It has been a while since I foreshadowed a post on my recommended readings. The good news is that in the intervening period I have read a few more great books to add to my list.
Reading about and understanding my disease and the various medical and non-medical therapies available to me has been a crucial input to my ‘disease management plan’. Together with the regular dialogue and discussion I have with my oncologists, radiologist and other health professionals, it has enabled me to:
- develop a framework for determining the best way to live with my disease ‘holistically’
- learn about and do those things that will potentially influence my health outcomes
- understand the treatment choices available to me and maintain control over them
- get on with living my life day by day as well as I possibly can and without feeling overwhelmed by my “advanced cancer” status.
I have set out below some of the books about non-medical approaches and therapies that have been most important to me and which I think could be helpful to others-both those with a serious disease and those seeking to find a lifestyle that significantly reduces the risk of contracting such a disease.(Most of the readings directed at ‘healing’ cancer are usually also about ‘preventative’ therapies/lifestyles).
I have classified the readings into the following 3 groups:
- Philosophy, Practice and Evidence of the Mind/Body Link.
- The ‘Integrative’ Approach to Disease Management
- Neutratherapy and Diet
This post will cover the first of these categories. I will outline my recommendations on the remaining two categories in subsequent posts – and I will try to be more disciplined in my timeliness than with this post!
Philosophy, Practice and Evidence of the Mind/Body Link
In one of my earlier posts I reviewed a book by Deepak Chopra entitled “Creating Health ” which explores the links between the mind and body employing a combination of Western–based medical science (Chopra has been a practising endocrinologist) and Eastern spritual philosophy and well-being practices.
The insights provided by Chopra and another leading writer/philospher in this field, Eckhart Tolle, have helped me shape a new ‘world view’ that has enabled me to deal with the prospect of my death, improve my physical well-being, better manage my disease and better enjoy each day as it comes. Their books are :
“Reinventing the Body,Resurrecting the Soul:How to Create a New Self.” Deepak Chopra, Random House, 2009.
“Practising The Power of Now : Essential Teaching, Meditation and Exercises from “The Power of Now” Eckhart Tolle, New World Video Library (ie you can listen to it on your iPod!).
Tolle’s book distills different teachings on meditation and makes recommendations based on his own observations.
A range of empirical studies have demonstrated the powerful link between meditation,relaxation and visualisation practices on the one hand , and the improved functioning of the immune system and management of disease on the other.
There are many books available on meditation but a good place to start is :
“Meditation An In-Depth Guide” by Ian Gawler and Paul Bedson.
The book details the Mindfulness-based Stillness Meditation method which the authors have developed and which is taught at The Gawler Foundation. Paul was one of our meditation teachers during our stay at the Gawler Foundtaion retreat and I continue to practise this method.
A book which has had a big impact on my regime (and a world-wide ‘best-seller’) is:
“Getting Well Again” by Carl Simonton, Stephanie Matthews – Simonton and Paul Creighton.
The Simontons established the renown Simonton Cancer Center in Santa Barbara, California where they have had great success in helping people to overcome cancer. Their approach combines psychological therapy with medical treatment. The book explains how self–awareness and self–care can contribute to the management of cancer and survival. It includes detailed instructions for relaxation and visualisation methods which I practise 3-5 times a day. I know that practising the Simonton relaxation and visualisation technique was a major contributor to the outcomes and minimal side-effects of my chemotherapy treatment. It is a key compnonent of my ongoing “wellness” regime.
An inspiring book from a distinguished US surgeon, who believes in and has evidenced the power of the mind to cure disease, is :
“Love ,Medicine and Miracles” Bernie Seigel
When the going get’s tough this is a good book to dip into. I like to keep it close at hand.
For those of you (like me) who prefer an evidence–based approach to developing your own holistic regime the following book, by a researcher at Monash University’s Medical School, is an excellent read:
“The Essence of Health” by Dr Craig Hassed.
The book addresses the evidence on what the author defines as the “seven pillars of wellbeing”; education/learning, stress management, spirituality, exercise, nutrition, connectedness and environment. Craig presented to our Gawler Foundation retreat group. He is a great speaker and writer.
My next post will outline recommended readings in the integrative approach to managing cancer (and chronic disease more generally).