Houston we have a problem

The world looks different when you’re floating in space. Same universe. Just a completely different perspective. And a different experience.

So when two oncologists have such different perspectives on the same treatment does it make one wrong? Or are they simply different. Perhaps two different ways of looking at the same thing.

Only thing is they lead to two completely different experiences.

Take my oncologist for example. About the chemo he made sure I understood no side effects are compulsory. And he emphasised how important my mind was in all of this.  And once I got my mind on the job, I breezed through, relatively speaking. But then the other day I heard of another oncologist who suggested that the side effects are a good thing because they demonstrate the chemo is working. And that they worry about people who breeze through. It’s the completely opposite standpoint. And it seems to be a belief that many people going through the treatment hold too. Even if they’re not aware of it.

And this concerns me.

Not because I ‘breezed through’, but because I know that many of the side-effects of chemo are psychologically driven. That means they can be avoided. It concerns me because it demonstrates a limited understanding of the role of a person’s mind in treatment. And yet if this powerhouse of energy could be utilised how much more effective would the treatment be? It concerns me because beliefs such as these can make the experience more difficult – and who wants it to be more difficult than it already is. It concerns me because these beliefs don’t allow for the possibility of a positive experience that’s just as effective. And if you look at what’s happening in France they can get the side-effects down while making the chemo even more effective.

The thing is different thought patterns create different experiences.

When you engage the mind to expect that things have to be difficult you more than likely create this. But when you realise you can actually make it easier for yourself, it can become a completely different experience.

Todd Sampson gave us the perfect example of the mind at work in his recent series Redesign My Brain. Because when it came to his experience of muscle strength, of pain, or of whether or not he could achieve a massive feat of endurance, his experience changed completely when he changed his mind about it. When he got new information. When he got a new perspective.

As with many things in life, our mindset, our perspective plays a major role in determining our experience. Not whether the chemo is working or not, but how we personally experience it. Our belief systems can make the same experience easier or more difficult. And when it comes to chemo, I know which belief system I’d rather buy into…

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