Your methods of coping with cancer might not always be sexy.
Ryan Hamner is a four-time survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma, a musician, and an award-winning author. In 2011, he wrote and recorded, "Where Hope Lives" for the American Cancer Society and the song for survivors, "Survivors Survive" used in 2015 for #WorldCancerDay. Recently, he published his book, This is Remission: A Four-Time Cancer Survivor's Memories of Treatment, Struggle, and Life, available on Amazon. His website is www.ryanhamner.com
Throughout my years of fighting cancer, or as I like to think of it, punching cancer in the face repeatedly, I would get down and depressed. Many times, it was because I was sick and couldn’t get out much, or because my blood counts were off and I couldn’t be around friends and family out of fear of catching something. Needless to say, this was less than awesome.
During these hard times, I learned three ridiculously easy ways to help me boost my mood and cope with being sick, isolated and depressed. Three ways that helped me make it through all of the rainy days brought on because of vile, wretched, despicable, detestable, worthless, revolting cancer. (I literally just used a dictionary to provide me with the words necessary to convey the hate I have for cancer.)
1. Turn it Up
Ever listened to a song and for a moment you seriously thought you could whip the Terminator, Bruce Lee (maybe not Bruce) and Iron Man in a fight, or heard a song that made you think, “Wait, no—I really can dance.” When wait, no, you really can’t dance?
Over the years, I’ve used music to help me cope with all of the bad that comes with having cancer and also the hard times that just come with life. The right song can change the way I feel in an instant.
As kids, my brother and I would sit by the radio and record songs off of Casey Kasem’s Weekly Top 40. (Withhold your judgments please.) Those would be the songs that I would listen to on my Walkman cassette player as I received my chemo treatments. Those songs lifted my mood and distracted me from the medicinal smells, cold clinic chairs, other kids crying and the dread of what would come following my treatment, becoming violently ill. So, ladies and gentlemen, consider listening to more good music to boost your mood. It’s virtually free these days and has no side effects other than creating feelings of sheer awesomeness and unrealistic superhuman abilities.
2. Send ‘em Packing
What I’m referring to here are all of the negative things in your life. Send ‘em packing! It could be something as simple as the news. Turn that mess off if you have to. I can give you a complete news summary right here so you never have to watch it again. It goes like this, people are arguing about stuff, people are shooting stuff and people are lying about stuff. There, now you know what’s going on and you can turn off your news for good. Also, what about those people in your life who can find the negativity in anything? These are the same people that say, “Yeah, but if you win the lottery you’ll only get $3 million because of taxes.” You know exactly the type of people I’m talking about. They walk into the room and the lights flicker because they are literally depleting the energy from everything around them with all of their negativity. Take a break from these people. You don’t have to be mean, but give them a free vacation, from you. In a nutshell, reduce or eliminate as much negativity in your life as you can, even if it’s just temporarily, and watch your mood surge.
3. Carve Soap
OK, you might not want to carve soap, but consider finding some type of hobby or hobbies. (Yes carving soap is a real hobby.) My hobbies while I was sick always gave me something to look forward to whether I could be around people or not. Remember, having a hobby you do outside is just fine, but I suggest also taking up a hobby or two that you can do inside in case you are not feeling well or you are in the hospital. My hobbies were metal detecting (not that sexy I know) and searching through hundreds of coins looking for those that were rare. (This one will most likely lead to you finding a new hobby.) And hey, if you decide you want to try the carving soap thing, that’s fine too.