Monday, November 18, 2013

10 Ways to Thrive through a Major Illness

There is no question that going through a major illness such as cancer, MS, heart disease, or a major surgery is difficult. With some clarity of purpose and some small steps, you can get through it powerfully and even thrive. You can live amidst sickness and fear to come out on the other side strong and joyful. Here are some ways to help you do so:
  1.  Be Grateful. Focus on the good in your life. Rejoice in every comfort, even when the only comfort you have is being able to make it to the bathroom on your own. Rejoice in your bed, your food, the world outside your window. Focus on the good, and there will be more of it.
  2.  Know that this too shall pass. Every day is different. When you find yourself in a particular bad day or patch of days, know within your heart that it is only temporary.
  3.  Accept help. Especially in the beginning of an illness, there may be an outpouring of help-- people willing to come physically over and help you, those who will drop by a casserole, or those who just send a card or e-mail saying they are thinking of you. Take these offerings with gratitude in your heart. Call people up and ask for help. Sometimes people want to help, but don't know what to do. Tell them. A major diagnosis will usually show you who your real friends are.
  4.  Eat. There's nothing that will deplete your strength and energy faster than unnecessary lost weight. If you have trouble eating, work with your doctor until you find a solution. Avoid sugar and chemicals, but otherwise eat well. You may wish to invest in one of those high powered blenders to make healthy smoothies if you have trouble with solid food.
  5.  Rest. A lot. You can't do what you used to do in a day-- your body and mind are busy healing. Allow yourself more rest and sleep than ever before. Feel gratitude for the opportunity, and never, ever feel guilty for making a decision to rest rather than to do something productive.
  6.  Eliminate. Medications can make it difficult to move your bowels daily. Work with your doctor and your diet. You may need more fruits and veggies in your diet, which would be helpful to your energy anyway. This isn't a small issue. With your GI system in line, you will have more energy and will not be stuck at your house for the gotta-go's. Stopped up, and you cannot eliminate the toxins building in your system. Get yourself a stool to put your feet on for BM time, and the positioning will help you eliminate more completely.
  7.  Love your children/spouse/friends/family. Tell them so. Be yourself. You know life is short. You've probably learned something through your experience. Share it. Be their inspiration. Hug them often. Tell them what you've wanted to tell them. Don't put off the things that need to be said.
  8.  As much as possible, do the things you enjoy. Say no to things you think that you houlddo (like a children's birthday party) if the thought makes you tired. If you sing, dance, or paint, save some energy to do at least a little. Learn some gentle exercise, like yoga. Take a walk on a beautiful day. If you can't do these, then find good books to read or re-read, take long baths, and pamper yourself. Get a massage- a massage therapist will come to your house. Get Netflix and watch your favorite programs. Cater to yourself.
  9.  Find your deity. Perhaps you already believe in God, but you can deepen the experience through regular prayer, joyful books, or joining a community of believers. Take comfort in those praying for you. If you do not believe in God, feel in yourself the capacity to love. Give opportunities to your loved ones to nurture you. See the beauty in nature. Be as grateful as you can for all the good in your life. Once you start looking for good things, you inevitably find more.
  10.  Let go and let God. For many of us who like to think we are in control, this is the hardest step. However, if you hand the trouble to God (or the universe), God will find a way to solve it in a way that is beyond what we could have figured out on our own. Don't needlessly worry. Have faith in someone or something that this experience is temporary, and you will come out of it strong and happy.
Living with a major illness is hard. I've done it, so I'm no fool. I am a stage 4 brain cancer Thriver. Getting through something like this can make you feel like a superhero. I went through chemotherapy for over a year, following the above steps as well as I could. I am still happily living my life, and I look forward to the rest of it.

Let me know if I may be of help to you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Almost There

I only have two months left of chemotherapy treatments before I am done with it, barring any changes.  I am grateful for this, though I do struggle at times to keep my hopeful and faithful perspective.  My sister-in-law prays with me, and my EFT Mentor taps with me, and that pulls me back to the knowing that this experience will soon pass.  I look forward to being able to see more clients, and opening my schedule.  I also look forward to playing with my son more, and keeping those things that are most important in my life, such as rest, good food, time to write and to play, time with my husband and son, and with my extended family.

Whenever I forget to enjoy the simple things, like the snuggly little dog at my feet, I find myself going off balance.  It took a serious illness for me to consider my needs first: to stop overbooking, to include time every day for lunch, and to save energy every day for my little boy.  I know many of us are still in that boat- off balance and struggling to fit everything in.  I am tapping to get rid of that feeling forever.

A mentor once told me a story that has stuck with me.  A professor brought a large, glass jar to class.  In front of his students, he proceeded to fill the jar with large rocks.  When he was done, he asked his students, is the jar full, to which they replied yes.  Next he had some smaller pebbles, which he poured in.  They took up the spaces around the rocks.  "Is it full now?", he asked, to which his students replied yes.  Then he had sand, which he proceeded to fill the jar with.  "How about now?"  They replied, "Yes, it is full."  Then he produced a large glass of water, and poured it in the jar.  Now there was room for nothing else.

