Saturday, November 12, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

November 11, 2011 – “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. Psalm 139:14

I went to see my oncologist on Tuesday, November 7, 2011. All of my CBC blood levels were high enough for me to take my chemo treatment on Wednesday. When I asked about the tumor makers, he said, “They are almost normal.” Remember that 2.5 is normal and I started out at 204. Three weeks ago they were 11.6; they are now down to 7.8! Yea, God, and thanks! You did it – again - as always! Then the doctor added, “The chest x-ray showed improvement in your bones, too.” I thought to myself, “My bones? There was something wrong with my bones? I didn’t know there was something wrong with my bones.” Actually it is a good thing that I did not know. I know how my brain works when there’s something wrong – worry, worry, fret, fret! Will it ever get better? It is so much easier to just give it to God and go about my life, enjoying it and being happy! On Wednesday I went to the healing meeting at church and shared these reports with the rest of the healing group. When Father Mark prayed over me, he ended with the chorus of the famous reggae song of Bobby McFarrin, “Don’t worry; be happy.” Yeah, that’s going to be my
theme song from now on!
This would be a good time to mention emotions and stress and the role they play in your health. When a person is under constant stress, as many are today with a hectic on-the-go life style and sleep deprivation, your body constantly releases adrenalin into your blood
stream. (I have studied neurophysiology at in-services related to my professions, physical therapy and speech- language pathology.) Stress and lack of sleep can compromise your immune system so it cannot fight off disease nor can it adequately battle conditions that can cause long-term chronic disease. Now, why is 2.5 considered normal for a tumor marker test? Why not zero? It is not zero because everybody has cancer cells in their body (Now isn’t that a comforting thought?), and a normally functioning immune system gets rid of them on a daily basis. The same argument can be made for any stress-related disease – ulcers, heart attacks, high blood pressure, diabetes. When you are happy, or doing something you like, the body releases a different chemical called endorphins. These make you feel good. Because of the lack of adrenalin, one can say that endorphins help to raise the effectiveness of the immune system to its optimum level so it can
fight off diseases successfully. Now there are many other factors that can precipitate these chronic illnesses and we can’t control all of them; a genetic predisposition is a good example. But
we can control our emotions and that can make a big difference in the course of our treatments. Relaxation exercises, faith, support groups, positive attitudes, meditation, and contemplative prayer all help to relax us so our bodies can release the endorphins and keep us healthy. I am sure that these factors are operating successfully in me (especially my positive attitude and my faith in God) and that’s why I am recovering so well. Thanks again, God! Thanks again to my support network! I appreciate you and I love you all!
Today is Veteran’s Day. Thank you for your service.
Pictures show red flowers on a vine that grew among the purple Mexican petunias; 3 tubs, one with orange marigolds,one with red flowers, and one with yellow flowers (I don’t know what they are); the fuchsia bougainvillea, with Al and my neighbor Fatma in the
background and the white Celtic flag in the foreground.

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