Twelve tips that could help you or someone you love beat cancer
Every once in a while someone emails me about a friend or acquaintance who has been diagnosed with cancer.
They are looking for suggestions and hope from someone who has “been there.”
And I’ve definitely been there.
As a young adult cancer survivor and a founder of Prepare to Live I’ve experienced a lot and learned a few things,
I’ve been cancer-free for over a decade and it’s been almost that long since I needed any cancer-related treatment, but the twelve tips below are timeless.
I share them with you now on the off chance that someone you know may be coping with cancer.
Because, sadly, odds are that you do. Or will.
So here are my twelve tips.
Eran Thomson’s 12 Tips for Beating Cancer
1. Be your own best expert.
Every doctor has their own, sometimes hidden agenda, talk to lots of them and remember they work for you. You’re hiring them to save your life. So interview them well — have questions, do background checks, see if they’re involved with leading trials and research, and look for their names in research papers or industry blogs related to your cancer.
2. Use the web, but don’t believe everything you read.
There is as much bullshit online as there is truth, and when you’re sick, looking for answers, you’re vulnerable. Get lots of info, then take that info to real live human experts who can help you separate fact from fiction.
3. Ignore Statistics.
Be your own statistic. Don’t let the numbers and charts scare you. Someone gets to be on the right side of the bell curve, why not you?
4. Remember: Things Change. FAST.
If you think your computer or mobile phone becomes obsolete quickly, wait until you get stuck in to the world of medical technology. New things are being developed non-stop. Find out about them, research them. Be a medical tech nerd.
5. Make Changes.
If you never exercised, start. If you ate crap, stop. If you worked all the time, don’t. Learn to meditate. Tell your body you love it — listen to what it wants and as best as possible, give it. Express gratitude.
6. And obviously quit smoking, red meat, booze, etc.
If you love those things and they make you happy, don’t make yourself miserable. Have some. Once in a while as a treat. Except for the cigarettes.
7. Rally the Troops.
Build a support network, and give them jobs. Your friends and family will want to help, but most likely, they won’t know how. So they will hover and dawdle and give you sad looks. This is because, ironically, they feel helpless, after all, they can’t fix your “problem.” But they can do other things — get groceries, wash your dog, manage your emails, massage your neck, vacuum. Trust me, they will jump at the chance to feel like they’re helping. And to have something to do besides give you sad looks.
8. Start a Blog.
Don’t start a non-profit*. Everyone is going to want to know how you’re doing and you’re going to get sick of telling them. Blogs didn’t exist when I was first diagnosed, so I did email blasts, but now a private blog is a great way to share your progress with everyone without having to tell the same story over and over and over.
9. Get your Head Right.
A large part of your recovery (and in my opinion, the cause of many diseases) is emotional. So get right in the head. Get spiritual, get a psychiatrist, get a new job, make friends with a Monk, let go of any guilt, make amends if you must, but clear your conscience. Get your karma bank balance back in black.
10. Get on the ACOR email list.
There’s one for your specific disease. Google it.
11. Get Outside.
Nature is healing. If you’re stuck in bed, or in a hospital, and you can, get out and breathe some fresh air — even if only for 5 minutes. Especially if you’re in a hospital. They smell funny. That said, more important than breathing fresh air, is learning to breathe. Meditation can help.
12. Get an Insurance Helper.
Leukemia may have come close to killing me, but dealing with insurance companies came closer. The stress, anxiety, bureaucracy, utter nonsense, and incompetence I dealt with during my treatment may have had more to do with my hair loss than bad genes or chemo. That thing I said above about rallying the troops and giving people jobs? This may be the most important one. Let someone else deal with it. Trust me.
And finally, check out the fantastic organization that Prepare to Live now refers to Young Adults: StupidCancer.com
Wishing you health and happiness,
*Note: Prepare to Live is looking for new leadership. If you or someone you know is interested in taking the reins, please get in touch.