Saturday, January 30, 2010

The C-Word: don't be afraid of death or cancer

my first and key piece of advice to all cancer patients.

it sounds like a joke but i am really serious. this is more important than giving up sugar.

if you are ever diagnosed with cancer, if your friend or family member is, tell them, tell yourself, this first.

do not be afraid.

because when you get to the doctor's office, you will be in a panic. you're so scared of cancer that you're terrified you're about to die. and then the doctor, in a calm and bossy voice will tell you what to do. and like a robot, you will just listen and do they tell you.

and that can get you in a lot of trouble. fear does that.

if your doctor says - like mine did when i'd just come in for an examination - "you can't leave, i am checking you into the hospital right away," your heart will be beating so hard, blood will all rush to your head, pumping behind your eyes and throbbing through your skull. you won't be able to see or hear properly and your adrenaline will kick in.

then you won't consult other doctors, you won't know if this is the best treatment for your body, you won't know if you like the facility you are in, you won't even know if you like the way your doctor speaks to you.

if on the other hand, you say, "i'll go home and put things in order and come in tomorrow morning," you will have a little time to discover that you are a capable and functioning adult. you can say, "i don't want a transfusion, i want..."

you can take a deep breath and realize that cancer is not a death sentence. if you look around at your life and your lifestyle, you may notice the triggers that made you ill (i think they jump out at you at crucial moments, when you're first diagnosed, you might have a moment of clarity).

you may discover that tons of people you know have experienced cancer on some level and recovered. and then gone back to their lives as if it almost never happened.

you might take some time to do some research (i guarantee you, cancer will NOT kill you overnight and once you start treatment, it's harder to seek out other options because the treatment can be so time-consuming and overwhelming). there are a lot of different kinds of cures, not all in hospitals. and different cancers respond to different kinds of medicines - whether they are chemotherapy and radiation - or whether they are sound therapy and acupuncture.

sometimes, it's good to combine one or two or several. take the time to understand your particular cancer and how it works because once you get on the medical merry-go-round, they might not take the time to explain it to you.

even if you just have 45 minutes - take that time and meditate and take your body's temperature - psychically - what feels ok and where you feel pain or energy blocks. try and be aware of your being before the doctors start telling you what they think.

this was useful for me, because when i got to the hospital and the doctors started telling i was going to die or i wasn't going to make it, i KNEW i wasn't that sick. though yes, i had that same moment of panic, where i was trembling in a cold sweat and doing endless MRIs and CAT scans (i had three of my brain in one day) and i knew it was a bad idea but i was too scared to say no.

this is why you need to not be scared of death.

the reason is, when you're dead, you're dead. no worries. no stress. no aches. no painful treatments. no obnoxious relations (or teenaged children).

no cancer.

no one should frighten you into anything that way.

what you are scared of is having your quality of life affected. you should be scared of getting a treatment that doesn't work for you body or your kind of cancer. you should be scared of having a doctor who doesn't listen to your concerns or explain the details of your treatment in advance.

it's true. discovering that you have cancer, a real diagnosis, not a moment of hypochondria, is really scary. for a moment, you feel like you just fell off a horse. the wind is knocked out of you and your skin chills. you can't believe it's real.

but get ahold of yourself.

the diagnosis is not the end of the game. it isn't the end of the line for you. in fact, it's the opposite. because a major illness can shake you to the core and then force you to make the major changes your life needs to get to the next level.

you are intelligent, questioning, caring. value yourself and the form god gave you. there is a reason you are here.

don't give up on yourself because you're intimidated. no one knows yourself better than you.

it's all in how you take it.

so don't be afraid.
get the steering wheel in your hands.


  1. This is pretty solid advice for anyone, under any circumstance. "Get the steering wheel in your hands." Perfect. Thanks <3

  2. Great post. I am going to send it to anyone who is (or whose family member/friend) is diagnosed with a serious illness. Your spirit and fortitude is inspiring!

  3. I concur! Bravo for this piece of important wisdom and experience. People need to know this. I need to know this. Thank God for your courage.

  4. Thanks for this Ameena. Cancer will not kill you overnight. I'll try to remember that always and pass it on. I'm happy that you're beating cancer as well as taking control of your treatment options. Love. Courage.

  5. As someone who has gone through a different kind of cancer myself, I agree with you 100%. I switched doctors, I tried different treatments, I was afraid until I saw the light at the end of the tunnel...I hope and pray you get better soon. Life is truly worth living for...and the peace of death is also welcome, but in its own time : ) - Tula

  6. amazing, courageous post. bravo...