ADDING LIFE TO THE CANCER CHAPTER
I am going to make a bold statement. If this does not resonate with you, read on. If it does resonate with you, read on!
Cancer does not define you!
You are given one life to live. It starts with the year you are born and ends with the year you perish. For me: 1979 - ____. This signifies my entire life experience. That delicate little dash holds all the chapters that equal my epic life journey.
Obviously, there is no end date as of yet because I'm still alive! And, I plan to live a long and full life so that line is going to be jam packed with living. But I'd like to point out the length of that line. It's not very long, is it? Each chapter, although significant in their own ways, does not define my entire life.
A chapter is a span of time, not meant to consume your entire life journey or the book of your life, however you choose to look at it. Take the life journey of my sister, Lanie, for example and zoom in on particular sections.
She had a typical modern American childhood complete with a stay at home mom and working dad, three siblings, cousins, grandparents iced with the memories from celebrations, holidays, Michigan summers in the pool, barbeques in the backyard, camping with family, Michigan winters rolled into snowmen and hot chocolate. Pretty uneventful and typical.
She also has friendships, relationships, jobs, fails, trips, drugs (just kidding, I thought I'd spice things up!), residences, beliefs, new beliefs, adventures, deaths of loved ones and illness. Yes, illness. Cancer became one of her chapters, but in looking back over her entire life span, it does not define her journey.
The definition of your life will be an inclusion of all chapters, not just this one unless you consume yourself and let nothing else matter. Although much of her efforts were devoted to recovering from cancer, it did not fill her entire "dash".
You can have so many chapters of screw ups and embarrassments that no one will ever remember unless you constantly draw attention to it. What's even better is that you can always add and remove chapters. You don't end your life and begin a new one, you either discontinue a particular chapter and start fresh or just end that phase all together. It's a beautiful thing that the choice is up to you.
We should all be adding more "mini-chapters" to our live anyways. We are much too much self-restricted on how long our chapters are expected to be. We have pre-conceived notions of who we are "supposed" to be that we end up restricting ourselves and stay constrained in standard boxes.
If you're wondering what a "mini-chapter" is, it could be adventure, business ideas, new relationships, hobbies, interests. Anything that contributes to the purpose of life: to live and serve with love and passion. Think of what mini or sub-chapter you'd like to start now despite this cancer diagnosis. What is the title?
Now, onto the how-to. You have to get un-stuck from the chaos and step into control. Typically, when cancer is present in your life you tend to lean towards the thinking of, "why me?", "why did you let this happen, God?" and we feel trapped in these thoughts.
Before I go any further, I want to point to the fact that over 85% of all cancer diagnosis are lifestyle related. Meaning, they were either preventable with actions within your control or developed as a result of unhealthy living habits.
So many times we go into this chapter with the mind frame that cancer is bad, making this a good vs evil disease or perhaps a love vs hate relationship with cancer. You might feel that the devil has taken over this chapter and has hit you like a ton of bricks. Whether you feel this way or not, it's time to realize that kindness is king. All you have and I mean ALL you have is love.
Creating chapters that contain life while the cancer chapter is still open means that you cannot hunt down evil to catch and destroy it. Chasing evil will get you lost and in trouble. It will make this an undesirable mini-chapter. Evil is not preventable, it is a choice.
As you start your mini-chapter, wrap your arms around the title (the idea you are adding to your life) and let the power of love flow in and take over. Bring others in, community heals. As you venture in your new mind frame, make certain that everyone you encounter both in person and virtually is met with love. Look for what you respect, like and appreciate about each person versus what bothers and annoys you about them.
This is how you make your mini-chapters rise up over cancer and contribute to your healing.
Wrap your spiritual, emotional and mental arms around everyone in love.
Focus solely on what you do agree on, not what disagreements are apparent even if that means focusing on the facts that the world needs more love. Concentrate on what unites you, not what divides you. Be kind even when someone doesn't deserve it. This will raise your vibration and create a powerful force in your healing during this mini-chapter.
Let the power of love in whatever you choose to add (travel, hobby, groups, volunteer work, etc.) feed you and those you engage with for this sub chapter. There is no way for evil to get through and run away in chaos. You are the CEO of your health and you are in control of your thoughts, your feelings, your journey and your "-" (dash) life!
Take charge and add life to this chapter. Cancer does not define your entire life journey.
WHEN YOU'VE BEEN GIVEN AN EXPIRATION DATE ON YOUR LIFE.
When a doctor gives you an expiration date on your life, your body immediately goes into panic mode and your innate survival settings are triggered.
Imagine spending every single day with the idea that the end of your life has been predicted and is documented in a file, before it has happened.
