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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!

Hugs,
Kay

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OWL_20 8/30/2013 10:33AM

    Thanks for the book recs--will add them to my list. I have a family member who has gone thru several episodes of lymphoma re-occurrences--he may like to read these. emoticon emoticon

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HAPPY-APPLE 8/30/2013 9:35AM

    Support from friends, even the virtual ones, is a powerful tool. Your honesty, strength and poise is an inspiration to us all.
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JAZZID 8/27/2013 4:11PM

    Hi Kay, thanks for your blog. I will be looking into the books that you reviewed. I especially want to get the third one, How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard and Sylvia Boorstein (Sep 14, 2010) ...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and I wish you nothing but the best. Stay encouraged. ~ Dee emoticon

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LSDALOIA 8/27/2013 11:55AM

    Kay, these are wonderful resources. There's definitely a point to being positive. Personally I believe that your attitude has an impact on your body at the cellular level. Deepak Chokra has written a lot about this, so you might want to check that out.

But I'm also glad you're taking a healthy, heaping dose of western medicine!

Be well

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JESSIG5 8/27/2013 5:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CINDHOLM 8/26/2013 9:01PM

    emoticon

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DARLENEK04 8/26/2013 7:05PM

  Attitude counts for a huge amount of the healing...

Hugs,
DarleneK

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MICHELE142 8/26/2013 1:10PM

    Great choice of books. The last book you mention, I've read an discussed in a support group. You can bet the farm, your other two books mentioned will be in my library as well. Thanks a bunch! You'll do great! emoticon

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BONNIEMARGAY 8/26/2013 1:01PM

    It is amazing where we can find our blessings!

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MISSG180 8/26/2013 11:02AM

    Our best friends' 5-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with brain cancer. I'm finding a lot of comfort in your blog entries. Thank you for sharing so graciously.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 8/26/2013 10:22AM

    emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 8/26/2013 10:01AM

    You have wonderful friends!
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WEEPINGANGEL74 8/26/2013 9:28AM

    You have some amazing friends to help you through a difficult time. I might just need to check into the 3rd book on chronic illness, it might help me when I hit those rough days although thankfully they occur less often now.

Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey and struggles as you continue on your journey.

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LOPEYP 8/26/2013 9:01AM

    I am glad that you have a great group of friends that are providing your support and comfort. You deserve them!!

Stay strong, my friend, there is light at the end of this tunnel. emoticon

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FLORIDASUN 8/26/2013 8:33AM

    YaY....nothing makes me HAPPIER than to know that I have been a small glimmer of help and hope! That's exactly what our life mission here on earth is..help and hope! We all need to reach out to each other in more loving and accepting ways. My eyes were truly opened yesterday when I went to the movie 'The Butler'. It is about the butler's perspective on serving the White House through 4 presidencies. It was AMAZING to see the determination and grit our black people went through and horrifying to see that many times they were treated worse than dogs...yes...all of this and it wasn't that long ago! I was a young kid at that time...but STILL I was totally clueless living in my own little bubble. If we took the time to understand each other and the history of what each other has walked through we'd have SO much more tolerance for each other don't you think?

I'm determined to use my last years to help others as penance to the many years I spent in my own little clueless 'good life' bubble. I'm SO much happier now than I was then. It's all about friendship and love my dear one...and you are such a GOOD example of that..I'm truly blessed that our spark paths crossed!

Stay strong...this is just a little 'eye opening, heart opening' exercise that we all seem to go through...yours through your health challenges, mine through my 'Josh loss' challenges...we will be BETTER and stronger for walking through the fire and coming out the other side!

I LOVE you KAY...you are a gem extraordinaire! emoticon Your blogging is helping hundreds daily! emoticon Lots of people read but don't comment...hugs! emoticon

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JERZRN 8/26/2013 7:40AM

    What wonderful friends!

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GARDENCHRIS 8/26/2013 7:17AM

    glad to hear you having hope..... take care and be well.

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HEALTHY4ME 8/26/2013 7:14AM

    Awesome going to check at library for them if not may invest in one of them at a time. Hope you have a good day. HUGS

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ELRIDDICK 8/26/2013 7:13AM

  Thanks for sharing

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