not be tolerated. Standing up for yourself is a big step in the recovery of any relationship and in your health. Along with this, stand behind the boundaries you choose. There is no cause for malice or bitterness, just state it as “what is”. It is not the same as an ultimatum. There is no choice to be made here. Treating you well is not optional. Everyone has the right to set how they are and are not willing to be treated.

Example: “I will no longer allow you to talk down to me. If this happens, I will not be able to have you around me as this is detrimental to my health both physically and emotionally.” If it does happen again, tell them clearly, “I love you, but you are crossing my boundaries and I cannot have that.” If it happens again, it is recommended to take a break from the friendship/relationship for a bit. Let them know you are serious. If they love you they will understand and, although they may not like it, eventually they respect you all the more for it.

You deserve to be around people who make you feel good – people who appreciate you as the unique entity that you are. A positive outlook and attitude are as essential as oxygen for your recovery. If they cannot accept your boundaries and continue to push you in a negative direction, it may be your only option to say good-bye for a while or possibly permanently. This is your life on the line here. A life filled with love and laughter should be the goal.

“Laughter is the best medicine”.

We have all heard the phrase, but is there more truth to it than we think? Laughter, as proven scientifically in “Humor Your Humor” by Paul McGhee, PhD. “Laughter in and of itself cannot cure cancer nor prevent cancer, but laughter as part of the full range of positive emotions including hope, love, faith, strong will to live, determination and purpose, can be a significant and indispensable aspect of the total fight for recovery.”

-Harold H. Benjamin, PhD

This is all wonderful in theory, but is there any evidence that emotions can actually have an impact on healing? Can an upbeat or depressive frame of mind, as you heal your body, influence whether or not you survive?

Multiple studies have shown that a positive attitude boosts your chances of conquering all illness. In one study, among patients with metastatic (spreading) cancers, those who expressed greater hope at the time of their diagnosis survived longer. In another study, over 400 reports of spontaneous remission of cancer were reviewed and analyzed. The patients themselves attributed their cure to a broad range of causes, but only one factor was common to all the cases – a shift toward greater hope.

One doctor linked unexpected tumor shrinkage to favorable changes in the mental state of the patient. Examples of such changes include “a sudden fortunate marriage; the experience of having one’s entire order of clergy engage in an intercessory prayer; sudden, lasting reconciliation with a long-hated mother; unexpected and enthusiastic praise and encouragement from an expert in one’s field; and the fortunate death of a decompensated alcoholic and addicted husband.”

The late Norman Cousins described a national survey of oncologists (completed during his stay at the UCLA Medical School) in his last book, “Head First: The Biology of Hope”. Of the 649 who offered their opinions on the importance of various psychological factors in fighting cancer, “More than 90% of the physicians said they attached the highest value to the attitudes of hope and optimism.”

All of this research is consistent with the findings of a recent study showing that method actors asked to generate the emotion of joy within themselves showed an increase in the number of natural killer cells circulating in the blood stream within 20 minutes. (Remember, a key role of natural killer cells is to seek out and destroy tumor cells throughout your body.) Once they got themselves out of this positive state, their levels of natural killer cells quickly dropped again. This gives credence to the old adage “fake it till ya make it.” Put on a happy face and your cells follow suit.

Laughter, in my opinion, is the highest vibrational expression of joy that we, as humans, can experience. After all, it is literal body shaking physical vibration that laughter causes. This is consistent with findings of “The Humor Your Tumor” article mentioned previously, showing that watching a funny video increases the number of, and activity of, natural killer cells.

Having a strong “will to live” has been noted by medical staff and family time and time again. Evidence of the importance of a fighting spirit was obtained in another study of survivors. Cancer patients with a strong will to overcome were most likely to be long-term survivors. Short-term survivors were more likely to show a “stoic, stiff upper lip attitude” and to continue their lives either as if nothing were different, or with a sense of helplessness or hopelessness.

The question, of course, is: how do you go about generating or sustaining hope, optimism, determination and a fighting spirit if these are not qualities you’ve shown throughout your life.

Love and your own spirituality are important sources of this hopeful and optimistic attitude. Another source is your sense of humor. It is no coincidence that so many cancer survivors credit their sense of humor for getting them through their ordeal. Humor helps overcome and work through the trials of each day and when you find a way of laughing in the midst of your problems, you automatically shift toward a frame of mind that invites a hopeful outlook and a conviction that you can beat this disease.

Spend time watching comedies, go to parks and enjoy nature, spend time with animals. Pets are fantastic and if you haven’t got a pet – consider if you are well enough, volunteering at a rescue or shelter. Those little creatures will benefit just as much from you as you do them. Even watching squirrels or feeding pigeons in the park will lift you up. Go to the theater or a comedy show. Make note of TV programs that come on that make you smile and record them all. Turn on some up beat music and sing! It doesn’t matter if you sound like Sarah Brightman or are totally tone def. One of my favorite quotes, though I do not know who said it is “I do not sing because I am happy… I am happy because I sing!” Do the action, the feeling will follow. Explore the world. Do things you have never done.

