Reforming Your Life: Suggestions for Self Help in Cancer Treatment

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By: Erika Metz, M.D.

By Erika Metz, MD / reprinted courtesy of the Helixor Company

What effect does getting cancer have?
It affects us in our entire being:

-Abnormal cells and their uncon­trolled growth invade tissue and organ structure, attack bodily substance, and threaten our very foundation of life.

-Disruption of the harmonious co­operation between up-building and forma­tive (regulative) processes weaken our life, especially in the area of regeneration and defense.

-The shock of the diagnosis, a deep-seated fear of the disease and its prospects, and subsequent invasive treatment often petrifies and lames our soul forces.

-Hopelessness in the face of this threat, and the helplessness of being at the mercy of the illness can lead to the loss of independent activity and initiative.

What treatments are available?
The disruptive, life-threatening as­pects of this illness must not lead to resig­nation. Ever advancing medical knowledge and techniques have created impressively effective diagnostic and treatment skills. More refined, targeted surgery and radia­tion, newer, more effective chemotherapy and adjunct treatments, and the develop­ment of immune therapies are examples of these ongoing advances, important be­cause they neutralize abnormal cells and prevent complications. Yet they too should be supplemented by a treatment that con­siders the human being as a whole.

Supplemental biological therapies—notably with mistletoe—have proven their worth for years. They stimulate the body's own defenses, by enhancing life functions: appetite, elimination, sleep, and feelings of strength and wellness. They create bet­ter tolerance for chemotherapy and radia­tion treatment, and help build a new psy­chological/physical balance. This positively influences the course of illness, as clinical experience, and much research has shown.

How can I strengthen my life forces?
There are many possibilities. Creat­ing an appropriate regimen varies in each individual case, but the crucial factor is your awareness that you are actively in­volved in the healing process.

-A wholesome, balanced, organic diet. It supports medication therapy through its recognized immuno-stimulat­ing quality, and by supplementing defi­ciencies in trace elements and vitamins. (see Lukas Clinic Cookery Book, p.16).

-Attentiveness to maintaining warmth. The goal is developing a comfort­able and comforting inner warmth pro­tection, achieved with the help of appro­priate clothing (natural fibers), physical therapy including warmth applications, herb teas, etc. Regular, carefully applied stimulation such as alternating hot and cold foot baths can activate physiological warmth regulation and balance, and strengthen resistance to cold.

-Exercise is especially important. Spend time outdoors every day if you can. Physical activity, joyfully done, not only increases oxygen supply but creates the ba­sis for a feeling of wellness. Consciously develop deep, relaxed breathing. This might take some instruction and practice.

-Regularity brings results! A rhyth­mic life-style is strengthening and deeply healing. Eat at the same time every day, balance activity with rest and adequate sleep. Avoid fatigue, chronic overwork, long journeys, too much sun—all known to adversely affect the immune system.

These examples are given as time-tested ways of influencing well-being and vitality. They are central to the whole heal­ing process. Discover what is possible and appropriate for your individual needs. The main point is finding a new and conscious relationship to yourself and your body—even if the latter is challenged and weakened through the illness and its treatment.

By paying mindful, loving attention to your body's signals and messages, and han­dling yourself with care, you will create your basis for comprehensive healing.

What can I do for my soul's healing and comfort?
First and foremost, find help in dealing mentally with this illness. After the initial shock of the diagnosis, and the burden and isolation of invasive therapy, you should be­gin to find means to bring healing, strength and support to the soul, whose influence on the immune system is by now well recog­nized by doctors and researchers. Everything that nurtures inner equilibrium, hope, cour­age and joy must be supported, for they are important allies in the challenge of the illness.

-Of great importance is feeling em­bedded in a circle of people you trust. These primarily include family and friends or self help groups, and constitute another protective layer of warmth. Or seek out supportive psychotherapy. Finding the "milieu" offering you protection, shelter and openness, so that feelings of fear, pain, sorrow and helplessness can be shared and carried, is important to your recovery.

-Everything that creates and en­hances feelings of inner vitality, mobility and color is deeply healing and strength­ening. Colors directly nourish and support an exhausted soul, while the right music, per­formed or listened to intensively, invigorates and uncramps it.

-Art therapy, whether music, paint­ing, therapeutic eurythmy, drama, dance or sculpture is a proven tool to stimulate creative life forces. Activating the creative ability inherent in all of us is of key im­portance in mastering illness. Through art therapy the disease process can be worked through; the mobilized creative forces per­mit a renewed feeling of unitedness with the world.

-You can develop deep powers of or­der and regularity by finding times of in­ner rest and contemplation. Create an 'in­ner space' free of nervousness, necessity or distraction. At first it may seem hard, even impossible, to sense the point of inner quiet in you because of constraints or lack of strength. This is just when you need to find it most. Practice proven relaxation techniques and—where possible—medi­tation and prayer to create the basis for inner quiet.

Your key is finding the harmonious balance between looking inward and a lov­ing interest in the world—and a balanced rhythm of rest and activity. Both of these will help uncover new realms and sources of strength in you.

How can I seek new life goals?
Besides the assistance dealing with burdens and deepening your qualitative ex­perience, you should find ways to inwardly reorganize and raise yourself up, cultivat­ing those abilities in you that will give a goal and meaning to your life.

-The upheaval of the illness and its disruption of daily routine gives you a chance to step out onto new paths. Enter­ing the unknown, and finding new expe­riences, unlocks previously unknown realms of perception that allow life to be felt and grasped more consciously and more deeply than before. The illness should immediately become a "working contract" that is to bear fruit in many ways.

-In this connection it is important to find and foster in yourself those areas in which you feel most free, independent, awake, and empowered. Your goal, always within the parameters of your possibilities and personal situation, is to consciously and actively take control of your own life. This may include informing yourself about the illness and its possible treatments, and begin­ning an active participation in the healing process.

-Important for the activation of your inner strength potential is setting worthwhile life goals, and setting them again and again. If you can formulate motives, ideals and wishes that make sense for you, and which can create enthusiasm, you will create the basis for deep healing. This may seem a tall order, given the many hindrances and con­straints, but practicing alertness and focus will allow you to discover and realize which choices and decisions are most important and make most sense. The goal is saying `yes' to your own inner needs. The forces you unlock thereby become important tools for your "inner physician".

Which route you take depends on your personal situation. The main things is know­ing that while you are wrestling with this illness you can call upon many helpful and strong allies waiting to be discovered and to be put to good use.

Erika Merz physician, is active in the Medi­cal department, counseling service, at Helixor Heilmittel GmbH & Co. in Rosenfeld, Germany.


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