I was sitting in the University Klinikum hospital in Frankfurt 4 weeks ago waiting for Claire to recover (a little bit) from her lung surgery and the German medical pamphlets caught my eye.
Whereas I am used to the leaflets explaining the mechanic’s of treatment and the processes of chemotherapy, surgery and “palliative’ care (I hate that phrase). These seemed different. They weren’t generically talking about what would be “done” to the patient in accordance with a generally accepted roadmap, but were actually about “The Patient”.
It was entitled “TUN SIE ETWAS FUR SICH” – Do something for yourself.
Claire and I have learnt very early on that canSer is not just a disease of the body but also of the soul.We have met and spoken to the most incredible women over the last 4 year (yes that’s you I’m talking about – all of you) but 1 thing really resonates with us both. You guys don’t think enough about yourselves.
We have spoken to ladies, who have not told any of their loved ones that they are even sick, for fear of upsetting them, who feel that their anger when first diagnosed is unfair to their family. This has led them to isolation and ultimately to depression.
So let me just give a friends and family perspective.
We love you, we love you so much and the one thing that we probably can’t cope with is seeing you alone. We actually can help and in so doing you will help us. Together is the only way to come to terms with this disease and ultimately with death. We are after all not immortal, no matter how hard we are pushed to believe that we are by everyone around us. I think Claire would kill if anyone says, “You will be OK” to her again!
Of course pain and passing will leave all your loved ones upset and leaving behind everything that we work so hard through life for is painful in itself, but together this can be diminished and hopefully a good end can be achieved, or even better, an inspiring middle.
Do something for yourself and you will be doing the best you possibly can for everyone who so dearly loves and respects you.
In the 10 point plan we have dedicated a lot to how a structured coping mechanism for the soul can help both mentally and above all physically (nothing destroys the immune system like stress) but its definitely not all encompassing and I always says to Claire, every time she says “I would really like to …..”, go on do it Kitty.
Exercise is a huge stress buster and gets the immunity fired up. You can only do what you can do, but if you saw Claire wincing, with her broken ribs bandaged and wearing a support for her spine, whilst coughing up bits of tumor, you would have to say to yourself, there is no excuse not to exercise.
Meditation and Yoga balance the thinking and relax the body and you tube is all you need to be guided by the worlds experts. Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey have even generously combined to offer free guided meditations via an app several times a year; just google it.
Claire practiced visualization for several months and really felt that this helped control her body systems. One of the more bizarre parts of this was that she refused to subscribe to “battling canSer” and felt that the tumors were also just trying to make their way in the Universe, but that she would like them to go away now. Surely that’s taking ‘love your enemy’ to the extreme.
Now to be a bit radical – diet. We have been so strict with supplements and foods but Claire has said that the value of having “a bit of what she fancies” spiritually far out ways the penance of adherence to the diet. Our conclusion is that 80/20 is just fine and good or the soul.
I have always been a big believer in sayings and phrases (there is no saying “it always rains on a Wednesday), because they are true. There is a saying that “laughter is the best medicine” and above all the science we have uncovered, this is true.
Immunology combined with Chemotherapy will be the silver bullet for canSer and especially hard to treat variants such Triple Negative Breast Cancer. We know from research conducted at Reading University that nothing diminishes the immune system like stress. Have you ever fallen ill on the first day of your holidays? That’s how badly the stress of tidying up work, packing and travelling effects you, imagine how hard canSer can knock you for 6!
So laugh, live, love and share and you will have the best possible chance and if not, then you have had the best possible ending, which in the end, is all we all hope for.
“TUN SIE ETWAS FUR SICH” and do it today, because we love you.