On 9 January 2009, the cancer site of Cancerstory.com became dormant.
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Healing Setback
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Art transforms into compassion
The 8 Overcoming Tools : How to Overcome Your Fear of a Diagnosis of Cancer

Be A Full Partner With Your Physician

One day a young boy was on the front lawn of his house trying to move a huge rock. The boy was struggling and sweating, giving his all to move that stone. Finally, in exhaustion and irritation he looked at his Dad on the front porch and said, "I can't move it!"

His Dad looked back at him and said, "You can move it. You just haven't done all you could do."

The boy was very aggravated at this comment, and he proceeded to tell his father all he'd done to move the stone, including placing a big piece of wood under it to get leverage.

"No," the father said, "You have not done all you could. You did not ask me to help you."

We all need other people to accomplish most anything we set out to do in life. Your cancer diagnosis is no different. You will need the expertise and support from physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals to work toward the best possible outcome to your diagnosis. They are there for you. Ask for their help.

This final Overcoming Tool brings everything together. What I have been saying in The Eight Overcoming Tools is altogether different from what is commonly called "positive thinking." It is a partnership in integrated thinking with your healthcare professionals. With positive thinking alone, a person might tend to overlook symptoms, warning signs, and questions. Don't be like that. Ask questions and take action.

Being a full partner with your doctor means that you take the responsibility for your focus and attitude so that it is directed to the best possible outcome to the diagnosis that you have been given. And it means that you take the appropriate actions that your physician and your treatment team prescribe for you.

Please recognize that your relationship with your oncologist, or special cancer doctor, is best described as an "abrupt relationship." They see many people during the course of a day and most of the time do not have the time to spend with each and every patient as they would like. That's why many physicians have told me what a tremendous help The Eight Overcoming Tools books and films are because it gives them the materials and ideas they would very much like to convey to each person they diagnose with cancer.

How To Be A Full Partner With Your Doctor

First, be responsible. Remember, responsibility means "the ability to respond." Don't fall into the negative thinking trap that somehow you are to blame for having cancer. Cancer cells cause cancer. What you are taking responsibility for is your mental attitude and focusing on the best possible outcome, in partnership with your doctor.

Second, get all the information you can about your particular type of cancer. Ask questions. Ask your physician for time to schedule an appointment to ask questions you have and write them down so you will remember. Call Help Link. Call the National Cancer Society. They all have toll- numbers. The better informed you are, the better you'll be able to discuss your diagnosis with your doctor.

Visit your hospital and learn about the resources they have available. Go to your library and check out a couple of books about cancer. Then, ask your doctor about any aspect of your diagnosis and treatment that you have questions about. And don't be afraid to ask the tough questions, even questions about unorthodox treatments you've heard about.

Third, be active in support groups. Your hospital most likely has regularly scheduled support group meetings. Take part in them. You need the support and strength from other people who are fighting cancer. It's important to have a place to share your feelings and your experiences with others who can truly empathize with you and your particular situation.

Fourth, help others. You won't have to look far for opportunities to be helpful to others who are recovering from cancer. You know the importance of this kind of help because of the help you have received yourself. Don't assume that someone else will do it. Your own words of encouragement to others may be the key to helping another person transform their attitude and overcome the negative feelings that work against recovery. Remember the words of Abraham Maslow, "if not you, who? If not now, when?"

Finally, avoid negative people like the plague. If this means ending conversations with certain people, you are far better off doing that than risking the bad effects of their negative thinking which inevitably come out in their words, their gestures, their attitudes and their general behavior. You not only don't need it, you can't afford it. You are doing everything possible to stay focused only on the positive, but unfortunately, some people just can't help being negative and pessimistic, especially when they are confronted by something they don't understand and are afraid of, like cancer.

You have the tools to do your part, the part that no one else can do in your fight against cancer. You are the only person who can enter into a total partnership with your doctor to work toward the best possible result of your diagnosis.

In closing, listen to these words from Norman Cousins: "The greatest force in the human body is the natural drive of the body to heal itself, but that force is not independent of the belief system, which can translate expectations into physiological change. Nothing is more wondrous about the fifteen billion neurons in the human brain than their ability to convert thoughts, hopes, ideas and attitudes into chemical substances. Everything begins, therefore, with belief. What we believe is the most powerful option of all.

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