Having been a very independent person all of my life, I hadn’t realised the impact that my cancer would have on me. I had spent most of my life running my own business and working for myself. But that all changed when I was diagnosed in 2007 with stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a rare incurable blood cancer. I required immediate chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant to follow. However, there was no guarantee that I would even make it through the treatment, but it was my only chance!
After many tough experiences and dealing with my badly compromised immune system, I am still surviving against the odds. But at a great cost. I have been unable to work since, and am constantly visiting the hospital. My health is extremely unreliable and makes life very difficult to plan, and I suffer from fatigue most of the time.
With many years of living like this I began to believe that there was no positive answer to my issues. Naturally I was pleased to be alive but I felt I wasn’t able to live a life I chose. I was struggling to see any joy in my life and could only ever see problems! My hope was that I would somehow snap out of it, but it got worse and eventually I had to seek professional help. Initially I saw a Clinical Psychologist, who helped to stabilise things and then I was introduced to an Integrative Medicine Practitioner from the US, who focused on a holistic healing.
For me it was a totally unique experience, and the first time a clinician had not discussed my physical issues. She concentrated fully on my emotional well-being and guiding me to focus on the present moment and the positives. I started exercising more and spending time on things I enjoyed, helping me get to a better place. Now I have the knowledge of how I can help myself when I see the warning signs returning.
Living with and beyond cancer is a great thing of course, but new drugs and regimes of treatment have left us with unknown side effects many years later. This is where recovery is necessary. My personal experience has shown me that in many cases it can be more difficult living with the psychological and emotional impact of cancer, than actually the physical issues.
We are now learning about how these issues impact our lives and looking at new ways to improve the way we ‘live with cancer’. Holistic treatment is the most logical for me, treating the mind and body as one.
This is not a new way of dealing with long term illness and I’m so pleased that patients can now find these programs themselves on the Internet and be given on-ground support as well. I would like to give a massive thanks to Samara for her persistence with the CARER Program which will help so many people across the globe!
Chris has been a major contributor to the field of cancer and offers valuable information on his blog and social media sites. If you would like to read more about Chris’s work go to – http://www.chris-cancercommunity.com/
And you can also connect on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/chriscancersupport/ Or Twitter @christheeagle1