Women who don't have BRCA mutations could have other high-risk genes that affect treatment choices
by GoldDustWoman on Sun Mar 06, 2011 04:39 AM
When my husband was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsil cancer last November it was a huge shock to us. He is healthy, fit, strong and even at 51 extremely youthful. He's happy and rich in all the ways that matter - really we have lived a perfect life together for 32 years. This cancer thing took us completely and totally by surprise - as I'm sure it did for many of you who are here at Cancer Compass.
We are both very positive people, always seeing and expecting the best in everything and everyone. Mark - he lights up a room just by entering it. This is not a guy who gets down or depressed - ever. So of course his attitude about cancer was that he'd get through it. But I did one day early on hear him say "I hope the treatment works." I thought for a few days about that statement - I "hope" - and it really bothered me.
Surrounded by Western medicine, we are taught that cancer happens and doctors heal it. We might do some things to prevent it, but who knows if they'll work. And if they don't, well we see a good doctor and get radiation, chemo, maybe surgery and then if we're lucky, those things will work and we're healed. While I fully embrace the miracle of medicine, I also strongly believe there is a direct connection between our thoughts and what is happening in our body. Every thought we have, every attitude we carry - it absolutely impacts the body. This isn't just true when we're ill, it's true every day of our lives.
So here's how I responded to my husband's "hope" that his treatment would be successful. I said to him - If an intruder broke into our beautiful home, wearing a mask and carrying a gun, you wouldn't "hope" he'd go away. You wouldn't stand back in the corner or hide behind a locked door and hope he didn't hurt you, me, our children or take away all of the things we've worked so hard for. You'd grab your own gun, point it right in his ugly face, and scream get the __ out of my house! Cancer hurts our family and it can take away everything that's important to us, just like an intruder. So during your treatment, don't hope that it's successful. Don't hope that the doctors are right and they will heal you. Every day picture grabbing your own weapon and demanding that cancer get out of our house! Every day you tell yourself that this intruder isn't taking YOU down! And the treatment isn't taking you down either. It might take other people months to recover - but not you! You're throwing this intruder out of your house, and he's not taking you down even for a minute during the process. The radiation and chemo is your gun, the doctors are your back up, but the will to save your own life, your family and your home from hurt - that comes from within you.
For 7 weeks, every day before radiation treatment, we'd talk about this visualization - the home intruder. Mark would picture the cancer dying as he laid there during radiation. He would picture how he'd be strong, healthy and pain free during the entire course of the treatment - instead of being weak, ill and suffering as everyone told us he would be.
In the end, for the entire 7 weeks of treatment, his pain was so minimal he didn't use his pain meds. He of course did experience some side effects, but not to the degree the doctors expected. He remained strong during the times the doctors said he would be weak. Upon examining his throat, the doctors saw healing weeks in advance of what it should have been. The side effects he did have diminished weeks before they should have. And throughout the whole thing he never experienced sadness, depression or one moment of thinking "why did this happen to me?" I am absolutely convinced that he has done so well because of this empowered and positive attitude.
It's not always easy to stay positive and feel empowered when you are terrified and sick - I know that. Even being a positive person overall, I don't know if my husband would have been so successful at it had we not done it together. And it wasn't always easy for me to stay positive and not slip into self-pity. But if you find yourself there, wallow in it for a few minutes if you need to, then pull yourself out, grab your weapon and picture yourself standing over that intruder with your foot on his chest, screaming get out of my house!
And let me be very clear - I'm not saying that positive thinking is a cure - or that negative thinking creates illness. I am only saying that I have seen the power of positive thinking at work. It can make an always difficult journey easier. And remember, our minds and are bodies are not separate entities. They are connected in ways that I believe we don't even understand.
My prayers and good wishes are with all of you on your journey.
by loriannie on Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:01 PM
Thank you so much for this post. Wonderful example of positive thinking.
by mckmnl on Tue Mar 08, 2011 09:44 PM
So very beautifully written and said, I also think our mind is a very POWERFUL weapon, not sure if it will cure cancer, but I do believe it can and will do wonders if the right state of mind is held!! I a trying to get my dad in that mind frame. He is Stage4 CUP. I have to admit i get down alot for him, it breaks my heart, and i will be sure to come back and read your words for a pick me up!!!
by LilSister on Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:13 PM
This was a great post and I appreciate all the contributions I've read from you. I'm here to educate myself for my sister who's breast cancer has mets to her bones. While I don't know if my sister could visualize killing an intruder (she's been a nurse for 40 yrs. and is more about healing than harming), I can definitely get behind this idea! I believe "our thoughts are prayers" and I'm thinking of killing cancer's ass - Thank you, God!! Amen, Sister!!
Hope all is well for you and your husband.
by daddys3 on Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:40 AM
I am so broken hearted these days as I watch my daddy losing ground and he has always been a John Wayne, Marlboro macho man... can;t wait to share this story. My dear brother in law was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia (ALL) two weeks ago and for the first time my half full glass has been seeming empty these past days as I keep their dear daughter...but by golly I am jumping out of bed this morning and dusting off the guns...so to speak! I am a proud member of the NRA and do have a carry permit...and an awesome faith in God and our doctors but your words just motivated me to brush off my chaps and mount the horse for the day! You will never know what a swift kick this gave me! I have searched the book of Proverbs for some inspiration but this was dead on target today! Love ya and many many thanks
by petdearly on Fri Aug 24, 2012 04:20 PM
Thank You!!! this is beautifully written and i hope i can go learn from you.
My husband is 31 yrs old, diagnose with rectal cancer stage 3 and he is a scuba diver instructor! just imagine when both of us sitting in front of the doctor and the doctor confirmed that he has rectal cancer.
i must be positive fro myself and also for him. staying strong together and pray for his recovery.
Thank you again!!!
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