For the past two months I’ve been taking part in an online program designed to help cancer patients deal with the emotional and physical issues that come with the disease and treatments.
Sponsored by Roper St. Francis Healthcare, I am one of a dozen anonymous people who log in weekly to Pillars4Life for ten 75-minute sessions that provide a variety of ways to cope. These include topics like balance, inner strengths, self-care, support and spirit.
Throughout the process we are asked to talk about, and sometimes write about, our feelings. One of my favorite exercises came in week six where we were instructed to write a dialogue we might have with our body about a particular stressor in our lives.
At the time, mine was a concern about a new treatment for prostate cancer and what the side effects would be. I’d heard some horror stories about it causing severe sweating and fatigue. So, given three minutes to write a dialogue with my body, here’s what I wrote:
Me: I have a fear of the known side effects from this treatment.
Body: So what? I need the medicine!
Me: But it makes you break out in sweats. That can be embarrassing.
Body: Well, you know, it’s about time you broke a sweat. What’s really bugging you?
Me: Okay, so I’m really just afraid it won’t work.
Body: What have you got to lose?
Me: Well, you know, my life.
Body: So it’s a no-brainer, right?
It’s amazing how the truth and humor and reality and common sense all come out when you have to sit down and write something in a short amount of time. I guess the people who put these things together actually know what they’re doing, huh?