Finding Inspiration in Illness

There were some pretty dark days over the past year and I’m often asked how I kept a positive attitude. Well, if you were with me during those times, you’d know I wasn’t always a ray of sunshine. Fortunately, positivity is built into the core of who I am, so during the bad days, I clung to hope and believing my healing was possible.

In my recent Curetoday.com article, Defeating Cancer Using the Law of Attraction, I shared the activities of my law of attraction practice which helped me gain control of my health emotionally, mentally and spiritually. But, sometimes we need to see and hear real life stories of people who are on the other side of difficult health situations, such as cancer.

Here are some of my favorite videos, books and websites full of inspirational, odd defying journeys.  

The Connection
An insightful documentary explaining the science behind the mind and body connection. The film follows several people who overcome dire circumstances, such as cancer, heart disease and infertility, using integrative medicine.

Amy Purdy TED Talk – Living Beyond Limits
After being given a 2% chance of survival from bacterial meningitis, Amy Purdy recovered at the expense of her legs, spleen, kidneys and some of her hearing. With her Mom shielding her from negativity, a kidney from her Dad and a lot of painful, hard work, she not only overcame her prognosis, but went on to become a Paralympic and World Cup medalist. In this TED Talk, she describes the blessings born from her struggles, using visualization and how life challenges can push us to go further than we or science ever thought was possible.

Crazy Sexy Cancer
Kris Carr is an entertainer turned activist, who revolutionized the living with cancer movement. Through this five year documented journey, she realized cancer wasn’t killing her, but rather pushing her to live. She even goes as far as calling cancer her guru. Her documentary and books are inspiring and share the tips and tricks she’s used over the past decade to defy her prognosis through healthy living.

Stories of Miracles
I love reading and hearing stories about people who did what science told them was impossible. Here are a couple sites I visit when in need of a little hope or proof that miracles are thriving.
The Secret Stories
The Radical Remission Project

Law of Attraction Books
My favorites are The Secret and The Power by Rhonda Byrne. Each book has a chapter on health, stories of improbable survival, suggestions on how to change your mindset and actions to attract the best possible outcome. I’ve downloaded the audio books and listen to these on repeat for a few minutes each day.

And when all else fails to inspire you, I found laughter to be great medicine. Over the summer, I spent hours laying in bed watching Jimmy Fallon, Lip Sync Battles and my favorite Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell films. Not only did they put me in a better mood, but they helped me to escape, if only for a while.

Feel free to comment below with your favorite inspirational stories.

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2 thoughts on “Finding Inspiration in Illness

  1. Dave Glebe says:

    Hi Stacie — I’ve just read some of your articles and they are very good. This is “Pelican Dave” from the Inspire PNET forum, and I’ve commented on some of your posts in the past. Like you, I’ve also found the online support group community to be helpful, but unlike you, I’ve been attending a weekly, face-to-face support group at the Tunnell Cancer Center near my home in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Although I will often miss a week or two, I’m now considered a “regular” there, and in general, it has been helpful to exchange information and ideas and feelings with people in the same boat as I am, although nobody else has PNET, of course. What I’ve been getting discouraged about with this group, however, is that most of the members, along with the counselor who runs the group, keep bringing up religious ideas, and by that I mean Judeo-Christian ideas, and these references are making me more and more uncomfortable. Although I was raised as a Roman Catholic and even wanted to be a priest when I was in grade school, I later rejected those beliefs and consider them to be the equivalent to beliefs in the existence of Santa Claus or unicorns or elves or Tom Sawyer. (When I was working on my Ph.D. in analytic philosophy at Ohio State, I taught undergraduate classes in which we discussed the nature of belief and knowledge and truth, and I think I caused a lot of young kids to question the beliefs that they grew up with — but that’s what serious philosophy is all about, and I used to warn my students that in my class, everything would be “on the table” for question.) So my problem is that when I hear others in my cancer support group talking about “the power of prayer” or “talking every night to the Blessed Virgin,” as if these things made sense and were not merely ignorance-based fantasies, it makes me kind of sick to my stomach, or it makes me want to walk out of the room, or at the very least, it makes me feel sorry for the people who still cling to these utterly childish beliefs. Although that may sound arrogant of me, so that someone might say — “Well Dave, who are YOU to criticize their beliefs in that way?” — the fact is that my criticism is not just some subjective opinion or preference, akin to saying, “I like strawberries,” but rather, it is based upon the considerable TIME that I’ve spent over the years, ever since I first started reading Plato at age fourteen, learning about the deeper ideas that humans have thought, reading about them, debating them, writing about them, re-thinking my conclusions, and so on. I spent SIX years in graduate school studying philosophy. THAT’S what legitimizes my criticisms, and makes them more than mere opinions of mine. By analogy, I practiced law for over 30 years, and during the last 13 years of my career, I practiced constitutional law in particular. So when I hear people nowadays arguing about some constitutional issue, and everyone is “giving their opinion,” I will sometimes tell them that their opinions are simply flat-out wrong. And when they say — “Well Dave, who are YOU to say that?” — then I can answer in the same way, namely, I can say that because I put years and years of study and experience into constitutional law, and you did not, that’s why. That makes me qualified to make such judgments. In any event, I guess I was wondering if you’d had any similar experiences with your own “cancer posse” or other support people you deal with. When I read your articles, I was specifically looking for religious references or ideas, and didn’t see you saying things like, “Talking to Jesus every day is what helps me the most.” (I may have missed something, though.) I guess I’m just getting frustrated by the alienation I feel from people who have those beliefs, and who use those kinds of ideas and language. “I’ll say a prayer for you,” they tell each other, and yet when someone says that to me, I feel like saying, “In other words, you’ll do nothing for me, right? Because that’s the same as saying a prayer.” Any thoughts? Best regards otherwise, Dave (The Pelican)

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    • Stacie Chevrier says:

      Hi Dave,

      Thanks for writing. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I was on a much needed vacation. It’s interesting that you ask for my thoughts on this subject because I’ve been gathering ideas and thoughts on an article I’ve tentatively titled, “Reconciling God & Cancer”.

      I am also a Catholic raised northerner and have found myself in countless uncomfortable situations amongst my southern neighbors. Being diagnosed with cancer only amplified these situations, as I was showered with innumerable “I’ll pray for you” messages. In my opinion, I have found this to be one of the pre-packaged responses people had when they found out I was diagnosed, mostly because people don’t often know what to say. Heck, I still don’t know how to respond when someone else tells me they have cancer. This has lead me to the conclusion that saying, “I’ll pray for you.” is often more for the person praying’s benefit.

      However, that being said, cancer has most definitely brought me closer to religion, but not in the typical sense. I now say that my religion is compassion and gratitude and I try to align myself with other survivors who share the same views. I have developed deep empathy for people who are suffering and am more grateful than before for the littlest of things. Each of us has different ways they cope with cancer and I think it’s important for everyone to find what works for them.

      As for my response to someone who pray for me, I just say thank you. Because really, what are prayers? They are thoughts. And I think it’s nice when someone sends me wishes of health. Plus, I figure it can’t hurt, even if it is just making them feel better. But, the pre-packed, church taught statements and phrases, not for me. I can understand your frustration, especially someone who is quite educated on the subject. But, I think this is one of those subjects where no matter what you say or how much factual, scientific evidence you provide to someone, they’re not going to change what they believe.

      Thanks for writing and reading.

      -Stacie

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