When I meet women who are going through treatment for cancer, I so often hear them say, “My cancer.” I wince when I hear those words and it saddens me deeply. Throughout my life with Margot, we thought about the cancer that was in her body as a symptom, as a condition. Not as her. These experiences have made me passionate about helping others come to realize who they really are. I’ll be candid here: You are not your body.
Your body is made up of approximately 60 trillion individual conscious living cells, working to create a vehicle called the human body. This physical body houses your essence, your soul, or whatever name you wish to call your true self. I call my true self, the ‘I Am”, which is connected to the original I Am that many people call God. My essence and your essence, which to me is God’s essence, are all connected. The important thing to understand is that the better you maintain the physical body with proper nutrition and exercise the easier it is to connect to your creator.
Since Margot’s passing, more attention has been paid to “body-mind-spirit” approaches to treating disease. This can be as simple as finding a treatment staff that supports you and your caregivers before, during and after cancer treatment.
But to really be effective, mind-body-spirit medicine needs to be an integral part of whole-person care. It needs to recognize the myriad ways that emotional, mental, social and behavioral factors can impact our health—both for the positive and otherwise.
Some of the approaches you can seek out and use include:
- Seek counseling on an Individual, couples and family basis: Don’t try to cope on your own, especially if a spouse is involved. Meet with a trained therapist who comes from a mind-spirit point of view as yourself, but also as a couple or family. A professional who is talented in this area can help you work through difficult decisions and cope with the disease and how it affects your life and relationships. You may also find and be able to use hidden inner strength and resources to explore ways to enjoy life while on your unique journey.
- Use relaxation and guided imagery techniques: The world is now attuned to the use of positive mental images and focus on breathing as ways to increase your physical and emotional wellbeing. Patients undergoing treatment often find these to help dramatically with their physical discomfort and stress. Don’t take it lightly: It can also help boost the immune system.
- Find support groups: The feelings of hope and connectedness I have experienced when connecting with others going through a similar experience cannot be expressed deeply enough. Find your own support groups to guide and hold you while you heal.
- Laugh Often: I once read a sign in a window, “Live, Laugh, Love.” Laughter has its own therapeutic effect in relieving stress and boosting the immune system. But beyond that, when we laugh we are in the present moment, and that is where healing and miracles happen.
Approaching cancer treatment with a mindset of the whole you—body-mind-spirit—and combining that approach with caring relationships, therapeutic practices and techniques will help you and your caregivers and loved ones respond to a diagnosis and treatment of cancer in empowering ways. This can’t help but support your body, improve your health, grow your relationships and bring about an overall sense of well-being.