"Imagine this jar is your life," he said.  The things inside are the things you do with your life.  The big rocks are the most important things, such as time with your family, with yourself, for artistic pursuits, for exercise, and eating well.  The small rocks and sand are other things that fit into the cracks among the important things, like working, trying to be perfect, and errands.  The water is more of the same.  If you started by filling the jar with water or sand, you would have no room left for the most important rocks.  If you fill your life with work and errands, you may not have time to spend with your family. Think about priority while filling your life."

It's not enough to just presume your loved ones know how you feel about them.  Make the time to spend with them.  It's not enough to have dreams to be a writer, artist, or musician.  Make the time to do it.  This may require simplifying, even cutting back, changing perspectives.  Are your relationships worth less money?  It may mean getting a smaller house, or a used car.  Is that worth having time for your passion?  Is it worth the extra time to eat well if it means you feel better, sleep better, and have more energy?

The human body and soul can only go so long without being nourished by food and by love before they allow dis-ease inside.  Make the changes you've been meaning to make, and imagine how good you will feel.

I commit today to eating to fulfill my body's needs, taking the time I need to rest, saying "no" when I need to, and saying "yes" when it feels right.  I commit today to putting my needs first so that I can nourish my unique soul and contribute to the world in the way that only I can.  I commit today to honoring my gifts, and making time to use them.  I resolve to put my family before my work-- not after a project is done, not in a year or two when I've made a promotion, but NOW.  If I find myself unable to do these things, I commit myself to finding help in the spiritual or helping communities.  All we have is now.  We never know if there will be a tomorrow.


Reiki to Survive: My Journey through Cancer

A story of mine about an experience I had with Reiki has been published in the fall edition of Reiki News Magazine, a national publication.  Follow this link to view my article: Reiki to Survive.  I welcome your comments.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Suggestions for Better Sleep

Why is sleep so hard for many of us?  We really have too much on our minds.  Here is a short list of suggestions to help you get the sleep you need.  What it may come down to though is destressing your life, even re-arranging the portions that aren't working for you.  Or it could be as simple as changing a medication that keeps you up at night.

1).  Keep your bedroom dark.  Receptors in your eyes stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin if they sense light.
2).  If you must get up in the middle of the night, use dim night lights rather than turning the lights all the way on.
3).  Keep your bed only for sleep and sex.  Get the TV and any other electronics out of the bedroom.
4).  Stop consumption of caffeine before 2 pm.  Avoid alcohol, which can wake you up later.
5).  Don't exercise within two hours of bedtime.
6).  Allow plenty of time between dinner and bedtime.
7).  Get sleepy by reading a book, rather than watching TV.
8).  Keep a regular sleep schedule.  Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, if possible.
9).  Try herbal remedies rather than night time sleep aids.  Chamomile, passion flower, and valerian root all have great track records for assisting in sleep, and warm tea can be quite comforting.
10).  Solve the issues that are keeping you up at night with counseling or EFT.
11).  Keep your bedroom cooler at night than during the day.
12).  Wear socks.  Studies show that people who wear socks at night actually sleep better than those who don't.
13).  Use relaxing essential oils such as lavender or chamomile on your pillow to help you drift away.
14).  Get a relaxing massage.
15).  Get regular exercise.
16).  Avoid sugar and salt before bed.  Sugar can give you nervous energy, and salt can raise your blood pressure.
17).  Practice meditation or yoga to learn how to relax your body and mind. 
18).  If you know how to do EFT, then tap on your fear about going to sleep, and anything else bothering you.

Hopefully by incorporating a few of these suggestions into your routine, you'll be on your way to healthful, wonderful sleep.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

New Healing Hands!

I am so blessed to be able to follow my true passion, EFT. As of June 15th, 2013, Healing Hands Massage & Bodywork has been transferred to my good friend Anna Nielson. I have confidence that she will take good care of my massage clients.

While I still adore massage and its benefits, I feel called to focus on EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). To that end, I have opened a new business: Healing Hands Tap & Be Free. EFT is a mind-body technique that helps you to achieve balance in your body and your life. It can address symptoms as different as sleep problems, spiritual confusion, and physical manifestations such as cancer. Currently under rigorous study for treating PTSD, EFT has shown promise for resolving phobias, weight issues, grief, and more.

Last year, after seven years of learning and practicing, I completed my training and became certified in Pro-EFT, one of the most effective and accepted forms of EFT. I have seen clients go from hopelessness to hope in just a few sessions. I have seen family dynamics shift, as clients determine they are worthy of love and respect. Pains disappear, frustration and confusion clear, addictions evaporate, and a person's true self begins to shine.

Join me in being part of this tremendous healing tool, and call me today to discuss incorporating EFT into your life. 843.442.6691. The time has come to listen to your desires and needs.

I practice EFT in person out of my home in Ladson, close to I-26, over phone, and by Skype. I am still available for Reiki and relaxation massage sessions. Thank you for being a part of Healing Hands over the past 7 years, and for being part of my exciting new chapter!