Managing Coronavirus Anxiety

For a cancer patient, anxiety is almost a given, nearly as insidious as the disease itself.
Our immune systems are already compromised. Now we have a novel new virus to deal with–one humans have never encountered before.
It can be terrifying. The what-if’s can crowd out everything else, even to the point of making you throw up. It can overwhelm at almost any stage of the process, including when treatment is over and someone is considered cured.
My psychotherapist pointed out that anxiety starts with the emotion of fear in the body. For me, the fear usually showed up in my tense face and gut. Then my brain kicked in, producing anxiety. I had “so many bad thinks,” as tai chi Grandmaster Vince Lasorso pointed out.
The key to letting go of the anxiety and the bad thinks was to refocus my attention on the sensations in my body. I realized my thinking about my dread was my way of escaping the actual emotion, which showed up as uncomfortable sensations in my body.
Through practice, I was able to identify the fear in my body, to allow it to be what it was, and to stop my bad thinks. While learning this technique, it helped me to refocus my mind on things that were beautiful, admirable, and true—the reflection of sunlight on pine needles, the sweet scent of cinnamon, the vibration of a dulcimer. Another prescription for anxiety that helped was to pray. Bringing my fears to the Spirit and asking for assistance helped me let go of some bad thinks. A third method was refocusing on anything for which I could feel grateful. Even a small thing, like “Today I opened my eyes again.”
With practice, the need for anxiety pills—if you take them—might lessen. Maybe you can, after discussion with your doctor, ditch them. You can create a new prescription—one that relies on your focused attention and reduces the chemical burden on your body.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:
When you feel anxious, check in with how your body feels. Are you tense in your face? Does your chest tighten? Does your stomach contract? Try to let go of your thoughts and simply focus on the sensation in your body. Allow it to be what it is. Allow it to move around; allow it to get intense; and allow it to dissolve. If you feel it without thinking any thoughts (like gee, this is taking a long time), the sensations will lift after 90 seconds. Repeat as often as necessary. Sometimes I had to repeat for more than an hour before I could get on with my day. And if your brain still insists on thinking, try to redirect your thoughts to the Divine or practice offering gratitude—even if only for a moment.

ABCs of Thriving in Life

Great news! My October annual X-ray shows I continue to be free of any evidence of disease. Eight years now, after being told to get my affairs in order!

To celebrate this year, I’ll be sharing healing options LIVE at 11 am this Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Valdez Main Library in Tucson, AZ. Come with your questions.

If you’ll be anywhere near Tucson on November 9, I’d love for you to join me for this conversation. Hope to see you there!

The ABC’s of Thriving in Life
Saturday, November 9, 11 AM – 12:30 PM
Joel D Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., Tucson AZ 85701

Discover 3 key ingredients you can apply immediately to thrive in every area of your life. Learn simple new ways to update your Attitudes, Behaviors, and major life Choices to assist with conquering dis-ease and feeling better—for anything from anxiety to cancer to what to do during retirement. This uplifting presentation includes a gentle guided visualization so you can discover your own clues for experiencing more vibrant health.
https://pima.bibliocommons.com/events/5db0a83d75016939005ef066

#cancertreatment #sarcoma #inspirationalspeakers #thriveon

NLMSF’s “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma” at The James in Sept.

The NLMSF.org symposium “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma: A Team Approach” was brief and to the point, held in Columbus, Ohio, during September. Here Floor Backes, MD, at The James, talks about ULMS.  Thank you, Annie Achee and Mitch Achee, and all who made this program possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Mayerson, MD, spoke about a surgical perspective on LMS of the limbs. Here he identifies the differences between benign and malignant tumors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is another informative slide:

 

 

 

 

Rebuilding after the fire

sunflowers at Notre Dame web
Sunflowers (symbol of sarcoma cancer) at Notre Dame, many facing north toward the cathedral instead of south toward the sun.

Do you feel like Notre Dame Cathedral, gutted by the fires of cancer treatments? Do you feel like a husk now, burned, weakened, and emptied?

That’s how I felt after my debulking surgery that took nine hours, followed by two years of harsh chemotherapy infusions. Those drugs burned through me and left me devastated and vulnerable.

Yet all was not lost for me, and neither is it for the cathedral. Now when I see pictures of the church’s interior, the altar and cross are still standing as if nothing had happened. The heart of the church is still intact.

My heart, my will to live, was still intact after two years of treatment. I did everything I could to survive, just as the firefighters did everything they could to salvage what they could of Our Lady of Paris.

Now this massive monument is at its most vulnerable and most in need. And so are we while dealing with cancer. Yet people are coming forward to rebuild her, as people came forward to help me rebuild my life, giving generously from their hearts and their time. I hope you are blessed with the same support. To turn down assistance is a disservice to ourselves and others, just as it would be a disservice to Notre Dame to not rebuild her.

Let her stand as a symbol of hope for you—that after the phoenix fire has burned its destructive path, we can rebuild and restore, perhaps winding up even healthier and better. This is my wish for you.

How to make a quick green smoothie

Do you feel like you lack the time and/or energy to make green smoothies? Are you having trouble meeting your quota of three to five servings of dark leafies every day?

Salad greens in a high-speed blender

Here’s a simple smoothie you can make if you have a high-speed blender. It provides dark leafy greens and green tea. One of my brothers even tried it and said it wasn’t bad… that it tasted like foam.

Dark leafies contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, folic acid, and important trace minerals.

green tea
green tea

The main advantage of green tea lies in its polyphenol, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). EGCG influences what DNA codes are expressed inside cells. Green tea has been shown to stimulate the immune system, inhibit metastasis, reduce inflammation, provide anti-oxidants, promote the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and detoxify the body. It can even help increase bone density (Thriver Soup, pg. 149).

Of course, talk with your health care provider first (especially if you are on blood thinners).

simple green smoothie
simple green smoothie

Simply load up your blender with salad greens, then add some freshly made green tea cooled with ice. Blend and serve. Viola! Power-packed vitality for your body.

How do you celebrate your cancerversary?

Do you throw a party? Cross something off your bucket list? Buy yourself something special?

Heather Von St. James, who had terminal malignant pleural mesothelioma, writes her fears on a ceramic plate each year and smashes it in a bonfire.

Riley Castro, diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer while pregnant, got an adult-sized T-shirt for her daughter and takes her picture in it on every cancerversary.

Lindsay Ronnau Hildebrand, with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, hiked a 14,000-foot peak with her friends.

Find out more about them in the Spring 2019 issue of Cancer Wellness.

And my story was featured as well on pg. 26, written by Bethany Kandel.

How do you celebrate your cancerversary?