Life is a big struggle – especially when you just received a cancer diagnosis. It seems like your world tipped off its axis and you’re spinning out of control. You struggle to try and find your footing again, but somehow you do. Somehow your world slows down and you see the clarity in front of you.
I’ve seen this happen to numerous friends and family members. They’ve all received a cancer diagnosis, and then BOOM; they start to struggle. First it’s a mental battle. What am I going to do? How will I get through this? Can I afford this? What will I tell my kids, family, and co-workers? Then the physical struggles follow. Nausea. Body cramps. Sharp, shooting pains to your fingers and toes. Hair loss. Some long-term complications. It seems to be a never ending battle and you wonder when it will all end or how you’ll get through it all.
When you’re deep in your struggles, sometimes all you ever want is a hand to hold. That small gesture of kindness does a lot for us. In fact, the sense of touch has many emotional and physical benefits. Through my personal cancer struggles I have found touch to be extremely beneficial. These are my top three must have touches.
Pet your dog
Animal-Assisted Therapy is on the rise because it is known that petting an animal will lower your blood pressure and stress levels. Patients have even reported improvements in their pain levels. Petting my sweet pups is what got me through the days when everyone else was away. I knew I wasn’t alone. Having them loyally lying by my side was an instant mood changer.
See your massage therapist
Massage can help a cancer patient in many ways. While massage can help you relax by reducing stress and anxiety, it can also improve your quality of sleep and mental clarity. As a mastectomy patient, massage can improve scar tissue health and increase your range of motion.
Enjoy the touch of your partner
This touch can go in two directions: the extremely intimate type or the comfort type. As my favorite touch, a simple hug or hand holding from my spouse provides instant relief from a day full of worry and stress. It’s that type of feeling that says, “No matter what happens, I’ve got your back.”
Touch grounds us in real life. It helps us to connect to the ones we love. It provides excellent health benefits. In the end, touch is great therapy.
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