Advice For A Cancer Survivor | The Heart of Healing

Cancer survivors want one thing: to never have to go through the cancer experience again.  All cancer survivors worry about a recurrence.  All cancer survivors wish to survive and thrive and live long and well. Cancer survivors also want to play with their kids be there for them as them as they grow up, feel alive, energetic, have sex again, get a good nights sleep, return to normal, to the life and person they knew BEFORE cancer.

This morning I wrote these words, both practical and heartfelt, to a cancer survivor, also the father of a young son, getting to know himself again, re-ordering priorities and adjusting lifestyle and work style and sense of self after cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Now aggressive disease focused treatment is over. Now health, not illness, is the focus. What is the shape of life now?

  • Don’t play the edge with your health right now.
  • Find the  middle path.
  • Engage in  disciplined self care.
  • Sleep is hugely important and has a big impact on immunity.
  • While Travelling: Buy small leak proof bottles to take your Chinese Herbal Immune and Digestive tonics. (Available at most camping and backpacking or travel supplies stores).
  • Make up packets of your nutritional and herbal supplements in zip lock bags so you can continue your program wherever you are.
  • Probiotics (acidophilus supplements) are stable at room temp while travelling. Do take them with you. They are crucial to normal immunity and normal bowel function.
  • Most people want their normal lives back  after finishing their aggressive cancer treatments,  but life is changed forever and your own self care and the monitoring of your own energy is crucial.
  • Do not overspend your energy.
  • Your friends, family and extended community know that you are recovering from cancer, so just excuse yourself and go to bed early.
  • You have to spend time in the deeply at rest relaxed state in order to heal restore rejuvenate. Spend some time in stillness rather than in Spend time being rather than doing all day long. Find time each day to Reflect. Rest. Relax. Meditate.
  • Stage 3 cancer is a systemic not a local disease. This is a whole body-mind-spirit transformation.
  • Find a new normal that puts creating and sustaining your health in the foreground. This is often a greater challenge for men who are not socialized to include self care and self nurturing as part of the fabric of their being and daily lives.
  • The heart must be open for real healing to occur. Keep your heart open, especially to yourself.
  • When you slack on your own best interests, make choices that compromise your health and take you away from thriving, think of your young son. Do it for him. Imagine him at your funeral and you won’t forget to take your herbs or get enough rest. Imagine being at his graduation from college, his wedding, he birth of his first child. You want to be there. You want to be alive and well. Imagine him wishing you were there and missing you if you are not around. That should crack your heart open.
  • Live from this open-hearted place.
  • You may have to say no to some things you have taken on.
  • People will understand. Everyone who cares about you will support you in honoring your limits and making choices that are about your own well being.
  • You are vulnerable. Live as if that is so.
  • Breathe.

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