Many survivors we spoke to said the biggest change to their lifestyle they made, which helped aid their recovery, was actually a mental one. Using the connection between mind and body, survivors changed their attitude to cancer, their diagnosis and their recovery. Thinking positively and pro actively about changing their lifestyles and beating cancer, helped the survivors become empowered.
The most prominent and fundamental belief is that cancer does not mean death.
it is sad but true that much of the world still considers cancer and death to be synonymous. Despite our advanced treatment centres and better survival rates than ever, on diagnosis many people feel immediately vulnerable and fear that their cancer will kill them. The survivors we spoke to described how they rejected this belief as it was not helpful to their recovery.
This thinking does not translate into denial, some “be-positive-against-all-evidence” thinking. It’s a warrior’s attitude that survivors demonstrate. There is a marked tough mindedness in the community of cancer survivors, a ‘feistiness’ as actress Suzanne Somers once described it. You see it everywhere.
Cancer may or may not mean death.
Survivors face this truth, giving them a better emotional balance and outlook from either the super positive or hopelessly negative cancer patients. “Yes I may die”, said Chris a thirty-something housewife “But I may also live. I am going to live to the fullest with cancer. I am not going to die of fear and hopelessness”.
Chris’s attitude correlates with survivor ship. Indeed the now common sayings of ‘beating cancer’ and ‘winning the fight’, all encompass this hardened warrior attitude to cancer. Survivors extend this belief to govern their medical treatments and potential side effects, survivors tended to envision their treatments as highly effective, viewing the side effects as minimal and manageable.
Survivors believe they have the central role in the recovery process, not deferring this control to the doctors and their medical team; however supportive and helpful the team were the patient chose to remain informed and at the centre of every decision. Many we spoke to described a love-hate relationship between themselves and their medical team. They respected the professionals who were honest with them and who explained why they were picking certain treatment recommendations and what outcomes could be expected. But if that information was not free and forth coming many of the survivors explained that they became confrontational and were not afraid to research all the options independently.
- Believe you can have a powerful impact on your heath and quality of your life.
- Find a place in your mind where you are well
- Remind yourself what is right rather than what is wrong
- Practice gratitude (try and acknowledge 2-5 things a day you are happy for)
- Have a sense of hope about your potential to be well.
- Maintain a sense of enthusiasm for your life and many blessings
- Listen to your inner voice to choose what is best for you.