Do you find it hard to believe you have the power to support your ability to heal? Sometimes people tell me they feel like they’re in denial if they try to adopt this mindset.
Other times I hear that you don’t need to focus on healing if you don’t have cancer anymore. In this episode, I’ll give you my take on both of these points.
I’ll help you understand why choosing to believe in yourself is far from being in denial and how your body, mind, and heart are nearly always working to heal from something.
Your role isn’t to make healing happen, but to be to support its ability to happen.
This episode will empower you to create a new loving, healthy relationship with your body, mind, and heart.
Referred to in this episode:
Laura Lummer 00:00
You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started. Hello, and welcome. You're listening to Episode 206 of the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. And today, we're talking about my most favorite thing, and I'm very excited to talk about it.
Laura Lummer 00:48
I'll share a little story with you I was doing my morning walk, which I absolutely love, and which I consider to be my healing time part of my healing process. Part of my commitment to myself to support my body's ability to heal itself is my morning walk. And over the past couple of days, as I've been taking this walk, I noticed other people that are walking on the beach, some of them are walking with a cane. And some of them are walking in a way in which I can tell that they're nursing an injury or just maybe old age in the bones or something of that nature. And I just started to think about how we're all healing from something at some time. You know, people hear me say, support your body's ability to heal, and maybe relate that to Well, if you've got cancer, that's one thing. But we're really all healing from something all the time, whether it's that we're healing in our physical body, which is a daily process, right, our immune system, our body on a daily basis, and hourly, minute by minute basis, is fending off pathogens, bacteria, cancer cells inside of our body, you know, our immune system is constantly working to keep us healthy. And then if we've been through treatments, or surgeries, or if we're dealing with active disease, then even more, so our immune system is working, and our gut is working. And sometimes we're healing from the heart. And we're healing from a broken heart. We're healing from a heart that's angry and sad and resentful, and fearful. We're healing from our perceptions of experiences in our lives, we're healing in our mind, and with our thoughts. It's just an ongoing, constant process. And I thought about this a lot, because I hear a couple of things. And those are the two things that I want to talk about on today's show. When I talk about healing, and when I work with people on the way that they think, in order to support their healing, I often hear isn't that just living in denial. And then the second thing is something I just touched on a moment ago, which is that we lose sight of supporting our body's ability to heal if we don't think that we are actively ill. So I want to address both of those, because I think they're super important to spend some time on. So we know and I've talked about many times how the common thought when it comes to breast cancer is to fight disease, and how I've really adopted the mindset that fighting and healing our two conflicting energies. And I want to be in that energy and in that space of healing, which to me is kind of letting go of the fight but still having very healthy boundaries, being an advocate for myself, and making really good choices consistently, on how to support my mind, my heart, my body, through relationships, and food and activities, anything that I engage in, in life. So I was reading this book that I absolutely love. It's called the survival paradox by Dr. Isaac Elias. He says that based on research and my years of work with patients, one thing has become clear. When facing a life threatening or debilitating illness, the natural biochemical stress response, our innate fight or flight mechanisms that are driven by our instinct, instinct to survive, are fundamentally at odds with our ability to heal and thrive. And he goes on to say that it's the ultimate catch 22 When someone is facing a life threatening disease, asking them to relax, change their thought patterns and focus on Happy healing energy is much easier than said than done. It's like asking someone whose house is on fire to stay calm, think positively, and deeply inhale the smoke from their burning home. And then the final quote is that the mind can influence the body to heal spontaneously and completely, the mind can deliver the body from the brink of death and disease to vitality and longevity, and of quote. So I love this when I came across and I read this, I thought, this is so important, because when we're talking about healing, you might think, Well, what does the mind have to do with healing and bringing us back from the brink of death? What does the mind have to do with spontaneous healing? Isn't that going to be food and medicine? And yes, food and medicine play a very big role in our healing. But here's the thing, when it comes to our mind, if we don't have the right state of mind, and we haven't decided or even understood that we can direct our energy into the things that serve us and help us to heal, that we haven't used our thoughts, examine them, drop the ones that undermine us and take us down that dark rabbit hole of fear and anxiety and depression, then it's going to be really hard to make great choices with food, and medicine. Because in all honesty, that takes a lot of energy, managing the clinical