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If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.

Emerson M. Pugh

Survivorship

I’ve learnt the art of knowing how to pull what I need from different resources,’
Brain tumour survivor

People do survive cancer. All the time. And people can survive brain cancer. But not all the time. brainstrust is working hard to change this. A generation ago to be diagnosed with leukemia was a death sentence. Not any more. We want to do the same for brain cancer.

So what do we mean by survivorship?

Basically living with and beyond cancer. So this can mean living with an inoperable brain tumour, or living a brain tumour free life but having experienced surgery and adjuvant therapies. Cancer survivors can face all kinds of challenges as a result of their diagnosis and treatment, from physical, emotional, social, spiritual, through to financial challenges. I wish I could say that health initiatives are in place that address survivorship and quality of life issues such as the coordination of care, patient-provider communication, palliative care and pain management. However, survivorship is new on the agenda in the UK. In light of these concerns, public health initiatives aimed at understanding and preventing secondary disease, recurrence, and the long-term effects of treatment are essential but not yet in place.

The survivorship framework:

survivorship framework

There are some things you can do to live the life you want. You have to remember that cancer changes survivors forever. Getting back to "normal" routines can be a challenge after waging such a war. Don Joseph Gowey survived a brain tumor and has spent more than a decade helping people with life-threatening illnesses move from a fearful to a peaceful life.  Gowey offers these tips to cancer survivors struggling to find a new and better life.

1. Love yourself totally. Practice it by imagining that someone who loves you dearly is sitting next to you, holding your hand as you learn to hold yourself with that much love.

2. Admire your courage for surviving this long, against such difficulties.

3. Don't be afraid. Make being at peace your number-one goal. Start each day by feeling peace in your heart and extend peace from your heart to the world.

4. Go slowly. Close your eyes and say: Please, mind, go a little slower. Think a little less. Relax a little more. Then breathe. Go out into the world and smell the roses. Hug the people you love. Listen to the birds sing. Be alive with the feeling of life every chance you get.

5. Forgive everyone and every bad thing that has happened so completely that you hardly see it any more.

6. Make a pledge that from this day forward you will never worry about another thing, including cancer.

7. Spend time in nature whenever you can, even if it's only looking out your kitchen or office window.

8. Don't judge anything that occurs. Enjoy the dance of life on earth. It and love aren't supposed to make sense. Listen to yourself and others with such empathy that it no longer occurs to you to judge any part of what you are hearing or feeling or seeing.

9. The moment you feel stress in your mind or body, stop whatever you are doing and let go completely.

10. And be at peace, no matter happens. Always return to peace. And never again forget how brave and beautiful you are.
Date published: 17-05-2009   Last edited: 17-05-2009   Due for review 31-09-2014

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