Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Human Touch

As I went through my eight week treatment, another helpful aspect of enduring treatment was seeking out the human touch. I believe heartily in the human touch as a natural healing property and making sure I received an adequate amount of this was paramount to getting through the treatment and the subsequent side effects.

Now, I can hear the groans and guffaws in the background when you read 'the human touch'. So for clarification sake, I'm going on record that this was all professional in nature and one that would not include any Vice Squad interference.

The human touch is defined by massage therapy, facials, pedicures, manicures, and the such. I made sure I had at least one of these treatments every single week of the treatment. And in most weeks I doubled or tripled up on this wonderful part of the eight weeks. I found it to be a definite help and a break from the action of going to the hospital every day. And if truth be known, the massages were the very best and I believe the most healing.

On the subject of healing and human touch, I recall a study I read in Scientific America some years ago. It took place @ a University library and was conducted on multiple occasions to ensure the outcome they received was consistent throughout the process.

The study was a simple one. It consisted of a checkout person and an interviewer. The checkout person was first asked to check out books and under no circumstance whatsoever touch the person who was checking them out. The person checking out was then interviewed as they left the library and asked, "How was your visit to the library today?" In more than 90% of the cases where the person was not touched, the reply of, "Nothing special" or there abouts was proffered as the answer.

Next, the opposite was administered. The checkout person had to make physical contact with a touch to the hand or arm as the person with the books was exiting the check out area. Same question ensued, "How was your visit to the library today?" This time in over 90% of the cases, the reply was along the lines of, "It was nice, special, good experience, etc."

As mentioned, the research team administered this form of test over and over and each time came back with similar and consistent results. The human touch made a positive difference on the simplest of undertakings.

I for one firmly believe in the human touch and the power of it's healing capabilities. Try it sometime with loved ones, friends, strangers, co workers, etc. Touch someone and see if it brightens up their day. I believe you'll be amazed by the result.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A poem from a dear friend Anne

The Lines on My Face

To his grandson, the old man said,
The wrinkles on my face
Are a treasure map to my wealth.
Revealing a life rich in experience
Accompanied by good health.
In these lines you see where I’ve
Laughed and cried.
Moments that seemed fleeting
Have instead made a permanent mark.
Right where all can see, especially me,
In the mirror and in my memory.
Some think being rich has to do with a bank account,
But now that I’ve made it here,
I realize what has made my life dear.
It is the deposits of love made by family and friends
Into this bank I call my heart.
It's knowing that I’ve mattered
That has sustained me from the start.
So even if I look old and feeble,
And perhaps not much of a sight to see,
Never see me and feel pity,
You should be so lucky.
To have lived a life
Through both joy and strife
Graced by loved ones
Willing to share and see things through.
Their value has appreciated with age
The way all things with value do.
So here I sit, old and wealthy,
Content in these years.
And if you see past the lines on my face,
You’ll see a treasure of happiness in their place.
Mary F. Van der Linden

The final stretch - a blessing

This week marks the eighth and final week of treatment which can be described as nothing other than a marathon of chemo & radiation therapy. All in all it has gone well and the time has passed without any big incident; albeit the side effects have been somewhat less than a walk through the park on a summer day. As such, I've been dark on the blog during the past several weeks as I haven't had too many positive things to say about the experience. I felt it best to put some time between me and it before chronicling.

One key ingredient during this tenuous time which helped me immensely is the time spent with friends. I made a concerted effort to have lunch/dinner, go for a walk, take in a museum, the market, tea, etc. each day of treatment with good friends. My good friend Danielle even came to town for a few days and her wonderful company accompanied by her epicurean delights were blissful.

This time spent with close friends was a true blessing and reminds me again how fortunate I am to have the people in my life that I do. It's very special indeed!

Another element which helped get through this treatment was meditation. I found that by meditating on my multitude of blessings, it guided me daily with a positive agenda thus creating less focus on the negative aspects of what my body was feeling and going through.

Top on my blessing list was my parents. I meditated over and over on how much they mean to me and how incredible they have been for me over the years and helped form the very fabric of who I am as a person. I prayed to God thanking him that they are who they are and how fortunate I am to have them as the key and guiding light through my journey on earth.

During one of my meditative prayers, God spoke to me that I was able to pick my folks in heaven before I came to live on earth. He stated that I had many to pick from and to pick well as they would be the only parents I'll ever have. I was not given a window on the future, only to look at them as humans and how they act and are as people on earth. They would be my decision to pick, not the other way around. So depending upon the life I wanted to lead on earth would depend a lot about how I made this decision.

Needless to say, this was a true revelation and one that became dogma throughout my meditation's. It opened all kinds of thoughts and self observations and ultimately put more accountability on me as to who I am and how I have lived my life; one without blame or self criticism. It was truly a BLESSING to come to this realization and one I doubt I would have ever come to had I not gone through several weeks of hell.

I highly recommend taking a moment from your day and meditate upon your blessings. You may be pleasantly surprised what comes before you. I know I was.

Wishing you many blessings in your world,