health

Getting Through the Tough Stuff: How?

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Obviously I’d prefer to call the “stuff” with a stronger name (#$%@*!) but let’s keep this a little PC.

I’ll wager that you know someone with cancer or who passed away from cancer. I’m shocked and amazed at the amount of people who are being diagnosed with cancers now that it’s happened to me. Since the doctors told me in late June 2017 that I have Stage 4 lung cancer (I don’t smoke but was a social smoker in college 20 years ago), I’ve since learned of two healthy friends – around my age, early 40s – who have been diagnosed with blood/bone cancer and colon cancer. We all considered ourselves healthy folks and both of them are fitness instructors. I had a hospital worker tell me that he sees nonsmokers every day with lung cancer and he blames the environment. What gives? How is it that you can take care of yourself and still get a deadly disease?

Coping skills are key. I’m learning this now in a much deeper fashion because every category of my life was turned upside down and I’m rebuilding a new life. But I’m also doing okay. The doctors told me I have 1 year to live and that was very difficult to hear but I also believe that’s just a starting point and a guestimate. One of my mentors has a father who just went into remission after 16 years with leukemia. I would love to live for another 16 years! In the meantime, I’m refocusing on the things I consider important. A very special thanks to my friends and family for being awesome and supportive – I don’t know how people could go this alone. You are all rockstars.

These techniques are helping me and it’s not just for folks with deadly diseases.

  1. Identify when you feel your emotional health is going south. Point out and notice when you’re starting to sink. “I see you,” is a good way to point out those feelings. Recognize them.
  2. Create habits/rituals that allow you to pull yourself out of the pit. Different for everyone, obviously. I’m still working on this but having an altar in my room with meaningful objects is important to me, I meditate every day, I make a special coffee in the morning that I can savor while I’m planning my day. Keep it simple and doable and enjoyable. Thank you Erika Schreck for these tips!
  3. Seek professional help if you can. There are support groups everywhere.

That’s a start! Would love to hear from you.

Categories: health, life

6 replies »

  1. I was 12 when my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. I was 30 when she passed away. About every third year the doctors would say “Jayne, this is the last thing we can do to help you. You have one year to live.” Every time she would fight like hell, new technology would happen, or drugs would advance. My grandmother did not die from cancer. You can beat this! Fight like hell! Learn to ask for help. Make the most of each moment. Most important remember you are loved!

  2. Laura, your natural exuberance and optimism are so important for healthy living! (Special coffee helps too.) Keep looking on the bright side and asking for help when you need it. You’re in my prayers. Jess

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