Are you a victor or a victim?

There is also another side effect, which is so far not talked about anywhere. I remember my initial discussion with oncologist about the recommended treatment. After he explained the process of chemotherapy I asked “is there anything I can do to increase the effectiveness of treatment?” His reply left me speechless – “Don’t you worry your head about it, we will take care of everything”.  Even if he meant well – talking about disempowerment!

Being immersed six months in traditional healthcare system encourages us to become victims with all the power invested in our doctors. There are few and far between doctors who will leave the ownership of the body to the patient. Most doctors will “know better” and claim the right to decision over our body and health. This leaves us powerless and encourages an attitude of victimhood. Unfortunately patients usually accept readily that position as it reliefs us from being responsible for our own health.

I remember radiologist insisting on seeing me every week. The only problem I had during radiation was extreme fatigue.  Spending extra time in the hospital waiting for doctor’s appointment was simply too much for me. By mid point of radiation I for 1 hr activity I had to rest for 2 hours. I had no other side effects of radiation, no burned or inflamed skin etc. I explained to her how hard it is for me to come to the hospital every day and that I see no need for me to see her next week. She would have none of that – “I will make an appointment for you anyway” she said “I must see you every week”.  HUH?

The problem with being a victim is really serious as it cost us our own health. For the victim the pay off is lack of responsibility. But the cost of such attitude is lack of possibility of changing anything. Cancer or disease happens to us and we are helpless, we cannot do anything about it, we are not responsible of it.  So we will listen to the doctor who is telling us what, when, how and where to do it. And when the treatment is done we actually do not change anything in our lives. Which means we keep on doing what initially was partially responsible for us getting cancer in the first place.

Now if we want to be empowered, then we do have to take a part in being responsible for our own health.  We do need to educate ourselves as to our condition. We do need to understand what in our life contributed to us getting cancer. We do need to learn all carcinogenic factors under our control and change them. Cancer is a “last call” to corrective action on our part.

The statistics cited before do not tell us much if we didn’t experience any of these inflictions ourselves. But try to just imagine how it would feel if, on top of chemo treatments, you would suffer insomnia. Being fatigued and in pain and on top of it not having proper rest every night, instead of tossing and turning through the night. After a while one goes on dreading another evening followed by sleepless night.  That would make anyone crazy!

Here is one of my client’s account of what it meant for her: “From January 2018 I experience chronic insomnia and anxiety. I didn’t want to use sleeping pills but I was getting desperate! Lee who suggested certain breathing exercises just before bed. By the fourth night I was sleeping through the night! I feel I now have the tools to help myself without any side effects. R.C.” 

Yoga science is uniquely poised to provide all these tools. In our 3 weeks intensive retreat Beyond Cancer, we teach people yogic approach to life. We teach them yamas and nyamasyogic ethical guide to living a healthy balanced life.  We teach people mitahara – yogic approach to food, drink, balanced diet and consumption habits and its effect on one’s body and mind. We teach people yogic tools to manage their emotions and thought processes – especially those negative. We teach them to be aware at all times and to choose from the variety of yogic practices the best one for the moment.

The results are astounding every time we finish the retreat. People transform their lives almost in magical way. No longer the victims – they transform helplessness into empowerment. Their attitudes to life change and now they become the partners with their doctors in the quest for long-term health. Amazingly this works no matter at what kind of cancer and stage it is. Their eyes become sparkling and the step gains the spring.

One of our patients summed it up perfectly. Coming from France to India, he signed 3 months before the start of retreat. He had stage 4 colon cancer nevertheless has given his 100% to working the program. Last day, when leaving he said: “When I signed in for this retreat I was trying to survive long enough to be able to travel to India. Now, after 3 weeks, I am going back to a new life!”

Indeed yoga therapy has capacity to completely transform lives if the patient is ready…

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