How to tackle your bucket list

If you have a bucket list of things to do before passing away, how are you doing on getting through your list?

Are you stopping yourself from fulfilling your dreams because you think you can’t do them?
 
Maybe you think you don’t have the funds. Or you feel like crap because of treatment and don’t want to leave home. Or you don’t have anyone to travel with.
 
For most of us, those are just excuses.
 
They are our fears trying to frighten us back into our old patterns.
 
Patterns that keep us stuck.
 
Yet your excuses and your fears can be faced and dealt with.
 
There are work-arounds to get your bucket list accomplished.
 
You have to have the courage to press forward.
 
And you can.
 
There are organizations and websites you can access for bucket-list funding. Too proud to ask? What fear is that pride arising from? Perhaps not wanting to be seen as needing something to help you fulfill your dream?
 
Or too humble to ask? Is that maybe a fear that we aren’t good enough to reach for our dreams? When my mother passed from breast cancer, I was surprised how many people were angry because they were not called upon to help her out. I have learned when we have cancer, people want to help us. Give them that opportunity.
 
If you can sit in a wheelchair for a decent length of time, it should be possible to travel, even if it’s on a cruise ship. In 2010 I scheduled my chemotherapy treatments around a cruise and took my anti-nausea medications with me. I had a fantastic time and checked one trip off my list.
 
And you can request assistance in meeting your goal. If you want to travel, perhaps put out a call for a companion, or if you feel up to it, travel alone. I just returned from an amazing trip in France—traveling solo, driving a rental car with no GPS (I couldn’t get it to work on my phone), and only able to say “Bonjour,” “Merci,” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?”
 
Why France? I wanted to pay homage to a woman who provided a template for healing my life. Her name? Martha of Bethany. Yes, the woman repudiated by Christ in the Gospels for her anger toward her sister, and for “doing” too much.
 
Martha healed after her contact with this Master Teacher. She changed her attitude from resentment into peace, and later served alongside her sister Mary. According to “The Golden Legend,” Martha later changed her behavior by refusing to die a victim on a rudderless boat adrift on the Mediterranean Sea. And she made a major life choice of focusing on “being” more than “doing.”
 
I love this woman and what she represents for me.
 
Why pay homage to her in France? According to the legend, Martha ended up in a small village in what’s now Provence. The community was being terrorized by a “dragon.”
 
Martha faced down that monster while barefoot, using only holy water and a cross. Can you imagine?
 
That’s not the behavior of a victim.
 
She courageously subdued that dragon.
 
Then the villagers killed it.
 
Through her transformed life, Martha demonstrated that I, through my own inner transformation, also could possibly tame the cancer dragon in my body. I could use her example of changing my attitudes, reconstructing my behaviors, and making major life choices to help subdue my own cancer dragon. Then medical treatment could kill it.
 
Since this is my seventh year free of evidence of cancer and free of cancer treatment, I felt it was high time I made my pilgrimage to The Collegiate Church of Saint Martha in Tarascon, which purportedly houses Martha’s relics. It was the third most popular pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages. And it became my biblical Year of Jubilee cancer pilgrimage site.
 
I feel deeply gratified for the experience.
 
Do you want to feel gratified for having accomplished things on your bucket list? Do you still have things to do, activities that are waiting for you to take up the baton and start directing your own life?
 
Or are you making excuses?
 
Sometimes we have to face down our fears before we can take the leap into the dark.
 
Into the unknown.
 
Into joy.
 
Think about each one of your fears.
 
Write each one down.
 
Take a good, hard look at your list.
 
Are there ways to work around what scares you?
 
Are there ways to make your dreams come true?
 
Only you can change your life.
 
Make the most of it.
 
Get on your bucket list.
 
You’ll be glad you did.

Blog update, “7 Ways to Cope with Loss,” “READER’S DIGEST” feature, & cancer hotline

You now can find about 200 informative and inspirational blog posts on http://thriversoup.com/blog, in addition to more than 250 healing solutions in the book Thriver Soup.

A new weekly blog for those who have lost a loved one to addiction will begin in January in preparation for my upcoming book, Grieving an Addict. A cancer patient who became opioid-dependent will appear among the first blogs, so at times the cancer theme will still run through these new blogs.

This means your Thriver Soup blogs will now arrive on an occasional Thursday basis.

If you or someone you know would like to receive the weekly Grieving an Addict blog, please visit http://grievinganaddict.com/ and add your email address in the frame on the right side of the page.

Because of the epidemic nature and social stigma of the disease of addiction, there might be people in your life for whom this resource could prove invaluable. Please share this new blog.

As a thank-you, you will receive a checklist of “7 Ways to Cope with Loss,” which can assist with any bereavement experience.

