Earlier this year, a good friend phoned me and said: “I’ve got breast cancer!” The statement was delivered as succinct as that, quietly and with a pause afterwards – just like a death knell. As the recipient of this shocking news – what reply of any substance could I give? Feeling my awkwardness she quickly went on to explain how quickly it had all happened and so aggressive was the cancer that the surgery date had already been booked – all this in under ten days of finding the lump.
My friend is a bright and bubbly person, but even so I was in for another shock – when she rang the next day and said she is having, wait for it – a BYE BYE BOOBY party! So there we all were on the Saturday before B-Day occurring on the Monday. A small group of close friends with party food, wine and even a cake in the shape and colour of a boob – tip toeing around conversation topics and stealing quick glances at our friend to see how all this was affecting her. She was steely and chatty, but you could notice a little pre-occupied and for good reason.
Now some months later, she has got on with living this new lifestyle she never asked for or dreamed could happen to her and has endured all what horrible effects chemotherapy has to offer. Full of surprises as she has proven to be – as soon as she was discharged from hospital she immediately had her head shaven announcing to me – “I don’t want to wait until it falls out, I’ll get rid of it all now!”
Not once, in any of the many conversations we have had has she shown one ounce of negativity or “why did it happen to me” syndrome or speak in a depressed tone. Why? Absolutely without a doubt she embraces POSITIVE THINKING! She can personally see that taking the other road, won’t improve her life in any way. Being positive helps to get her through one day at a time and look to the future. And there ARE aspects to look forward to!
I know she looks forward to: finishing the last two chemo sessions so she can enjoy feeling well again
I know she looks forward to: a new breast being created
I know she looks forward to: her hair returning
I know she looks forward to, most of all: having the assurance the cancer will never return!
Anyone using today’s technology and specifically I’m referring to search engines, will find scientific research and personal accounts substantiating that breast cancer and positive thinking are linked. Of course, positive thinking can radically change any mental or physical situation not just breast cancer.
Rachel Charles from the UK is a victim of breast cancer and has written several books referring to the fighting spirit and mind, body and immunity. In an article titled – the Power of Positive Thinking – she documented her personal journey coping with this insidious disease and she outlines an amazing discovery along the way in her quest to learn more:
Psychoneuroimmunology: the science that studies the effect that the mind and emotions have on the immune system. Previously it had been supposed that immunity operated on its own, responding directly to harmful organisms, but here were research papers showing that the nervous and immune systems could ‘talk’ to each other via chemical messengers. This meant that both conscious and unconscious activities of the brain, including thoughts and mood, could affect the way that the white defence cells behave, causing them to be either more or less effective. Both doctors and psychotherapists have been aware for a long time of the close connections between mind and body, often observing that patients with ‘fighting spirit’ do better than those who give in to their illness. Such observations, however, have been merely anecdotal and have therefore lacked scientific credibility. Here at last were clear explanations of how a positive mental attitude could actually help boost immunity, and thereby encourage the body to heal itself. I now totally understood how it was that cancer patients who used visualization had a better prognosis than those who did nothing. These observations had been made in particular by Carl and Stephanie Simonton at their Cancer Counselling and Research Center in Dallas, Texas, and recounted in full in their best-selling book Getting Well Again.
Barbara Ehrenreich writes in The Guardian (2 January 2010) of her battle with breast cancer saying:
There was an urgent medical reason to embrace cancer with a smile: a “positive attitude” is supposedly essential to recovery. There were many times during chemotherapy, she encountered this assertion on websites, in books, from oncology nurses and fellow sufferers. One study found 60% of women who had been treated for the disease attributing their continued survival to a “positive attitude”.
In a recent e-zine article entitled Breast Cancer Prevention Tips – and the notion of breast cancer “prevention” should itself set off alarms, since there is no known means of prevention – for example, advises that: “A simple positive and optimistic attitude has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer. This will sound amazing to many people; however, it will suffice to explain that several medical studies have demonstrated the link between a positive attitude and an improved immune system.”
Indeed, there is even a Positive Thinking Day set aside for September 13 and in the 2008 Most Positive Person Contest, one of the award winners is a breast cancer survivor – Denise J. Hart. At the time of the competition she was a 5 year breast cancer survivor. She describes herself with a positive upbeat outlook and profoundly believes that her thoughts not only affect her wellbeing, but the whole universe. She has even created a positive message t-shirt company to reflect her beliefs and to help women live a more inspired and courageous life.
I wish to leave you with the following, for whatever you might be struggling with in your life and know that POSITIVE THINKING does make a difference!
How to Begin Your Positive Day!
1. Affirmations – Affirmations everyday will help change the way you think – read books and listen to audios – there are many websites to assist you as well in this goal.
2. Intention – “Attitude” is the best word in the dictionary! Make it your intention when you wake up every morning to have a positive day!
3. Trigger – Choose a particular regular daily routine (I make a regular habit of focusing on giving thanks for all I have when I’m driving) to trigger a positive thought.
5. Gratitude – I keep a “gratitude pebble” (just a small stone from the garden) beside my computer at work so that when I’m flat out and stressed, it reminds me of all I am thankful for and slows me down to appreciate the moment. Keeping a log is a worthwhile exercise because as you write each part of your life you are thankful for down, you are affirming that two-fold – the thought and the action.
6. Inspiration – How many times have you received an inspirational YouTube video through your emails and your whole spirit is lifted for those few minutes? Seek out inspirational and motivational material to make you feel good. When you feel good you will act like a ricochet with people around you who can’t help but feel the same affect.
Women’s KOI POND Desgin Long Sleeve Tee Shirt7. Positive people – Hard to do in many situations, especially in your work place, but try to surround yourself with positive people who can help you stay positively focused. Your attitude can make a difference to others.
8. Love Yourself First – It is not being selfish or an act of narcissism. You need to feel you are a unique and worthwhile human being in order to value everyone you come into contact with.
9. Opportunity – Look past the immediate situation you’ve found yourself in and see what room there is in the “bigger picture” for growth and opportunity.
10. Smile – The one “light up the life of another” facial expression which is universal! It has no language barrier. It not only makes you feel good but the person who unexpectedly receives it! If you’re a tightwad with everything else in your life – DON’T BE with your SMILE!