Chemo is a strange thing. It’s a means to an end – hopefully an end to your cancer. Chemo is a very good example of how the cure is often worse than the disease. But, everyone’s story is different, so don’t go by what others have experienced. Your friend may have had an awful time of it. You may not.
But, there are times when you may think it’s just too hard. Here are some things that got me through:
Prayer and Bible Reading
Maybe you’re not even in the habit of reading your Bible OR praying and you think this is weird. I want to encourage you to give it a shot. And, if this IS new to you, treat it just like any other new habit that you want to develop and stick with it for at least 14 days. The experts are still debating on how long it takes to develop a new habit, so give or take a few days on the time frame, but either way, just give it a shot!
Here’s one way that is pretty easy: If you have a smart phone, you can use this app if you’re an Android user. I’m sure there are apps available for iPhones too. What I do – first thing in the morning (once my coffee is poured) is open the app on my phone or tablet. It gives me a random verse of the day. I like to go in and read the entire chapter so I can understand the context of what is written.
I pray (this is just talking to God) and ask Him to show me what it is He wants me to see this day. Sometimes, I wonder if it’s even relevant to me, but I read it anyway. Reading the entire chapter really helps too.
If you don’t have a personal relationship with Him, I really recommend you check out this article from the Billy Graham Association to get a better understanding of how that works. Do you have questions? Please let me know. I’ll be happy to help you through this.
When I start my day like this, there are a few things that happen. First, it takes the attention off of myself. It’s very easy to sit and feel sorry for yourself when you’re going through treatment for cancer. I’ve done it, so I know!
God Answers Prayer
So, what happens when attention is taken from you? It has to go somewhere, right? This is where it gets really good! If you’re like me, you’ll start to pray for other people who are going through other things! I have found that by praying for others, my own stress level goes down. And stress is NEVER a good thing, right?
I’ve had people come up to me and report that God worked a miracle in their lives. These are usually the people who I have been praying for. I find this to be very gratifying.
Next, starting your day like this will get you to really appreciate what God is doing in your own life. Oh, were you starting to think that maybe God had abandoned you? I hope not. Read this verse: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
If you have a Bible, please consider reading more about this in the book of Romans. If you don’t have a Bible, there are some free apps for your smartphone for that too! I like the ESV version for ease of understanding.
Prayer is you talking to God, but Bible reading is how God talks to you! Once you get into this new habit, I hope you’ll find it as much a blessing as I do. I don’t hear an audible voice when God speaks to me, but I promise you, He speaks!
Good nutrition is different things to different people. When I was first diagnosed, I was told that my cancer was caused from something that I ate, drank, breathed…something! I really didn’t know and there was no way to test and find out. So, I did what any typical newly-diagnosed-cancer-patient would do, I OVERREACTED! For three weeks, I could barely eat or drink anything! I was afraid that with every bite or swallow I might be poisoning myself! It may sound crazy to you (I was told that it was silly) but in my mind, it was the only option.
I started to explore different ways of eating. My daughter Amber has been unintentionally thrown into the world of food allergies and has learned all about healthy ways of eating. So naturally, I asked her for help.
Amber did not disappoint and soon, I found myself eating a very strict Paleo Diet. I got a lot of help from this site. Paleo eating is not exciting and not a lot of variety compared to what we are used to eating in our culture, but when you’re looking at it from the perspective of a cancer patient going through chemo, it makes sense. My oncologist was very pleased as well!
Amber has since created her own blog which talks about all kinds of nutritional ideas. If you have any family members who have food allergies, then you’ll want to check it out.
Do you have a church that you’re very involved in. Maybe you attend on Christmas and Easter only or perhaps you don’t have any connection with a church whatsoever. A Harvard Study actually shows that people who attend church are healthier!
In my own experience, I have found my best friends in church. The people who attend my church are more loving and genuine than most people I’ve met on the job, for example.
What I like best about my church though is the fact that the people who attend there are genuinely concerned for other people. They really WANT to help. And when my daughter April asked for help with meals for my husband and me, they really came through. The response was overwhelming to say the least. It encouraged me so much! Here’s the site that April used and we found to be so wonderful with this need.
If you’re not actively involved in a church, check online and see what’s out there for you now. It’s never too late to get involved and who knows-It might be just what the doctor ordered!
Ask For Help
If you’re like me, asking for help is NOT easy even in normal circumstances. But after a cancer diagnosis it’s even harder. What I found was that people feel the need to help. And if I didn’t let them do that, I was doing THEM a disservice. I did NOT want that on my conscience!
Actually, as I moved through the treatment and friends started to help in various ways, I learned a valuable lesson. By allowing others to help me, not only was I blessed, they were too!
You see, parents in my church were teaching their children that we have to take care of each other. Friends who didn’t know what to do for me could come and clean my house or pick up some groceries. All I had to do was get rid of my pride and let them help! It wasn’t comfortable at first, but once I settled in I found myself overwhelmed at times with how God was working through my cancer. I wasn’t the only one who was blessed!
When you’re up to it and you can dedicate a couple hours or so, I really want you to check out a freezer meal workshop. This will do a couple things for you. First, it will get you out of the house and with other people – WIN! And second, it will get your freezer stocked with some food for when you don’t feel like you can (are aren’t able to) cook. My personal favorite is Wildtree Foods. It’s all organic, low or no salt and it tastes GREAT! It’s not food that’s already prepared, but seasonings and mixes to help you make some great meals.
The first time I used Wildtree, my husband asked which restaurant I ordered from! It’s really that good. I wish I’d known about it sooner. My good friend Jane is a Wildtree advisor so I’ve asked her to share her site with my readers. Here it is for you to take a look and just see what I’m talking about. Of course, she can’t come in person to do a workshop for you if you’re not local to her, but I promise, she’ll still help you.
What About You?
So, how are you thriving through your chemo or other treatments? I’d love to hear from you. Please take a moment to leave a comment below. And please subscribe to my blog so you won’t miss anything coming up! Here’s to Thriving – Not Just Surviving!