Cancer PTSD

Cancer PTSD

Facing a cancer diagnosis and all the change that follows can be daunting. We were never taught how to process and cope with any life-threatening illness, especially cancer. The result of being so unprepared for this physical, mental, and emotional injury is Cancer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD.

What is Cancer PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it (Mayo Clinic). Think of PTSD as an anxiety disorder that develops in reaction to physical injury or severe mental or emotional distress, such as life-threatening events. In cancer treatment, all of the above are present. One main symptom of Cancer PTSD is living in a heightened state of awareness about every ache and pain, fearing recurrence, and anticipating the worse.

Talk Therapy for Cancer

According to clients who’ve been seeing a therapist for years, conventional therapy offers little or no relief. This kind of therapy primarily engages the logical part of our mind (conscious mind) and not the emotional one (subconscious mind). Read More Here.

When fear, despair, shock, and overwhelm hijack our experience, it’s almost impossible to contemplate being on the other side of treatment. But if we want to rebuild our lives, we should acknowledge the injury we suffered and be prepared to address it.

The (Limited) Blessings of Medicine

More people survive their cancer diagnosis today than at any other time in history due to the miracles of medicine. This kind of blessing forces us to look beyond treatment. We don’t simply want to survive cancer; we want to thrive during and after treatment.

Having worked with and supported cancer patients for over twenty years, I know cancer PTSD is a real challenge for many. Treatment may have ended, but living in a body we feel betrayed by; means living in conflict, in a constant state of hypervigilance.

Before a Cancer Diagnosis

Before diagnosis and treatment, yes, there were plenty of aches and pains in our bodies, but we never gave them too much attention. Now, however, the slightest unpleasant sensation in our body can send us spiraling down into panic. So, what do we do? We take a more goal-oriented approach to address the root cause of Cancer PTSD. CLICK HERE for more info on a couple of ways to do that.

Now that’s just dealing with our body; what about dealing with our mind and emotions? Cancer PTSD isn’t exclusive to either the body or the mind. It takes over our whole self.

Many of my clients’ first response to hearing those three powerful words “You Have Cancer,” was emotional. They describe a state of shock and feeling numb. The numbness they felt defused the moment’s intensity, but its effect took hold and changed us.

If you understand that and want to include more in your treatment plan than what simply happens at your doctor’s office, these programs may be for you. CLICK HERE for more details.

Cancer and Trauma

Cancer and Trauma

The connection between cancer diagnosis with trauma isn’t clear from the get-go. And since medical personnel are unlikely to talk about emotional injury, many will never seek support.

Before hearing these three powerful words, “You Have Cancer,” you were someone’s father, mother, son, or daughter; you had hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The moment those words reach your ears, everything changes. You are now a cancer patient.

Change = Trauma

I’ve written about the shock of cancer diagnosis, the sense of helplessness and hopelessness that creeps in when facing a life-threatening illness. I’ve written about fear, anxiety, and despair. The one thing that is less talked about is the impact or injury we struggle with, the trauma of cancer, which is both deep and wide.

Change, especially a change to our state of health, can be debilitating. Change is no laughing matter, yet it is said that the only people who like change are busy cashiers or babies with dirty diapers. Laughing aside, change can be overwhelming and disorienting.

When you think about it, a cancer diagnosis forces us to become very comfortable with change. The most obvious change is to our identity, from a healthy person to someone who is sick. Then there’s a change to our daily routine due to appointments and procedures. We experience a change in our mobility, productivity, and what we can and can no longer do.

You may not call this level of change injury or trauma, but that’s exactly what we’re facing.

What is Trauma?

According to Psychology Today, Trauma is a person’s emotional response to a distressing experience.

And the reason this is important for us to know is because trauma, if unresolved, can further diminish our resiliency. It can undermine our ability to benefit from treatment and heal.

If you’ve seen any of my recent videos, you heard me state that illness is a call to action. It is a call for us to begin to live more authentically and more aligned with our true core values. In other words, we have to work to heal ourselves while our medical team is working hard to heal our bodies. We must be a part of the solution if we expect the best possible outcome from treatment.

So how do we do that? How can we become allies with our medical team?

The Subconscious Mind – Your Emotional Mind

My answer is that we engage the mind, specifically our subconscious mind. It means taking ownership and responsibility for how we think and feel. We acknowledge that there are certain patterns that we’ve abided by that became our identity. Then, we can decide which of these patterns we want to keep and which we want to change.

To do this work properly, we need support. The first port of support for many patients is therapy, as in talk therapy. But the reality is that conventional therapy i.e. psychotherapy, engages the conscious part of our mind, that is, the thinking, rational, and logical mind. That’s unfortunate because it’s not the part of your mind where emotions come from. No, that’s the subconscious mind, which is outside their scope of practice.

If you’re looking to address cancer and trauma, you need something else; something more goal-oriented and result-driven that engages the subconscious mind, and a good place to start is right here… CLICK HERE.

cancer mindful remission program

The Key to Improving Medical Cancer Treatment Outcome

Life Turned Upside Down

The key to improving medical cancer treatment outcome is within reach. Now, that’s a big statement to make, yet it’s true. In fact, this statement is grounded in the scientific study of Psychoneuroimmunology, or (PNI).

A cancer diagnosis can turn our whole world upside-down. Until that moment, you were busy living life and chasing your dreams. But when you heard these words, you became a cancer patient. We may not fully control what goes on within our bodies, but we’re not helpless.

