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
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
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.