Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The healing power of sharing my cancer story compelled me to found WWGN for survivors creating inspired healing, wellness and live out loud joy. I'm also a blogger at The Huffington Post, an inspirational speaker, a support volunteer with Cancer Hope Network, a member of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center Oncology Community Advisory Board, a patient educator with Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project, an interior decorator, a wife and mother, and a former very stressed out lawyer.
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be the food." Hippocrates
The question is, "Could the answer to cancer be preventing angiogenesis?" Or, in other words, can we eat to starve cancer? This is a fascinating TED Talk by Dr. William Li that illuminates research focused on preventing cancer by controlling the blood vessels that feed it.
One of the big changes I've made post-cancer is making better food choices. There's just no way around it - if you want to reduce your risk of getting cancer, you have to take a long, hard look at what you are eating.
As part of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America 2013 Bloggers Summit I'm attending on Friday and Saturday, we'll be talking about healthy food choices. I'm looking forward to touring the CTCA's 25-acre Hope Springs Organic Farm and speaking with the Executive Chef and Director of Nutrition. Getting and staying healthy through better food choices is a vital part of survivorship and I'm excited to learn more about it.
You can join me on the Summit by following me on Facebook and Twitter , hashtag #CTCAAZ. You can also watch the livestream from the Summit on the CTCA website.
If you get my blog posts sent right to your email box, make sure you are also signed up for the WWGN Newsletter. When you sign up, I will send you a free copy of The WhereWeGoNow Manifesto - "20 Intentions for Your Inspired Survivorship." (The sign up form is at the top of my homepage.) Intention number 13 is Supercharge Your Diet Now. Get your copy today and find out what the other nineteen intentions are.
"Sometimes you get the best light from a burning bridge." Don Henley
To burn a bridge means to be entirely done with something. It's an affirmative act which cannot be reversed.
I've been guilty of not burning bridges that should have been burnt. It's painful to end relationships or situations that no longer work. It's easier to bob along aimlessly in a state of dysfunction than make a clean break.
When I did manage to finally light the match, it was because of a simple realization: eventually everything must come to an end. It wasn't easy to admit that something I put a lot of myself in was over, but at least I could stop spending time and energy trying to resuscitate it.
Also, with a bit of distance from the dysfunction I was able to ask myself questions. What was my part in why this didn't work? Why did I let myself feel trapped for as long as I did? What responsibilities did I fail to meet? Being on the other side gave me the space I needed to learn and grow from my mistakes.
You're not done with something until you choose to be done with it. Make the decision, light the match and see the light.
Choosing to be done with something wakes us up. We get back to making choices. We take steps on our own behalf. We replace dysfunction with acceptance and clarity.
That "best light" you get from a burning bridge, that's enlightenment. Are there bridges in your life just begging to be burnt? What is the light illuminating for you about letting go and moving on?
From my vault: I so love the following quote that it inspired me to create a poster to go with this blog post from my Mindful Monday series. You can download your free poster here.
"To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one's self; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - This is to have succeeded." Ralph Waldo Emerson
I read this quote and it stopped me short because I couldn't possibly come up with a better definition of success. As I read it again, it struck me that none of it is possible without mindfulness.
Without a conscious awareness of what you are feeling or experiencing in the present moment how can you really laugh? Without mindfulness, how can you see all the beauty around you? How can you appreciate the best in others or know how best to give back for all you have been given? Without mindfulness, how can you enjoy your relationships and raise happy and healthy children?
Yesterday morning I awoke with nowhere to go and nothing pressing to do. The week before, including Saturday, had been incredibly busy. As I enjoyed being exactly where I was with no pressing thoughts it struck me that I rarely felt calm during the week. The reason - because I resist mindfulness in favor of "busyness."
We are all incredibly busy. But, Emerson's quote reminds me that "busyness" alone will never bring us the success of which he speaks. In fact, I'm starting to understand that a life based solely on "busyness" risks the opposite of success.
What is your definition of success? Have you found that a traumatic life experience has redefined success for you? Do you struggle with balancing "busyness" with mindfulness? Don't forget to download your free poster.
"If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we'd all be millionaires." Abigail Van Buren
If you or someone you know is about to embark on chemotherapy, how helpful would it be to talk with someone who has gone through it? Would you have a little less fear after that person shared her experience with honesty and reassurance? Might you be a bit more prepared once you had answers from a survivor who stood in your shoes and successfully walked through the fire?
Nancy's walked the walk and now she walks beside you to guide you through the process. Her book is conversational and leaves nothing unsaid:
Giving yourself permission to feel whatever you feel
How to ask for help
The importance of research and asking questions until you are satisfied
Questions to ask your oncologist
What it is like to lose your hair
The ins and outs of buying and wearing a wig
The necessity of taking care of yourself
Why you should consider journaling
Plan a getaway before chemo starts and have something to look forward to when it's complete
Paying attention to your partner's needs
What to expect the first day of chemo
I believe The Secret to Making Your Way on Your Cancer Journey is very simple: find support from a network of people who "get it." Nancy's book offers the gift of experience and compassion that only a seasoned veteran can give. If you or someone you care about is about to start this journey, I highly recommend picking up Nancy's guide here and reading it before you take another step.
(FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment. This review also contains affiliate links that compensate WhereWeGoNow should you make a purchase.)
WhereWeGoNow does not provide medical, diagnostic or treatment advice.
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