“That’s just the way it is when you’ve had cancer.”
I wish I had a dollar for each time a cancer survivor has told me she heard this from one of her wellness professionals.
Bring to mind something you don’t like that keeps showing up in your life. Maybe it’s something physical you’ve been dealing with since cancer, like low energy. Maybe it’s financial stress or another kind of anxiety you haven’t been able to shake.
Now hear this: “That’s just the way it is. You’ll get used to it.”
How does that make you feel?
I feel a heavy stone sitting on my heart. The part of me that desperately wants to believe there’s a solution feels sad and hopeless.
I wince every time a survivor tells me she’s heard that statement, because the last thing I want is for you to feel hopeless.
And the darn thing is, that statement is rarely (if ever!) true.
I met K nine years after her treatment for stage 2 breast cancer. While her scans never showed evidence of recurrence, K was depressed and overweight. She hadn’t been physically active for years due to painful neuropathy in both feet. Since the breast cancer, she’d had three surgeries to remove melanomas, and her dermatologist was observing the progress of four more suspicious lesions.
K told me she felt like she was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole. She didn’t know how she’d ever crawl out. And her wellness team wasn’t giving her any hope.
We overhauled K’s nutrition and daily routine, and her energy started to increase. We figured out physical activity she could do until she could get back to walking, and found her an exercise partner to assure she’d stick with it. I supported her progress with nutritional supplements to help heal her nerves.
Eight weeks of healthy nourishment, regular physical activity and targeted supplements reduced her neuropathy to the point where she was walking 2 miles a day. She lost 12 pounds, too. K felt like she was finally getting her life back.
But she needed more. K’s immune system was still unable to stop the formation of skin cancers. She needed an aggressive cancer prevention plan, but hadn’t found anyone who could offer her one.
K had a limited budget for lab testing, but we easily and inexpensively confirmed that she had high fasting insulin and two elevated inflammation markers. We added well-researched supplements to address these risk factors and a topical plant-based cream to help heal the lesions she had.
Stress also impacts immune resilience, so we explored K’s emotional world as well. Having lost her husband three years earlier, K had forced herself to remain employed in a toxic work situation for the income and benefits. With her new awareness of how every aspect of her life affected her wellness, she chose an early retirement. She told me “I’m going to take a couple of months just to focus on me.”
She found a house-sitting arrangement in the quiet outskirts of town and kept up her daily walking. She realized for the first time that she didn’t have to be busy every moment, that it was OK to take life more slowly and have a little fun.
After four months of proactive prevention and conscious choices about her quality of life, two of K’s suspicious skin lesions had disappeared, and the other two had shrunk. She was finally on her way to a happy, disease-free future.
In my last post I talked about how cancer can hang out in our emotional world until we’re ready to receive the gift it came to bring. In K’s case, it kept reappearing in her body as well. She’d been trapped for nine years believing “there was nothing she could do.”
Yet nothing could have been further from the truth. When she found an expert wellness partner and dove into action, she became well on every level.
Step 1 on your path to peace of mind is being open to the possibility that things can be better than they are. No openness, no progress.
Are you willing to believe that there’s more wellness, joy and peace of mind available to you than you’ve had up until now?
Talk with Dr. Shani
It’s my joy to offer you a personal, complimentary Clarity Conversation of up to 45 minutes. You’ll come away clearer about what you’ve been struggling with, what you’d love your life to look like, and the best next steps to get you there.