wisdom gleaned during cancer treatment
WISDOM GLEANED DURING CANCER TREATMENT
A Guest Blog Post by Rebecca Adams
Nourishing my mind, body and spirit during my three years of cancer, is having a profound effect on the health I’m enjoying today.
Never sick with much more than a cold, I was shocked to be diagnosed with not only one, but two Stage 4 Blood Cancers. Sure, I’d been tired during the holiday season, but who isn’t? Christmas is an extra busy time of year and for musicians, performing can be pretty stressful. I managed to catch a bad cold perfectly timed to accompany the church choir for our Christmas Program. My cold lingered and as days turned to weeks, I felt more and more exhausted. It didn’t matter how much I rested, I just couldn’t shake being tired. Seeing that I clearly was not functioning, my husband took me to the ER. Quick action was required. I was admitted, diagnosed, a port placed that evening and chemo started the next day.
As a family, we felt that in addition to chemo, we should begin a multi-faceted approach with alternative treatments. Everyone went to work educating themselves on mind-body-spirit connections related to cancer. Our strategy was to throw a lot of different darts at my cancer, hoping this would give us a better chance at hitting the bullseye. I’d like to share 10 darts which really have made a difference in my recovery.
1. Positive Attitude
I kept my mind focused on positive and happy thoughts, tossing out fear, doubt, worry and negativity. I look forward with all the faith and hope I can muster. This keeps me in good spirits and feeling happy. You’ve heard laughter is good medicine? Well, it is and so is a happy heart. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Prov. 17:22
I read helpful articles and watch you tube videos on mindfulness and living in the moment. My mind tends to wander to unpleasantries of this disease so this helps me keep my mind centered and in a good place. I also listen to soft music to help my mind drift into relaxing peaceful spaces.
I write my own affirmations so they are very personal and direct. Some are posted near my bed to recite when I wake-up in the morning and retired at night. I’ve posted others on magnet boards in places where I see them regularly throughout the day. In nice weather, I’ve enjoyed sitting out on my patio, in the quiet morning hours, reciting my affirmations out loud, over and over.
I keep a prayer in my heart all day. I have so many things I say thank you for. I talk to God all day both verbally and silently, expressing gratitude and expressing my concerns and needs. Knowing He is there listening helps me be calm and feel I am being watched over. I listen closely for direction. My new business, ALCHEMY Skin Care, was created from a whisper of inspiration.
Chemo left me without an appetite, nauseous and nothing tasted normal. I was spoon-fed bone broth and soup, sipped protein rich vitamin-packed smoothies and drank gallons of pure juice from juicing. I eliminated bad sugars. I ate anti-cancer and organic fruits and vegetables along with many supplements. My son and husband even planted as close to an organic garden as possible. Eating wholesome, clean, healthy foods, has helped me feel better and regain stamina and strength. Hippocrates was very wise when he proclaimed, “Let food be thy medicine."
During chemo, as weak as I was, I started exercising my limbs in bed. In time, I slowly graduated to walking around the circle in my house - through the living room, to the kitchen and family room, then down the hall. Each day I tried to add a few more rounds. I also exercised with “Sit and Be Fit”, a program on TV every weekday morning. In the beginning I did what I could sitting on a chair. As I got stronger, I was able to complete the whole class. I make an effort to get up, shower and dress every day. Who would have thought this would actually be work? I look at dressing as part of my exercise program! During chemo, I needed the aid of a wheelchair. Now further into my recovery, I try to log-in 40-50 minutes of walking each day. I look back and can’t believe how I’ve progressed!
Some days my body can hardly do the simplest things. On the harder days, I just tune-in and listen for my body to tell me what to do. When I feel tired, I take a rest. When my brain feels foggy (chemo brain), it usually means I need to sleep or at least close my eyes. When I feel a bit weak, I know I need to eat something, a subtle reminder I’ve gone too long without food. To remedy this, I try to nibble healthy snacks throughout the day. When I experience dizziness, I’ve learned I need to be drinking more water. I keep healthy, filtered water with me at all times.
Every day is a sacred privilege and blessing to me! It’s a day my life has been extended. Each night, I fall asleep counting my blessings and thanking God for life and what my body had been able to accomplish that day. I’ve observed first-hand just what a remarkable vessel our bodies are as I’ve seen mine begin to heal with the lifestyle changes I’ve made. I treat my body with deeper respect and reverence since cancer.
Before cancer, I made myself a to-do list a mile long every day. My daily goals left me little, if any time at all, for personal care and certainly no time for relaxation. I ran from the crack of dawn until I collapsed at night. I was definitely over-programmed. As I’ve learned to honor my body, I now take better care of myself. My lists are far more manageable and I’m much more patient with myself, acknowledging my limitations and celebrating any successes.
With a compromised immune system, I’m very careful about being out and about, in crowds or being around anyone who is ill. When I hear someone coughing, I shutter! Most of my time has been spent at home where I’ve been protected from outside germs. Even inside, family members have taken great precautions to help protect me. I will always remember family and friends who reached out with far-away-hugs, a bag of organic carrots or apples, mailed a card or dropped by a surprise for my family. To know others were thinking of us lifted all our spirits and paved the road to wellness with love and concern.
Thank you so much to Rebecca Adams for contributing my first guest blog post. I appreciate her willingness to share the wisdom and insight she has gained through her journey with cancer.
If you are interested in finding out more about AlChemy, the skin care line create by Rebecca and her daughter, Mande, as result of her journey with cancer, please check it out at https://www.amandalanedesigns.com/.
Send me a message if you would like to reach out to Rebecca by email.
I have been using their serum for about a month and I have to admit that I love it. You literally only need 2 drops to moisturize your whole face!