Archive for May, 2009

An easy form of cancer prevention

May 22, 2009

There’s a new study which reports a way to prevent 25% of breast and colon cancer. If you’re interested in cancer prevention and choose to take this route, Vitamin D will help you and the recommended daily dose is now 2000 International Units per day.

Vitamin D apparently helps to keep our cells close together so there’s less chance that cancer cells will be allowed to grow. It seems that the human body has a natural mechanism for controlling cancer as long as all systems are working properly; therefore I believe the more we can do to keep our systems in good working order, the better. Taking Vitamin D is one way in which we can help our body to do its work and defend us from having cancer cells grow out of control.

According to an article in the Globe and Mail today, the recent study was done at Moores Cancer Center at the University of California in San Diego. The Canadian Cancer Society is “the first major public-health group in the world to call for taking the vitamin to cut cancer risk”; it is my hope they will soon be joined by many others.

I encourage you to spread the word about this important step in health care. I’ve spoken to many people who are afraid of getting cancer because they have a strong family history. It would really help these people to take the fear out of getting cancer if they would choose to take Vitamin D; it’s a cheap, easy, and effective way to protect our health.

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More on Positive Thinking

May 17, 2009

A positive frame of mind brings us peace, and makes us feel good to be alive. It didn’t come naturally to me, but I now make a conscious habit to find small pleasures in life every day. I believe this habit helped me to overcome cancer 22 years ago; my quality of life has been raised, and I believe my quantity of life has been extended for the same reason.

A report released recently said that people have optimistic or pessimistic tendencies when they’re born. I’m a pessimist by nature, whereas my brother is a born optimist.

We are all capable of changing our thoughts. Negative thoughts put me in a downward spiral which feels bad and can lead to depression. However, if I make an effort to stop and turn the spiral around, I create positive thoughts about the same issue. This switch from negative to positive creates an upward spiral; it puts different chemicals in the body which promote energy and lead to life giving feelings of well being and happiness.

There are people who say they don’t believe in positive thinking as part of their toolbox to overcome cancer or poor health in general. I encourage them to take another look and ask themselves what outcome they would like to see. For example, if I would like to go up the hill, it will be tougher to get there if I focus my thoughts on going down the hill. In the same way, if I want to feel good and recover from an illness, it will make it easier if I think about how well it is possible for me to be, and focus on being well.

Wellness can be defined as the best possible state of health we can reach, with what we have today. We must be realistic, but if we create a vision of ourselves in the best possible state of wellness, we’re more likely to stretch to a higher level than we would without a vision. It’s good to ask:”What is the ultimate state of wellness I can achieve?”, and go there.

Energize yourself – get rid of guilt!

May 14, 2009

I talked to 2 young Mums recently who said they feel guilty about leaving their kids to be at work. They are both working for financial reasons, and have no choice in this economy but to work full time to support the family.

I’ve had this conversation before, and I do remember feeling guilty about leaving my kids when they were young, so I think that guilt is a common coping mechanism. My thoughts used to be something like this: “If I feel guilty and beat myself up then I’ll be forgiven for leaving my kids.” Those may be strange thoughts, but that was in my life before cancer.

Having cancer has taught me that guilt is a useless emotion which drains our energy like a loose drain plug in a bathtub full of water.

I now ask people if they made the right decision to work full time. If there are good reasons to make the choice to work full time, then the decision is the right one. If the right decision has been made, there is no need to feel guilty.

If on further reflection, it appears that the decision is the wrong one, more thought needs to take place to rework the decision. After examining all the details, a new decision can be made which will be the right decision to make at the time and with the resources you have been given.

Guilt in itself contributes nothing to your life, but it is a wake up call that energy is being wasted and damage control needs to take place. Let the guilt go down the drain then plug the drain. I believe it is so important to be kind to ourselves, and conserve our energy for the jobs at hand.

Unresolved issues

May 12, 2009

Reading an article about Farrah Fawcett in the Globe and Mail today made me think about a friend who died of breast cancer many years ago. Farrah Fawcett is dying and has a son in prison on drug related charges. My friend had a son in prison and was unable to come to grips with the fact that he was charged as a criminal. It was sad to watch my friend die with such a huge issue that was unresolved.