You also will receive through the blog:

  • Reflections to assist with the grieving process,
  • Stories of those who have lost loved ones to addiction,
  • Information about addiction and the drug situation in the United States,
  • Excerpts from my son’s life story, and
  • Ideas for how to help stem the flood of this mass-casualty event.

Reader’s Digest feature includes Thriver Soup

I’m excited to share with you that Thriver Soup has been included in a Reader’s Digest feature!

Other upcoming Thriver Soup interviews will include HerStory and Brain Hackers. I will share them through this blog.

LMS Helpline: 888-264-4670

In the meantime, the new free oncology counseling support helpline in the United States is 888-264-4670, a collaborative effort by the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation and Cancer Support Community.

Digital Vacation

From now until mid-October, as I let go of blogging weekly and take a break, I also will be taking a digital vacation, so I won’t be online much.

A Little Chocolate a Day

A little chocolate a day keeps the doctor at bay.

~ Marcia Carrington

 

If only…

While the health benefits of chocolate have been touted in recent years, the added sugar and other ingredients can turn a good thing bad.

My answer? Make my own. Then I know what I’m putting in my mouth.

I bought some food-grade cocoa butter and raw organic cacao powder, then hunted down a recipe online for making chocolate.

Before making my own, I was inspired when my friend Laura and I toured Chocolate: The Exhibition at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The displays tell the history of chocolate from the Mayans to now. It included a tasting area (on special days) with a few samples of different types of chocolate.

In the little shop at the exit area, we couldn’t resist trying out a delicious 70% dark bar of just cacao and organic cane sugar. Mmmm. I don’t know if that bar would keep a doctor at bay, but it might help me hold off a visit to a psychologist…

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Here’s a chocolate recipe that fits the bill for me:

https://eatbeautiful.net/2015/07/04/homemade-chocolate-with-cocoa-butter/

The recipe calls for raw honey. The many benefits of raw honey are on pg. 47 in Thriver Soup. If you believe it’s still too much in the way of carbs or simple sugars, perhaps you can experiment with other sweeteners, like xylitol or stevia, and add other flavorings.

I’m in the process of experimenting with different non-cane-sugar sweeteners and a little flavoring. So far the raw honey is smooth, pairs well with hazelnut extract, and melts quickly. I find the coconut nectar sugar makes the chocolate extra hard. The chocolate sweetened with xylitol is a little crunchy (unless you can find xylitol in a superfine variety) and pairs well with mint, almond, and vanilla flavoring. This way it tastes like a Peppermint Patty candy to me. Mmmm.

What have you tried, and how has it worked?

How 2 Got into Radical Remission

Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer, and I talked on her Peaceful Planet podcast recently.

Among our topics were Mary Magdalene, Thriver Soup’s cover art by Margaret and Keith Klein, music by Sunflower, when I had an idea my cancer was over (a dream I had), energy healing, healthy eating, and of course, how to manage emotions. We also did a brief version of the guided visualization, A Conversation with Dis-ease.

The interview starts at 7:55. Enjoy!

https://bbsradio.com/podcast/peaceful-planet-august-11-2018

A Secret to Great Tea

As much as you can eat healthy, it’s also important to remember to drink healthy too. Tea is very healing.
-Kristin Chenoweth, American actress and singer

The healing benefits of green tea are well documented for cancer patients. Do you try to have a cup each day? It would be easier to swallow without the bitter aftertaste. Yet there is a little secret about how to brew it, and other teas, to greatly enhance their flavor.

You’ll spend far less money on your tea, and get better-tasting brew at the same time with this method.

The secret is in the tea-making process, which I learned from my sister, Roselie, who learned it from some Turkish friends.

To get great-tasting tea, start with a double boiler, which is a two-layered pot. Don’t have a double boiler? You can create one with a regular 3-quart pot and a sturdy glass bowl. Place the glass bowl into the pot so it nestles inside but still sits a good inch above the bottom of the pot.

Pour half an inch of water into the bottom pot. In the top pot or bowl, add a few cups of water and enough tea for a typical single cup. Cover with a lid.

I let mine sit overnight on the stove top to begin the process. In the morning, I turn the heat on a low setting and let the water come to a slow boil. This will gradually allow the full flavor of the tea to infuse the water in the top portion.

Your reward—a few cups of delicious tea from one tea bag.

Loose-leaf teas tend to have larger leaves and produce more flavor. If you use tea bags instead, I would suggest removing the tea from its bag. Many bags contain unnatural ingredients that can be released into the tea at high temperatures. The loosened tea can be put in a tea ball or placed straight in the water. Then you can strain your tea through a sieve when pouring it.

With some herbal teas this slow-steeping method doesn’t bring out the flavor as well, so you might have to experiment. For green and black teas, I find I enjoy the flavor more, which means I’ll drink more to get the benefits.

