Yep, Cancer. Cancer is defined as:
-the disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body
-a malignant growth or tumor resulting from the division of abnormal cells
-a practice of phenomenon perceived to be evil or destructive and hard to contain or eradicate. (Think racism, sexism, hate, anger, etc. AM NOT BEING POLITICAL HERE)
Whew! Cancer tends to spread when fed. How is it fed? Well, physical cancer may be spread by increased sugar in your diet or ingesting carcinogens (knowingly or not). Who will get cancer? That’s the thing…..cancer doesn’t discriminate as to who develops or not. I have seen heavy life-long smokers remain cancer free and never develop lung or any cancer. I also have seen folks who “live a healthy lifestyle”, or “I did everything right” develop and fight for their lives; sadly some lost the battle. So in short, anyone can develop cancer.
I want to speak to you from the patient as well as caregiver side. I have had the privilege to be on both. Yes, I said privilege. Privileged as the caregiver because the patient was willing to allow me into their circle and trust me with the information given. Have held their hands, wiped their tears, held space for them to vent, and held space for them to be completely still and present. Along with being their for the patient, I have been there for family and friends as well. Guiding them along this path of, “what do I say?” “I have to fix this for them!” “I am so mad!” “I will deny this has happened till I see the proof!” There is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cancer. Cancer is cancer short and simple when it comes to the effects on the mind, body, spirit.
Think about this……when cancer is present, there are doctor visits, lab draws, tests, biopsies, waiting for results. ALL of this puts the body on high alert of danger. And the process isn’t one and done like ACC Basketball! It’s repetitive, long, and draining. Touch is imperative to aid in the healing of mind, body, and spirit. All the while, working to keep the disassociation from taking hold.
Working bedside while a patient was receiving Chemo, seeing clients around their treatment schedules, working with clients who have been in remission but not to the 5 year mark yet, and being there when the patient took their last breath taught me the importance of touch and compassion. Empathy stronger than anyone can every have.
As a patient myself…..well let’s just say ugly crying and panic upon panic upon panic happened. The what ifs and whys came loud, fast, and hard, And the anger; OH THE ANGER!!!! That part is real. Wanting to throat punch someone when she said, “Well everything happens for a reason.” and “You poor thing, you just weren’t taking care of yourself properly.” REALLY! Like this is my fault????? Y’all know I am a dirt worshiping, tree huggin, hippie chick…..but I am human above all. But I truly wanted to throat punch her!
This is what I want you to know…….
Caregivers, DO NOT break down and put all your anger and fear on your loved one. They do not need to hear and take that on. There is too much going on in their bodies to worry about your baggage. Your job is to allow them space to scream, cry, get angry, worry, be silent, etc. Your job is to love and support them. However, you need your own support system so you have a space to do all of the above.
Patient, DO NOT try and be strong for your loved ones. Ugly cry, scream, get angry, etc. ALL of this is allowed. DO NOT blame yourself for this. Your job is to concentrate on the process happening and steps that will need to be taken to get you well. Know that this is real, medicine has come so far, tests and treatments are so much better. AND above all, one step at a time. Don’t try and figure everything out at once. And know that it’s OK to not want anyone touching you during all this. Know the dread and depression is real and OK.
No one likes to hear the word Cancer. After that has been announced, those attached to us get real uncomfortable and fearful so they say and do things that aren’t helpful. The process of treating becomes methodical and routine. What isn’t discussed, is that cancer effects everyone who is attached to us. It’s a ripple effect that doesn’t pull any punches. Sure, you can blame the physicians for knowing this or God for “letting” this happen. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to take control of our health; mental and physical. Seeing the patient, our loved one, as a person is difficult but necessary.
Before you say anything….this is not about any particular diety, religion, etc. Because I am of the belief that God, Buddah, Allah, and all the others are one in the same. This is just about Faith….pure and simple.
I would like to thank everyone who reached out after my previous blog post “What Happened to You?” My intention was to just get all that stuff out and let others know they weren’t alone. This crap is real and hard to live with when we keep it inside. No one talks about it cause there really isn’t a “fix” for it. After working with bodies over the past 20 years, I have seen what happens and will manifest in the body when unresolved issues are ignored. Enter FEAR!
Fear is real folks! We all feel it and deal with it in different ways. The number one question we ask ourselves is, “what will people think?” Admit it…..you do it too. Plus, we judge others the same way; that being how we see ourselves is how we judge others. That my friend is true! Today’s world is different; we get things yesterday, afraid to fail or allow our children to fail, think everyone should be just like us….but then say, “be yourself!” Crazy right?!?!?
