Monday, August 17, 2009

Thanks for the advice....but I think I'll just swim!

One thing I've learned from having cancer is that people are extremely generous with advice. It seems that many people seem to know what might be best for me, during this time, and they feel very comfortable telling me exactly what I should or should not do. So far, some of the suggestions (now, let's see, would I actually call them suggestions or something a bit stronger?) are as follows:

  • you should go to Germany where they induce very high fevers in people with cancer and the fever just burns the tumor right away
  • you should become a Buddhist
  • you should do TM (Transcendental Meditation) or just plain meditate
  • you should change your diet
  • exercise more
  • exercise less
  • drink red wine
  • don't drink any alcohol
  • stop drinking coffee
  • gain weight
  • eat a lot of ice cream
  • eat tumeric (it's good for the pancreas)
  • blog (what a great idea!)
  • be positive (as if I'm not, or if being negative brought this on!)
  • breathe (good one!)
  • you should do acupuncture, do yoga, do Pilates
  • you should get your energy released
  • you should see a homeopath/an Ayurvedic doctor
  • you should do guided imagery, listen to relaxation tapes, do hypnotherapy, be in psychotherapy
  • get massages frequently

So, many of these do's and don'ts were and are excellent recommendations. I did actually take a lot of the advice I was given. For example, I did have my energy released, had several massages, did yoga, saw an Ayurvedic oncologist, exercised more, tried to gain weight, but I did not go to Germany. Each one of these recommendations, mind you, takes A LOT of time, and also costs A LOT of money.

I could have spent hours and hours, and thousands of dollars following everyone's suggestions.....but instead, I just swam A LOT. You see, swimming for me is all of the following:

  • it is therapeutic
  • it is hypnotic
  • it is medatitive
  • it's positive!
  • it allows me to breathe rhythmically
  • it stretches me out
  • it makes me feel strong
  • it puts me in "the zone"
  • it allows me to do guided imagery
  • being surrounded by water makes me feel amazing
  • it's healing
  • it's restorative
  • swimming is magical

So, for all you swimmers reading this blog, I know you get it. For all you non-swimmers, I'm sorry if you don't understand what I'm talking about, and maybe you should give it a try. Swimming has gotten me through many difficult times in my life, particularly these past few months. I'm going to swim on Thursday morning at 5:45 AM - just a short swim before heading down to Palo Alto for my surgery which will be at 10 AM. We don't know how long I'll be out of the water, but however long it will be, it will be much too long for me. I'm going to miss the magic of swimming. But, hey, if you have any other advice for me you can always post it on the comment section of my blog.

Happy Swimming.


  1. Dear Susan
    So glad to get the wonderful email from Susan about how well you're doing. Loved reading your blog especially this particular post. You have an amazing attitude and sense of humor as well. Stay strong and I'll be thinking of you often as well as sending long distance healing thoughts.
    Gail H

  2. Dear Susan,
    I am happy to see and hear how well you are doing. I will add my 2¢ and suggest you kayak... You'll get your swimming in if you tip the boat, or just enjoy being on top of the water ;-) I'd be happy to take you out, along with your daughter.
    Lots of love and hugs,