This is a simple list, but I suspect that the more I think about it, the more deep it’s going to become. It’s my daily list of things that I did to “fight” cancer.
Perhaps if I look back and what I’ve done every day, it’ll help me feel like I’m accomplishing something, even if it seems like these few weeks (between the initial diagnosis and the conclusion of all the tests) are simply a lot of waiting.
- First, and most important, after finding out that I have non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, I reached out to my friends and family. There is an enormous power in coming out of the cancer closet. The second I told people, it felt like an enormous step toward normalizing it in my life. Immediately people began to share their support, encouragement, stories, tips, tricks, research, and a vast wealth of other kinds of support. Telling people is key! The more good-hearted people know, the more connected I feel, and the more certain I am that there will be a good conclusion to all of this.
- (Here I am going to insert a thanks to Matt for sending me the guided meditations, Courtney for baking me cookies, Genie for ways to deal with a chronic illness, Becky and Justine for writing about how my cancer affected them, other friends who did awesome stuff, and my family for the incredible support offered carefully so that I wouldn’t feel too overwhelmed.)
- Second, I’ve done all I can to facilitate my oncologist and all of the other doctors. I’ve badgered for tests, I’ve called to keep track of things, and I’ve made myself a sticky, thorny (but polite) nuisance at the office so that I could get answers. I have not allowed them to think of me as a “patient” that can be filed away. I’ve talked about my family, my parents, my kid, and made myself into a human to them. I think this is important too — never let the machine assimilate you!
- Third, while waiting, I’ve enacted a bunch of lifestyle changes that hopefully will aid and assist my natural physical processes of healing. One part of this was diet. Some research (although this needs more study) seems to show that my kind of lymphoma “feeds” on animal protein. I’m going to eat as little of that as possible for a while in order to starve the cancer cells. I’m also going to increase certain foods in my diet (asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, brussell sprouts, spinach, squash, string beans, black tea), and drink a grape seed extract supplement.
- Fourth, I’m going to maintain my normal yoga routine, but I’m going to add to it a set of guided meditations that a lovely friend sent to me. I tried the first of these tonight, and it seemed really positive, a reminder that the body and mind are deeply interconnected.
- Fifth, I found a handy and portable friend for the testing I’m about to endure. Below!
I believe that illness like this is a wake-up call. It’s telling me that current patterns are not healthy, but that if I choose, I can take this opportunity to explode my life and make different choices.
I’ll write my process here as often as I can!