There’s something so annoying about getting sick. Whether it’s the common cold, flu-like symptoms or being hit with the cancer stick – it really is most inconvenient! And let’s be honest, it’s never a good time to get cancer. “I have things to do thank you very much – you are mucking up my life plan god damn you!” was my response to my “incurable” disease.
I have never been one to do things by halves, it’s just not in my DNA. I went for 24 years without ever having to step inside a hospital (apart from the time I faked hurting my back falling off the garden swing because I didn’t much fancy school that day) and then in an instant, everything changed and my life revolved around scans, hospital waiting rooms and Mr. Oncologist. Yes, I got cancer. And that sucked. But then I got “better”. And then 4 years later I got it again and told it was “incurable”. That really sucked!
During those 4 years I did a lot of reading, a lot of researching, and a whole lotta learning and now those golden nuggets are coming in handy as I have set about helping my body to heal naturally. Yep, these days I self-medicate with stuff that you can’t get in a bottle and that no-one can manufacture. If you’re wondering what those things are, I’m going to get to that.
But first, let me tell you that this is the stuff I wish I had known back then. During my first diagnosis, there seemed to be very little information available to help people help themselves. I felt I had to ride the rollercoaster cancer journey alone and work out for myself how I could heal the “incurable” lymphoedema that had developed in my right leg after my treatment (which I did heal successfully by the way!). I had to find more natural ways to relieve the constant constipation from treatment, deal with the diarrhea days, overcome the nausea, the extreme fatigue, learn how to get the best out of the the doctors seriously lacking in social skills and even re-educate friends and family on how to communicate with what I had become; a cancer survivor.
All of this and more, I wish I had known. But most importantly I wish I had known at the beginning that I could have taken back the reins on my health at any time. It’s so easy to roll over and give your power away to your doctor, close your eyes and wish they would just “fix me”. But the truth is, there is always something you can do to help yourself. Whatever your health, and whatever path of treatment or non-treatment you go down, there is always something you can do to move from feeling disempowered to becoming an empowered participant in your health and wellbeing.
So what are these things I have learnt along my path that allow to me feel healthier and happier than ever before despite this inconvenient “incurable” cancer?
- Understand your illness. Get to grips with the facts, learn what makes it tick and what stops it in its tracks so you can make better food and lifestyle choices.
- Get support. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The belief that we have to do everything alone is often more painful than the reality of the situation. Give yourself permission to be a little bit selfish for once. Prioritise your health – you deserve that.
- Deal with the mind monkeys. The fear and uncertainty around your illness can often be paralyzing so it’s important to manage them and realise you are not your thoughts. Drop the fear-based thinking and choose positive and loving affirmations instead.
- Take care of your emotional needs. Dealing with the emotional aspect of having an illness is a little bit like watching Little Miss Sunshine. Sometimes you’ll laugh, sometimes you’ll cry and sometimes you’ll have no idea what to feel but it’s vital you deal with the waves of emotions. See a therapist, write a journal or find a creative outlet in some form of therapy to ensure the emotion is released.
- Practice stillness. Everything consists within a larger context. The chair you’re sitting on, the computer you are reading this on, the glass you are drinking from. It’s all stuff. Stuff exists within space. Take time to notice the space around the stuff and the stillness that is omnipresent. Take time to tune in to it and let it be your guide. In the stillness you’ll find that peace exists.
- Eat consciously. A clean, green diet is where it’s at in terms of optimum wellness. Flooding your cells with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and super sexy oxygen boosts immunity, improves mental clarity, positivity and improves energy levels.
- Get moving! Exercise helps the body to flush out the toxins, kick-start the immune system and get the lymph system pumping. Whether you are a yoga bunny, kick-boxing fanatic or just prefer a leisurely stroll, get your body moving!
So whatever journey you are on and whatever health storm just blew into town, ask yourself what you can be doing to become an empowered participant in your health. You have the power in every moment to make a different choice. Choose to think and act differently. Take positive steps to help your body heal and choose to become an empowered participant in your health.