Love Heals: The Most Powerful Cancer-Fighting Tool

Today, I feel compelled to write about something emotionally powerful; something that has the ability to (literally) change lives. It is the healing power of love. And I can say this with certainty: love heals.

How I Know Love Heals

In the 1st edition of my book, Know Your Enemy, Chapter 1: Gather Your Troops, I touched on the healing power of love as described by Deepak Chopra. He writes “The use of love is to heal. When it flows without effort from the depth of the self, love creates health.”

And I agree. I believe, at its core, there is a real purity and electricity that is created in a loving environment. The result is very powerful — almost super-natural — force that has infinite abilities to heal the human body.

I witnessed first-hand how the love and compassion from family and friends directed toward my mother, Maxine, and my wife, Alyson, gave off an electricity that energized their spirits on a daily basis. This outpouring of love also acted as a force-field to help protect their bodies from the constant attacks by this enemy.

How You Can Utilize Love to Heal

I believe love may be the single greatest weapon in the treatment arsenal against cancer … or any major illness you may be battling. Why? Because love is a foreign concept to disease and has the potential to aid in overpowering any health condition.

In today’s modern times, many people are seeking natural remedies and holistic approaches to fight everything from cancer to OCD. But is there a more natural or holistic approach to fighting an enemy than tapping into and utilizing the healing power of love?

Don’t rely on medications, injections and medical treatments alone to win your battles. Know that love heals. Trust it. Surround yourself and your loved ones with the most powerful healing energy.

And one last note … I would be remiss if I wrote about the topic of love without mentioning one of the best songs of all-time with love in the title. That would be The Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. It’s not a bad mantra and first step for any treatment regimen.

Is This What Really Matters in Life?

During the formative high school years, there is so much emphasis placed on GPA’s, class rankings and PSAT scores; all to gain acceptance into a socially-endorsed university. The same mantra re-emerges during the college (and possibly grad school) years. And the conventional wisdom is that the stakes are much higher because the ultimate prize in this contest is a life-long career that will guarantee financial stability and “success.” Is this what really matters in life?

Upon entering the job market, one soon realizes that there are unfamiliar rules and players in this contest, affectionately referred to as the “rat-race.” In this game the emphasis is placed on how rapidly one can ascend to the top rung of a soul-less corporate ladder. Is this what really matters in life?

While making the corporate climb, society has the additional expectation of “marrying right” and finding the “idyllic” homestead to serve as family point-of-refuge, with one small catch. This picturesque view of life is clouded by constant life comparisons to the mythical Joneses. Is this what really matters in life?

Then, as mid-life approaches, one’s introspective side likely begins to surface, reassessing all aspects of life to date. As this movie of life plays in one’s head, the obvious life question arises: Is this all there is? Or, is this what really matters in life?

This journey through life could have and would have been much more satisfying if at a younger age, more focus and attention had been placed on two key outcomes that are often overlooked. Those are joy and happiness — better known as fun.

The Power of Fun

My prior blogs have touched on themes about life being short and time being precious. This post places an importance on the personal fulfillment aspect of life’s journey. To put it bluntly, if we are not enjoying ourselves or having fun on this journey we call life, what is the point?

I think The Beatles said it best in the closing lyrics of “She’s Leaving Home,” found on side 1 of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album …

She (What did we do that was wrong?) … is having (We didn’t know it was wrong?) … fun (Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy) … something inside that was always denied for (Bye bye) … so many years.

As you read the poem below, think about the question that drives this post: Is this what really matters in life?

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Breathe in, Breathe out

Breathe in-breathe out, breathe in-breathe out. What is life, really about?

When you bow your head at night to pray.

What is the message you are trying to convey?

Are you longing for a special innocence and truth?

Reminiscent of times that once defined your youth.

Are you seeking a greater meaning to life?

One free of material possessions and strife.

Breathe in-breathe out, breathe in-breathe out. What is life, really about?

The answers to life’s many mysteries,

can be found in plain view for all to see.

They’re in a setting sun on a mid-summer night,

or a red-tailed hawk soaring boldly in flight.

So if you’re hoping to one-day find,

an internal calm and peace of mind.

Remember, breathe in and breathe out,

and it will help you tune into what life is about.

Breathe in-breathe out, breathe in-breathe out, breathe in-breathe out.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Find your fun. Find your peace. Find what life is really about.

