I learned the power of will during my cancer journey thru a very unusual process. I called it “Shower Sequencing”. Since the cancer was in my neck and tonsil it was important to keep the lymph moving there. I discovered that a method of creating movement in the lymph was to first run hot water from the shower over each side of my neck for 30 seconds and then cold water for 30 seconds! For some reason I chose to do this just before I went to sleep!
I would lean my head back, exposing my neck to the shower and go thru the sequence of hot and cold 12 times. Counting in my head 30 seconds for hot and then cold. I did this for three and half years, every night. During the spring and summer it wasn’t difficult but come late fall and winter, it was brutal! The water got considerably colder. And this is where I discovered the “power of will”.
I can remember so many times during those cold months, standing under that cold shower late at night and being one second away from bailing out—it was just to damn cold! I would say things in my head like, “I’ll just skip it tonight.” Or “I’ll cut it down to 15 seconds increments tonight—give it a rest”. We all know the process of excuses! But I just reached down inside of myself and found a toughness I didn’t know was there and hung in there—and I came to understand the power of “will”.
After I was done, I always felt I had accomplished something–feeling a sense of victory-“I did it!” Of course, the girlfriend was never too happy when I got into bed! Because for some reason I always finished the “sequencing” on the cold water! Maybe I enjoyed making her an unwilling partner in my suffering! “No, sweetie, my doctor said it was important to finish on the cold.” (I am pretty sure he said that!).
If you’re going thru a journey with any kind of illness there are going to come moments when you don’t want to do something. You must “cowboy or cowgirl up” and do it! It will teach you about your own strength which is so greater than you imagine. And learning about your strength will empower your healing. I talk a great deal about this in the book. Sometimes how we heal is a healing in of itself. I not only helped my lymph to continue to move but strengthened my spirit.
As I write this and think back to those moments under the shower, I remember that I also learned about surrender. Sometimes I would let go and just surrender myself to the cold—I would disengage my thoughts—wow—this is so true. I let go of the thought that the cold water was uncomfortable and I became friends with it. The cold on my skin felt almost luxurious. The power of thought–-it’s always there to help us.
So my warrior brothers and warrior sisters, I encourage you to always try and find the gifts during your journey. It will change the journey itself—truly.