Since there are no books and self-help resources on the market to help those of us beating cancer (eye roll), I thought I’d make my own little contribution. When someone finds out about my situation, they’re usually shocked. One, I don’t look sick, and two, I don’t act sick. I’m not depressed and most of the time, I’m not sad. But I’m also not naive nor am I in denial. I’m just happy. While almost all of my joy comes from my life with Jesus, I do practice a few daily rituals that I believe greatly contribute to my overall well-being. So, without further ado, my practical, non-spiritual guide to beating cancer.
1. Don’t look at it.
Yes, you heard (read) it right. Keep your eyes off of whatever visible “proof” exists of your disease. For me, it’s been visible tumors in my right leg/groin. It’s definitely not easy to avoid looking down or give it a quick glance while I’m changing clothes or showering, but it’s worth developing the habit. It is IMPERATIVE that you–we–are confident in the fact that we are the masters of our bodies, not the cancer. Staring at it every day feeds fear and anxiety and frankly, is a complete waste of time.
2. Stay off Google.
We all know this but few actually do it. But seriously…DO IT. Find someone in your house to hold you accountable. If you live alone or with family who aren’t strong enough to do it, go get one of those child monitoring programs and have your internet history e-mailed to someone who will. Sitting down at your computer to “research” rarely leads to your medical breakthrough but in reality, just gives you more reasons to fear and fewer reasons to be hopeful.
3. Protect your ears.
At every doctor visit, we get new orders. Do this, don’t this. Eat this, don’t eat this. Unfortunately, they forget to mention the importance of cleaning your ears. Not in the “grab a q-tip after you shower” way, but in the “don’t let people tell you crap” way. Everyone has had the experience when you mention your cancer to someone and then that person decides to tell you every person he knows that has died or suffered because of it and share any bits of information he thinks he knows. I don’t know what makes anybody think that response is appropriate, much less helpful, but in order to avoid the possibility, just don’t do it. Unless you really trust who you’re talking to, the details of your situation aren’t needed in conversation, ESPECIALLY if your situation is severe. Pity is not compassion so when it is provoked, it usually just breeds hopelessness and self-pity. Just don’t do it.
4. Give your mind a break.
We all know that in many ways, cancer is much harder emotionally than physically. Every day, all day, our minds are reminded that despite how normal our lives may seem, cancer is there. It’s hard to avoid. It’s a part of TV shows, the news, and of course, social media. Finding your mental outlet is absolutely essential to maintaining your mental peace. I have a 6-month-old so time to myself is a rarity. Thankfully, she is a napper so I can usually find an hour or so a day to just detach and do something that does not remind me of cancer. Maybe it’s baking, reading a magazine, watching some dumb reality show on TV, or wandering through Target. Even it its only 15 minutes a day, give your brain a rest and allow yourself to feed off of normalcy.
5. Good-bye Celine, Hello Levine!
My final little piece of advice is sort of a culmination of the first four. Do yourself a favor and get rid of that sad, sappy, depressing music and turn on something you can jam out too. Seriously! It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when “Moves Like Jagger” is blaring. Everyone who knows me knows that I dance like a mad woman dozens of times throughout the day. You should try it–it’s awesome! I don’t listen to sad music & I don’t watch sad TV shows. If I don’t know the premise of a movie, I “Wiki” it and find out. We have enough junk to get us down, don’t let someone’s entertainment be the reason for your sadness. That’s just ridiculous.
Well, I hope you find these five pieces of advice helpful. They might not be revolutionary but I promise, if you do them all on a daily basis, you’ll notice a little more kick in your step and few more smiles & laughs throughout your days!!
And, your welcome for getting “Moves Like Jagger” stuck in your head. 🙂