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Whether you do or do not have it, you can FCancer

Parker Avenue is delighted to report that $250 was raised to directly support @_thepinklist and their Pink Kits for chemo patients. I cannot say thank you enough. I also appreciate the brave stories told in our Bare Breasted series. There is no one way to fight except to Fight Like A Girl. Meditative activity is one more weapon.

Whether you are recently diagnosed with breast cancer, receiving treatment, recovering from the pain or a caregiver the ups and downs of a breast cancer diagnosis are a lot. Getting by each day and staying sane might seem impossible. Meditative activities can help.

Meditative activities are healing exercises involving focusing your attention, regulating your breathing, and developing kind awareness of your thoughts and feelings. It can be as basic as deep breathing, sitting quietly watching traffic or waves or repeating a mantra. According to the American Cancer Society, meditative activities are integrative treatments that connect the mind and body to bring about balance. These kinds of activities have been in place for many centuries. They have been used with the standard breast cancer treatment because it is very safe, effective, trustworthy, and require little or no physical effort. 

This will help you deal with the feeling you are having due to breast cancer diagnosis with a focused mind and body.

Positivepsychology.com recommends the numerous meditative activities. 

  • Mindfulness meditation: this activity trains your brain to slow down racing thoughts, to ward off negative thoughts, and maintain mind-to-body calmness
  • Gratitude meditation:  think of what you have in your life at the moment, making you grateful for those things.
  • Movement/Walking Meditation: this type of meditation blends the walking experience with focused mindfulness connecting your body and mind.
  • Guided Imagery and Visualization:  use your imagination of something pleasant to calm your body, reducing the stress or anxiety from breast cancer.
  • Focused Attention Meditation:  brings your attention to a particular thing, helping you to enjoy the present moment.
  • Loving-kindness meditation:  meditative activity involving the loud repetition of kind phases to someone and yourself. This help develop considerate behavior toward yourself and others
  • Awareness of the Breath Meditation: it is a type of meditation that helps your mind to focus on the present without judging or modifying the experience 

These are not all the possible activities but they do all carry certain attributes. The mind is focused and any activity is repetitive. This describes a hobby we share.

A wide range of emotions and feelings accompany the news that you have breast cancer. It can be stressful, the anxiety of what is to come next, fear, loneliness, and the thought of losing a special part of your body. It can be overwhelming to think about how much information you have to process, from the cancer staging to various treatment options available and many other things. 

There are endless ways that science has determined this focused thought with repetitive activity can help. Pick up knitting needles or a crochet hook. Note how it can make you feel. You may find yourself more patient and peaceful. Your capacity to pay attention and focus may be increased. Remember Chemo brain is real. Meditative activities can help you stay focused.It helps you validate the emotions you are feeling and be ready to accept them. 

The physical limitations from cancer can leave you isolated and alone not being able to go out with friends because of being weak . The community of knitting and crochet allows you to enjoy their company whether you are stitching or just being with folks that are joyful.

That is truly the most substantial and universal benefit of meditative stitching. It is a COMMUNITY. Along your cancer journey the knitting and crochet develop and maintain healthy relationships. Not everyone in the community has been through cancer or even knows someone close that has, but every one, you find is going through something.

That community includes loved ones and caregivers who can support and be supported. Caregiving sometimes takes a considerable toll. The meditative activities and the community of fiber friends also enables you to leave cancer for a moment and see what you have control over.

Some of this is my experience, some is what I have been told from personal accounts but if you are looking to share this information here are a few references that bring evidence of something we already know as fact at PARKER AVENUE. The links below show evidence that breast cancer prognosis can improve with meditative exercise:

https://www.uclahealth.org/news/mindfulness-meditation-survivorship-classes-reduce-symptoms-of-depression-in-younger-breast-cancer-survivors

https://www.bcrf.org/blog/using-mindfulness-reduce-stress-and-strengthen-your-immune-system/

https://health.wusf.usf.edu/hnf-stories/2016-08-18/research-finds-benefits-of-meditation-on-cancer-patients

 

Final thoughts

October has ended but we know that at every stage of the journey the fight continues. The warriors of PARKER AVENUE have fought and they win every single day. Sharon, Dondi, Joye and many others we have met along the way come to Parker Avenue and most days you wouldn’t know they were anything but knitters, crocheters and vital members of our community. Some days they are vital members in need of our community. Be kind, be gracious, be patient and be open. In this family no one fights alone.

 

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1 comment

  • Sally, this was a wonderful piece to read. Thank you.

    Nancy Gad-Harf

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