Category Archives: Making Healing Choices

How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / photostock

Image Source: freedigitalphotos.net / photostock

How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

One of the things I hear all too often from my breast cancer coaching clients is that they are tired of being bullied by their doctor when they want to investigate more natural ways to heal breast cancer, and many ask me for help on how to be more assertive at the doctor’s office.

Really – this is a big deal.  People who are going through breast cancer are having to make lots of decisions about their treatments in a pretty short period of time.

The decisions that need to be made are scary, and if the wrong decision gets made, it could be quite detrimental to one’s health and, ultimately, life.  So that part is hard enough.

Many of the people with whom I am working are wanting to go a more natural route.  Some may choose to have chemotherapy and/or radiation and use a blend of natural therapies, some don’t want the toxicity of chemotherapy or radiation at all, and some will depart from their oncologist’s recommendations when it comes to the subject of hormone blocking medications.

Dealing With The Dinosaurs

Regardless of a person’s choices, it has been my observation that the more forward-thinking doctors are okay with their patient’s choices and support their decisions.

Every once in awhile, however, we run across a dinosaur.  A doctor who absolutely refuses to see their patient’s argument and gets mad at them for having an opinion that is contrary to what is being recommended.

The dinosaurs are apt to say all kinds of negative things like, “Well you will be seeing me again in a few months when the cancer comes back.” or “You will be sorry that you made that decision.”

The most heinous thing I was ever told by one of my ladies is that her doctor told her “You are a dead woman walking.”  Can you believe that?  It  still makes me madder than a wet hen.

So how to deal with the dinosaurs?  

It can be a scary thing, going against your doctor’s orders.  I know a few women who just about have an anxiety attack when they know they are going to have “that conversation” with their doctor.

Assertiveness is a skill that takes practice.  It may be much easier for you to swallow your feelings and just crumble, but how will that make you feel later?  You won’t be happy about it, I promise.

Please note – I am not advocating that you go against your doctor’s orders or recommendations.  But if you have decided upon a different course of action and are dealing with a dinosaur, here are my best tips.

7 Tips On How To Be More Assertive At The Doctor’s Office

1.  Most importantly, know that this is YOUR body.  You get to say what happens to it.  If you are not happy about your doctor’s treatment plan, and you have done the research and decided upon a different course of action, that is your prerogative.  You have every right to do this.

2.  Don’t go in unprepared.  Think about what you want to say.  Print off the research that you have been reading that leads you to believe your course of action is the better one.  Prepare the words you want to use ahead of time.  Visualize the meeting beforehand, with you speaking your truth and your doctor listening, and it will go much more smoothly.

3.  Realize that by saying NO, you are not hurting the doctor’s feelings.  In an hour or two, he/she will most likely forget all about this conversation.

4.  Take a friend or spouse with you – someone who will absolutely have your back and support you if you start to crumble.  Another set of ears to listen and take notes is always a good idea.

5.  While you are in the doctor’s office waiting to be seen, do a little deep breathing.  This helps ease your worries and anxiety.  Breathe in what you need – peace, serenity, strength, resolve – and breathe out feelings of anxiety, worry, and fear.

6.  Be specific, calm, honest, clear in your words, and be respectful.  Make eye contact and use confident body language.  The doctor will see that you mean what you say.

7.  Keep emotions in check.  This is not a time to cry or shout or lose your temper.  Keep your voice even and firm.

At the end of the day, realize that your doctor works for you, not the other way around.  You are not there to please them.  They are there to help you get better and you get to have a say in what happens to you.  By all means, listen to their arguments for a particular type of therapy, but if it doesn’t make sense to you, you have every right to seek out another doctor’s opinion and you have every right to say no.

I wish you much healing on your journey.

GET MY BEST TIPS on getting through breast cancer and preventing recurrences by signing up for my free e-newsletters and e-books on the right.  You can also “like” me on Facebook (Marnie Clark Breast Health Coach) to get my inspirational snippets, news and updates.  I promise to do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.  

