Imagery: I went to Meishka Seastrom who practices Therapeutic Touch/ Reiki/ and Quantum Touch and does reconnective healing. When I rested I would imagine a white light surrounding and caressing my cancer and ultimately letting it go. Meishka told me to mentally embrace the cancer positively rather than attacking it negatively.
Stress & Conflict: I avoided it and retreated if I was in it or around it and still do and will continue to for at least 5 years.
Positive Thinking: Everyday I looked for something positive about having cancer, even if it was as little as being able to get in to do my blood tests ahead of everyone else. I didnt have to wait because of my immunities it was not good that I sit in with others that are medically ill. Every time someone came over to visit that I had not seen in a long time that was a positive, or someone else bringing my meals all made for me- that was a positive. I spoke all the time about the positives I never felt sorry for myself. I looked forward to my chemo treatments and sharing with other patients that were "just like me" that were there. I made wonderful friends during my treatments and shared a very personal experience with many of them. Now when I look back on my year with cancer I look back with gladness. Glad that I was able to witness such extreme kindnesses and the experience and education of really getting to know my body and the capabilities and lengths one will go to survive.
Nutrition: I went to a Naturopath and used many of the recommendations that she suggested which included, no red meat, no sugar (or at least as little as possible) and substituted with honey. I do not drink alcohol so that wasn't a problem to do without, but it would no doubt be recommended. I listened to my body and even before I went to the Naturopath, I was craving those foods that I found out later were good for cancer treatment and prevention. Such foods included sweet potatoes, tomatoes, salmon, tuna, cauliflower, etc. I ate nutritious foods. You become very in tune with your body when you are ill if you listen to it and my having an illeostomy made it even more so.
Water: I drank it continually throughout the day.
Activity: I sometimes pushed myself to get up and out, but would also rest in the afternoons if only for 20 minutes.
Laughter: I laughed often and surrounded myself with happy people. Because of my attitude those around me were content in my illness as well and it comforted them knowing that I was smiling.
Belief: I truly believed that I would get well. I did not read anything about death, nor did I think about it. I believed in life and my living it to the fullest and I put my trust in my medical professionals. I did not watch sad shows or the news.
Friends & Family: I encouraged visitors, family and friends to drop in any time. I spoke of my illness often and with emphasis on making them also believe I would be well and encouraging them to strive towards prevention of this dreaded disease.
Vitamins: I supplemented with probiotics, a good multi vitamin, a B complex and Vitamin D3, and liquid calcium with magnesium in it. All of this was put into a fruit smoothie that I had every morning. Although PLEASE NOTE: Do not take Vitamin B when going through your chemo - this can counteract with the chemo. In my smoothies I would put in strawberries, bananas, huckleberries, or blueberries, honey, orange juice, and sometimes soy milk.
Love: Lots of it from everyone around me.
Intuition: I did what my body said was good for me and acted upon my intuition. In every person there lives a wise physician and in keeping to that, I listened to what my body was craving and I would have someone go out and get what I craved if I was unable to.
Emotions & Hopelessness: I believed that I would have no side effects from the cancer, radiation, and chemo and I had little in all circumstances and it has been proven that a good emotional state of mind helps with the complications and side effects of chemo and radiation. However, there was a moment in my treatment and only one, when my hemoglobin dropped and I literally felt like I was going to die. My emotions ran amuck and I was truly scared. I wanted and needed someone with me all the time. I didnt know of anyone to talk to about my thoughts so I made an appointment to see a local physician friend that had conquered leukemia. Although he was very helpful in telling me of his journey it was nowhere near my experiences. After leaving his office I went shopping and bought some new clothes. That was the best medicine I could have given myself. I was a normal person doing something very normal and very satisfying to say the least.
I cried more from peoples kindnesses then I did from adverse care or treatment and I stress again that I never felt sorry for myself, or questioned why me?
Shopping: I bought new clothes when I was able and bought bright coloured clothes. I am not usually one that spends money on new clothes or on myself in general for that matter, but this was one time that I splurged on myself. Whatever it takes to make you feel good do it.
Alternative Medicines: I was advised by my Medical Oncologist not to take anything that would adversely react with the chemo and radiation. Vitamin B was actually one vitamin that interacts and I was advised to drop that during treatment. There again, I put my trust in my medical professionals, abilities, expertise, and experiences. They have been through this a whole lot more than I had. I found a balance between conventional and non-conventional medicine that worked for me and that I felt comfortable with. I believe the sessions with my Quantum Touch practitioner helped develop good imagery in my body fighting off the cancer on its own. I met with a Naturopath and took their nutritional advice, not to the level that was suggested, but to the level that felt right for me. You have to believe in what ever treatment you decide for yourself or the conventional treatment that is required in order for it to be effective.
Spirituality: Of course this is personal to everyone, but I believe in God and could write a book about the many times throughout my journey and treatment where I was shown that God continued to protect and heal me.
Creativity: Reading, watching in-depth movies, painting (as I am an artist), doing anything creative was almost impossibile - I put all of my attention into my healing and getting better that there just wasn't a lot left to be creative about. But that's okay, it soon returned after I got well.
The Aftermath: There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about cancer in one form or another, whether that pain that I feel is cancer coming back, and I continually fight in my mind to change those thoughts and ultimately choose to use those thoughts to help others instead of worrrying too much about the cancer coming back.
I have problems with hernias because of the operations and have had several surgeries since my battle with cancer, but it is just another thing showing me that I am alive.
The chemotherapy treatments left me with what we termed chemo brain and we have since learned that that is actually the term that people use to describe the phenomena which apparently affects a higher percentage of women. Words come none too quickly, almost dyslexic, or to what I presume dyslexia is. For example, when I tried to think of the word wallpaper, I said you know the paper you put on walls. I just could not think of the word wallpaper. In trying to point out a limo that passed by, I said look!, a long car with doors. After almost 3 years since my cancer diagnosis I continue to fight chemo brain. My family still laughs about my calling a spoon "peanut butter" not too long ago. I still struggle with the verbal words. I am told that this will get better, but I believe old age will be kicking in shortly and there is another positive thing from cancer, because I can explain my odd forgetfulness to chemo brain, when if the truth be known, it will probably just be from getting old.