Start saying YES to life! If you are invited to go somewhere, even if you normally wouldn’t, try saying “yes”. You will be astounded at the new experiences “yes” can bring you.

We are not meant to do it alone.

Having a good strong support system around you is important as well. Having at least one person you feel that you can be your authentic self and with whom you can talk to about anything without judgment is vital. Release of emotions and thoughts is as important as taking in oxygen. Pent up emotion is how you got into this mess in the first place. This person or these people can be family, friends, therapists, clergy, even Internet friends – just as long as they really care and actually listen. Sometimes talking isn’t so easy. Sometimes chatting with people online and not face to face allows you a moment to reflect that you normally don’t experience in interactive face to face conversations. It also offers a more comfortable personal distance and a bit of anonymity. However you choose to express yourself, know that it is positive and life affirming to do so.

Live, laugh, love! This is not the end for you. It is an opportunity – the opportunity to begin again, to recreate your life the way YOU want it – starting today!

Just make it your goal to learn to find something to laugh at every day, and to take yourself a little less seriously, even as you continue to take your illness and your treatments very seriously. Life is a beautiful illusion.

I sincerely hope this information helps someone out there.
Sincerely,

Sarah

Cancer – Taking Back Your Power | Part 1

“You have cancer”… This has to be among the most dreaded phrases in the English language.

A diagnosis of cancer is something you always think of as happening to someone else, but what if it did happen to you? 
What would you do?
How would you react?
What happens now?
Questions race through your mind.

The room starts to spin and you now are no longer hearing or are even capable of listening to anything the doctor is telling you, as your thoughts turn inward in shock.
Why me?
How did this happen?

Your world feels very surrealistic; everything you knew seems to be fading away and you want to run screaming.
Your loved ones are there, trying to comfort you, but they don’t understand. Not really. After all, it’s not them that just got this death sentence handed down. Fear and sadness wash over you as the uncertainty of what is to come starts to settle in and feel a little more tangible.

You tune back in as you hear the word chemotherapy.
“I’m sorry, what?” you say, trying to pull yourself back into reality and focus on what you are being told.

You now are faced with a choice. A choice in what you choose to believe. A choice in what you think, feel and will experience from here on out. You have always had this choice, though maybe you were not aware of it.

Your current reality is an echo, a reflection of past choices, beliefs and actions. These thought patterns and life choices have gotten you to where you are today. But far more important is the looming question “Where will you be tomorrow?” This is likely the most important question you will ever ask yourself.

Where do I want to be tomorrow?

Society has trained us to believe that we, the patient, are powerless over cancer, and our bodies in general and healing can only take place through modern medicine and with complete trust in your medical doctor. Nothing could be further from the truth.
These human bodies are miraculous marvellous electrical machines and you, my dear fellow human being, are the heart and soul of the operation. You are in charge of every living cell. You are a symphony of electrical impulse and ever-changing, ever regenerating life. It is now time for you to pick up that baton and conduct!

Doctors can act as facilitators, pointing you in the right direction and acting as guides (given that you have a good, knowledgeable and noble doctor who cares more about your health than medical politics). The field of Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of how the mind affects the body. “Psycho” refers to your thinking, emotions and mood states. “Neuro” refers to the neurological and neuroendocrine systems in your body. “Immunology” refers to your cellular structures and immune system. A good doctor will understand this connection and take it into consideration and work with you on healing the whole you…. but, when it comes down to it, the only person who can actually heal you, who can cure your cancer, is you.

That will have been a scary statement for many of you. If your choice is to live… to thrive… and to become whole and healthy again, it’s one you must accept, believe, and dedicate your self completely too.

Norman Cousins, Former Editor of the Saturday Review of Literature once said “The ancient idea that attitudes play a vital part in the recovery process is finding systematic verification in current medical research. There is little doubt about the fact that fear is a great accelerator of disease. Conversely, hope, faith, confidence and the will to live set an auspicious stage for efforts toward recovery.”

Taking back your power is the single most tremendously important step towards health. You must make a conscious decision that you are healthy. Not that you will be healthy, as the future never comes. We live in the present and it must be stated in the present tense.

The body regenerates itself on a cellular level constantly. You are, in fact, creating your own body with your thoughts along with the food you eat and the water you consume.

The way we think and speak is powerful. 
“I AM not feeling well”, “I AM afraid.” “I have cancer.” And so on.
Our system is constantly producing new cells and trying its best to rejuvenate itself conforming to your commands.
The cells take in your energy and thoughts and that can create a sick state of being. On top of it we are stating it in the highest vibrational form possible by using the words “I AM”. We believe that we are ill; when in truth it is our body trying to communicate with us, to make us aware that something is wrong. That part of our thinking, and sometimes our actions as well, need to change.

Cancer is not a disease of the body. It is a disease of the mind and spirit that manifests itself physically in the body. It did not originate from sunblock, the food you ate, the air you breathed in, or any outside source. Though many of these things certainly are antagonizing and contributing factors.

There have been documented cases that prove this mind-body connection. Some are so dramatic that they are hard to ignore. Some of the most dramatic have been cases where someone housing multiple personalities, where one of which has severe food allergies or insulin-dependent diabetes, who when expressing another personality exhibits none of these physical problems.

One study conducted by Steven Greer was reported in several sources, such as “The Type C Connection” by Lydia Temoshok and Henry Dreher. He interviewed women three months after they had mastectomies and divided them into four groups according to their psychological coping style:
(1) those with a “fighting spirit” who accepted the diagnosis, adopted an optimistic attitude, sought information and were determined to fight the disease
(2) the “positive avoiders” who either rejected the diagnosis or minimized its seriousness
(3) the “stoics” who accepted the diagnosis but did not seek further information and adopted a fatalistic attitude
(4) the “helpless and hopeless” whose lives were preoccupied with cancer and dying.

At the end of five years, only 20% of the “helpless and hopeless” group were alive and disease free. This compared with 32% of the “stoics”, 70% of the “positive avoiders” and a full 80% of the “fighting spirit” group. A 10-year follow-up indicated that a “fighting spirit” was still significantly associated with a better prognosis.

All cancers are caused by excess stress in some form and misaligned or blocked thinking and energy, whether it is conscious or subconscious. To truly be cured, the root cause must be released and irradiating. It is not the answer. 


Well… You may think to yourself, “That sounds simple enough. Stop stressing out.
Seriously? I have just been told I have cancer, how on earth am I supposed to stop stressing out?
Lord, this is a stupid blog…”

Just hang in there, I promise to get to the how.

We have established that you are in charge of yourself and your health. We have established that only you have the power to heal yourself. Many of us have become vastly disconnected from our own higher self, and even distanced from how we really feel here in our physical form.

Feelings were intended to be our own internal guidance system. When one is in tune with their feelings, it seems only natural to act on and trust your intuition or inner voice that we all have without question. I know from personal experience that when I choose not to listen to that inner direction, almost always without fail, it leads me to trouble.

Our modern society puts so much value and pressure on conforming to a societal standard of what is considered to be “normal”, where feeling down, depressed, frustrated or mad and exhibiting emotions are no longer considered acceptable, it seems we are not allowing ourselves to really feel or process our emotions any longer.

Dr. Ronald Dworkin tells the story of a woman who didn’t like the way her husband was handling the family finances. She was very stressed out and wanted to start keeping the books herself but didn’t want to insult her husband. The doctor suggested she try an antidepressant to make herself feel better. She took the antidepressant, and she did feel better, said Dr. Dworkin, a Maryland anesthesiologist and senior fellow at Washington’s Hudson Institute, who told the story in his book “Artificial Unhappiness: The Dark Side of the New Happy Class.” In the meantime, Dworkin says, the woman’s husband led the family into financial ruin. “Doctors are now medicating unhappiness,” said Dworkin. “Too many people take drugs when they really need to be making changes in their lives.”

If you watch TV at all these days you have undoubtedly seen the numerous drug commercials for this pill and that, touting that they will cure your depression while showing you pictures of happy, successful, healthy looking men and women dancing, playing golf and spending time with their beautiful children. If you turn the sound off, these ads seem miraculous! Just pop this pill and your world will be exactly as you wish! You will feel wonderful and all will be well!

Yet we tell our children “Drugs are bad, Don’t do drugs.” – quite the hypocritical society we live in these days. Of course, if you turn the volume back up what you hear is a terrifying list of side effects far worse in many cases than the original condition, up to and including a risk of suicidal thoughts and even death.
How exactly is that better than depression?

It is health and emotional care strategies like these that encourage us to stifle our emotions, blocking your true wisdom and the true I AM presence of the self. Medication absolutely can make you feel better temporarily. I am not disputing that. The problem is that it is simply a delaying tactic. The feelings do not actually go anywhere and you will have to deal with them at some point in one form or another… and trust me, as hard as it is to feel some of them, it is far better to sit with your feelings, feel them, acknowledge them for what they are, release them and be done with it.

Think of it in terms of a time in your life when you have been mad at someone. If you choose not to say anything and not to confront them and talk it out, what happens? It festers. You think about it over and over, imagining what you might say, what they might say, getting yourself more and more riled up till you explode in a far bigger expression than it ever needed to be in the first place. It never “just goes away.”

It is stifling of emotions – which in their own form become toxic, which cause stress and in turn makes you sick, sometimes manifesting itself in the form of cancer among a whole host of other ailments.

By medicating with prescription drugs or self-medicating with street drugs or alcohol for that matter, you also open yourself up to the possibility of a whole host of side physical effects ranging from mildly uncomfortable and temporary to debilitating and permanent, up to and including death. Not to mention the “side effects” they may have on your mental and emotional states as well as your relationships with other people. It is not easy from the outside to deal with someone who is inebriated – be it on pills (prescription or otherwise) or alcohol when in excess. Damage can be done and relationships may suffer, further hampering a healthy recovery.

The goal of life really IS to feel good, and live in the now but it cannot be done artificially and still produce real lasting and healthy results.

Stay tuned for part 2!
*This was originally released in ebook form but I strongly feel this information needs to be heard more quickly so I am publishing here free of charge.
Sincerely,
Sarah