Time For Change

When you get diagnosed with cancer, your body is saying to you that "It's time to make some changes in your life!"  At least, that is what I am proposing.  The first time I had cancer I didn't do anything different.  I was just happy that it was over and all was well.   Then, several years later, cancer invaded my life again.  I can't help but wonder if I had changed things the first time around, would cancer have reappeared.  Of course, there is really no way to know.  There are so many factors involved with cancer. 

However, cancer is definitely a break down of the immune system.  Therefore, it is imperative to build it back up.  But just as important as that is, it is also important to find out what is suppressing the immune system and keeping it from doing it's job.  This is where things get complicated and where the medical system fails.  It seems that the medical system is more concerned with treating the symptoms, ie: tumours, etc. than finding out what caused the cancer in the first place. Please understand I know there are exceptions; and symptoms that are life threatening must be treated immediately.  But there is time to sit back and assess your life.  You probably still have tomorrow.  What things could be causing you 'dis-ease'?  What can you do to ease those situations?  How can you learn to cope better?

In my case, anger and control were issues that I did not handle well.  Once I realized the problem, anger was fairly easy to deal with, as it was mostly directed at myself. I had to learn to really accept and love who I was/am.  Being in control was (and still is at times) extremely difficult for me to give up; but it was a big part of my journey with cancer.  Other factors for me were diet, exercise, breathing properly, (yes, you read that right) and learning to detox the physical, emotional and spiritual areas of my life.  You can find out more about this in my book "TWICE: Lesson, Insights and Healing from Cancer."  My point is that we must take a look at the environments surrounding us both inside and out.  If changes need to be made, face them head on and if necessary get the help to do it.

Cancer does demand a life change and the key to getting well and staying well is to embrace those changes.  It's never too early or too late to begin.  Cancer does not need to be a death sentence.



I have always maintained that attitude is key to any situation or relationship. I just recently read a quote from Chuck Swindoll that I would like to share with you today. I believe it to be so true.

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company or a church or a home.

The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day.  We cannot change our past; we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have -and that is our attitude.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.  And so it is with you - we are in charge of our attitude."

                                                                                    Chuck Swindoll 

Attitude played a major role in my cancer journey.  I chose not to let all the cancer "stuff" dictate my life.  At the base of my positive attitude was hopeWithout hope, I would not have been able to enjoy living the way that I did through the journey.  "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."  Proverbs 13:12 NIV 

My hope was then and still is in God.  Psalm 146:5 NIV says, "Blessed  are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD their God."  The KJV version puts it this way, "Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God."

God has given us the opportunity to become new creations through His son, Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 4, the Bible says this about our attitude.  "You were taught, with regard to your former ways of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."  NIV


Are we accumlating wealth only to spend it on our health?

"Most people work hard and spend their health trying to achieve wealth. Then they retire and spend their wealth trying to get back their health."

I imagine you have heard or seen this quote before; but now, that I am retired, I have been thinking about the absurdity and the truth in this statement.  As we age, our bodies begin showing signs of disease like high blood pressure, heart disease, type II diabetes, arthritis, and cancer; just to name a few.  If you have a health plan and follow exactly what the doctor prescribes; then you may fare well.  However, what if you don't have a plan or you decide to treat your disease without the doctor's prescription drugs. You can spend a lot of your own hard earned money, seeking alternative ways to get well. 

Does it have to be this way?  Of course, the answer should be no; but more often than not it is yes.

So, what can we do.  We could lobby for more money but alas governmental funding is already being pulled everywhich way.  We need to do something now, to prevent the onset of disease and to even reverse it.

That something is to take responsibility for your own health.  True enough certain diseases are hereditary; but more often than not a case can be made to prove it's not always so.  What does seem to be hereditary is lifestyle or eating habits.  I have a book entitled, We Are What We Eat that I bought when I was first diagnosed with cancer.  However, since then, I have realized, that a better title would  be We Become What We Eat.  You could also say We Become What We Do or What We Think. 