needs of a body can take a lot of energy, especially when we're dealing with the diagnosis of breast cancer or the recovery from a diagnosis of breast cancer. So looking at the way that we think, and dealing with our perceptions of ourselves, are heart centered, do we love ourselves? Have we learned to practice self compassion? Do we have healthy boundaries for ourselves and what we're willing to tell ourselves what we're not willing to tell ourselves, and in what we believe we can accomplish with our own body? If we have a healthy perception of that, that's what's going to help us move in and do the more challenging tangible things. Now, actually, I don't even know if that's accurate to say, I think that managing our mind and managing the intangibles of our emotions and our thoughts is equally as challenging as managing the physical body. But when it comes to managing the mind and looking at the way we think about supporting our body's ability to heal, I often have people say to me, isn't that just living in denial? And my answer is absolutely not. Because denial is if someone says, you have breast cancer, or you've just been through breast cancer, and you say, No, I won't accept that. I refuse to believe that. Being in denial is acting like what is actually happening, or has happened in your body hasn't happened, refusing to accept what is for the truth. And in fact, the definition of denial is the action of declaring something to be untrue. So if you have breast cancer, or you had breast cancer, and you're saying, no, no, no, no, not accepting it, then you're in denial. But when we're looking at supporting your body's ability to heal, you're actually in the present moment, you're acknowledging the power that your body has to heal itself, because let's face it, when it comes to healing, there is no magic pill. Chemotherapy is not a cure. aromatase inhibitors are not a cure. Radiation is not a cure all of these treatments for breast cancer are things that we do to try to reduce the disease to try to stop the progression of the disease to try to put the disease into remission, but they're never referred to as a cure. And yet, people heal. And we have evidence all around us of people who live for years and decades after stage 123, and even stage four breast cancer, people who live long lives cancer free. So it isn't denial, because we're acknowledging what we've been through. And we have evidence that bodies can heal, that these are bodies, these amazing bodies have this innate ability to heal themselves. And sometimes they need a little bit of help, they need a little bit of medical support. And they need some support with the way that we manage our environment and our food and our supplements and our exercise, and the way that we manage our mind and believe in ourselves to support our body's ability to heal. So this brings us to our second point, the idea that, well, I don't really need to worry about healing because I don't have cancer anymore. When you're in that space where you're technically cancer free, and you're thinking, Well, I mean, do I really need to focus on healing when I no longer have a disease? And here's the thing, like I said in the beginning, we're not just healing from cancer, and cancer is this multifaceted disease. I think about the book radical revision which I love I am a huge Huge, huge fan of Kelli Turner and radical remission and radical hope. And the nine healing factors that Kelly Turner discovered and wrote these books about the 10 healing factors when it comes to radical hope, because she added in exercise. But when you look at the nine healing factors that radical remission was based on, and that she found that all of these people who she researched who had healed from terminal cancer is of all different kinds, what they had done to support their body's ability to heal, really only two of them were tangible. The one changing your diet and another using herbs and supplements. The most of them were what I would call intangible, like taking control of your health, releasing suppressed emotions, increasing positive emotions, embracing social support and deepening your spiritual connection. So why did we get cancer in the first place? I mean, we may never know. Right? A lot of it is environmental factors. But oftentimes when I'm working with people, and I'll say, Why do you think you have cancer, in evidently, they will share with me a story of some sadness, some major stress, some major loss, some very traumatic thing that they went through, or some very difficult mindset that they've struggled with for a long time or for a specific period of time. And they'll say to me, you know, what, that gave me cancer, that job, give me cancer, that relationship, give me cancer, there we go through cancer and go through treatment and the trauma of that, and the thoughts that that brings up and the experiences that that brings up. So when we get to the end of treatment, and you get the cancer free card, does that really mean that you've healed? Or is there so much more that you can do on an ongoing basis, to support your body's ability to heal, to learn how to manage process and release emotions, so that you keep yourself out of this state of intense stress, that you learn how to manage yourself and manage your life. So as you re acclimate to life, and you step back into life after treatment, you handle stressors a little better, you let go of the things that used to cause you a lot of heartache or sleepless nights. And you actually work on processing the trauma that you've been through what has happened in your life. I mean, when we go through breast cancer treatment, it's not like, Okay, you get the flu, and you're sick for a week. And you know, somebody