Achiev­ing Per­sonal Har­mony

Focus of SWFL - - Thwart That Throat Tickle - www.my­colon­cancer­coach.org

What if after sur­viv­ing your first can­cer di­ag­no­sis at the age of 51, you were re-di­ag­nosed just 18 months later? Metastatic col­orec­tal can­cer pa­tient Dave John­son ex­pe­ri­enced that first-hand, and was ini­tially re­luc­tant and scared to tell his fam­ily, friends and co-work­ers. How­ever, he soon learned two im­por­tant lessons – that he had more support around him than he thought, and that he could con­trol his life­style and per­sonal har­mony. Now at the age of 53, John­son, a full-time banker, has dis­cov­ered a new sense of in­ner well-be­ing and, ac­cord­ing to his physi­cian, is again can­cer free. Many peo­ple find achiev­ing per­sonal har­mony and bal­ance dif­fi­cult – the de­mands and stresses of every­day life of­ten im­pede the abil­ity to find in­ner peace. For those fac­ing a can­cer di­ag­no­sis, achiev­ing that bal­ance may feel im­pos­si­ble. And, yet, it is as im­por­tant, if not more, for peo­ple liv­ing with can­cer to find and main­tain a sense of in­ner har­mony. After be­ing di­ag­nosed with an ad­vanced form of col­orec­tal can­cer, John­son knew he had to fight the dis­ease head on, from both a med­i­cal and men­tal per­spec­tive. John­son worked with his physi­cian to choose his treat­ment, and made the con­scious decision to fo­cus on ar­eas of his life he felt he could con­trol. “Set­ting goals and pri­or­i­ties, as well as stay­ing ac­tive, be­came very im­por­tant to me, and helped me ac­cept my di­ag­no­sis as my ‘new nor­mal,’” said John­son. “The abil­ity to ful­fill goals and keep both my mind and body busy helped me fo­cus on the sweet spots in life that give me strength and joy.” John­son also said ex­press­ing his emo­tions was im­por­tant to re­gain­ing his bal­ance. “There were many days when I could have said ‘why me’ and fo­cused my en­ergy on feel­ings of anger and re­sent­ment,” said John­son. “I’d let my­self ex­pe­ri­ence those feel­ings but I made a point of ex­press­ing those emo­tions and then mov­ing on, which helped me main­tain men­tal clar­ity. Ad­di­tion­ally, my faith helped me ac­cept the chal­lenges I was go­ing through.” Tips to achiev­ing per­sonal har­mony and bal­ance dur­ing can­cer in­clude:

Ex­press your emo­tions: Make a point of ex­press­ing your emo­tions be­fore they start to have a neg­a­tive im­pact.

Set goals and pri­or­i­ties: Fo­cus on the ar­eas you can con­trol and set out to ful­fill the goals most im­por­tant in your per­sonal and work life.

Keep ac­tive: Find ac­tiv­i­ties to keep both your body and mind busy that you also en­joy.

En­joy the company of loved ones: Sur­round your­self with pos­i­tive, sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships, whether with your fam­ily, friends or co-work­ers.

Be open with your doc­tor: Don’t be afraid to dis­cuss any can­cer fears you have with your doc­tor or nurse. John­son stressed the im­por­tance of sur­round­ing him­self with pos­i­tive, sup­port­ive re­la­tion­ships, in­clud­ing oth­ers who were also nav­i­gat­ing a can­cer jour­ney. “I learned to cel­e­brate the suc­cesses of other pa­tients while sup­port­ing those ex­pe­ri­enc­ing set­backs – this in turn kept me self-mo­ti­vated to fight my can­cer with all the strength I had,” said John­son. “It’s easy to feel over­whelmed after a can­cer di­ag­no­sis. For me, tak­ing time to fo­cus on my­self and my in­ner be­ing, and cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment that was as nur­tur­ing and calm­ing as pos­si­ble, helped me stay pos­i­tive in com­bat­ing my dis­ease.”

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