Six Things You Should Really Do If You Get Diagnosed With Cancer

This is my thirteenth year of living with cancer and I feel great.

Since I am writing about creative thinking on this blog site,  and cancer is something that one in two Americans are predicted to have in their life time, I felt these comments  regarding decision making might be useful as you may now or one day face this situation or have friends or family that currently are.

(1)  Find out how aggressive and in what stage the cancer is! This is critical. If you are in stage one and you have a non-aggressive cancer, you have a world of choices and throwing a grenade into the kitchen to kill a cockroach may not be the best strategy. If on the other hand you are in stage four and the cancer is aggressive,  you will most likely need all of the heavy artillery available. Many lives have been ruined by people who have been treated  too aggressively in the early stages.

(2) Get several opinions. Unfortunately many doctors want to treat you with their specialty. That is not necessarily bad but it may be. You need to gain a perspective. Years ago a professor friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She saw three different doctors. The first doctor wanted to perform a lumpectomy, the second wanted  to remove her breast, and the third wanted to treat her with chemotherapy. Her final opinion came from a process called triage where several doctors meet with you at the same time. The latter decided that since her cancer was miniscule and non-aggressive,  that they just watch it. She, very much relieved, took the last choice.

(3)  Assemble a team who are on your side and can see this diagnosis from many different perspectives.  A famous oncologist in Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Scheef, told me that the oncologist, surgeon, naturopath, homeopath, your family doctor, therapist, and knowledgeable friends, all have valuable inputs which are appropriate at the right time. The challenge is,  as mentioned above in number two, that many doctors want to cure you with their specialty. So form a team of real supporters who can help you sort out the facts and cheer you on no matter what you decide to do.   A doctor’s pronouncement can be deadly. When you are diagnosed with a life threatening event, you don’t want to hear about how dead you are going to be in six months or a year. You want to hear about  how others facing this same situation have made it though and what they did. You want to know the probabilities as  there maybe family responsibilities, but having one’s eye on the possibilities rather than the statistical probabilities is the name of the game.

(4)  Form a strategy that empowers you and makes you feel good about what you are doing.  Be willing to think outside of the box which includes learning about the success stories of others who used unconventional methods and how your cancer is treated in other countries. When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 57, my urologist said I needed to have surgery or radiation and should begin immediately. I had early stage non-aggressive prostate cancer. I had some medical doctor buddies including a naturopath and eventually Dr. Scheef in Germany.  They helped me formulate a strategy to improve my immune system, bolster my self-empowerment, change my life style and monitor myself regularly knowing that at some time in the future I might overcome this cancer on my own, or there might be a “breakthrough” in treatment options, or I might have to accept that the time had come for a more aggressive procedure.  Their key question to me was, “ Could I co-exist with cancer in my body?” I realized that I could. Some people cannot accept that option.  My diagnosing urologist  who was not part of my team told me I was making a big mistake. But deep down inside I did not agree. Having a team, knowledge, and a strategy gave me the confidence to move on with life believing that the changes I was making in life would serve me.  So far they have.

(5)  Like Nike says, “ Just do it.” Don’t put off today for tomorrow.  Embrace life now.

(6)  Practice kindness and compassion. It will make you feel good and as the Dalai Lama says,  “ It  distorts reality the least.”

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  1. Richard Clarke says:

    Interesting piece Sandy , the multiple input allows and encourages one to inner investigate what ones own thoughts are about what’s happening. Energetically, at deeper levels of our psyche we are creating the events , sourcing that energetic impetus is no mean feat . Paying attention to our own dialog with the idea of the creative validity of our own energy has not been something we had drilled into us at school. Me thinks we are all grappling with this.
    I am reminded of a Bertrand Russell quote I came across earlier… “Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” ~Bertrand Russell
    In dealing with these situations I am very much of the Row AND Pray persuasion , it’s a multi levelled approach .
    You are doing well amigos .

  2. interesting cancer post, thanks

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  4. Erich Wank says:

    Terrific This really is one of the most informative blogs I’ve ever read on this subject.

  5. Aloha Sandy – Thank you for this well thought out and clearly stated post. It reflects and expands upon a conversation I just had with the wife of a new client who was just diagnosed with cancer. I’ll forward this on to them with the hope they’ll find your advice useful. btw – I’m exploring your blog site this morning and really enjoying it. Finding much to ponder upon and sort of wishing we were sitting around the kitchen table in deep conversation. Glad you are finding joy in San Miguel.

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