Monday 3 February 2014


We've all heard the phrase ' Mind over Matter'.  Basically it's a 'mental reach' to cope with a challenging  circumstance.  Some people are true believers in this.  No matter how you phrase it, it's a matter of convincing yourself your situation is not as dire as it may seem, or may actually be. 

We spoke with 'Yamli' who does not wish to be identifiable in her photo.  She is a young woman who recently experienced breast cancer.  She had a breast cancer that was large enough to be felt.  She had a mastectomy, reconstruction and a prolonged period of treatment.  
Prior to her diagnosis she was working on her PhD and held down three part time jobs. 
Her stamina during treatment and recovery wasn't enough to keep working all the jobs and the work required to continue to complete her PhD, but she did work on research papers.  

She kept on telling herself that breast cancer can be cured, so she will be cured.  She counted down the treatments like she was counting down weeks to a vacation.  She didn't tell her family that lives overseas that she was dealing with cancer, she relied on her boyfriend. 

Says Yamli, "I always put a lot of stress on myself and I always want to do everything perfect all the time. I don’t think the cancer has caused me to lower my standards. Everyone always reminds me that I have to put my health first – but it is hard to change a person’s personality."

Can you 'Mind over Matter' Cancer?  There is no answer to that.  In Yamli's case, she decided to take chemotherapy.  Yamli is well today.   Did the chemo alone do the work or did her 'Mind over Matter' attitude allow the chemo to be effective?  No one can say.  There are cases where the chemo does not work.  There are no full answers on why that is either. 
Yamli experienced the many and varied side effects of treatment but continued her mantra that breast cancer can be cured, so she will be cured.  Steadfast in her belief, she continued down the path she knew she had to walk. 

Only you can decide what your approach to cancer will be.  It's a very personal decision.  There is no right or wrong way, there is only 'your way'.  A cancer diagnosis feels like the ultimate loss of control.  The only way you will be able to feel content with the journey is if you can sit back and say, 'I did it my way'.  It was almost 50 years ago that Frank Sinatra sang those words.  It's a tune still played today because it speaks of empowerment.  Everyone likes to feel empowered, there are so many things in life that challenge your will.  Whether you are a cancer patient or simply someone reading this post, do you have a problem that is challenging your will at this time?  Remember to try and see all options available to you to cope and move forward.  Mind over Matter is just one of the many tools for you to consider while you figure out a way to deal with your issue, 'your way'.

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