(See Resources, Books: Getting Well Again by Dr O.Carl Simonton)
Cancer is stressful. There is evidence that stress can contribute to its genesis. Given the connections between mind and body, stress can almost certainly exacerbate the disease. Learn a relaxation technique and practise it daily, up to three times a day, for 20 minutes at a time. Meditate. Or do something you really enjoy, daily. Join a yoga class, or stay at home and try one of the excellent yoga videos available. This will teach you good breathing and relaxation techniques. Good breathing will calm you and give you energy.
IN THIS SECTION
Relaxation & Visualisation Techniques
Since mind can undoubtedly alter matter, learn to visualise yourself better, according to the Simontons’ suggestions (see above). Try regular massage. Do more things for fun. Find someone you can discuss your health problems with on an ongoing basis. Join a cancer group for mutual support and encouragement. If financial matters can be arranged accordingly, do only as much work as gives you interest and pleasure, concentrating your primary energies on your all-important health goals, for the time being. Remember: if you do not survive, there will be no-one to do your job anyway. Try to avoid the temptation to drown your anxieties in a frenzy of unproductive activity which may accelerate the very thing you fear as a consequence! Are the issues which you think demand your time, energy and attention really important in absolute terms? If not, drop them, at least for now. “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Live in the present.
Knowing you are seriously ill can generate huge amounts of anxiety, which can in turn result in persistent insomnia. Insomnia is a major stressor and will deplete you of much needed rest and energy. Good sleep is essential for healing. Yet, sleeping tablets are undesirable in the short or long term. They can leave you feeling hung-over and add to the burden your liver already has to deal with in cancer.
The orthomolecular answer to insomnia is MELATONIN, your body’s own sleep-regulating hormone.
Melatonin can become deficient as you age, or under stress. So taking a synthetic version of this makes sense from time to time. (We stress synthetic because animal-derived melatonin can be full of impurities and other undesirable components). Melatonin is available on prescription or can be bought direct from the U.S. (see Suppliers section).
HOW TO TAKE MELATONIN
The standard dose is 3 mg. But scientists who have done much work with melatonin suggest that individuals with very high anxiety levels or entrenched insomnia may need higher doses. It is best to start on the standard dose and experiment if necessary. You need to work with your body clock, so take melatonin between 1 to 2 hours before sleep, from 8 in the evening onwards. If you need a higher dose, take it in 2 sessions: say 3 mg at 8 o’clock and 3 mg at 10 o’clock. (We do not recommend you go beyond 5/6 mg a night unless advised to do so by an expert medical practitioner.)
Melatonin has worked miracles where all else has failed. It seems to make sleep more restful and refreshing, making it easier to get up. It can be safely taken for long periods of time, is a natural anti-oxidant and, some authorities believe, has some anti-cancer actions.
To fully reap the relaxant and calming benefits, try to expose yourself to bright light and fresh air in the morning, in combination with regular exercise, such as walking. If your problem is really bad, you should also practice daily relaxation exercises.