10 Tools of Victory for Cancer Survivors
By: Brandy (Korman) Haslam
For those of you who weren’t able to attend our last Pink Ladies meeting at the Baptist Breast Center, I thought I would recap Andrea Kassem’s talk on the ‘Ten Tools of Victory for Cancer Survivors.’ You’ve probably heard a lot of these things before, but it’s always beneficial to hear them again and try to find ways to implement them in your lives on a daily basis.
1. Stay 100% present – don’t let your mind race ahead of you, imagining horrific outcomes. Keep calm and composed. That may be very difficult under the circumstances but you cannot waste priceless energy and time falling into fear. That means staying completely in the here and now.
2. Ignore all predictions of doom – no one can predict the future. Health forecasts, like all forecasts can be inaccurate. If you choose life, you must see the glass as hall full rather than half empty. You must believe that there is the potential for survival. This is not denial, it is determination and it is the first manifestation of a survivor’s greatest single asset: HOPE.
3. Silence your mind – cancer treatment and recovery is emotionally and physically grueling. It is essential to regularly escape, re-energize and rekindle your resolve. This helps you return to the climb stronger and more effective. You cannot always physically change your surroundings so you need to be able to mentally change locations – retreat into silence.
4. Take charge – every moment that follows disappointing news offers an opportunity to take control. Arm yourself with valuable information; decide what treatment to take and who is going to deliver it. An effective plan can lead to effective action, which can lead to an effective outcome. Action is the great antidote to fear, so take it!
5. Focus all your energy on getting better – where focus goes, energy flows. Energy is the most important resource survivors have, so you must be militant in your use of it. That means balancing outside commitments and personal health in a whole new way. Learn to temporarily say no to the needs and wants of others and put yourself first. Your life depends on it!
6. Decide to be a survivor – you are NOT a cancer patient. If you are alive and living with cancer, you are a survivor. You must say it and keep saying it. Think, act and live like a survivor every day.
7. Patch into the power of your personal purpose – the greater your reason to live, the greater your chance of survival. The strength of your will to live is directly proportional to the strength of your personal purpose.
8. Measure success by effort, not outcome – cancer is not about winning or losing. The only way to dishonor yourself is to fail to make one hundred percent effort. Giving it everything you have maximizes your quality of life. If your effort is absolute, you will be triumphant no matter what the outcome.
9. Will yourself to move – treatment can be physically draining. It can take away your energy and leave you devoid of life and enthusiasm. You must overcome your own desire to rest. Time does not heal all wounds – you must heal your own by forcing your body into motion. The first step takes place in your mind.
10. Make essential changes in your life – cancer is not a death sentence. It is a call to life – a wake-up call. It demands you to re-examine your life and make vital changes. If you do not, you risk returning to illness. There is no guarantee you can prevent cancer from returning, but for what time you have left, you must decide what matters and what doesn’t. What is crucial and what is optional. Change after cancer is not an option – it is essential.
From: Climb back from cancer – A Survivor and Caregiver’s Inspirational Journey. Cecilia and Alan Hobson.