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com
Photo courtesy of Lusi / rgbstock.com

The Power Of The Mind Heals – Give It 100

As a breast cancer coach I speak nearly daily with women who worry about whether or not they will survive this disease.  Understandable worries.  We speak of many things, such as nutrition, exercise, super foods, etc., and all of these things are important.  But of equal importance is the power of the mind to heal.

Faith, Belief, Hope

I had those same worries ten years ago when I was going through breast cancer.  Back then the Internet wasn’t such a valuable resource, nothing like it is now.  I had heard that we can harness the power of the mind to heal ourselves, and I had read about it in Ian Gawler’s books “You Can Conquer Cancer” and “The Creative Power of Imagery”.  But reading about something and putting it into practice are two very different things.  It requires a lot of faith and belief in what you are doing.  Not to mention hope…

It can be very scary, especially when you decide to go your own way, and against your doctor’s recommendations (I said yes to chemotherapy – eventually – but no to radiation and Tamoxifen, and I am daily in contact with many others doing the same).  But I decided I had nothing to lose and so I went in search of meditation teachers who could show me how to use the power of the mind to heal myself.

What I learned was that our powerful brain allows us to transcend our present reality, providing the power to open us up so that we may create new possibilities for ourselves.
 
Upworthy Video Inspires

I was thinking about this just this morning when I came across the most inspiring video on www.upworthy.com.  The headline read “They Said She Was Paralyzed, And She Couldn’t Afford Her Recovery, Then A Dancer Changed It All“.  Click the link to watch the video.

The dancer in the headline, Karen, didn’t know how to dance but challenged herself to learn it in a year and filmed 10 seconds per day of her progression.  Cynthia, the paralyzed woman, found Karen’s videos and decided that since she couldn’t afford the treatment to get better, she would simply challenge herself each day to keep going, to do a little more and then a little more, and soon she was walking!

I noticed at one point in the film she was also using meditation – it appears at about the 1:07 mark in the video.

I just wanted to share this with you today because it illustrates how powerful we are once we set our minds to doing something.  It can be something small like learning how to draw, or something huge like healing cancer.

But we can do it.  The power of the mind is truly awesome and we only use a small percentage of our big, powerful brains.

Would you like to challenge yourself?  There is a Give It 100 movement you can join – find out more about that here.

If that doesn’t appeal, I have a downloadable course called Change Your Life Meditation Course which explains how the power of the mind works and how you can create some healing for yourself.  I created it for people who live in small towns and don’t have access to meditation groups but anyone can benefit from it.

Thanks to Upworthy.com for the inspiring video, and to Give It 100 for encouraging people to try new things!

If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters and e-book on the right, and/or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com).  It is my honor and my goal to help you through this so that you emerge from breast cancer feeling better than before, thriving!

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.  You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem and please be sure to consult your health care professional when making decisions about your health.

The Healing Power of Music

healing power of music
Photo courtesy of Ambro and stock.xchng

Normally, getting ready for my day is a pretty mundane thing.  But today, my iPod was playing some really great music and I was dancing (trying not to be too critical in front of the bathroom mirror – just enjoying the movement and the tunes) and it got me thinking about the healing power of  music.

A Supercharged Brain and U2

When I was going through chemotherapy, the night following my infusion would generally be mostly wakeful.  Those darned chemicals were racing around my body and seemed to supercharge my brain.  So I’d lie for hours and listen to music.

You are never so attentive and mindful of a song and what goes into it as you are during the black of night when there are no distractions.  Using headphones also brings the music closer, you can hear every drum beat, every nuance of the singer’s voice.  It was pure magic – I would listen for hours.  (My favorite night-time listening music was by U2, I love them).

The Healing Power of Music

I found a wonderful website called caregiver.com – written for caregivers of dementia patients.  They had this to say about the healing power of music:

Positive results include elevated mood, increased socialization and appetite and reduction in agitation. These benefits are attributed to the stimulation the brain receives during a music therapy session, a sort of “cognitive workout” inspiring us to coin the phrase, “What exercise is to the body, music is to the brain.” The power of music often inspires physical movement and can be used in combination to encourage gentle exercise.

