Self-care, spiritual practice, suffering and wellness
I love integrative medicine because it focuses on more than just the physical body. We are more than just organic material; unique individuals with thoughts, feelings and for many of us a deep desire to connect on a more profound level.
If you have been faced with a breast cancer diagnosis it is important to not only focus on your physical journey, but also the (possibly more challenging) emotional ride that you're in for. Some patients are so focused on eradicating cancer cells from their body that they neglect their own mental, emotional and spiritual care. Others seek answers from a higher power, blaming and shaming their own bodies for betraying them. Neither path leads to feeling whole.
First, I believe you just need to accept that cancer was found and learn what you can about what type of cancer you have and what the normal course of action is for that particular disease.
My husband is a chaplain and due to the nature of his spiritual exploration I have had the chance to explore many spiritual practices and we have adopted some of those beliefs into our daily lives. One day he asked me about suffering and whether or not suffering was part of the human condition - Buddhists would say yes; somewhere in reading the Teachings of Buddha I had come across the idea that we are so very lucky to suffer, because if we did not we would not exist. So, now whenever there is a complaint in this house we remind each other how lucky we are to have those problems and perceived sufferings. Take the lesson if it suits you and discard it if it doesn't serve you. It has changed our perspective on gratitude in our little home.
Try to be grateful that your cancer was found and you have been presented with the opportunity to do something about it. I know, being grateful for a cancer diagnosis is not what you want to hear... Then take care of you.
Pay attention to your needs. Remember that your doctors are working for you, you are paying them for a service and you need to feel comfortable with them and feel supported by them. If you find a doctor that you love you will be better served than finding one that you don't trust or don't understand.
Check in with your non-medical support team, family members, friends, church groups, etc.
Check in with your body - what do you need?
If you want to be alone for a while - that's fine.
Want to go get a massage? Get one.
Feel like you need more energy - try Yoga, TaiChi, or just go for a walk.
Need to connect? Join a support group, go to church or have a one on one with whatever flavor of God you believe in.
Western medicine tends to want to just fix things and we have been conditioned to believe that we need a quick fix for everything. We ignore the wisdom and healing in our own bodies much of the time. You know your body and what you need more than anyone else, listen to yourself and be gentle with yourself.
What has helped you maintain balance in turbulent times? Let me know, because if it helped you, it will likely help someone else.
We're going to start posting meditations, readings and contemplations via YouTube and we will share them via the BoobTube page once we have figured out what we're doing...