3 Steps To Develop Courage During Cancer Treatment

What is courage and how do you get courage now that you need it more than ever?

While choosing to create new COURAGEOUS plans moving forward, just remember to always look back to see where you’ve been. Remember in the Wizard of Oz that each character already had what they(he/she?) needed without realizing it? Recall how Scarecrow thinks and problem solves; the Tin-Man, an emotional connector to his core; and the Lion, leading the way to the witches’ castle. They needed the journey down the Yellow Brick Road to realize what was inside of them all along.

You have been dumped into an unfamiliar land, language you can barely interpret, and the idea of feeling optimistic or positive about seeing what you are made of is probably not on your radar. But the reality is, this cancer is here now, so you might as well learn all the things you can during your own journey down the yellow brick road.

In the Wizard of Oz, like the Lion – our representation of COURAGE – is introduced later in the movie while trying to intimidate the Tin Man and the Scarecrow. Again, Toto comes to the rescue. We watch the Lion chase after Toto until Dorothy has had enough and slaps the Lion to make him stop. You must decide to today to take control of your Lion. Taking control may take some very strong words, such as: “Stop talking about death. Stop saying this cancer is going to kill me. And for crying out loud quit wasting time on that false belief!” Others may think, “What did I do to deserve this?” This cancer is not your fault. If you want to keep up that under serving thought, just take a virtual walk through St. Jude’s hospital for children or Google children with cancer. After you have taken that virtual tour, you tell me which one of those young vulnerable children caused his/her cancer? So, why do you think you are any different than any one of those vulnerable children?

Cancer happens. Cancer happens to everyone all around the world. Statistics told us in 2011 that 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 7.6 million die from the disease. You did not have a choice, nor did you cause your disease. Your choice now is, how do you plan to live with this cancer. And the answer so far is: ACTION, BREATH, and COURAGE. You are going to build a courageous heart and a disciplined mind. You are going to fight this with all your wisdom, strength, and courage. You are going to live your life now like you have never lived it before. When you are so tired that you can’t do anything but sit on the couch, you are going to turn off the T.V. and spend ten minutes meditating. Then you are going to read something positive. Then you are going to journal or color. Then you are going to drink some green tea or lemon water. Then you are going to take a nap. Next you are going to repeat the above until you have the strength to go for a walk for ten minutes. COURAGE is developed over a period of time. It is not a magic pill that you take and everything gets all better.

THREE STEPS TOWARD COURAGE

  1. Read someone else’s story that has been where you are. (Great book to start with –  In A Moment’s Notice:A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer)
  2. Make an appointment with a psychotherapist, health coach, or spiritual director.
  3. Watch movies where the heroine/hero win.

Photo source: Rose Medical Center

For more information and exercises for cancer patients read Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

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Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices Book Review

This simple and colorful book is just what the doctor ordered for you during your treatment with breast cancer. Your oncologists and radiologists have given you hand-outs and booklets on what to expect during treatment. I would guess that some of you did not know what an oncologist was until you heard those words, “I am sorry, you have breast cancer.” You who live in rural areas are having to commute as much as four hours for treatment; a commute that makes you feel lonely, frightened, and hyper-vigilante. You have entered a foreign country of medical language and uncomfortable body procedures, driving into a big city that is so foreign to you to be treated by big city doctors who intimidate you. The loneliness and fear scale escalate, you might find yourself saying, “I can’t do this.” Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & Recovery is here to help you realize you can do this day by day. This strange journey into a strange land is here and you are going to face it head on (some-days); other days you are going to pull the covers up and scream, “NO!” There are going to be good days and bad days in this journey of yours. The truth is your life has been full of good days and bad days all along. That is the way of life.

Breast Cancer: A-Z Mindful Practices: Self Care Tools For Treatment & RecoveryThis book is here to help you change your focus by beginning to practice the art of mindfulness, which is staying present to yourself. You will learn to stay present to your emotions and needs during difficult times. You have entered a land where awareness of what is going on with your body is the biggest gift in this process. This book will help you change your focus from the medical maze to focusing on words; words like abundance, breath, music, and resilience. This book guides you towards an oasis of positive thought-provoking words with simple explanations that help you gear up for the medical battle you are facing.
Another unique feature about this book are the simple coloring exercises for you to do while you focus on the mindful words. The coloring is not complex and you can take as long as you like. The beautiful flowers and simple designs invite you to bring your worries, concerns, fears, and hopes right into the creative art to create your own hope for the future. This book invites you to participate in your healing process as a true human being who is just putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to make the best decisions possible for yourself and your family as you move through this often lonely and sometimes terrorizing battle.