I was able to find a number of articles on-line that spoke of the healing power of music.  Benefits include:

  • Soothing jangled nerves
  • Calming mind and body
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boosting immune system
  • Focusing mind and attention
  • And so much more!

PBS has a video you can view (you’ll have to wade through the commercial first) about the Healing Power of Music.  Pretty powerful stuff for brain injury patients.

Anyway – I believe music can be very powerful for those trying to overcome a disease such as cancer.  It can soothe your soul, help you through the treatments, and boost your immune system.  My suggestion?  Get an iPod or MP3 player and load all your very favorite songs on it and take it with you to your treatments.

I am currently also putting together some healing meditations for cancer patients and will post them when they are available.

By the way, the song I was dancing to in the bathroom?  Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run”.  Yep, it’s an oldie, but hey – I grew up in the era of the Vietnam War and that song meant a lot to us!  Still sounds great today.

I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Making Healing Choices

 

making healing choices
Photo courtesy of adamr, stock.xchng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Healing Choices

Because every person is different – we come from different families, we have different ways of coping with life, different belief systems, different spiritual beliefs, different experiences, emotions and fears — all of this makes us who we are and directly affects how we make healing choices when dealing with a disease such as breast cancer.

One Size Does Not Fit All

I also feel that that very difference between each of us means that not one size fits all with regard to medical treatments, both conventional and alternative/complementary.  It is because each person is so unique that I feel medicine in the future will stop throwing the exact same therapies at each of us to help us heal from breast cancer.

We have already seen a leaning toward that future of medicine with chemosensitivity testing, although it is currently more prevalent in EU countries than here in the US.

Being a natural therapist, I needed to be able to make my healing choices from a combination of both conventional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine.  I was able to choose each modality and combine them to help me get to that healing place quickly and because I had the breast cancer background already (having gone through it with both grandmother and mother) and had studied it so intensively, I felt very blessed and fortunate to have those healing choices.

Honoring Choices

I believe it’s important to honor the wellness choices every person makes and to respect their religious and spiritual beliefs, even if they are quite different from our own.  Many doctors don’t take these important differences into consideration though – some act absolutely outrageously if one of us doesn’t follow their recommendations to the finest detail.

What Are They Thinking?

My own very good oncologist, although baffled at me sometimes, respected my decisions and did his level best not to say things like “You’ll come to regret that decision” or “Well, if you get it back again, don’t expect me to treat you.”  Amazingly, other cancer patients hear those statements all too frequently.

One of my subscribers was told by her oncologist that she was a “dead woman walking”.  That kind of negative, defeating statement fills me with rage!

It’s a pity that so many treatment providers tend to believe that the therapies they offer are the ONLY ones that should be considered.  I know they do their best, but what I’ve discovered is that the answers to healing come from many different directions.

It is so very important to have doctors and natural therapists that really hear you, respect you as a separate human being, and treat you accordingly.

Trusting Our Inner Wisdom

We need to trust our inner wisdom with any healing choices. Pay attention to your differences and make the best choice for you.  This is your journey and your body and you have every right to choose what happens.  Choice may be the only true power that we have during this difficult journey with breast cancer.

Can I Help You?

If I can help you on your path, I’m honored to do so.  I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClarkcom) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

Lastly I’d like to share this quote from Buddha (this also appears on my “About Me” page):

“Don’t blindly believe what I say. Don’t believe me because others convince you of my words. Don’t believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don’t rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don’t infer or be deceived by appearances.  Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will only lead to delusion.  Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself, give up the bad and embrace the good.”

Healing Your Body Can Be a Full-Time Job: 6 Tips to Ease You Into It

Healing Your Body Can Be a Full-Time Job
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net & Ambro

Healing your body when you are trying to overcome any major illness can be a full-time job in itself and one you never asked for.  Juicing, meditation, a doctor’s visit, yoga, a handful of supplements, family duties, cooking, and possibly even squeezing in a few hours of work can lead to a major case of overwhelm.

