Healing is not only a physical process, but an emotional and mental one. If there’s anything that I’ve learned with battling cancer and now pushing through TSW, is the importance of keeping a good, hopeful attitude and having positive thoughts of affirmation. In dealing with different situations, the way we think and the words we speak into existence can either have a negative or positive effect on our bodies in so many ways…
I have definitely had some times of dark despair, where I would avoid mirrors at all costs, keep the lights dimmed low, or cry for hours because of the pain or just in anger that I was experiencing such agony. Those times never helped me, they never did anything for me, but made me feel worse and gave me a massive headache from balling my eyes out. Crying can be cathartic, and I like a good cry now and again, but there is a time when you have to pick yourself up and keep on going. Put a limit to the crying fest, and continue to push through. When I get down and need to cry it out, I allow myself to do so… but only for a short time, then keep it moving.
My skin had transformed, right before my cancer diagnosis, during and after. It had become worse, and very discouloured. The build up of steroid creams and antibiotics had changed the tone of my skin to this dark grayish brown hue (the chemo drugs probably didn’t help either). I remember one particular moment being at my worst; almost unrecognizable, short, thinned hair (from chopping it off from the chemo), underweight, always feeling weak, exhausted and with brittle discoloured skin. In this moment I began to really hate how I looked and the body I was in. It was at this point… and I remember it so vividly, I was in England visiting my mother and she told me that I have to look at myself. I was still there, behind the external, Jen was still there. She said, “I still see you, you’re still the same person” and that I had to force myself to look. I think it was in my sad eyes that I found myself. I had to look deep into my eyes and find the same Jen that has always been there. She wanted me to look at myself, even if it was for a few minutes a day, and tell myself that, “I’m still here”.
One of my best friends sisters gave me such wonderful advice once. She said that you have to touch your skin and tell yourself words of affirmation. Ever since that day, I’ve been doing just that. When I’m bathing or rubbing my emollients (coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter) on my skin, I have a little mantra that I speak to myself:
Your skin is soft, your skin is supple, your skin is even-toned, healthy, restored, renewed, pain-free, itch-free. You are healed!
I feel that these words become me, and every time I speak them I become one step closer to complete healing. There’s a saying, “call the things that aren’t as if they already are”. I believe this wholeheartedly… we must call upon what we want as if we’ve already attained it, example: “I am completely restored & healed, my body is renewed!”. I feel that this is the perfect definition of faith.
Through these trials, I feel that I have become more in-tuned with my body, and more spiritual and trusting in God. I give thanks all throughout the day… ironically even for the aches and pains! I know that when my feet are feeling tingly, I give thanks, because I know that weird feeling is the nerves learning how to work again. When I go through yet another cycle of oozing and shedding of dead skin, I know that that is just the process, and another cycle down is one step closer to the end. I remind myself that these layers have to shed, and that under each layer is stronger, healthier skin! I give thanks when I can comfortably have a shower with no burning on my skin, and when it’s a rough shower, I give thanks to God for getting me through it. I try to always have gratitude in every circumstance.
There are so many areas on my body right now that are super smooth, soft, wrinkle free and retaining moisture. These areas I touch, close my eyes and repeat to myself, “everywhere feels like this”. I also close my eyes and touch my feet and the restored areas at the same time and say “my feet feel like this”. I always try to visualize complete healing, and give myself affirming words. I feel that these mental and emotional exercises help the healing process along.
Hare some wonderful scriptures for healing, that keep my faith in this healing process strong:
Exodus 12:26 “… for I am the Lord who heals you”
*My personal favourite* Jeremiah 30:17 “For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, saith the Lord”
Peter 2:24 “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. “
Psalm 103:2-3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who heals all thy diseases”
Psalm 34:19 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all”