Archive for November, 2008

A Light and Merry Heart - by Gloria

Friday, November 28th, 2008

My personality type tends to over-react to stressors, so I fall into a category of being “highly sensitive”.  I’ve had to work hard, for instance to break the habit of gasping while my husband is driving the car when I’m suddenly aware of what seems to be to be a potentially dangerous scenario, (which could make matters even worse as he reacts to my outburst).  I’m learning to relax and trust.  I remember as a child when my five-years younger sister and I accidentally started a fire in the skillet on the stove.  I was frozen in a panic while she simply reached up and put the fire out.  As a nurse, I’ve always carefully chosen my work settings, compensating for this tendency - and for good reason, stayed out of the emergency room!

Learning to relax under pressure, instead of grabbing at the oars in a desperate attempt to save ourselves, has a real payoff.  If a merry heart does good “like a medicine”, that merry heart needs to hang in there in the bad times, as well as the good times, and maybe especially then for the benefit of our overall health and well-being.

There were seven nurses at the Hufeland Clinic which I watched with interest.  All of them, though varying greatly in personality, seem to have mastered the art!  As soon as something would go amiss in the infusion room, they would begin lightening the mood with their cheerful and efficient ways until everyone was chuckling, including me.  Though I was not always able to catch on to the nuances of the humor because of the language barrier just the sheer laughter lifted me.

Laughter produces endorphins and improves immune function.  On the other hand an over reaction to stressors can hinder immune function.  There is a spontaneous kind of childlike laughter many of us abandoned somewhere along the road of life when we allowed its stressors to trick us into believing that life has too many dangers to let your guard down.

Highly Contented -by Gloria

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

The thought of being contented, no matter the circumstance really appeals to me!  I remember coming back to my room in the Hufeland Clinic in Germany after sharing some tea with my only friend and confidant there, a fellow patient.  We had the same language in common so for that reason we were seated together in the dining room for meals.  Our conversation that night held special significance because my precious new friend had just found out that her mother passed away that day.  I wanted to reach out to her and comfort her.  I soon realized, however, that she has been through enough challenges in life to be able to quickly put this new loss with its fresh pain, into perspective.  While she accepted my sympathy as we talked about her family and the plans they were making on the other side of the world in her absence, my heart was calmed by her demeanor.  The thought of death had become more loaded for me.

The scriptural challenge that “Godliness with contentment is great gain - for we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it . . .” (1 Timothy 6:6) came to mind.  Though she lost a child as a young mother, then her husband after only 30 “wonderful” years of marriage and at that point she had been battling cancer for a few years, I sensed my friend was already accepting this newest loss.  Most people would feel a bit ripped off, but not she!  Contentment has just become a way of life for her.  I want to become less rattled by the daily upsets in life and learn to be at peace, regardless of the circumstances.  If we believe that God is the “Master of circumstances” anyway, why should we be so very concerned when our boat starts rocking in the stormier times of our lives?  “When life gives you lemons  . . .”

Can I Do This At Home? by Gloria

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

One of my greatest concerns about coming home from Germany was the challenge of maintaining at least some of the holistic treatments I was getting there.  I was relieved to discover a naturopathic MD close to home where I could get the vitamin C infusions and pleased that my open-minded oncologist was willing to continue with the low-dose chemotherapy for as long as necessary.

I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t a silent hope among some American doctors that maybe there is some- thing better than our current standard of care treatment for some types of cancer.  If so, it seems like they are  careful not to talk about it much, although my doctor did share with me that there are trials being done somewhere in Texas for the IPT (insulin-potentiation therapy) that I received in Germany, where IPT has been used successfully for two decades.  Since my tumor markers  continue going down, I’m encouraged that we’re on the right track.

Since coming home, my most challenging concerns have been in keeping focused on my health needs - despite daily living distractions; keeping unnecessary stress at bay; not regressing into old thinking habits and continuing to take good care of myself in regards to my struggle with anxiety.  When my husband came home early, leaving me alone in Germany for a month, I found it was easier for me to focus on just my own needs.  Having come home, I am consciously resisting my tendency of trying to please everyone around me, which in Germany was hardly ever an issue as there were no real or imagined pressures to meet the needs of others that I have typically experienced.

I was sent home with an assignment to keep a journal of my daily victories, defeats and what I’m learning about myself in regards to these.  This is serving me well and I’m planning to continue this method of self- accountability for a good long time.  I challenge anyone who struggles with breaking old habits to try it!