Monday, September 16, 2013
Always learning, evolving, growing
I am really realizing recently that life doesn’t have to be so serious and stressful. Granted, we have responsibilities that need to be tended to, so we can’t go about life living frivolously. However, there is so much about life to enjoy. Enjoying life reduces stress which can promote a stronger immune system. I don’t get too deep into stressful topics or debates if I can help it because it’s not worth the negative energy. I try to really focus on what is an important use of my energy, and ignore the ones that are not helpful, to not sweat the small stuff, so to speak. I find that for me, the mental shift is happening from fighting to healing. There are rumblings that stress promotes cancer. Looking back on my history, I would say this makes a heck of a lot of sense. We all know that high levels of stress can lead to being run down. It’s not uncommon for someone to get a cold after a busy season at work, or to get ill after caring for a loved one, etc. I think part of the key here is learning to manage the stress and keep it in check. Just like anything else, moderation is the key. A certain amount of stress is ok, you don’t want to be totally zoned out and lacksadaisical about everything, but you don’t want to be a bundle of nerves either. It’s about finding the appropriate balance for self-care. As someone recently described it to me, it’s like walking on a tight rope. The ironic part is, cancer, especially stage IV, tends to create more stress just by its very nature. In many ways, it’s a vicious cycle. You stress, you get sick, and then you stress about being sick, and that doesn’t help anyone! So, for me, I spend a lot of time working on this, trying to keep it in check. This is an ongoing task for me but something I work on regularly. I need to take inventory and learn where my stressors are, which ones are worth it, which ones are not, and what to do about them. My recent changes in treatment, etc. have caused me to look at things a little differently. Yes, it is true that remission is the goal. How realistic that is would be hard to say. However, I always talked about “fighting cancer” and “beating cancer” and I think for me, I am starting to see this as maybe not the best approach. I think the focus needs to be more on healing from cancer. More of a focus on getting well then fighting. That might sound odd, but it’s just a more positive perspective I think. It’s a balancing act. I am still going to treat the cancer aggressively, but my hope is to continue to help my body be a healthier environment so that the cancer can’t thrive. I am hoping that this integrative approach will help bolster my outcome and help my treatment to be more effective.