What To Do With A Case Of “The Overwhelms”

How on earth is one supposed to manage it all without completely losing it or making yourself sicker than you already are?  One option is to ignore the requisite self-care and go on with life as usual.  This may work for some, but usually not for very long.  Another option is to try to do it all at once, but there’s more than a good chance of getting overwhelmed from all of your healing tasks along with your family and career obligations.

When I was healing up from surgery for breast cancer, I was extremely fortunate that I had a good network of friends who helped me a little with cooking and cleaning so that my husband could go out and work and keep the household afloat.  Once I was healed, however, and everyone went back to their normal lives I did go through a case of overwhelming “HOW DO I DO ALL OF THIS?”.   I did eventually find a way between overwhelm and completely ignoring my illness.  I found a way that honors the healing process without having it consume or define your life. Here are some of those lessons.

1. Begin slowly. While you might be tempted to try all of the healing methods you are interested in at once, I don’t advise that.  For one thing, you won’t know which one is working the best!  Instead, start with the thing that you know in your heart will help you the most.  Build up to a few more things.  Start with juicing or meditation and see how you do with them.  Then you can add yoga or Reiki or some form of bodywork later on.  Baby steps for now.

2.  Know that self-care is a project.  It might not be where you want to be in your life at this moment, but put it on your list of things to do.  Not just doctor’s appointments but everything – juicing, essential oils, yoga, reading – everything you consider important for your healing process.  Make sure your healing plan is at the top of your list, because really – what’s more important right now?  Self-care and self-love must be front and center of everything you do.  If, in the past, you have taken care of everyone else first let your illness mark the end of that notion.  You must come first. Now I’m not saying that your work and your children aren’t important.  But if you are sick or too tired, you won’t be much help to them.  There’s a reason they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first!

3.  Plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Now that your healing tasks are on your to-do list, feel great about that!  But don’t be surprised if you still feel overwhelmed.  Now you need to break down the tasks, plan them out and ask for help when you need it.   For instance, if you want to make a green juice every morning but there isn’t time for that, on a Sunday afternoon you and your family could clean and cut and prepare all of the produce for the week.  Put enough for a day in each of 7 separate bags.  Each morning, grab a bag, juice the contents and get yourself out the door.

4.  You can make healing fun.  I was living in a hot climate when I went through breast cancer. The thought of wearing a wig was abhorrent so I bought some beautiful scarves and learned to make beautiful dangly earrings and that was my fun look.  You could try a Thai massage.  Maybe even practice yoga in the buff.  Instead of going to the gym, stay at home and do some Bollywood dancing in your underwear.  Be creative!

5.  Make healing sacred.  When you’re doing something you aren’t crazy about doing (like sitting through a session of chemotherapy or radiation or yet another scan…) make those moments sacred.  Take a deep breath.  Burn a candle or put on a relaxing sacred CD.  As you’re going through those treatments, imagine it to be a golden light moving through your body and going directly to the source of your illness and completely eradicating it.  Not only does this take the dread out of these tasks, you also incorporate the power of guided imagery, which can boost the effects of the treatment.

6.  Be nice to yourself.  Be aware that on any given week or day, you might not have time to do something you’d intended to do.  You might be too tired to take that walk.  You might completely forget that afternoon’s vitamins.  No worries!  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  In fact, expect it to happen, because it will.  Don’t worry about it.  Just do it the next day.  I will, however, offer a word of caution.  It is really important to create boundaries around the things you consider to be the most important.  Those are the ones that will set your healing back big time if you can’t do them.  Do your best to make sure the important things happen and then don’t worry over the other ones.

I found these 6 things helped me so much and in fact I still do many of the things I considered to be the most healing.   I have to thank the website of crazysexylife.com for the inspiration of writing this article and for reminding me of the things I did that helped me so much.  I hope they help you too.  May your healing journey be amazing.

 I send my love to everyone taking this journey right now. If you would like my help with getting through breast cancer in an inspiring and ultra-healthy way, please sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.