Archive for June, 2009

Exercise because you want to, not because you should do!

June 29, 2009

There is abundant information telling us that exercise promotes good health. Even with a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, or a heart condition, it’s important to have some form of physical activity every day. If we’re unable to move around, it can create a downward spiral of feeling tired and bored which only gets worse as time goes by. To feel better, we need to be able to stop the downward motion, and get going in an upward spiral.

One tool we can use is to stick to baby steps. If we make a huge effort to get much needed exercise and then overdo it, we can cause injury and pain which result in disappointment. This may form a block and we don’t attempt to exercise again until we’ve forgotten about the effects of the last unfortunate effort. Baby steps are an answer to developing a successful exercise program because they allow us to achieve what we set out to do and feel good about what we’ve done. We move forward at a steady pace and soon we can look back at how far we’ve progressed. It’s like climbing a staircase – one small step at a time.

Another tool to help us is to choose an activity we enjoy, so it creates a positive mental attitude which pulls us towards success. It doesn’t matter what activity we begin with, what matters is that we start moving, and have fun doing some physical activity so we’re motivated to do it again.

A friend told me that her doctor suggested she lose some weight through diet and exercise. She’s planning to change her eating habits, but really doesn’t like exercising. I can relate to that; I don’t like exercise either, but I’ve found activities which fit in to my lifestyle.

When my friend and I talked about exercise, we discovered that she used to dance and can take dance lessons again. Since she laughed about the fun she had with dancing, she’s more likely to achieve positive results from this form of exercise because she can focus on having fun. If we create an activity program we enjoy it has an added bonus of producing positive emotions. These emotions generate positive hormones which create the kind of chemicals in our bodies to promote well-being. Physical activity becomes an experience which makes us feel good.

Exercising the body is also a mental game, so if we want to increase our activity level, it’s wise to spend some time thinking about it first. We can ask ourselves if we’re ready to commit to an exercise program. If the answer is yes that’s great, but if the answer is no then it may be best to wait before we begin. Hopefully our thoughts will change and move us forward to some form of activity; so if we’re mentally prepared, our chance of success will be high.

Regular physical activity helps us to reach our best possible state of wellness. The key is to find an activity that makes us happy so we’re able to build it slowly and maintain it over time.

Life – win or lose?

June 26, 2009

The news this morning reports that Farrah Fawcett “lost her battle with cancer”. I wonder, does anyone else object to the term “lost her battle with cancer”? We might as well say she “lost her battle with life”. In this case, we’re all going to lose our battle with life eventually, but meanwhile I find the term demeaning. It makes people sound like losers because they died, when dying is not a win-lose decision but an automatic result of living.

I think we use certain words by habit but if we stop to think about it, they carry implications with a negative slant which is not necessarily the way things are.

No doubt people with cancer do their best to overcome the disease, but for a variety of reasons it doesn’t happen. It may be that the cancer has advanced so far it has taken over and diminished the person’s energy, so there is not enough energy to help the body get well. If cancer is caught early, then a person has more energy to overcome a smaller cancer and the chances of success are much higher. This is just one of many scenarios of healing or giving way to cancer, but it’s hard to know exactly what does happen inside a person’s body or mind.

What is important is to respect every person no matter how they live their life and how they die. I would like to change the term “lost her battle with cancer” and replace it with a simple term such as “she died of cancer”, which does not carry any judgment of winning or losing the battle.

What will I be?

June 24, 2009

If we are what we eat, then I would rather be an apple or a stem of broccoli than a scoop of ice cream or a pile of French fries. Don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream and French fries, but they don’t add much in the way of helping my body to feel energetic and healthy.

I treat myself to a serving of ice cream and French fries on occasion because they taste so good, but I find I’m left feeling sluggish and heavy with a blob of fat in my stomach. I wonder if it’s worth it – probably not. I think the solution for me is to have a child size ice cream cone or a couple of fries off someone else’s plate if they’re willing to share.

I know that when I eat an apple, it’s going to give me some much needed energy and it’s a great thing to eat at the end of a work day when I have to go home and make dinner.

I also know that broccoli is going to give me the nutrients I need to help my body to prevent cancer cells from growing. There are many other power house foods which help me to stay well and have the energy to take my dog for a walk or play with my grandchildren.

