Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a shock, even to medical professionals who are well aware that cancer can happen to anyone. How does one cope with and respond to the changes in self-perception that occur when cancer intervenes?
Today, I speak with Catherine McDonough, yoga teacher and nurse practitioner, who in 2017 was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. We explore Catherine’s use of yoga and meditation as complementary practices to traditional oncology protocols. Catherine talks about her coping strategy of simplifying and becoming more mindful, less external. She also explores how this dreaded diagnosis has given her a measure of psychological freedom that has promoted her to lighten her attachment to things and leave a smaller footprint in her wake.
Finding wellness during and after cancer treatment can be challenging. Given the physical and emotional rigors of treatment and its aftermath, how can one develop and nurture a state of wellness that encompasses the mind, body, and spirit?
In this episode I talk with Kris Ellenberg, who in 2011 was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer. We explore Kris’s strategies for finding wellness during and after her cancer treatment. Kris talks about developing a practice around wellness that supplemented her medical treatments for cancer with less conventional approaches such as Gyrotonics, yoga, lymphatic massage, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, meditation, and hypnotherapy. We also discuss the roles that community and social support, spiritual practice, and simply taking care of one’s self play in the active pursuit of wellness.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis can make you feel like you’ve been plucked out of your familiar existence and dropped onto an unfamiliar planet. How does one cope with this altered life circumstance when faced with a terrain that is not only unfamiliar but also deeply frightening and threatening to one’s very existence?
In today’s episode of Real Cancer, I talk with Rory Green, psychotherapist and writing coach, who in 2015 was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. We explore Rory’s strategies for navigating feelings of fear and anxiety, her newfound appreciation for the mundane details of everyday life, and the gratitude practice she has maintained as a result of her diagnosis and treatment. We conclude with a discussion of the counsel that Rory has shared with others who are newly diagnosed with cancer or other life altering situations.
A cancer diagnosis can be a terrifying experience, as it brings the person receiving the diagnosis, as well as his or her family and friends, face to face with the possibility of death. For many, a cancer diagnosis is the first close up experience in thinking seriously about the end of life.
While cancer treatment can extend life, it is often rigorous, painful, alienating, demoralizing, tedious, and frustrating. Enduring treatment can be an exercise in finding dark comedy. Even when treatment works, the experience can have lasting complicated effects. The phase after treatment can also be the beginning of unexpected and unwelcome periods of heightened vulnerability.
A cancer diagnosis and its treatment is often a transformative experience in the physical, emotional, social, and psychological aspects of the lives of everyone it touches.
In today’s episode, we turn the tables on interviewer and interviewee. Real Cancer host Diane McDaniel is interviewed by Rory Green, with whom she sat through weekly chemotherapy sessions, regarding her experience with ovarian cancer, its treatment, and the period of regular checkups after treatment concluded. We also talk about the impetus for the Real Cancer podcast and Diane’s hope that it will provide community and insight for people who are living with cancer, in one way or another.