Time is Precious

I realized early in the cancer journeys with my mother, Maxine, and wife, Alyson, that time is precious and finite. Our time on this earth is fleeting, often said to go by at the “blink of an eye.”

These experiences caused me to reassess the value that I placed on time and what I really considered to be my priorities in life.

I was never one that felt the need to define my being with material things. I would never say something like “I live in a $450,000 house (which I don’t). Instead, I’d be more likely to say, “I live in a house that is warm and welcoming, and friends say feels comfortable to them.” One of my go-to sayings that I think captures this sentiment best is: “I want all my belongings to be able to fit in the back of my Ford pick-up truck.”

A new measure of happiness … time

But as I went through my cancer journeys, my priorities shifted. It was no longer about how much (or how little) stuff I had. Or how well liked I was. In this new world order, I found a different type of personal happiness and fulfillment; one that involves family and friends that have a similar appreciation of time and friendship. These relationships are very special because the people are authentic, comfortable in their own skin and “givers” (see prior blog post: A giver has got to know his/her limitations).

Now, I also try to focus on investing my time in activities that give me a real sense of joy and accomplishment. I seldom find myself in situations that are uncomfortable or “just not my deal.” Now that I understand just precious time is, I have learned that the word “no” is not a bad word. In fact, it often leads to a more enjoyable experience for all parties because each participant is committed and all-in.

And that led me to write the following poem. Have these questions in mind as you read it:
“How would your life and decisions change if you knew the end was near? Would you play it safe or take a risk and venture outside of your comfort zone?”

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Time is Precious…

How would your life change if you had but one year?
How would the news impact your hopes, dreams, and fears?

Would you invest more time in your current profession?
Or feel the need for greater purpose and expression?

Would you settle on a relationship long since grown stale?
Or seek a special bond you know will prevail?

Would you surround yourself with loyal friends from the past?
Or spend time with new acquaintances unlikely to last?

Time waits for no one and only you hold the key.
To unlock the door and set yourself free.

So live each day as if you had but a few.
And savor every moment like you are starting anew.

––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Remember. Time is precious. Live every day to its fullest.

5 Stages of Grief

When you hear that cancer diagnosis, this is usually the start of the grief cycle for many people. It’s not full loss in terms of a death or permanent loss, but it’s still grief. It’s helpful, I think, to understand the five stages of grief to help you through your cancer battle. These can be helpful both to patients, but also to loved ones who are walking alongside on the journey.

Stage 1:  Denial & Isolation

Often when we get bad news, we simply want to hole up and not see anyone. We can be in a mode of simply wanting to ignore the problem.  When it comes to cancer, sometimes we don’t have the luxury of ignoring things and we must act fast. Either way, we may find ourselves wanting to isolate and separate ourselves from other loved ones.

Stage 2:  Anger

At some point, as we go through grief, we get to a point of feeling angry.  We have a low patience level for things and can get upset over anything – cancer-related or not. Anger may come out to any number of people, from family to the doctors, to God, to even the unsuspecting cashier at the store. 

Stage 3:  Bargaining

As anger wears off, we start trying to take control back and often that comes in the form of “if only” statements. We might say things like “if only we knew sooner,” or “if only we could get another opinion.” We start to bargain and evaluate the situation.

Stage 4:  Depression

Depression can come in terms of emotions related to practical needs, but it can also come out and show itself in a deeper, more quiet expression. Depression can be hard, but I think it’s the most expected emotion we expect ourselves to feel and what we expect out of others. It’s becoming more and more accepted to feel depression and it’s not a shameful emotion to walk through. When we realize, though, that our depression is lingering longer than just a season, we need to get help.

Stage 5:  Acceptance

Reaching the point of acceptance can be a true gift. We have more clarity about our situation at this stage and have a lot of power as a result. We can truly fight our cancer fight with everything we’ve got. 

Is any one stage of the cycle wrong to be in? How long does the cycle take? Can the order shake up? 

The more I dug into this topic, the more questions came up. Since I’m not a licensed counselor or therapist, I know that there may be other people who can speak into this more than I can. What I do know is that by voicing these stages, it gives us all freedom to walk through our battle with grace, knowing that it truly is a journey.  We sometimes have to walk through some hard seasons. Let’s do that together and realize that there are people walking through the grief cycle in all walks of life and in all kinds of grief. Let’s walk together.