Faced with the diagnosis of Cancer, the first
thing that comes to mind is death followed by fear. Your close family members
are in shock and think you are going to die. Despite this, the chances of surviving cancer are improving all the time
and these rates have doubled over the last 40 years. There are over 200 different types of cancer
and all types are long-term conditions. Having cancer becomes a journey and at the start of it, you may find
yourself going through every emotion possible and your mind can be in absolute
turmoil. You need a lifeline and that
lifeline is “Hope” and hope is your
keyword to surviving your cancer.
Unfortunately, a lot of well meaning health
professionals do not realise the impact their prognosis has on their vulnerable
cancer patients. Albeit they have the
best intentions, they can say things which are not helpful. The brain chases certainty and vulnerable
cancer patients will lock on to how long they have to live and with this any
hope that they may have had is then diminished. The “Belief” that they are going
to die at a specific time can become a self-fulfilling prophecy!
Research on Cancer Survivors
According to Macmillan researchers, 170,000 people
diagnosed with cancer in the late 70’s
and 80’s are still alive!
A lot has been written about the connection to “self”. Some people have reported
that cancer has disconnected them from their “self”. Whether you are spiritual or not, it is
interesting that a biblical definition of hope is: “to
have an anchor on your soul.” “Hope
is essential to the believer for joy, so it’s critical to have.”
to Connect with ‘Self’
A good way of getting a connection with your “self” or soul can be done through meditation. Mindful meditation has been well documented
to help with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and high blood pressure. Being aware of your breathing during
meditation will help stop unwanted thoughts creeping into your mind. Habitual meditation not only gives you a
sense of well being but also it can give you an awareness that will help you to
focus on what you can control.
How Meditation can help with Cancer
A five year study conducted by Harvard
scientists revealed that meditation
affects DNA and brain activity. According to John Denninger,
a Psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School leading the study:
“There is a true
biological effect. The kinds of things that happen when you meditate do have
effects throughout the body, not just in the brain.” His research
concluded that these mind and body techniques could have the power to switch on
and off genes linked to stress and immune function.
Visualisation in meditation can facilitate your own
natural immune response. Your therapist
can guide you through the images that might be helpful. There are many Internet
sites giving guided meditations for cancer:
Coping with your cancer is hard but accepting
that cancer is part of your body can be an important milestone. Language that is used around cancer can be
negative. People say you are fighting
cancer or you are fighting a battle, but how can you fight your own body? It may be better not to wage war on your cancer but to come to a truce that will enable you to have a peaceful acceptance.
Whether you choose to have conventional
treatments or alternative styles of treatment,
it is important to remember you have a choice. Lifestyle changes are inevitable, as well as
changing your diet. Cutting out sugar
and reducing your salt intake should be your first priority. There are many stories from cancer
survivors on the Internet on how to survive cancer and many include a change to
diet, more exercise and a determination to live life to the fullest. The stories of these people are so inspirational as they
never give up hope. I am particularly
inspired and in awe of my friend and Sensei - teacher of Martial Arts, David
Passmore. I went to David’s 70th Birthday party this year. He is still actively teaching Martial Arts
having been diagnosed with follicular Lymphoma in 1983! He is also a cancer coach and his story and information
on how to live with cancer can be found on his website: http://www.davidpassmore.co.uk/home/4592676730
A Hope programme run by Macmillan Cancer Trust and Coventry University helps individuals deal with stress, fatigue, body image and can help in managing a healthy lifestyle as well as goal setting techniques.
Macmillan recognises that mindfulness, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and Hypnotherapy can be very beneficial. in helping people cope with their fears and frustrations that living and surviving cancer can bring. Hypnotherapy can also help with symptoms such as nausea and anxiety.
Jill Tonks is a Cognitive Hypnotherapist and a Cancer Coach with Macmillan. Her recent talk on Cancer inspired me to write this blog and I hope she will forgive me for using some of her words. She can be contacted at jilltonks.com/hypnotherapy-for-cancer-coaching/
Finally, I would like to say that a lot of cancer survivors report that cancer is a life changing disease and that it has empowered them to move into different areas of working. Helping other cancer sufferers and giving them hope can be quite life enhancing
If you think Cognitive Hypnotherapy could help you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07735 508361 to make an appointment at my clinic at 2 Clayfield Mews, Newcomen Road, Tunbridge Wells. TN4 9PA It could change your life.