Healing and health promotion of the whole person is vitally necessary despite the course a physical disease may take. Wellness means striving for the best health you can achieve. Some important beliefs that enhance wellness during a cancer diagnosis are listed below.
- There are a large number of health factors that I can control or modify in taking responsibility for my health. I will explore all areas that can improve my health.
- A disease, like any crisis, represents an opportunity to change my life in a positive direction. I didn’t need it and I don’t have to be a good sport about it! Having some intense feelings does not mean I am not coping.
- While I cannot change my diagnosis, I can control my attitude and reaction, particularly in the way I handle stress and my emotions. The past is unimportant unless I make it so. The future has not happened yet. The only reality is being fully alive in the present.
- Like everyone on this plane, I am a finite energy system, therefore, I need to redirect my energy from unproductive emotions such as worry, anger, fear, and resentment, into acceptance, love, and healing.
- A positive attitude refers more to dealing honestly with my feelings rather than maintaining a happy face. I will try not to avoid any of the feelings I experience.
- I do not have to be a professional patient. That is not my occupation and there are many other aspects to my life.
- I have the power to make a difference in my care. I need to look within myself for proper direction.
- My medical team and I are partners. We both have things to learn. I will be comfortable and confident with the treatment path I choose. I need to combine their rational knowledge and expertise with my own intuitive wisdom to make the best decisions.
- Any disease is a social disease. Improving the quality of relationships can become a source of healing support for me. This also includes my spiritual relationships.
- Acceptance is not giving in. As Norman Cousins’ said, “Don’t deny the diagnosis. Try to defy the verdict.” Keep in mind; statistics apply to groups, not a given individual.
- There is always hope, but what I hope for may change over time. As Dr. Carl Simonton said, “In the face of uncertainty, there is nothing wrong with hope.”
- My personal dignity and quality of life are always the best measures of success. It takes only a split second to die and all the rest of my time goes to living as best and joyfully as possible. Death is not a failure.
Adopted and enlarged from David F. Cella, Ph.D., “Health Promotion in Oncology: A Cancer Wellness Doctrine” Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, Vol. 8(1) 1990, pp. 17-31