Excerpt from Mind, Body and Soul by Nancy H. Dahm, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Mind, Body and Soul

A Guide To Living With Cancer

by Nancy H. Dahm

Mind, Body and Soul by Nancy H. Dahm
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    Jan 2001, 336 pages

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Common fears and interventions

Chapter 4 Overcoming Stress
The anatomy of stress and getting in touch with your inner self

Chapter 5 Home Is Where the Heart Is
The meaning of being cared for at home and getting the services you need

Chapter 6 A Path Away from Pain
How to take control of your pain

Chapter 7 A Path Away from Pain – the Medications
What you need to know about pain medications

Chapter 8 A Rest in the Field of the Philosophs
Finding purpose and meaning through Socrates, Plato, and Marcus Aurelius

Chapter 9 Now Climb the Hills of Hope
New advances in cancer detection and treatment

Chapter 10 To the Mountain of Visions
Answered prayers, visions, and miracles

Chapter 11 Heaven Is Waiting
How to give care to a dying loved one at home

Chapter Nine
Now Climb the Hills of Hope

"All things are implicated with one another, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly anything unconnected with any other thing…For there is one universe made up of all things, and one God who pervades all things, and one substance, and one law … Be thou erect, or be made erect". - Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

What exactly is hope? Can it be adequately defined? To me, hope is a desire for fulfillment. We hope for many different things. We hope for a better life, a better job, for health and happiness. The list is endless. So where do we begin to break all these hopes down to several manageable gifts of inspiration? To have hope, you need to be inspired and I consider inspiration to be a gift. Hope is a gift. The ability to hope transcends the scientific realm of empirical evidence and explanation. We often hope for things that seem impossible to achieve or obtain. Yet, these impossible events or happenings occur every day. It is hope that moves the human spirit beyond its own self-limiting boundaries. It is hope that moves the universe towards change and transformation. It is hope that makes miracles happen. Is it realistic to hope for a miracle?

While miracles don't occur in abundance or to everyone, they do occur. Often, medical practitioners cannot explain the shrinkage of tumors or the complete abatement of cancerous lesions after traditional treatment has failed. There simply is no scientific explanation for such things. There is no explanation for the 4.4 percent of people who walk out of Calvary Hospital, each year, cancer-free. Similar statistics were quoted by Memorial Sloan-Kettering, another world-renowned cancer treatment hospital. There is no harm in hoping for a miracle. In too many cases, it is truly the last resort. In the last chapter you read about hope for the soul. I would like you to refer back to that chapter whenever you become disheartened. Our bodies are given to us for only a short time. Sooner or later we are all going to have to submit to its frailty. But the frailty is in the body only, not the soul. Socrates' view of the body was that it is a nuisance:

For the body is a source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and also is liable to diseases which overtake and impede us in the search for truth; and by filling us so full of loves, and lusts, and fears, and fancies, and idols, and every sort of folly, prevents our ever having, as people say, so much as a thought.

Never before has there been such a concerted global effort in the fight against cancer. Every day we read about some drug, gene therapy, or treatment that holds promise for control, if not eradication, of cancer. Thousands of scientists around the world are working feverishly to bring you hope. Billions of dollars are spent on clinical trials, cancer prevention, and cancer control measures. This is a global issue. It is not limited to the United States. Cancer was once a word whispered in secret, little talked about and not addressed. Today, it is shouted out as an enemy of humanity and humanity is fighting back.

Copyright Nancy Hassett Dahm October 2000. All rights reserved.

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