If you or a friend have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, this book is intended to be an oasis from the medical procedures, tough decisions, and daily chores of getting well. This book is here to give you a safe place in the middle of the storm, and to build your strength and courage along the way. Be hopeful, be safe, and be brave. Each day is a new adventure and the twenty-six words from the alphabet are here to be your ally.

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Writing Your Way To Healing And Wholeness Book Review

With all the breast cancer self-help options surrounding us today in books, blogs and everything in between, you may feel overwhelmed! Breast cancer patients and survivors will flourish with after reading Writing Your Way to Healing and Wholeness and doing the simple exercise available in this book.

This book, not only a how-to journal, is also a roadmap to explore your family history and uncover the unconscious patterns created without you even knowing! You may not even realize these patterns turn into unconscious behaviors and thoughts which work against you, keeping you doing the same old things. In the past, you may have tried meditation or changed your routine, only to find it didn’t stick or give you with the results you expected! Why does this happen? By getting to know your history and your individual unique story through our guided journaling, you will uncover in-depth thoughts, and painful patterns holding you back.

Guided journaling offers a higher level of creativity for self-exploration and personal growth than journaling alone. The journaling exercises in this book are an excellent tool for the beginner or for the most avid of writers. Pick and choose the exercises most meaningful and provocative to you or chose to do them all! The reader/writer is in total control of their personal growth and goals. This customizable book will unlock deeper levels of love, life and wholeness. The secret to discarding old habits and unleashing the new you is available to everyone in the step-by-step book, Writing Your Way to Healing and Wholeness

Dawn Breast CancerAbout Dawn Bradford Lange:  Co-founder of Breast Cancer Yoga. Dawn is making a difference with Breast Cancer Yoga therapeutic products designed to support you emotionally and physically during breast cancer . We want to give you the attention and personal service you need so please email us at info@breastcanceryoga.com if you have questions.

Spring Opportunities of Joy for Breast Cancer Survivors

Winter may have been especially long, cold and dark for many; but as winter turned a corner on March 20, 2017, spring caused a shift in sunlight, brightening the corners of darkness. As breast cancer survivors’ know, not all changes bring light into the darkness. Life feels permanently changed when those words resounded in your ears, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” What do you know about the word, permanently? Maybe it is that all things are truly impermanent (not permanent). Like the four seasons, we realize the idea of impermanence as one season rolls into the next, ever changing. The concept of impermanence becomes a useful tool for living our lives vibrantly. Increasingly important, using ALL of our tools to keep us moving forward and staying positive. As Bell Ruth Naparstek explained in one of her affirmations in many of her healing CDs, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.”

Spring is a time when many things begin anew again. Grass appears greener than usual, blossoms on trees dance in the sunlight and bunnies are being born. Birds even seem to border on the obnoxious side late at night and early morning hours. The birds are so happy to be alive and so happy to create what comes natural that they do not attempt to restrain their song. You too, can be like the birds. Letting the cancer be like a winter season in your life, and chose to move into spring with the light, and the birds.

It is March 20, 2017 and you are still here. What do you want to plant? What to do you want to create? All of us reading this today are still here. All of us are going to die, yes, but what are we going to do with this day to make it a song from our heart? What if we feel tired? What if we feel weak? What is it that we can do to make today a day of spring-filled blessings? The choice is ours. We are not the same person before those words, “I am sorry you have breast cancer.” We are different now. Think about when Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz was hit upside the head with window, her life changed. She went on an unplanned journey that had many perils. When she returned to Kansas, no one or nothing had changed. However, Dorothy was different. She had been on the journey while everyone else stayed in their own comfort zone. Cancer changes us because it throws us out of our comfort zone and into the battle with the wicked witch of the west. We begin to see the path is up to us, not the Wizard, to survive the ordeals. We must get the witches broom. The season of spring gives us many opportunities to sweep out things not working, pack up things that are no longer useful and create new and bright happy changes in our life.

Make that affirmation, “More and more I know I will be well, not out of the fear of death or disability. I will be well out of the joy of living.” Regardless of your situation, stage, grade, or prognosis, create some joy in each day. Whether it is the ecstasy of the softness of ice cream in your mouth or a cool washcloth against your hot skin, push yourself to move toward joy just as a flower pushes out of the dormant cold frozen dirt toward the warmth and light of the newly arrived sunlight. Life is simple. It is what it is. You get to create joy and you can do that. Cancer did not steal that ability.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

How to OPEN Your Mind and Body to Change During Breast Cancer

breast-cancer-psychological-help-openToday is a good day to contemplate OPENING UP. The diagnosis of Breast Cancer and its treatment can cause you to close down, withdraw, and pull your body inward. Do some things today that help you OPEN yourself to healing and working with your body to heal itself. OPEN your arms and stretch to the sky. Stretch as far as you are comfortable, take a big inhale and stretch a little further. OPEN your mouth and stretch it as the face often holds each of our fears. Fear is an interesting phenomena as the more closed we are, the bigger fear grows. The more OPEN we become the more courage we create. Being OPEN is one of the best ways to conquer fear. Practice with your body and OPEN it to new possibilities.

