RECOVERY PROCESS AND CHANGE
The recovery process involves change. Most people, however, will try to get well in the same old ways they have approached solving other major problems in their life. People who get cancer, for example, are people who tend to be overly responsible and perfectionistic. They also tend to be people who override their own needs to take care of others' needs. When these folks approach their recovery process, they do so in the same style they have been living. They spend time and energy worrying whether they are on the right treatment or not; they worry about letting other people down if they are not able to get well.
The recovery process needs to be kept as simple as possible. Getting well from a life-threatening illness can seem complicated and overwhelming. It is very important to change your perspective about recovery if it seems that way to you. The part of you that got sick, from an emotional standpoint, may be a part that has been overwhelmed about life for a long time. It becomes essential to be careful not to overwhelm yourself with your thought processes about how you are going to get well. If you are already feeling overwhelmed about how you are going to get well, then take a deep breath, and remember the following points:
- Relax: recovery begins with the belief that recovery is possible.
- Relax: recovery is easier if the process is fun.
- Relax: recovery is associated with a change in your perspective about life.
- Relax: recovery is a process that you have already begun.
GUIDANCE TOWARD HEALTH
Recovery Success Formula:
Decide to get well.
Be as specific as you can about the desired results of your decision.
Have a procedure for verifying the evidence of your decision.
Know How You Will Know When You Are Well:
What has to change for you to know that you are getting well?
How will you need to feel in order to know that you are well?
What other information will you need to hear from other people to be convinced that you are getting better, or that you have recovered from cancer?
Decide to get well.
Explore your options.
Make a commitment to grow and change.
Develop your ability to focus.
Remember that getting well is a lifelong process.
Discover your path/purpose.
Forgive yourself and others.
Do what makes you happy.
Move toward pleasure without pain.
Be aware: you are entitled to be healthy and happy.
Know who you are.
Eliminate old habits.
Create new habits to support your new goals.
Manage change on three levels:
Emotional (psychological) balance,
Attitudinal (spiritual) balance, and
Behavioral (physical) balance.
GETTING WELL YOUR WAY
There is no RIGHT way to get well.
Recovery is a process.
Being too serious
Work, thinking too much
Taking on too much responsibility for other people's feelings
MODELLING THE RECOVERY PROCESS
What works for other cancer survivors:
TRANSFORMATION & YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Your support people have an opportunity ...
... to grow,
... to share,
... to connect,
... to heal,
... to have more passion.
They need ...
... support, too.
... to take care of themselves.
... to have fun in their lives.
... to know that they can't rescue the patient. They cannot be responsible for getting the patient well.
... to express all of their emotions.
Dr. Bernie Siegel in his book, How to Live Between Office Visits (1993), offers some practical advice to people for staying well. He shares some of the following lessons that he has learned from his cancer patients:
- Ask for help (the real meaning of independence)
- Find your true path: get on the universe's schedule
- Learn to say no to the world and yes to yourself
- Confront your fears
- Live your life fully
- Reset your clock: learn to live in the moment
- Deal with anger
- Find or start a support group
(Siegel, 1993, pp.5-35)
STRESS INTO RELAXATION
All the various human states of mind are originally initiated by our responses to both internal and external sensory input. Our senses are the only connection we have to the environments in and around us.
Unfortunately, unless the information can be collated by the brain into one coherent experience, these same sensory mechanisms become a substantial block to the integration of the experience, continuing to analyze the input until coherency exists.
Don Estes, a brilliant inventor of the Vibra Sound System, which is the application of sensory resonance through music, sound, and light, is beginning to show in his research that such sensory imbalance can lead to habits that create a dominance of analyzing, to the detriment of experiencing. He has seen that each new sensory input is first "experienced," but immediately "conceptualized" and "analyzed." Synchronizing this input can result in an increase in life experience, and a decrease in the brain's desire to conceptualize. Extensive scientific research has shown that access to physical, emotional, and mental relaxation is blocked by the brain's need to analyze sensory input. Finding better ways to analyze what is going on around us — so that we continually give ourselves more clear signals that we are safe and not in danger — is necessary to transform stress into relaxation. Learning how to manage our sensory input and create sensory resonance may result in:
Muscular and physical relaxation,
Increased and focused energy,
A feeling of well-being.
Relaxing your mind daily can create more consistent states of harmony. The Reticular Activating System in your brain can be signaled that you are safe and not in danger. This signal sends powerful healing chemicals throughout the body...the "catch 22" here lies in the fact that it is our human nature to respond to the threat of potential danger with fear. Most people respond initially to their diagnosis of cancer with some fear and anger. The emotion of fear can ready your body to remove itself from "the danger" so that you can survive. Fear can initially motivate you to change yourself and your life. This begins the transformational process. However, one of the things that is essential for you to change is the pattern of stress that you live with daily. Finding more creative ways to relax yourself regularly is necessary in getting well. Therefore, your transformational process involved in getting well requires a shift in how you view your cancer. Your power to transform your cancer requires an ability to transform the meaning of the word "cancer" and the meaning of this experience in your life so that you don't keep yourself in constant fear.
An initial reaction of fear motivates the body for survival...
A long-term response of fear exhausts the body's ability to heal.