Friday, March 23, 2007

Do we get to choose?

I wonder if we get to choose, to some degree, the course of our cancer. I have been doing all sorts of additional types of medicines to the Western surgery and chemo combo since I was diagnosed. Acupuncture, massage, body talk and meditation both during and after chemo. As a caveat, I should mention that I'm from San Francisco and these things are a lot more standard here than they would be in other parts of the US.

So here's what I'm wondering - do my intentions, my choices, affect my outcome? So far the evidence says yes. It's difficult, if not impossible, to empirically prove (I'm a bioscience gal, so I know my variables, controls and placebos) that any of this additional treatments are doing anything, but along the way I have had small bits of proof that are making me believe more and more that intention, qi and whatever else I'm doing seems to positively affect my prognosis. For example, all of the measurable things that I was asked to envision in my "Preparing for Surgery" meditation actually happened. And according to all my surgeons, nurses and my oncologist I'm doing remarkably well with my treatments.

So, my question to you, the cancer community (and anyone else who may be reading this) is this: Do our intentions affect us on a cellular level? Can we meditate on making new blood cells and have it happen? Can we will away the cancer by asking, telling or shouting at it that we don't need it anymore? If our minds/brains are controlled to some degree by thoughts and thoughts signal our brains to send all sorts of cascading messengers to our cells, then why not? Maybe it's a practice we have to do daily. Like exercise - if you only go to the gym once a month nothing significant will change, but if you do several times a week, your body will respond.

So, let's all imagine this:

Your body is at its best. Your immune system is working like the well oiled machine that it should, finding cells that are no longer needed and destroying them while recycling the good parts for future use. Your heart is pumping way, happy in its task. It's delivering oxygen rich blood to our cells so they can make more energy to do all the tasks your cells need, while pumping away carbon dioxide and other toxins that our healthy body no longer has need for. All of your other organs are operating at peak health, doing their individual jobs to help make you a whole, complete, healthy and well-balanced body and mind.

Take that, cancer! Ha!

3 comments:

Jules said...

Hi - from the UK

I am a 44 year old, father of two, working in healthcare (project management). In May last year I was admitted with suspected appendicitis, which (you've guessed it)turned out to be bowel cancer. My cancer was in the ascending colon (which was removed) and had spread to one of my lymph nodes (1 out of a sample of 38)(Stage 3b - T4,N1,M0). I also had six months of chemotherapy (oral - xeloda)- which was a bit tough towards the end. Now (3-4 months on) - back to running 20 miles a week and feeling fine (if tired with aching legs), first half marathon of the season next weekend. Good luck with your adventure & if I can help you compare notes - let me know.

Best wishes

Jules

Megan said...

Hi Jules-

It's good to hear your story! Gives me a bit of hope than I can get my life back relatively soon. I have a trainer that I am going to work with to try to alleviate the "chemo couch potato" syndrome which I seem to have contracted along with the cancer. I am on FOLFOX for chemo, BTW.

Good luck to you. It sounds like you're in a good place.

Best,

Megan

Amy said...

Hi from NJ

I'm 31 and was diagnosed in September with stage 3c and am on my 10th treatment of folfox plus Avastin. I really like this article and have been doing acupuncture myself, which I believe has helped. Also I've been reading this book which I absolutely fell in love with called Love, Medicine and Miracles. It has a very spiritual side to it but it talks about how are attitude towards our cancer plays a big role. This weekend I'm going to see a Holistic Practitioner which helped me a lot a couple of months ago. I figure whatever works during this time is fine by mean and I'll keep doing it!

Best Wishes

Amy