A dear friend just asked me what it means to me to thrive as cancer patient.
And then he asked me an even better question: what I think is the GREATEST BARRIER TO thriving as cancer patient.
I didn’t even realize that’s not obvious! But I guess it’s not for everyone!
How I see thriving, in the context of my personal CANcer journey (from breast cancer stage 4 that had already metastasized into my lungs, to none present:)
I did really well with the whole challenge, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Against all odds - already while in treatments.
I started thriving in the middle of my harshest chemos:
Instead of wild side effects and getting weaker, I walked away with the blood lab numbers of a healthy person. I stunned my doctor! She said most people take a dip!
Me celebrating my last day of heavy chemos.
What happened? How did I start to thrive?
It all started on the inside.
With my thoughts and emotions and attitude.
When realized I was thinking a ton of DIS-empowering thoughts during the beginning of my healing journey (which made me feel like crap, and surely were NOT good for my healing!), I chose to STOP that, and to focus on JOY.
I decided to shift my thinking. To always seek and celebrate joy. To give myself permission to play. Be creative. Have FUN.
That decision shifted everything. I instantly felt it in my body. This decision felt so GOOD.
Me with a “wildcat accident,” realizing I had dressed in ALL wildcat when choosing fun, and empowering outfits. (And then laughing about it)
As I kept my focus on joy, making it a practice to do feelgood things for myself, and think empowering thoughts - in addition to working with doctors and healers for my healing - I started changing my reality, including my health.
I think a huge reason why many patients don’t thrive and have extra hard time with treatments is because they only look at the body when it comes to healing.
It can be logical, right? Everyone talks about chemo and radiation and surgeries etc - doctors typically DON’T talk about patients life habits, their mindset, their thoughts, their emotions…. And whether THOSE areas need healing.
Often they do.
In his super inspiring book “Love, Medicine and Miracles,” Dr. Bernie S. Siegel got curious why some patients heal and others don’t. He found that those also change their thoughts and emotions and life habits to feelgood ones, also tend to heal. Others who only look at the body, without changing anything else, have a much harder time.
We are way more than just our body.
Full healing takes also healing our emotions and thinking.
When I decided to focus on JOY and to shift my thinking, it wasn’t just “a nice to have.”
It was an act of radical self-love.
That’s exactly when I started thriving.
This moment was a catalyst to my healing.
So when do patients NOT thrive?
It’s when people THINK thriving is NOT possible.
People may think “it’s too hard.” Or “it’s for others, not possible for ME.” “I don’t know how to thrive,” (so then they don’t take actions.) Or “I don’t think I can afford support to learn this,” Or “it’s not in my genes.” (A super dis-empowering thought! Ultimate victim thought!)
These are all simply stories of thinking.
We can change these thoughts.
So how come empowering thoughts and feelings, and thriving, are so important for our healing?
Fear, stress, and worry thoughts and feelings are heavy. They add more to do’s to the plate for the immune system, when it’s already working so hard.
Thriver thoughts and feelings are LIGHT. And support the immune system. I felt it. I saw it in my lab results.
And, here comes the kicker:
When we think thriver thoughts, and feel thriver feelings, we take thriver actions. Which support our healing.
I believe that yes we ALL CAN(cer)tainly thrive.
It all starts with the curiosity.
And a curious thought:
Are you giving yourself permission to thrive?
For more tips and inspiration,watch my “10 things I did to get well from CANcer video” in my resources for CANcer patients!