First and foremost, we all know the health benefits of exercise.  It can help protect you from the above mentioned diseases, relieves back pain and the effects of osteoporosis, can improve your mood and general well-being.

Secondly, we are all aware of the importance of relieving stress in our lives.  Being at rest or at peace with yourself and getting a good night's sleep allows your own body's natural defenses to do their job.

And last but not least, let's look at what we are eating.  Once again, we all know that we should cut back on white flours and their products, eliminate our intake of sugar, increase foods with fibre and drink lots of water.  We are even told to buy organic if you can afford it. This is all good advice. 

But recently, I have been reading about the importance of eating food that is locally grown or even grown in your own garden, as opposed to food that has travelled miles and miles across our country.  Think about this, the food we eat can actually change our DNA over time.  So let's start taking care of our health now so that we can enjoy our lives later.


The Power Within

At the end of my e-mails, I sign "We think life has limits; but the power within is limitless."  To that end, I believe that there is nothing that we cannot do if we put our mind to it.  Should problems arise, I have heard it said and I concur that there are no problems that do not have solutions.   We have all been uniquely and I might add miraculously created.

What is it that keeps us from accomplishing what we want in life, from achieving our dreams?  Could it be that we are waiting for the right moment?  That moment may never come.  Are we waiting until we are financially stable?  That feeling may never happen or at the very least take a long time.  Do we need more education, more knowledge?  The best school is the situation we are in right now.  We are constantly learning and everything we need to know is at our fingertips.

Truly, we limit ourselves by what we think or let others dictate to us.  To really succeed, you need to believe in yourself, and trust the wisdom that has been planted in you.

Cancer - The Fear Factor

Diagnosed with cancer?  Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome when you hear the word cancer is fear. There are many reasons why so many of us sense fear.  The fear of the unknown is huge.  For a time, we live in a sea of questions. What is going to happen?  How will I cope?  What will my loved ones do?  How will they cope?  But the most frightening part about having cancer is the feeling that you have little or no control over your circumstances. Fear can paralyze you and cause your thinking to be distorted.  I remember the first time I was told that I had cancer. I was so afraid that I would die and not be able to see my very young daughters grow up.  I could not see past the immediate moment. That was approximately 40 years ago. 

A lot has happened since that time; but little to relieve our personal fears attached to cancer. I felt some of the same fears all over again, the second time I was diagnosed, 24 years later. Recent literature states that there is no need to fear cancer anymore; that it does not always mean a death sentence.  It is true that there continues to be an extensive amount of money funneling into research and we have better and more specific ways of detecting cancer earlier. As well, there continues to be improved prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements on the market.  But despite all the scientific knowledge and noble intentions, we are still no further ahead in finding a cure. The mortality rate is still very high and unfortunately, has not changed much over the years.  So the fear remains. 

What makes the difference between one person surviving and another not?  I do not profess to know the answer to that question. What I do know is, that whatever the type, the grade, the prognosis, there is fear.  I have learned that the resolution to fear is in what we choose to focus our attention on. Whether you focus on your family, help from the divine, a future goal, perfect health…the focusing is paramount.

In the beginning, I spent so much time attending to the disappointment, the ‘what ifs’ and the things that I might never have. I had to reprogram my mind to concentrate on the things that truly mattered and by doing so, I simplified my thinking. The only thing that really mattered to me was my family and then God.  I read somewhere that we are wired to believe in something beyond us.  We are wired for God.  As I took comfort in the scriptures, my fears began to subside.  I began to develop a deep relationship with the one person who truly loved me the most and that was in the person of Jesus Christ. 

No longer did I fear that the cancer was controlling my life; nor did I fear death. I was influenced and controlled by my own choice of focus, a focus that allowed me to rest in the knowledge that there was a greater picture and that this journey was mine to own. The fear factor became a non-issue for me as I focused on enjoying my life and the power I had to live it; no matter what path it took.