Be tea-totaller. Sip your health-promoting brew with pleasure.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Loose-leaf organic green tea has been shown to inhibit metastasis, boost the immune system, reduce inflammation, detoxify the body, enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and increase bone density.

How did 2 get into Radical Remission? Listen Saturday

Join me on the air Saturday at 7 p.m. EST with Marcia McMahon, in radical remission from stage 4 breast cancer. Marcia hosts the Peaceful Planet show at  Www.bbsradio.com/peacefulplanet. We’ll cover a wealth of holistic information on thriving beyond cancer, including spiritual approaches , diet, and traditional therapy.
Marcia is a creative artist and reiki healer. Visit her website at www.divineconnectionswithreiki.com
Peaceful Planet with Marcia McMahon

The Secrets of Meditation

“Meditation isn’t what you think. It has nothing to do with the contents of your thoughts. Meditation is where your brain waves are when you are having those thoughts. A person doesn’t need to have a calm, quiet mind to achieve the healing, regenerative, and perception-expanding benefits of meditation.”
– Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent J. Lasorso Jr.

Purposeful meditation has killed cancer, healed tumors, cut holes in the clouds, and transmuted the toxic chemicals in water and air, according to Tai Chi Grandmaster Vincent Lasorso of Cincinnati. “It has lowered the crime in Cincinnati and cities around the world. It has prevented wars.”

Meditation Heals

According to the medical staff of the Mayo Clinic, medical research has demonstrated that regular meditation has improved the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

“Above it all, meditation provides inner peace while you practice, which continues long after the practice is over,” Lasorso said. A combined study of Yale, Harvard and MIT universities demonstrated that regular meditation actually develops new brain neurons and functioning. This new generation may occur in as little as twelve weeks.

Meditation is a skill anyone can learn

Our common conception of meditation is monks sitting quietly contemplating a calm, still mind. These monks are to meditation as Beckham is to soccer: gifted professionals, Lasorso said. The rest of us just have fun knocking the ball of consciousness around, getting some great exercise.

“You don’t have to become a monk to get fantastic benefits from meditation. But you do have to be better than just randomly knocking the ball around hoping you’ll get good at it. Meditation, like any exercise, takes practice and coaching to know what to do.”

Meditation is a naturally occurring state of mind

Every day you move in and out of the brain-wave states called meditation. In fact, your sleep technically is meditation. What makes meditation different from sleep is lucidity, clearness of mind, and the ever-presence of self, he said.

“Let’s say you’re sitting in a classroom and you begin to daydream about walking in a park. As long as you are aware that you are sitting in the classroom and not in the park, and you are observing the park and your actions, you are meditating. Your body is relaxing, regenerating, and healing. The second you forget where you are, who you are, stop observing, and begin to participate, then you are asleep.”

The secrets of meditation are to relax and pay attention

Your brain is moving you into meditative states several times each day, he said. But while that’s happening, you are usually lost in a daydream or some other distracting stimulation, not paying attention to your body or the world around you. You’re poised for relaxation but forget to do it.

“The difference between being lucid and asleep, in both life and meditation, is not getting absorbed by the distractions. You have to pay attention to yourself and your body or you will lose them both. You have to learn to stay awake, and that is what meditation training is about.”

Meditation is easier than you think

Although the concept of daily meditation may seem daunting and unobtainable to you, the immediate reduction in stress, pain, and improved peace of mind are reason enough to try. And you might even kill off some cancer with some practice.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Seek out a meditation class or practice in your area. Try a mind/body integration meditation (Mindfulness), Qigong meditation (using breath, sound, and movement), progressive relaxation and visualization practice, or moving meditation through Tai Chi. For more information, contact the White Willow School of Tai Chi, 7433 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236, 513-791-9428, http://www.whitewillowtaichi.com

How to Release Your Scar Tissue after Treatment

By Lauren Cadman, PT, with Heidi Bright

Editor’s note: I went to see Lauren after breaking two fingers in three places this past fall. Physical therapy could not address the excess scar tissue in the affected joints. After eight myofascial release treatments, I now have full use of my fingers again. I am grateful for this healing modality and want to share it with you.

photo kit from John Barnes

Do you have pain left over from a cancer procedure that physical therapy has not helped reduce? Do your scar tissues and the areas around them still hurt? It might be time to consider myofascial release.

“Myo” means muscle and “fascia” means connective tissue.

This safe and effective hands-on technique involves applying gentle, sustained pressure into areas of the body that are restricted, dense, and tight. This process decreases the tightness to alleviate pain, reduces the thickness of scar tissue, and helps restore normal sensation and motion.

Myofascial restrictions can be caused not only by surgeries to remove cancerous tissue, but also by chemotherapy and radiation.

