14 July 2009

Mindfulness in cancer treatment

Go read Mindy Greenstein's WaPo piece:

Aided by a Proponent of Mindfulness, Cancer Patient Focuses on Joys of Today - washingtonpost.com

Why are you still here?

It's awesome. Trust me.

Okay fine. Don't believe me. Here's a small bit of its awesomeness to entice you:
Sanderson realized that this was what she was doing with her needle and, ultimately, with her illness: letting her experience of the present moment be overtaken by her fears for the future. Every hour she spent ruminating about the pain that was awaiting her was another hour she wasn't fully engaged with her life, another hour she couldn't enjoy. She couldn't pretend she didn't know her prognosis. So she chose a different route.

"I realized," she told us, "that the moments of pain -- even if the pain was excruciating -- were actually very short compared with the pain I put myself through by thinking about it ahead of time." If she could stay focused on the present moment no matter what she was doing -- washing dishes, talking to a colleague, even chatting with the doctor just before her treatment -- up until the moment the needle actually pierced her skin, she could cope. Even more, if she could keep that same focus from meandering to thoughts about what lay ahead in the future in general, she could continue to make the most of every moment that was not painful.

Some people think being positive means being certain of a cure. For others, it means enjoying the kindness of a friend or the mischief of a child or a rerun of "Battlestar Galactica" today, and leaving tomorrow's sorrows for tomorrow. For me, it meant.....

Oh you want to know how it ends don't you?

Now do you believe me?

Go read it. I'll still be here when you get back.