OPEN your heart to love and acceptance. You did not cause this breast cancer, it is not your fault. So, let go of self-blame and use that energy to OPEN yourself to new possibilities. OPEN your mind and body to change. Most of us now know that our foods are full of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), but we are just learning that fact. So be OPEN to eating differently and buying organic. OPEN yourself to positive changes in your life regarding food and exercise.

OPEN your heart to new relationships and healing relationships that have become difficult. OPEN your heart to letting others be there for you and allowing people to be present to you on this journey. Be OPEN to asking for help. Be OPEN to offering help to others who can use your beautiful smile even though you have breast cancer right now. OPEN yourself to all possibilities and take steps to move on with your life.

Dr. Robin Dilley

Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

21 Key Points To Make Your Life Meaningful Today

21 Key points to a meaningful lifeIt is hard to get into your home without a KEY. Your car will not start without a KEY. The KEY to your safe protects your valuables and as you get older (if you are like me) you spend a bit of time trying to locate your KEYS. The KEY to this post is to make sure you know the KEY points to making your life meaningful today.

It is KEY to your health that you take responsibility for it and do not pawn your body off on your doctor. Research and educating yourself is the KEY to you being in charge of your treatment and treatment team. Get all of the information you can about your cancer, its stage and grade, and its many treatment options. Ask a thousand questions. Don’t let the medical professional make you feel you are asking too many. Here are a couple of my favorite questions: What is my prognosis or what are the statistics if I do what you are suggesting? And if I don’t, what are my odds? How quickly does this progress? If this was your mother, wife, husband, what would you suggest? Sometimes it is hard to ask tough questions but the KEY to unlock your choices is through information and information and education is power.

You have other choices that are KEYS to take note of. Eating healthy and reading labels is KEY to you being in charge of what goes in your mouth. Exercise is a KEY to feeling good about your body and keeping it in top shape.

Another KEY to a meaningful daily life is realizing that you are enough. Quit trying to make yourself fit into someone else’s mold, be exquisitely all of who you are. Stop hiding. Open the door of your heart and walk into life. You are the KEY ingredient. No one else can be you and the painful truth is no one else can live your life for you. You are the KEY to your happiness and no one else. Life is made up of KEY ingredients but you are the master KEY. You unlock all the doors and you choose how to deal with what comes at you.

Organized religion is not the KEY to your spirituality. But it can be a KEY ingredient to feeling connected to your God. I found that cancer brought up some interesting questions about God, faith, hope, and prayer. Spirituality is the KEY to understanding those questions and finding peace in journey without concrete answers.

The KEY is to stand up and be responsible for your life and your choices. The KEY to your health, finances, relationships, connections, and life’s direction is in your heart. Open it and live on.

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

CONVERSATION: A Psychologist’s Guide To Meaningful Conversation During Cancer Treatments

Meaningful Conversation Bonderies During Cancer TreatmentsIt is time to talk about the “C” word as we move our way through the alphabet. It might seem no surprise to you if I chose the word cancer for the C word. However, I am choosing the word Conversation. Conversation is the exchange of ideas between two or more people that leads to a meaningful dialogue and has the potential to lead to connection and caring between people.

As cancer survivors we all have something in common, but are we having meaningful conversations with each other, family, or friends about it? In my experience once treatment is finished the rest of the world declares us healed and cancer is no longer spoken about. It is also my experience that the thought of cancer is never far from my mind. I am inviting you to take a look inside and ask yourself, “What will it take to have a meaningful conversation about it, now?” (Regardless of whether you are 20 years out or two days into treatment)

Ah, but that brings up anxiety doesn’t it? What might I learn about you if we share in conversation? What is it that you don’t want me know your cancer and about you and you will go to any extreme not to share with me? What is it that you won’t ask me because you think I might be offended or have a less than positive reaction to? What would make our connection through the very limited English language be a meaningful conversation?

For me a meaningful conversation is about hearing and being heard. I want to tell you about my most difficult time this week and I want to hear about yours. I want to speak to you from my heart about my dreams and not be afraid that you will laugh at them. I want to share in your dreams and support you in them. Today, I want to know that you are safe enough to share with regardless of what I have to say. I want to be re-assured that even if you don’t agree that you will not go away. I want to know that there is room for us to disagree and stick together no matter what.

There are some things that are very important to me regardless of our differences.
For instance:

  • I cannot have a meaningful conversation with someone who does not respect me. I just don’t feel equal when I am disrespected. Thus, why would I bother to have a meaningful conversation? Respect creates respect. Disrespect creates disrespect.
  • I cannot have a meaningful conversation with someone who insists on being right. Conversations are an exchange of communication thus being right or wrong is not an exchange, someone wins or someone loses. If I want to win or lose I will go play a sport or to the casino. Otherwise there is no room for winning or losing.
  • I cannot have a meaningful conversation with someone who has an agenda. If you are invested in the outcome on how you want me to be at the end of the conversation, I have no interest in being controlled by your agenda. If you want to share your point of view then I am very open to hearing it and engaging in it.

What are your boundaries about a meaningful conversation? You might have more meaningful conversations if you become aware of your boundaries and stick to them. This can be scary so I invite you to start with a meaningful conversation in your journal and then find a safe person to read your journal entry to. It is one step at a time that we build a meaningful conversation. Start today and take one step at a time. First, choose the safest person to have a conversation.

One last thought; who would be the scariest person to have a conversation with? Maybe this is an excellent time to have a conversation with him or her in your journal that is just your private space to say whatever it is you need to say.

There are many ways to have meaningful conversations, but each one requires a certain level of risk. You get to decide how much risk you are willing to take.

Photo Source:PsychGuides.com

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

BALANCE: A Gift of Mindfulness

Mindfulness, Balance & Waterfalls For Breast Cancer HealingMindfulness, Balance and Waterfalls

Come along with me as we visit the waterfalls of my memory. I have many memories of waterfalls and imagine you do as well. When I think about waterfalls, I think about the big falls like the wondrous Niagara to tiny falls in the middle of gardens, like the one at my favorite coffee shop or even the electric trickle of the one in my office. Each waterfall brings to me a sense of contentment and a peculiar sensation of being whole. When I stood and watched the falls of Niagara for the first time I experienced it radiating throughout my chest… calling forth the vibration of life within me. Just last month, in the illusion of a hot desert, Phoenix experienced the freezing of waterfalls in the front yards of many homes. For me, that was a magical experience, as magical as Christmas lights during the Holiday Season. I can never get enough of them.

A certain trip to a waterfall taught me about inner balance. Balance, personal core balance, has been an issue for me probably all of my life, even though I don’t remember being a klutzy kid, I am a klutzy adult. I walk into things that I did not notice or look one way and miss a step the other way. What does all of this nonsensical chatter have to do with the waterfall that is begging for a space within my mindfulness on waterfalls?

It was in March of 2001. My partner Pam and I took a trip to the tropics of St. Lucia. St. Lucia is a small island in the Eastern Caribbean, where the people are lovely, friendly, and have welcoming smiles. We mostly hung out at our all-inclusive but wanted to do some “adventure sightseeing”. After careful research, we took an all day jeep tour. The day included a banana plantation, sugar cane mill, an unpaved road where we bought some local coconut, and wrapped up the day with a trip to one of their many waterfalls. We arrived around three in the afternoon and the coolness of the tropical trees, emerald green vegetation, and beautiful flora accompanied us to a narrow path that led down to the rocky beach below. To our right, a magnificent waterfall bellowed out of the mountain above us. The path down to the beach below the waterfall was not treacherous, if I fell; I was not going to tumble down the side of a mountain and into the river. However, I did notice I was tense negotiating the wet rock along the way. At the bottom, our island guide told us the best view of the waterfall was across the shallow river. I was not particularly in the mood to get wet and assessed that the rock was slick, being that it was covered in green and brown moss. I began a very tentative plod across the water. I was carefully placing my feet, watchfully examining each step. I watched our guide. He was barefoot. He was perfectly balanced in his brown molten skin, shiny now with spray from the falls. He never looked down at his feet. He walked with a balance so perfect, as if he was walking on a grassy lawn in a beautiful park. Soon, he noticed my tentativeness. He watched me for a moment and I of course became even more tentative. He came back beside me. He gently took my hand and said, “Look ahead. You are going over there. Let your focus be on where you are going and let your body relax on to the rocks. Your feet, even in your tevas, will find their way on the rocks. Let them do what feet do, while you drive the bus to the other side. Your feet are your wheels. They will adjust to the rocks as you focus to that opening over there.” We started together, he let go, and coached me to keep focusing and allow my feet to work for me. I began to feel as if I was weightless. My body became upright. My posture perfect as I allowed my body to relax into my feet. I have practiced that exercise so many times since then. It is as if I gathered poise and strength from the sound of the waterfall that quieted my fears and heightened the compassion of a young island man that was one with the earth.

Finding our way in the treacherous path of cancer treatments and recovery means allowing ourselves to focus on the looking ahead and taking one meaningful step at a time.

Photo Source: Awaken.com

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

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