Breast cancer patients, for example, undergo lumpectomies or mastectomies that leave behind scar tissue. Even without surgery, these patients may develop fibrotic tissue as a direct result of chemotherapy or radiation.

Scars also can grow inside the body like vines, reaching into other regions of the body, like the respiratory diaphragm and into the neck and shoulders. Patients may experience pain in the neck, shoulders, and upper back after treatment for breast cancer. Patients who have been treated for cancer in other areas may experience pelvic, back, and leg pain.

This tissue resembles what I like to describe as “a wet sponge drying out to a dry sponge.” The tissue feels thick, tight, and gristly when palpated or touched.

The trauma and inflammatory responses in the body create myofascial restrictions with tensile pressures of about 2,000 pounds per square inch on pain-sensitive structures. That’s a lot of pressure.

These restrictions do not show up in many standard tests (including x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, or electromyography). Instead, they are detected using palpation, or touch.

Once scar tissue has formed, myofascial release techniques applied below and above the scar region can be helpful in eliminating the pain and softening the scar. It can be extremely helpful in improving tissue mobility, pliability, and hydration.

The time element in MFR treatment is vital. It is essential that the practitioner apply sustained pressure to the tissue for a minimum of 90 seconds. This low-load gentle pressure applied slowly will allow the connective tissue to soften and elongate.

Being free of pain and being able to move more freely can help provide emotional benefits for those treated for cancer.

Cancer treatment should not end with interventions to treat the cancer. Too often patients are left with residual problems, some of which can be addressed with MFR to help them return to more optimal health.

If you or someone you know has been down this road, consider adding myofascial work to the health care plan.

Balance the soft tissue, decompress the joints, alleviate the residual pain, and restore your energy.

 

Lauren Cadman, PT, Premier Wellness and Myofascial Release

https://www.premierwellnesspt.com/index.html

Free Dedicated Helpline Coming Sept. 1 for Leiomyosarcoma Guidance

If you or someone you love has Leiomyosarcoma, you will soon be able to call a new helpline offering free counseling support. The designated phone number will go live Sept. 1, 2018, and is a collaborative effort between the National LeioMyoSarcoma Foundation and the Cancer Support Community. Operating hours will be Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The phone number will be announced by Sept. 1. International rates apply.

Trained CSC professionals and counselors will provide information, counseling, and navigation services in both English and Spanish at no cost to callers.

Medical advice is not provided, and must be directed back to the patient’s oncology care team. Information provided on clinical trials and genomic/genetic testing must always be further discussed with your oncologist/oncology care team.

Cancer Support Helpline services include, but are not limited to:

  • Connecting callers to local or national resources, transportation services and other local programs where patients live, providing direct coordination support to patients
  • Short-term cancer counseling and emotional assistance
  • Treatment decision planning in support of the oncological care team
  • Financial navigation and counseling regarding the costs of cancer and its treatments
  • Specialized information on finances / financial planning guidance
  • Clinical trials navigation/information and search assistance
  • Genetic/genomic information assistance
  • Access to an online distress screening program, CancerSupportSource®
  • General information about the Cancer Support Community

For questions, please contact Annie Achee at annieachee@aol.com.

NLSMF also has created a new website about life changes: https://nlmsflifechange.wordpress.com/

How to Prepare for Death More Quickly Than the Emperor of China

The emperor thereupon ordered Xu Fu to gather a group of several thousand young boys and girls and set out to sea to search for the immortal men.

Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson

Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BCE), who became the first emperor of China, longed for immortality. He ordered expeditions to follow up on legends of immortals. He probably swallowed mercury, believing it was the elixir of life.

Yet he also had been preparing for his death since he was thirteen years old. He ordered the creation of a massive terracotta army built for his huge mausoleum. When he did die, at age 49, his preparations probably were in order.

The emperor’s eternal army was rediscovered in 1974, and a small portion is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum until Aug. 12, 2018.

Qin Shi Huang didn’t make his death preparations easy on his subjects. Are you making yours easier for yourself and your loved ones? It only takes four documents, not a huge clay army. Mine are ready, and I intend to live another fifty years. I hope I have to update them many, many times.

It is best for all concerned if you have an advance health care directive, a power of attorney for health care, a general financial power of attorney, and a final will and testament.

Instructions for how to create these are in Thriver Soup, p. 101-103, written by a top-tier lawyer. You probably can pick up some simplified versions of a couple of these documents at the front desk of a hospital.

Better to be prepared, like an emperor, because you can’t predict when the grim reaper’s chariot is going to run you over.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

As you prepare your living will and health care power of attorney, it might be a good idea to consult with a hospice nurse about the advisability of some procedures.

Source:

Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, translated by Burton Watson (1993). http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/history-shi-huang-emperor-china/5818.aspx