Cancer - A Long Haul Journey of Learning - Episode 3 of 10. Taking an Active Part in Your Health
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
Taking Part In Your Health:
For me this one is all about not being passive, or a victim in your health and treatment.
In Radical Remission Kelly A Turner starts her chapter on this topic by defining where the word "patient" comes from. It is the Latin word Pati which amongst other things means "To Submit" like you are completely in the hands of others.
before I go on, believe me! I have had to submit myself to the hands of others on my journey and I am forever grateful I did and they took care of me.
I think this is to compliment, perhaps supplement all of the care and treatment received with anything else I can add to recover.
To begin. I remember after my very first Chemotherapy session I met my Doctor I told her I felt like a fraud as I didn't feel sick!
"Brien, if you want to get sick, then you will!"
This was very thought provoking for me and actually was the start of one of the main things that has got me to the point I am today and has prepared me for the rest of the journey that is ahead. (Remember every cancer is different and the below refers to my personal case)
From that moment on I:
Started to learn as much as I could and recorded it through different journalling. My Research was all conducted on the internet! Watch out! Ask your doctors and consultants which websites to search and be very specific with your search questions. Do NOT, NEVER EVER search things like "survival rates of....." it will scare and terrify you. (Trust me LoL)
I started reading as much as I could on all related or interested topics
I started a learning log, to remember where I found information
I started a symptoms and side effects journal to remember what was happening, when, and was it worsening or getting better?
I started my questions slogger, so I would never forget what to ask the Doctor next time I saw her
I Drink tons of water (Especially whilst on Chemo). Once Chemo has done its job on the target cells, you just want it out, the longer its stays in the body the worse you can feel and the impact of some effects can be worse. Water flushes it out. (Tea and coffee don't count)
I Exercised 30-60 minutes 5-6 days out of 7, except when confined to a bed. I found this most beneficial whilst actually taking chemo even just a 30 minute walk helped. Exercising not only keeps you fit and strong, it fights the fatigue and tiredness caused by chemo. When I felt least like it, I tried get up a do something.
I took a very active listening role with all of my doctors and ensured I understood each step in the treatment and updates. I never left without writing down what they said especially all of the medical terms I have never heard of. The reasons I did this were simple. First from the start, every time I got home from one doctor visit or another my family and friends all asked the same question "What did she say?". I could never remember properly, and sometimes I would remember it completely different than my wife who has attended every single one with me. And second, the medical terms I started to hear where not only difficult to understand, but also often very scary sounding. Writing everything down clarified things for us, it enabled us to explain to concerned people what was said and stopped me worrying about, Oh My God, that sounds very serious! type worries. I have now heard that some people ask the doctor if they can record the conversations on their phone making it much easier.
As Complimentary (Not Alternative) medical care, in my effort to do everything in my power to survive I started really researching Mindfulness, Gratefulness, Joy, which led me to deeper studying of Meditation, all of which I am now convinced have had an amazing and positive impact of my recovery so far. I have even taken up Yoga. None of these things have ever crossed my mind before, but they have helped me. More detail in a later chapter.
In the next chapter I will talk a little about intuition.