There are many versions of the theory: “Live in the moment”, but it’s hard to do when we drag so much of the past around. Letting go of past issues makes it easier to live in the present and to feel healthy and happy when we focus on what’s going on right now.

After my diagnosis of cancer, I broke down emotionally and knew I had to do some work if I wanted to be healthy again. I saw a psychologist who helped me to uncover the unresolved issues in my life; she helped me to face all my unfinished business through discussion and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy so I could let it go.

The act of letting go of pain and grief of the past was such a relief; I shed a huge weight that I’d been carrying around for years. All that unnecessary “stuff” had drained my energy to the point where I was physically, mentally and emotionally sick.

It was a choice, and one that seemed so hard to make became easy when I sought help to deal with it. What a difference it made to me and everyone around me; I found simple pleasures to be so rewarding. We had roses outside the front door and I made a habit of stopping to smell them every day.

I truly believe that letting go of unresolved issues moved me a long way on the road to obtaining the peace of mind which many people believe to be the ultimate goal in life.

It’s too late for my friend, but I hope that Farrah Fawcett will die in peace.

Fighting cancer

May 6, 2009

My friend has just had a recurrence of brain cancer; yesterday we talked about cancer and how we cope with a disease that seems so powerful. We talked about “fighting cancer”, and agreed that “fighting” uses up way too much valuable energy.

Our conversation brought back memories of the time when I was facing my mortality with cancer; when people would tell me to fight and at first I had no energy to even think about fighting. Yes I wanted to live, and yes I wanted to defend myself, but I didn’t know how to fight cancer.

Something told me I’d better figure it out.

I understand that people talk about “fighting cancer” without really thinking about the effects of the wording. I also understand that fighting is a coping skill for many people and that’s absolutely fine – the most important thing is for people to do what feels right for them.

For me it was difficult to find a way to fight without creating more negative energy. I had just learned that negative emotions use up way more than their share of energy and I wanted to conserve my energy to help my body to heal.

I was learning to process negative emotions such as anger, guilt, and worry, and let them go; how could I start to produce more negative emotions to fight?

After reading books on this subject I decided to fight cancer, but I would do it my way: instead of focusing on cancer, I would focus on health and wellness.

I visualized myself in the healthiest state I could possibly imagine. I saw myself walking, or sitting beside the ocean, laughing with family and friends, feeling robust and strong. I saw cancer cells which would interfere with this picture if I let them, and so I was able to see myself stepping on those cancer cells and killing them with every step I took.

I walked miles in my mind and every single step would kill the cancer cells which threatened to kill me. I suppose it was a fight, but it didn’t feel like a violent, scrappy fight; it felt like a process to overcome, conquer, and defeat an unwelcome disease. In a calm and assertive way, I believed I would win and that I would control the cancer, not have it control me.

Now 22 years later, I still use visualization so that I can continue to live in good health, to love and support my family and friends in return for the love and support they gave me.

Reality check on swine flu

May 1, 2009

WHO’s afraid of the big, bad pig? This headline in the Globe and Mail today made me laugh, but there is too much fear being produced right now.

At a Wellness Fair yesterday I spoke to many other wellness providers; the general consensus was that fear is being marketed to the hilt when it’s more important for us to keep calm and think.

Fear of swine flu does get attention and hopefully it will make people take action, but it can also paralyze people and create more stress.

Stress is one of the worst things to affect the immune system in a negative way and when faced with a possible pandemic, nothing will protect each of us more than a strong immune system.

So it would be of great benefit to the world if those of us who can, would choose to boost our immune systems. You can do this by getting good nutrition, regular exercise, lots of sleep, deep relaxation, and managing your stress. You can choose to eat lots of fruit and vegetables so you get lots of vitamins, drink water, go for walks, make sure you get adequate rest, and wash your hands often. Change in lifestyle habits is not always easy, but it will make a difference if you do your part to stay healthy.

All of these immune boosters are cheap, easy, and accessible to most of us.

The best defense is an offense as they say in the sports world. If you want to boost your immune system, I’m sure you know how; for your sake and everyone else’s, please just do it!

Take good care of yourself – the world will thank you!