Where does Faith Above Fear come in? I had to ask myself that question a few weeks ago before writing. OMG! Folks are gonna know, what are they gonna say, will they still like me when the truth comes out????? I had to have faith in order to step out into the light. Which is wierd cause someone called me a Lightworker the other day. So yeah….bringing myself into the light was scary. So here is where Faith comes in.
See, if we don’t have faith we have nothing. Stay with me here…..faith that the sun will rise no matter what. The moon is still going to be there although we can’t see it when it’s a new moon. Our car is going to start when we get in, electricity will still be working when we need it, etc. See where I am going with this? It’s all faith people. So me deciding that I had to put Faith Above Fear was what I did. Now, there’s been so much fear more pouring out that I can’t stop it.
Seriously!!!!! Will I still have a following if my practice moves into a different direction? How am I going to be received when I follow my intuition and heart? Where will I fit in now? Will people think I am a sell out? Here is where my faith comes in guns a blazin!!!!!
See, I have been called to do much more than just “massage therapy.” Although, working with the body includes mind and spirit, folks get tunnel vision and think it’s just physical manipulation of tissue. Writing, speaking, and coaching are literally pulling at every part of my being. The topics are of different areas other than physical form. Cause guess what…..it’s all connected.
Before anyone reading this gets nervous, Massage Therapist will always be part of who I am. And I will always have my practice and continue working. However, I feel this pull to take it a step further. What’s that step? Who the heck knows! My faith is just saying, “ride the wave sister.” So if I can start the uncomfortable conversations and make them comfortable, then let’s do it.
Growth happens when we step out of our comfort zone. Fear is very good at keeping us in our warm and cozy bubble. But hear this, all the greats just didn’t become great and successful because they were just lucky and never failed. No, they failed and allowed that to ignite a fire. This is where the success is born. Taking responsibility for themselves, acknowledging the failure, stepping out of the bubble, and just moving forward. Remember, the lotus doesn’t bloom unless it’s rooted in mud and pushed through.
Until next time, love and light!
I get asked a lot, “what happened to you?” Life. Life is what “happened.” Last week I woke up hurting, depressed, disgusted in my body, shamed because “I let myself go”, just feeling like I wanted to disappear. That coupled with my wrist and hand swelling and hurting after a day of treating……I was ready to say “I quit!”
After the pity party, I decided right then to stop the madness. Yes, I created this world and I am the only one who can get myself out. So fast forward 5 days and here we are again…..”What happened to me?” So here is the reality of what “happened” to me…..
6 years ago I was diagnosed with Hashimotos (thyroid autoimmune) and suspected Lupus. Was told by my physician (whom I totally adore) that I had to give up gluten. ALL GLUTEN! Not just hear and there, totally give it up. This would help my joint pain, brain fog, depression, fatigue, etc. All associated with Hashi and Lupus. So I did just that. All gluten gone from my diet and lifestyle. I got extremely serious with my walking (which may be a slow jog) and Yoga. Lost about 45 pounds and joint pain, brain fog, fatigue GONE! My depression was even better and more controllable. Felt the best I had felt in my life! Happy, care free, had a tremendous amount of energy, AWESOME! I finally could have fun with my husband and then 8 year old.
2 years ago, I had to have a complete hysterectomy after battling PCOS, extremely high estrogen levels, endometriosis, and all the menopausal symptoms you could give me. After working with my physician for 2 years this was truly the last option. So BAM! Surgical Menopause here I come! The 6 months after the surgery were awesome. No hot flashes, night sweats, emotional roller coaster, life was great. What also went was my diet and exercise commitment. What I didn’t notice (or acknowledge) was my weight was going up, my fatigue was coming back, and my hair was falling out. Yes y’all! I was losing my hair. Then the depression wall stopped me dead in my tracks.
The past 2 years, I have done everything from shakes, crash diets, restrictions, pills (which helped a bit but made my heart race like I was running for my life), everything. Fatigue so bad that just to get out of bed in the morning took a small army and serious self talk. Would start and stop exercise programs, remain consistent to my yoga practice and walking for about 6 weeks, then I would have a Hashi and “Lupus” flare then go right back to sitting and doing nothing cause I hurt so bad. And the weight, this is why I get asked “what happened to you?”
What are these flares? Well imaging everything in your body on fire and your joints so stiff they feel as though they will break if you move them. Then migraine city joins in and that makes for some pretty rough seas. Then after everything calms, feeling as though you are moving through wet sand just to get up and go to bathroom. So when they hit, I did nothing but ride the wave. EVERYTHING suffered…life, work, and family.
To begin to reign everything in, today I sat in my living room and cried because I can feel the flare coming and I know it’s because I haven’t been taking care of myself as I should. This morning’s pity party was different. Instead of the normal gloom and doom, there was a feeling of “I got this!” Really, I got this! Then I put pen to paper and here is what you have.