I’m grateful that I live in a country where there are so many choices about what to eat, and fresh fruits and vegetables are available all year round. Nothing has more eye appeal to me than a fresh fruit salad or a plate full of colorful veggies.

If you want to raise your energy level today, try eating an apple in place of another snack and see if you can tell the difference too.

Peace of mind

June 20, 2009

Peace of mind is the ultimate goal in life according to many people. I learned about this when I was struggling with a cancer diagnosis, so having peace of mind sounded wonderful to me. At the time I was far away from having peace of mind, but decided to make it my goal. My thought was that in order to have peace of mind, I would have to be in remission from this horrible thing called cancer. And that’s where I wanted to be – cancer free.

I felt as if my cancer diagnosis created a range of emotions and thoughts which I couldn’t control. At times, I thought my head would burst. Something had to change if I was going to survive, as it would be impossible to live for any length of time with such a barrage of negativity.

With help I gradually learned to let go of depressing thoughts from the past and fearful thoughts of the future. I learned to focus on one day at a time, to actually see what is around me and live in the moment.

It’s been amazing to get my feet back on the ground and to enjoy moments in the day which are filled with simple pleasures such as listening to music or admiring something beautiful. I learned to relax, and have positive thoughts which create life giving positive emotions. I’ve found the road to peace of mind.

If you or a loved one are dealing with cancer, I encourage you to do whatever it takes to find your own road to peace of mind. This may not cure cancer, but it will help to raise the quality of life, and it may extend your life as I believe it has extended mine.

Is this good for my health?

June 15, 2009

Long ago, when I was in cancer recovery stage, I decided to make my health the number one priority in my life.

This means every time I make a decision on a lifestyle issue, I ask myself “Is this good for my health?” before making the decision. Over the years, I’ve slipped off the path many times, but in general I’ve maintained this habit.

Not everyone makes the same choice. I know people who have cancer who say “If I’m going to die soon, I’m going to live the rest of my time as I want” which means drinking, smoking, partying etc.

My point is that they’re making a choice to put their health behind having fun on their list of priorities.

We’re all going to die; but when I was diagnosed with cancer, I wasn’t ready to die, and I was fortunate enough that my cancer was diagnosed early enough to give me the choice to get well.

Many people are diagnosed too late and don’t have too many choices. However, many people are diagnosed, like me, in time to reverse the process of cancer. This gives them the choice to make lifestyle changes which promote good health, and they can recover from cancer to live many more years than they might think.

I’ve worked really hard to stay well, and it’s been such a pleasure to watch my kids grow up and now spend time with my grandchildren. It has been worth every sacrifice I’ve ever made to raise my quality of life, and as a result extend my life way longer than I thought I could when my cancer was diagnosed.

Healing thoughts

June 9, 2009

I believe that changing the thoughts in my head helped me to recover from cancer and be cancer free for 22 years. Even after conventional treatment I knew there was still a problem in my body, and I began the search for clues to help me get well. I learned healing techniques from the books I chose to read, and the tapes and the people I chose to listen to.

Over the years I’ve talked about this process, but have been criticized by people who say there is no scientific proof to back up my ideas. Many people want evidence based medicine such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. I would never suggest that these methods don’t work; they do, but the key is to build on them.

It takes work, a lot of work, and energy to focus on health and healing rather than on such things as the side effects of treatments. It gets easier after treatment is over, to find the time and energy to look for ways to help the recovery process along. We need to be willing to take charge of our health in order to find ways to ensure healing. Finding our own unique path to recovery is easier if our thoughts are focused on getting well.

I recently listened to a Naturopathic Doctor who affirmed my ideas. It seems there is a shift out there; more people are subscribing to the theory that the power of the mind can make us sick and/or heal us according to our thoughts.

I hope this helps people to understand there is a choice. Cancer can kill you, but if caught early enough it can be treated with conventional methods; then it’s up to the individual to listen to their body and figure out what it’s telling them to do, to firm up the healing process.

If the goal is to heal ourselves in mind, body and spirit, and we focus our thoughts on healing, we are likely to get what we want by taking an active role in our own well being.