Linda Dean, 28 Feb 2013, revised March 1, 2018
Loving and forgiving is crucial for healing yourself.
You have Breast Cancer. I heard those words in 2012. Fear was my first reaction. Sadness and anger came soon after. Why is this happening to me? Fellow Toastmasters and honored guests, cancer is a life changing event. At first, you think it’s all over, this is what I’m going to die from. If that’s what you think, it will probably happen.
Instead, I decided to change my life for the better. I figured, if I had a direction that was truly valuable to the universe, the direction of my mind and soul would guide my body and the cancer wouldn’t have any place to grow. I came up with these three principles: 1) love yourself and others, 2) forgive yourself and others, and 3) live in the moment.
I had to first figure out why I got cancer. Physically, I smoked, I was overweight, I didn’t exercise, I ate a lot of processed food, and very few fruits and vegetables. Add age to this, and I had quite a few risk factors.
I think it goes deeper than this. I feel like I’ve spent my whole life hiding how I felt and what I thought. This behavior goes back to when I was a child. My older sister was constantly putting me down. No matter what I did, she always found a way to put me down. I was sure that anything I believed would be rejected by others. I was full of fear that people would not like who I really was. I smoked cigarettes as a diversion, so I wouldn’t explode.
Quitting smoking was my first act at loving myself. I was very angry with myself for smoking. I knew it made me feel exhausted and I was taking years off my life but for some reason, I couldn’t quit. I think I wasn’t valuing myself enough. I figured smoking would take years off my life, but now it was happening, and I couldn’t keep being ambivalent about myself. I decided instead I was worth loving and wanted to live.
I’m working with an Ayurvedic physician to bring my body into balance. I swore off meat. My husband got hostile at this change since I’d threatened his food supply. During cancer treatment, extra protein is needed to heal. When I finished treatment, I started eating a plant-based diet and instantly started to feel better. It took a long while to give up cheese, ice cream, and milk in my cereal. I eventually found replacements.
I take the time to care for myself. I’ve learned some yoga and breathing exercises. I mediate to keep connected to my spirituality. Self touch is also important. I have a blast with my grish-na gloves and my Gau Sha stone.
- Love yourself and others. I now have an understanding that God is in each of us and is everywhere. God is the power of good. Evil springs up when you’re separated from Him. Stress results when you let the chatter of your ego control you.
I love the others in my life. I came to realize that my family deeply loves me. If I died today, my daughter would be about the same age as I was when my mother passed away. My husband is already distrustful of medicine and doctors after his mother was cured of cancer and then died 2 years later. He would be angry and alone.
I recognized that I was in way over my head. I believe God gives you only what you can handle. I couldn’t go through this without Him or the support of a church in case things came out for the worst.
The Sunday before my surgery, we went to a new church. The sermon was on forgiveness.
- Forgive yourself and others. Let go of all things hurtful to your soul. It doesn’t serve you, only hurts you. With God within, all things are possible. You don’t need to believe anyone’s negative interpretations.
- Meditation. I learned that meditating is a time to be silent to hear God’s message to you.
When I close my eyes, I see myself dancing and singing. Vibrant and alive. I don’t see myself running, but I do see myself hiking a beautiful countryside as I take in cool air and listening to the vibrations of all living things. Walking in the daylight and resting in the moonlight.
I came to my answers to the cancer questions after much research and soul searching. I caution that your answers are uniquely yours. If you are doing what feels right for you, then you’ve done all you can. You should never second guess. No “if I only would-a, could-a, should-a.” Stop it. You’ve done your best.
Someday, each of us will leave this earthly world. If you’ve walked this earth with God in your heart, each day is a blessing filled with joy and flavor. With such beauty, take loving care of yourself and every person put in your path.
Love concurs all. Love all, forgive all, and be your true self.
May peace be with you.