brings you soup, and lots of bottles of water, and you get up and you go back to normal living. When you're going through cancer treatment, there's so much more involved in it. And there's so much more to heal from. And it just doesn't stop as we go back to life. And I think about the third pillar of breast cancer recovery, which is regroup as we reassess our life, and we regroup and decide what still works for me and what doesn't work for me. A lot of times a tremendous amount of healing takes place in that space. Because we have to look at do I have healthy boundaries in my life? How do I stop being a people pleaser? What is it deep within myself that I need to address like and move beyond this point, and support my body's ability to heal by keeping it calm, by minimizing the amount of stress by minimizing the cortisol spikes in my body, and by learning to love myself, and this is a big one. I rarely. And I don't think I've ever come across a woman who came to me for coaching after breast cancer, and found that this person was in a place where she said to me, I just love myself, I just think I'm a great person. And my first priority in life is taking care of myself, and being good to myself. My first priority is making sure that any relationship I'm in is healthy, and the people that I engage with are good to me. I don't find that I find a lot of times that these women struggle with a lack of self worth, a lack of self confidence traumas from early early in life, this conditioned thinking that they are responsible for everybody else's feelings. And there's this recurring theme that I often see, I don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. So therefore, I don't say what I really think and I don't state what I really need. And so the only person I hurt is me. And I keep hurting me over and over and over again thinking long as I'm only hurting me. I'm not a bad person.
Laura Lummer 14:50
And when I watch these women go back and reevaluate these conditioned thoughts. When I watch them understand that they have the power to choose where to direct their energy for their life to choose the thoughts they want to put their energy into, and how doing so creates the life they want to live, I watch them heal, I see them become more authentic versions of themselves, I see them let go of tremendous amounts of pain and self judgment and suffering. And then they lost them. Because the more they learn to love themselves, the more you learn to love yourself, the more you learn, that you can come at life from a place of compassion, and state what you're worth and what you deserve. And that it's okay to do that, then you start to love yourself. And when you love yourself, you treat yourself well. When you love yourself, you don't punish yourself with food. When you love and care about yourself, it's easier to nourish your body with things like radically changing your diet, and using supplements because that kind of thing takes a lot of time and energy. And typically, we don't put that much time and energy into something we don't love. So when you ask yourself, Do I need healing, I mean, I'm not sick anymore. We all need healing all the time. We come across situations in our days, in our lives, with coworkers, with children, with family members with friends that bring heartache, or send our mind whirling into ruminating over other people's actions. And that kind of thing needs healing, we need to heal the way that we think we need to heal the way that we process and hold on to emotions. And in doing so we support our health. Because if you have a cancer free body, one of the best things you can do is make decisions based on what supports your body's ability to heal and stay that way. And if you're working with active disease, same thing, what could be more important than making decisions in your life, based on what supports your body's ability to heal. And again, remember, it's not saying heal me, because there's no magic cure, there's no magic button that we push or one remedy we take to heal. But in all of these aspects, in thought, in emotions in the way that we love and the anger we hold on to, and the choices we make on how we nourish our body, we're supporting our body's ability to function properly, we're supporting our body's ability to support the immune system, and have it function properly and do the work that it's supposed to do. And the body itself is what does the healing. I love the philosophy from the metabolic approach to cancer from Dr. Natasha winters. And she writes about what she calls the terrain 10. And it's doing these 10 different things to improve the terrain, the body itself, the soil, so to speak, so that the body can function the way it's supposed to, and keep itself in a healthy place, or have a stronger ability to heal itself. I think that cancer is the symptom of a much deeper thing, right? Cancer is this complex disease, with so many different aspects to it. And maybe that's why we don't have one single cure, and why so many of us have a different story of why we believe we had cancer. So I'll leave you with something to think about in this poem by the Canadian poet and author of milk and honey and the sun and her flowers Ruby Core. The poem is to heal, you have to get to the root of the wound and kiss it all the way up. And I think sometimes we got to figure out what is at the root of our wound. It can be really uncomfortable to get there. But when we do get there, and we see it, and we recognize it, and we love ourselves from that place, and we kiss it all the way up, then I think we're supporting our ability to heal from the inside out. Alright my friends, take care and I'll talk to you again next week. Until then be good to yourself.