Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Make It Work

Good Morning Cancer Patients and Caregivers;
More cancer patients today are surviving cancer than ever before and more people are living with cancer than ever before. When you are diagnosed with cancer and before you have gotten through the shock of the diagnosis, your cancer treatment team will have already begun to do everything possible to cure your cancer. The question is: What are you going to do now to help your cancer treatment team win this battle you are in?
This is the worst battle of your life and for your life. Cancer is a relentless enemy that works on your body 24/7 with no time off for holidays and vacation. Relying solely on your cancer treatment team to fight this battle with cancer for you, is nothing more than a good intention, and hoping they don't lose. The cancer patient can chose the be a  victim and a specimen and have treatment done to them. Or the cancer patient can decide to help make the treatment work.

Chemo treatment is a high stakes poker game where your oncologist and cancer treatment team are trying to kill your cancer before the treatment kills you. Your body will take the worst chemical abuse it has ever endured with chemo and radiation treatment. You can't sit on the side line. You have to help your body endure the treatment, stay healthy during treatment,and stay as strong as possible.

 This sounds easier than it is to execute. I was there.But while I was sitting in an infusion chair five days a week for five hours a day, I couldn't help thinking: What should I be doing to help with the treatment? Over the course of my treatment being challenged by this thought, I concluded there were three Must Get Rights. First: Join the Journey. Learn everything  about your cancer, treatment protocol being used, the success rate with the protocol, understanding your blood work results and CT and PET scan results. Second: Feed the System. A tired and undernourished soldier can't fight a long battle. Feed your body much higher nutrition especially high antioxidant and protein content foods. Physically exercise to keep your system and body functioning. The data shows that cancer patients that exercise regularly while undergoing treatment have better treatment success.  Feed the system mentally by not dwelling on the fact you have cancer and are in treatment. Stay as active as you are physically able. Activity keeps your mind off the cancer and the pain it may be causing you. Third: Decide to Live. Don't let cancer and the treatment strip you of your life. You are not sick, you just have cancer. So, keep living your life.

Most importantly, find what works for you. You will have to figure out what you can and cannot do. What you should do and shouldn't. The more you Make It Work, the greater control you will have over your own destiny and treatment outcome. Being diagnosed with cancer is like being thrown out of a perfectly good air plane with a parachute that's a streamer and won't open. As the ground is rushing up to you, You Now Have the Rest of Your Life to Make It Work.

Stay strong, keep your sense of humor, make it work, and never ever give up.

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