Ten Tips for Embracing Health After A Cancer Diagnosis

I have a friend who is currently having a cancer experience. She’s young, only 39 and it’s in her breast. In spite of having been caught very early and a full course of chemotherapy, the cancer has returned. Only yesterday this friend told me she was tired of fighting, she’s had a rough life and she just wants Jesus to take it from here. I couldn’t be happier for her and I told her as she drifted off to sleep that she was right to stop fighting it all, that letting go and letting Jesus (or God or the Universe or Source) would be the best thing for her.
As crazy as that sounds, given our current approach to cancer or any other major disease or disorder, it worked for me when I had an experience with cancer nearly eleven years ago. I got really tired of combating it too, I was sick of battles, fights, runs for the cure and all the other hostile sounding vernacular that comes with any illness, this disease in particular. I decided that since I had a very uncertain prognosis and no idea how much longer I had to live, that I was going to make every moment count. Rather than battling cancer, I chose to embrace each day as it came, do whatever it took to feel good in the moment and above all stop fighting!
This approach meant making a radical shift in the language I used to describe disease and illness in general, cancer in particular. I began to think of the cancer as a messenger of sorts, a giant red flag of warning telling me that something had gone horribly wrong with my immune system for a reason. Given my age (32), healthy lifestyle as an exercise loving non-smoker with a passion for vegetables, I figured the message was something much more complex and that I needed to listen to it rather than try to kill it off. Eleven years later I’m still healthy, still listening to the messages and, as always, embracing health!
10 tips for embracing health after a cancer diagnosis:
1. Get a second opinion and if you find that unsatisfactory go for a third opinion.
2. Research: Find out everything you can about your particular diagnosis, what the best treatments are; new studies, clinical trials and possible side effects and find the very best specialists, experts in treating your specific disease. Remember this is your body and your disease, ultimately any treatment plan must be approved by you, so take some time to weigh the pros and cons before making any decisions.

3. Create a team of experts and a treatment plan that includes people like oncologists, massage therapists, psychiatrists and/or counsellors, alternative healing practitioners such as herbalists, nutritionists, doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncturists and anyone else that seems a good fit for you. This helps to empower you, taking responsibility for your healing is a vital component on your journey! Remember you are more than just a body, you have a mind and personality that must be considered as well!
4. Take up some form of meditation that appeals to you, whether it’s in a yoga class, a guided meditation CD or download, prayer group etc. Once again, find something that works for you, everyone is different! Meditation is an important practice that helps us tune in and listen to our bodies, helps calm you, improves sleep and reconnects body and mind.
5. Change your language! Rather than fighting what you don’t want (cancer) embrace what you do want (health). Write out affirmations in the present tense that reflect this new process for example: “I am always healthy and I always make healthy choices.” This is much better than “I am cancer free” because there is still a focus on cancer rather than on health. Our choice of language affects our thought processes which in turn affect our emotions and therefore our bodies. This is a complex process the study of which is known as psychoneuroimmunology. For more information on how it all works you may enjoy reading The Biology of Belief by Dr. Bruce Lipton and The Molecules of Emotion by Dr. Candace Pert.
6. Develop an attitude of gratitude; write out a list of things for which you are grateful, include as much as you can and do your best to do this daily!
7. Acknowledge any feelings of self-doubt, anger, self-pity, fear etc. You may like to write them out in a journal or on pieces of paper that you burn, talk about it with someone you trust and then choose to let them go so that you can focus on the positive.
8. Focus on the positive: avoid anything that affects you negatively, news, TV, films, even well-meaning friends and family members in favour of activities and people that you find pleasing, read success stories and books with happy endings and surround yourself with favourite items as much as possible.
9. Commit to yourself to listening to your intuition with regard to how much and when you want to work, exercise, sleep, eat, see friends and family etc.
10. Consider joining a support group and/or prayer circle that is focused on healing and wellness and the sharing of information as well as sharing of personal stories. It’s important to find others who have similar experiences and can share. This is not for everyone however, as some people are more private. Also be aware that groups of sick people talking about their illnesses can appear more depressing than supportive, it’s really a question of personal preference and the specific support group. If you feel energized, inspired and/or motivated after a meeting then keep going, if you feel drained, fatigued or ill afterwards, stop going immediately, this is not the group for you!
Keep in mind that these are just a few ideas designed to help you through a difficult time. What’s most important is that you do what is right for you! As with any advice take what works and discard with gratitude what does not.

Author's Bio: 

Alison L. Longley is a Master of Clinical Hypnotherapy, certified practitioner of NLP, PSYCH-K, Heart Resonance Energy Healing and HypnoBirthing childbirth education. She is the owner/operator of Breakthrough Wellness Centre in Vancouver British Columbia, Canada. You can visit her website at: