Tag: coping with cancer

Tea – Green Teas – Great Benefits

Taste buds change when going through cancer treatment.  Also, nutrition becomes a key factor when making healing choices.  At the top of the list for nutiritional beverages is Green Tea.  I know for myself, coffee just didn’t taste right anymore, so I did gravitate to teas for taste, but more importantly for health reasons.  One of my favorites is Macha Tea.

Research has indicated that the health benefits of drinking green tea are:

  • reduced risk of esophageal cancer
  • inhibited growth of cancer cells as a result of a compound in green tea
  • lowered total cholesterol levels, as well as improved ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol.

For those who still want their caffeine fix without the coffee, green tea is an ideal option. It provides the caffeine, although at a much lower dose than coffee, while one reaps the health benefits listed above.

So, slow down and enjoy a wonderful cup of green tea.

What to Get Someone Going Through Cancer

This is always a question I’m asked by family and friends of those going through cancer.  What do they need?  What would be helpful?

Here are a few ideas for inspirational gifts for cancer patients that will tickle your imagination:

1. Stainless Steel Water Bottle – most people carry one with them to treatment or wherever they go.  Find one with an inspirational message to help lift their spirits.

2. Journal – place to thoughts, notes, ideas, emotions, etc.  Get a beautiful pen to go with it.

3. Tote Bag – to carry a book, water bottle, journal, etc. to while away the time spent in doctor’s offices, waiting rooms, etc.

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Watch for upcoming blogs with more ideas.

The Benefits of Fitness During Cancer Treatment

Physical fitness is probably the last thing you might thinks of when diagnosed with cancer.  Yet it is critically important to stay fit for a number of reasons, because exercise –

  • Combats fatigue and increases energy.
  • Increases the amount of oxygen in your system.  Cancer does not fare well in an oxygenated environment.
  • Exercise for lymphedema reduces this risk by keeping the flow of lymph fluid moving through your body.
  • Stretchs out scar tissue caused by surgery and increase the range of motion in joints that might be affected by radiation.
  • Increases a sense of self-esteem and keeps depression at bay – often a side effect of cancer treatment.
  • Promotes relaxation and sleep – very important and sometimes difficult states to maintain.

Already I think you are getting the message.  Whatever your choice of exercise – walking, yoga, pilates, cycling, tai chi – get moving, make new friends and create a fun environment for  yourself.  It will go a long way to making the cancer journey easier.

The Healing Power of Sound

Have you ever listened to a piece of music and felt tingles go up your spine?  Or have you put on music to calm and soothe you during stressful times?  Have you ever felt the beat of drums or the vibration of sound as it washes over you.  These are telltale signs of the power that music has to heal and influence our very being.

I know when I was going through cancer treatment, I used music in a number of ways.

  • During chemo, I listened to meditation music and transported myself to a different place.
  • At night,when I was anxious and having problems sleeping, I’d play music that was relaxing.
  • To soothe and feed my soul, I would sit quietly by myself and strum on my guitar.
  • Singing or vocalizing sounds would release tension as I felt the vibrations resonate through my chakras

There are many ways to use the power of sound in healing.  As you look through books for cancer patients, you will find several on sound wellness and how to incorporate sound and/or music into your healing journey.

Inspiration in a Tote Bag

Heading off to doctor’s appointments, treatments, etc. means carrying a lot of stuff with you.  Most of the time, you have to wait and a good book or journal makes a wonderful ‘wait partner’.  Chemotherapy treatments can take a while.  I often carried meditation tapes with me and plugged in for the duration.  It helped me relax and transport me to another place while the treatment was taking place.

Having a sturdy, roomy and – bonus – inspirational – tote bag is a great way to manage the bits and pieces while providing an inspirational message to keep you focused and positive.   Staying positive and  involved in your own healing are definite prerequisites to keep in mind. 

As a friend or family member, these types of items make excellent inspirational gifts for cancer patients.  I know many people ask for suggestions on what would be useful to their friend going through cancer.  Here is one idea.

Add Pizazz and Healing Energy with Healing Gemstones

Dressing up and feeling good about oneself while undergoing cancer treatments is a key component to keeping self esteem and motiviation high.  Not every day will you feel up to the challenge, but there will be days when you need to get out, feel ‘normal’, and look the best you can. 

Adding wonderful healing gemstones in earrings, necklaces and bracelets to your outfit not only gives your appearance pizzaz  but the gemstones also create a healing energy.  Some gems to think about are:

  • Turquoise – a master healing stone helps protect and align the chakras which in turn strengthens the overall body.  Definitely a bonus when going through cancer.
  • Sodalite – stills the mind and aids relaxation
  • Agate – helps to remove blockages from the body and thereby create balance.

Whatever one can do to create positive and vibrant energy in the body while undergoing cancer treatment will be beneficial.  It might as well be something this is also fun, fashionable and easy to wear as in healing gemstone jewelry.

Cold Weather and Exercise Tips for Cancer Patients

It is vital that exercise be part of your daily routine if you are going through cancer treatment.  You may not feel like doing anything – fatigue is often the issue – but you will feel better and have more energy rather than less if you make the effort.

Simple walking, fresh air, and being in nature are all inexpensive ways to get your daily exercise.  Swinging those arms is great exercise for lymphedema as well as the fact that is helps reduce the risk of getting lymphedema.

However, cold weather experienced by those who live in northern climates often makes being outside not an option.  What options are there then?

  1. Go for walk inside in a shopping mall.  Find a friend to go with – helps with motivation, plus you can stop and enjoy a coffee or whatever afterwards.
  2. Head to the YWCA or leisure center and use their exercise equipment (i.e. treadmill, bike, etc.) or use at-home exercise equipment if you have one.
  3. Exercise along with a DVD.  There are many choices (Yoga, Tai Chi, Aerobics).  Find one that works for you.
  4. Go for a swim at an indoor pool and dream of summer days.

Exercise has been proven by research to not only be beneficial while you are going through cancer treatment.  Exercise is also beneficial in reducing the risk of getting cancer in the first place.  Besides, being healthy and fit makes life just that much more enjoyable.  You will have more energy, feel better about how look, and work off stress.  It’s a win-win.

Give Your Energy a Boost with Healing Gemstones

Energy Necklace

One of the side effects of cancer treatment is lack of energy and absolute fatigue.  This fatigue together with the stress of treatment and lack of sleep can seriously undermine our peace of mind.

Wearing healing gemstones in attractive ways – such as jewelry – can greatly enhance our energy flow by tapping into the healing vibrations of the earth emitted through these gemstones.

Garnet: the ‘Stone of Health’ – helps get rid of emotional blockages, promotes the flow of chi and energy in our body.

Citrine:  the ‘Stone of Happiness’ filling the energy flow around our body with positive vibration bringing light and optimism.  This energy helps alleviate depression – often present with low energy and the stress of cancer treatment.

Turquoise: the ‘Master Healing Stone’ brings its energy to help strengthen the entire body which is so necessary to healing from cancer.

Healing gemstones in the form of jewelry – necklaces, bracelets, earrings – can be a positive gift for someone going through cancer.  A different idea that can bring them energy and a sense of positive at a time when they need it the most.  Explore the different gemstones – they are numerous and offer many healing properties.

Time to Reflect – What Is Important

Now that the rush and bustle of Christmas is over for 2010, maybe there is time in your life now to slow down and be aware of what is important.  In our North American culture, this idea of slowing down so we can actually hear ourselves is completely foreign.  Yet this aspect of living is so important.

Life is way too short to spend it running from goal to goal, not even aware of the journey in between.  This is actually where real living takes place.  This is where we grow as individuals.  We learn new skills, gain insights, meet new people, find out about ourselves.

Having a life threatening illness, such as cancer, for sure puts you in this mode.  Books coping with cancer often deal with lifestyle issues – this reassessing of life’s priorities.  They cover stories by other cancer patients, benefits of meditation, nutrition, exercise and much more.  In our busy lives, we often don’t pay much attention to these issues.

It would be a better world if more people were aware of how fragile life is, how much we need to take it slower – before we get the two by four learning – a life threatening illness or event.

Tai Chi: Healing Movements

Slow, graceful moves, fluid and contemplative, stretching body, mind and spirit – that’s tai chi.  I recall it well.  Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had been taking Tai Chi classes.  We were a wonderful group of individuals, learning together and sharing our stories during our tea break.  It was exercise, learning and social all at the same time.

As I like to move, tai chi became my moving mediation during cancer treatment.  The slow movements helped my body open up, develop strength and flexibility, but more importantly tai chi quieted my mind and helped me find my inner place for healing.  The movements also became preventive exercise for lymphedema as I could feel the lymph moving, especially after radiation.

If you are not fortunate to have a group in your area, consider a DVD to follow and learn the moves at home.  Also excellent for practising at home between classes.