This idea will eventually blanket all aspects of your life; relationships, sleep, romance, appetite, mood, energy levels. It feels like it consumes your every thought, decision and action you take.
Nerves will take over at some point and make you may break out in cold sweats, start having episodes of anxiety and some people note that they slide into depression very soon after being given this news. This is your subconscious going into worry overdrive. The emotional decline is a heavy weight to carry.
Stress is now in full effect. The cascade of stress responses begin to fall, resulting in even more symptoms appearing than before. You feel like you are losing control of the things that you once had a tight grip on. Everything feels like it is slipping through your fingers.
These feelings tend to lead to withdrawal. Some find themselves hesitating to participate in social gatherings for fear of someone asking you about your condition or situation. The last thing you wish to discuss is the countdown clock that is constantly ticking in the back of your mind.
Sometimes it is so loud that it's all you hear. It's nauseating and has the power to take your breath away at times. You can feel it in every cell in your body. Every time you are faced with a situation that requires making plans or planning for the future all you can think of is, "if I'm even here", or "I won't be here by then so what's the point?"
This is an awful way to live.
In fact, it's no way to live. It's restricting which is the opposite of living. Your purpose here on this earth is to live your life as best you can while serving a greater good. Finding joy, happiness and being grateful for all that you have. That's the entire point to your existence!
It's not about your job, the car you drive, the great clothes you wear, how educated you've become, what you gave to your children, or items you've collected over time. Living is about the experience of life and all of its wonders. Life has so much opportunity, but when we hear the end is near it's like we just stop in our tracks and give up the time and the present moment for fear of what is ahead.
It's so easy to forget about who you are as a person, how you treat others, finding happiness in all the moments you are able, offering grace and assistance when and where needed, showing up for loved ones, loving your body through all stages of life's journey, controlling the thoughts that your mind sorts through and takes action on.
Life is about acknowledging that the struggle you are going through is the same struggle that you are growing through, regardless of what timeframe someone has given you.
When we have a certain date or suggested timeframe in mind, we build our lives around that day. Let me give you an example. We know Christmas is on December 25th so in the upcoming months there are specific things to do in order to be ready for this day.
Christmas is not just about the one particular day though, it is about all of the event filled days in the several weeks prior that lead to Jesus' birth. The preparation, anticipation and excitement of his entering the world. This is the reason for the season. We celebrate with loved ones, friends and co-workers with food, conversation, acts of kindness and social gatherings galore. We gift one another with heart felt expressions. We find all the of the wonderous moments life has gifted us during this time, knowing that Christmas will be here one day and gone the next.
During this season, we live for the entire experience of celebrating the birth of Christ. We aren't worried about when it's over. We don't pass of decorating our homes, businesses, yards (and selves!) because we will have to one day take them down and put them away. We don't cancel traditional gatherings because we will have a huge mess to clean afterwards.
We indulge in all moments gifted to us.
The day is coming whether we enjoy each and every moment before hand or not, so the majority of us do all that we can to take in the experiences and create memories to cherish.
We also know, as I mentioned, that this day will pass. The lights, decorations, parties, exchanges, moments and worship of our Lord will be highlighted on Christmas day, then the day will be over. We don't avoid engaging in all of the experiences prior to December 25th because December 26th replaces it with a regular day. We make the most of the time we are given and do all that makes ourselves and others feel good.
It's part of the season. It's part of life.
As is now. This is a season of your life. If a doctor has given you an "expectancy" on your life for whatever the reason is, it is your responsibility to find your ways to live in purpose with intention and the fullness you were created for. They (physicians, or anyone for that matter) cannot take your desire and drive to savor every moment of life from you.
Let me make a suggestion, though. Don't write this timeframe or "date" on your calendar. Your cells are listening and will respond to your thoughts, feelings and actions. Claim life and do all that you can to support your mind and body in the most natural ways.
So many times I've seen cancer heroes prove those time stamping physicians wrong. Sometimes life extension happens as a result of shifting the way we approach living and fulfilling our duties of human existence. Whether you believe that it is right or wrong for a physician to deliver this type of prediction, the next steps are up to you.
I have to also touch on the point that compounded stress impairs our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) which can lead to other health issues both mental and physical. It can cause distress in your endocrine system, hormones, and can fuel inflammatory responses.
It could truly make a world of difference to support your ECS with supplementation of cannabinoid therapy at this time. Be sure to work with a professional who is knowledgeable on how the endocannabinoid system impacts your emotional state and health overall. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you for it. Harvest nature to enhance your quality of life.
Reach out should you need guidance.
The most powerful tool we have to ensure we make better health and wellness choices in the future is KNOWLEDGE.