This is what I know:
Pain so bad you just want to curl up and cry.
Weight gain like no other and the feeling of shame that comes with it.
Not wanting to leave the house because someone may see you and talk.
Knowing I need to move but don’t because everything jiggles and I will berate myself.
Making decisions to change, and do for a bit, then go right back to where I was.
Loneliness cause there is no one to express this to.
Feeling as if I am the only one who is going through this.
Drastic mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats.
What opened my eyes and heart up this time was, “I am the ONLY one who can fix this!” So I have put things in place to aid me on my journey of taking my health and life back. Being this “size” or “shape” is something that I struggle with because 1) I have never had to deal with this before and 2) was raised that looking like I do now is taboo. At the end of the day, it’s not what defines me!
This experience has taught me that you truly never know what someone is going through so just shut the hell up with your judgement. So when I get asked again, “what happened to you”….after I refrain from the cussing them out and urge to throat punch them…..my answer will be “I got this.” Nothing more than that. May offer some “chocolate” pie. If you have seen the movie The Help, you will understand the reference here. Sometimes you just have to make someone a pie.
MLM diet and shake/supplement programs, exercise programs/videos, before and after photos or so-called “progress” photos, workout challenges, fat shame…..see where I’m heading here???? If you are a female today, just those words probably began a small panic attack! Oh and I forgot these that make me cringe….Bikini & Beach Body Ready and Summer bodies are made in the Winter. Are you freakin kidding me???? All this creates shame and self-sabotage. Diet’s are just a way to control us!
And you know what…..I was right along side this mentality. I have been involved with multiple exercise programs and MLM diet-shake-supplement programs that make my head spin. What did all this teach me about myself? I was part of the problem! Now before I proceed, understand this; I am in no way bashing any of the above. This is from my own soul study. Am also in no way calling anyone out and proclaiming I am better. Again, this is from ME and ME alone.
My entire life I have had body image issues. Being a child who was “thicker” than the popular girls, I knew from a very early age that my body was the judge and jury of me. So, yes, I jumped on many bandwagons, weight-loss “programs”, diets-oh the diets, etc. This lead to more of a downward spiral to self-sabotage, binge eating, bulimia, food deprivation, and more guilt and shame than I care to remember. So fast-forward 35 years to today. Am heavier than I have been in a long time, post-menopausal due to surgery, depression because I am heavier, shame due to my size, etc. Having practiced yoga for past 10 years, I began teacher training. This lead me to look at myself in a different light. A much more positive light.
You see, my teacher is a facilitator for Embodied Love Movement. So during our time together, positive body image and the mission of ELM oozes from her. This has rubbed off on me. Adding in my desire to learn more about Ayurveda Medicine/Lifestyle/Eating, I am seeing myself with a much kinder view. From here lead to me discovering many Body Positive teachers and nutritionists and deciding to learn more. Now add ALL this into my massage world = “A Whole New World” (in the tune from Aladdin).
I have walked away from all the MLM diet stuff, workout challenges, weight loss programs and jumping into the pond of intuition. Allowing my intuition to guide me and trusting that I will once again connect my Mind-Body. Have also learned that what we think, feel, stuff down deep, ignore will manifest in our body. It’s true!!!! So there is NO pill, diet, shake, or supplement that will fix that.
So why not just get a few workout videos or just go the gym????? Well, when I do that, I watch everyone and may see improper form, using momentum to lift the weight or do the pull-up, or hyper extension of joints. Frustrates me because I see how others are putting inappropriate pressure on their joints and body. I see things down the road and know what issues will rise from all this.
As someone who constantly assesses individuals, my view goes straight to form and body movement. From there I see what muscles are being used AND (which is often) the muscles being used in a way they shouldn’t be. Now I am someone who can trip on flat ground and choke on air so exercising blind folded is not a smart move for me. To help this, I work out alone so that the focus remains on my health and not what others are doing to theirs. So minding my own business so to speak.
Am gonna toot my own horn for a minute….I know how the body is supposed to move, muscles-ligaments-tendons, how the muscles move, and that most soft tissue problems are due to imbalances. Not the direct pain but what caused the pain from the beginning. When we are in pain, that is due to issues that have been building over time. Now not saying when you hit your thumb with the hammer it wasn’t the hammer. Am talking of back pain, neck and shoulder pain, foot pain, headaches, etc. So when you talk to me, I am scanning everything from body language to actual working on the body.
To sum it all up, be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would your best friend who is feeling down. Be gentle, understanding, and no judgments. Do what speaks to you not what the popular crowd is doing. Believe me, there is a pill, supplement, shake, diet for EVERYTHING! You are a very smart being so start treating yourself as such. Also, remember you are HUMAN. So be human don’t just do human!
Peace, Love and Light!