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Finding Inner Strength and Self-Care for Cancer Patients

Learn about inner strength, self-care and other helpful skills to feel better through the Reimagine Core Program.
PUBLISHED: JANUARY 12, 2016
I’ve experienced it intensely in my own life, and I have seen it with many other cancer patients. Threats from cancer can take people to places they’ve never been before. When I was diagnosed in 1998 at age 24, being aware that I had a brain tumor was among the most shocking days of my life. As I entered a new world, I learned in time not only to use quality research and cancer treatments when necessary, but also to address other aspects of the whole person.

Nothing happened overnight. Fortunately, I’m still here, and in the process I’ve learned various strategies. Now, at age 42 and almost an 18-year brain tumor survivor, including many treatments along the way, I want to further enhance my tools to thrive.
 
I’ve found extremely helpful skills for people in the cancer community to feel better through the Seven Pillars of Personal Strength™ in the Reimagine Core Program. Reimagine was created by experienced social workers helping cancer patients for many years, including ten years to create their curriculum, class rooms and teaching methodology. Studies of the Reimagine Core Program have occurred at Duke University as well as other hospitals showing impressive results. The Seven Pillars program provides very meaningful improvements even in the midst of serious challenges with cancer.

Each person addresses core aspects through the Seven Pillars emphasizing powerful goals.
  1. Hope: I focus on thoughts and actions.
  2. Balance: I take control of how I spend my time.
  3. Inner Strength: I recognize the strengths within me.
  4. Self-Care: I make my own needs a priority.
  5. Support: I give and receive the love I need.
  6. Spirit: I connect to a source of inner peace.
  7. Life Story: I find value in my experiences.
So far, as I continue going through the Reimagine program, the Inner Strengths Pillar helped me to identify some of my specific strengths that are woven in my personal power. I received some reminders and it helped me to see myself more clearly even in the chaos of cancer.

Along with my strengths, I evaluated my needs that are most important. In my long-term cancer survivorship — and for others just entering the cancer journey — being aware of needs in every moment is essential. With both strengths and needs, through the program I then looked into my past and present, and tuned into some related beliefs with an assessment of what works or not. The program had me look at who I am. The process moved me into self-appreciation, self-knowledge and self-love, which shifted my self-awareness into more empowerment. In order to get those benefits, I continue to track and address specific needs, aspire to shift, change and transform, as well as to find resources to support me along the way. The Inner Strengths Pillar provides tools and other strategies to help people feel stronger.

Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Brain Cancer CURE discussion group.
Jeannine Walston is a brain tumor survivor since 1998, cancer coach, writer, consultant and speaker. Her extensive work includes for the U.S. Congress, cancer non-profits, NCI, FDA, NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, hospitals, clinics, doctors, providers, other businesses, cancer patients and caregivers.
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