Impact of Cancer Diagnosis

Yes, a cancer diagnosis is often mentally, emotionally, and even physically challenging. It can be disorienting and overwhelming, bringing up many powerful emotions like fear, anxiety, despair, and helplessness.

If you or your loved ones were in this situation, you already know cancer affects more than just our physical body. Yes, treatment is applied to the body; that’s the job of our medical team from this moment on; that’s what modern medicine is for. But we also have a job if we wish to optimize our experience during our medical cancer treatment, and our job is to take care of us, the person within that physical body.

The Key to Improving Medical Cancer Treatment Outcome

It’s not enough to simply show up to appointments and submit our body to whatever our doctor prescribes. If we wish to get the best possible outcome, the key to Improving Medical Cancer Treatment Outcomes is to play a greater role in our experience. We need to be part of the solution and take ownership and responsibility for our thoughts and feelings. Taking care of the person within the physical body is the key to a better outcome and quality of life.

We know through research that going into any medical procedure during our cancer care with the right state of mind will yield fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, a faster recovery rate, and a better outcome.

Playing a Greater Role in Our Healing

What does it mean to play a greater role in our journey back to health? It means recognizing that our body and mind are interconnected. Identifying patterns we abided by that became our personality and our identity. Patterns that may unintentionally now stand in the way of our recovery.

This does not mean going to so-called talk therapy sessions. Those are not as useful in this scenario as we once believed, mainly because they address the conscious mind, which is rational and logical. It means addressing the other part of our mind called the subconscious mind, which is our emotional mind.

Actions to Improve Treatment Outcome

In much the same way, we address the physical body to resolve physical challenges, like a broken bone; for example, if we wish to resolve our emotional struggle, we must attend to the emotional mind, not the rational and logical one.

This kind of outcome can be achieved in various ways, either online or in person. These cancer wellness programs can help shed light on exactly what can be done and what needs to be done.

In a nutshell, the intensive in-person program helps cancer patients address the root cause of their mental and emotional suffering. It supports the functioning of the body’s immune system.

The Mindful Remission online program offers cancer patients practical and effective tools, techniques, and strategies. These can help patients better prepare for surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation procedures. Putting these to work can help cancer patients become more resilient and empowered during medical care. They can even help patients maintain a high quality of life. Click this link for more info on the Mindful Remission online program. Click this link for more about the In-Person intensive program.


cancer patients main concern

The #1 Concern for Many Patients is…

The #1 Concern for Many Cancer Patients is…

Riding the emotional roller coaster of cancer is scary. Fear, anger, overwhelm, anxiety, and even depression hit you with tremendous force. If you’re like most of my clients, you found yourself unprepared, at least not mentally or emotionally.

Many patients lean on their loved ones to find some comfort, certainty, and support during this time. In a perfect world, this is ideal. After all, those you love, for the most part, love you back. And yet, the main concern patients struggle with is fearing they are a burden to their loved ones.

The fear of being “too much” (and being rejected because of it) cause us to think we’ll have to deal with all the pain on our own. This thought is, well… terrifying.

What’s certain is that if you fear making your needs known because you’re concerned about retaliation or how others will perceive you, you will keep on suffering. As long as you’re reluctant to put your needs first for a change, you will continue the torment. The simplest solution is to seek support because going at it alone is unessarily difficult.

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way

The truth is that even if your loved ones want the best for you, they may not know how to support you. Even more so, the intimate dynamics you’ve shared with them until now; they’re still attached to your experience of illness.

At a time when you need safety and boundaries to heal and recover, these dynamics may be counterproductive because they induce more stress than comfort.

If this is your experience and you want to do something about it, your first step is to accept that you need a roadmap and an action plan to break free from helplessness and paralysis. Helplessness and paralysis cripple your immune system. You need support so you can step into an empowered and active mode and a mindset that will propel your ability to recover.

Your Beliefs Impacts Your Recovery from Illness!

Can Your Mindset Impact Your Ability to Recover From Illness?

Your Beliefs and Cancer Treatment Outcome.I have never seen someone’s health exceed their identity. Does that make sense?

This means that your mental programming, mindset, and beliefs directly influence your experience and, therefore, your ability to recover! For those facing cancer, this is a message worth hearing.

Replacing “faulty” mental programming and “distorted” beliefs with a healthier set of beliefs that supports the body’s campaign for recovery is essential. Because your mindset impacts your ability to recover from illness, it is your first line of defense. Building a stronger mental and emotional defense is what I help people do every day in my office. Whether you know it or not, beliefs can often become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Your Beliefs About Treatment

If you believe treatment is difficult or dangerous or see yourself as a victim identity, you will likely experience more fear, stress, and negativity. Unbeknown to you, your brain will initiate the biology associated with the state of emergency we know as the fight-or-flight state. It will be more challenging for your body to benefit from the medicine. As such, treatment becomes all those things you believed it to be.

The opposite of this is also true, and this is good news. If you believe treatment is supportive, healing, and helpful, or you see yourself as an empowered and active part of the solution, you will feel more in control and more resilient, and so will your biology. Even your quality of life will improve, and you will experience fewer complications.

Your state of mind is the greatest ally in your recovery journey. And this is the bottom line; unless your subconscious beliefs align with your conscious desire to heal, you are, in effect, working against yourself, rendering any treatment less effective.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. Regardless of where you are along your treatment cycle, you can do plenty to change your experience.

If you want to find out more, CLICK HERE to set up a time for us to speak. It’s free and to the point and absolutely worth your time.

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