The Gift of Friends and Books....
Monday, August 26, 2013
Several people have commented on my cancer blogs that I have an amazing attitude and approach toward cancer. It didn't start out that way. I was hurt, scared out of my mind, and feeling very alone when I first got diagnosed. I credit a lot of my thinking these days to the help I have recieved from friends and from the many books I recieved as gifts from them.
Right after I got diagnosed with cancer, several friends spontaneously sent me books that they thought would be helpful. It just knocked my socks off that each of them was so generous in sending me these books. I was really touched by their kindness and love. Even more mind blowing to me was how each book I recieved was just perfectly timed. The content of each book focused on just what I needed to be learning about in that moment.
Three books really stand out in my mind as being perfect for me. I'll describe them in the order I recieved them.
The first book is
Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber (Dec 31, 2009).
It was given to me by my closest friend. The author, David Servan-Schreiber, is an MD who had a brain tumor. The whole premise of the book is that we (people with cancer) can do lots of things to help our bodies be in the best condition for healing/fighting cancer. He describes thinking of our bodies as "terrain" on which cancer can find a welcoming or unwelcoming environment. The less welcoming we make it to cancer and the more encouragement we give to our own natural defenses, the better our chances of survival.
This book has a wonderful chapter on cancer survival statistics. I don't even want to think about the statitics for my own particular type of breast cancer. He makes several great pointa about the statistics. One, statistics are always based on "old" data based on cancer treatments that were in use at the time and cancer treatments are always improving. Two, statistics also don't take into consideration a individuals cancer "terrain", instead, it lumps all kinds of people together. Three, is that there is always a long tail on the bell curve where there are outlyers that survive a long time. His goal was to be on that long tail.....way out there. He did. He survived 20 years with a very agressive form of brain cancer. He did it though making major lifestyle changes and changing his eating habits.
It was a wonderful book for me to read and gave me a sense that I could have some influence on the course of this disease. It gave me the motivation to immediately change the way I ate...no sugar, no salt, no processed foods, lots of green tea. It also gave me some hope. Even if the statistics aren't great....I could still shoot for that loooong tail at the end of the bell curve. That's what I'm shooting for!
The second book that came was a gift from FLORIDASUN here on Sparkpeople. I've never met her in person, but I feel like she is such a dear, wonderful friend. Anyway, out of the blue, she sent me two books. The first to arrive, and the one I'll write about here is:
Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin
This book is all about how many diseases are a reflection of things going on in our personal lives and how making changes in the way we nurture ourselves can help our body's natural healing mechanisms. The author is an MD who believes that patients intuitively know what their bodies need to help heal and that oftentimes, by making changes in how we nurture ourselves, our bodies can be in a better position to heal. The back of the book has a very long questionaire that I'm working though right now that asks a lot of hard questions. After completing the questionaire, she suggests writing your own holistically based prescription for what it would take to get well. I've already written my "prescription" and I'm working on following it. By the way....this was the book that made me put it down after the first three pages of reading it and telling my husband I wanted some "hanky panky"! This book has done wonders for our relationship.
Neither book suggests that beating cancer is simply a matter of thinking the right thoughts, or that traditional approaches to fighting cancer should be ignored. What I like about these books is that they are balanced in their approach and that they look at diseases from a holistic perspective....not just a matter of cells dividing out of control. They recommend combining traditional and non-traditional approaches to get the best of both worlds.
The third book I'm going to write about is:
How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard and Sylvia Boorstein (Sep 14, 2010)
This book was given to me by my sister-in-law. It is an amazing book about coping with chronic illness and dealing with the accompaning losses that are a natural result of losing "good health". This book is a very gentle book that has helped me with having compassion for myself. It has brought me to tears multiple times as I read it, not because it is sad, but because it is so on point with things I have been feeling. It is teaching me to have acceptance, no matter what. It's a great book that I highly recommend for anyone with a serious illness that wants to come to peace with their illness. It's a deep book, and not a quick read. I read it in small sections. It has been a perfect book for me.
There are several other books that have influenced me these past few weeks. I have immensely enjoyed and gotten a lot out of each book I have recieved. The three books that I wrote about today are my current "Top Three" and I just thought I would share a little about them.
I hope you have a wonderful, Sparkfilled day!
Life iS Good!