A terminal illness diagnosis can feel like the end. Even if your doctor believes that you will recover, your hope can still wane or vanish altogether. After all, a terminal illness, like cancer or heart disease, festers until it invades the healthy parts of your body, robbing you of life little by little. It is unpredictable as well; sometimes you’d feel vigorous, then lethargic the next. You just never know how many tomorrows you have left.
If your doctor has recommended palliative care services, you may also feel resentful. You’d be dependent in the remaining days of your life. Moreover, palliative care, to many people, means that their life is about to end. But as difficult as it is, you shouldn’t lose hope. Many palliative care patients, in fact, recover and regain their independence.
The key to healing from a terminal illness is living your life to the fullest. It may sound ironic, considering that your life is hanging in the balance. But there are many real-life stories of miraculous healing. The keys to it include healthy eating, physical activity, and positive thinking.
The Power of a Healthy Diet
Disease-fighting food alone will not cure your terminal illness, but only boost your health until it you become strong enough to beat your disease. Certain plant foods contain phytochemicals, a powerful compound that fights cancer and reduces the likelihood of its development.
Oncology nutritionist Andrew Woodward, MS, RD, CSO recommends seven functional foods for cancer and heart disease patients:
- Berries, including blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, pomegranates, and boysenberries. They contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant that neutralizes carcinogens and prevents tumors.
- Cruciferous vegetables, namely kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and collard greens. The glucosinolates in these veggies combat cancer in many ways. They reduce hormone-sensitive cancers and deactivate carcinogens, among other functions.
- Garlic and onions. Your favorite spices are actually vegetables with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and cancer-fighting properties. Onions, in particular, induce apoptosis, a process that kills abnormal cells.
- Mushrooms. These popular flavor-enhancing food contains antioxidants, reduces hormone-related tumors, fights off inflammation.
- Turmeric. This spice shares the benefits of onion and garlic, and is suggested to reduce tumor regrowth, blood vessel formation, and invasion of cancer cells. It also kills tumor cells.
- Spinach and other green leafy veggies. They are rich in vitamins and other essential nutrients to fight cancer, especially breast, prostate, and types of stomach cancers.
- Ginger and other seasonings. Basil, oregano, cinnamon, clove, and other seasonings are proven good for your body too, as they reduce inflammation and supply powerful antioxidants.
Eat all of those every day to enhance the effects of your medication, and your body will gradually regain strength and health.
Exercise: The Key to a Healthy Body and Mind
If you have heart disease, getting active may intimidate you, because you shouldn’t exhaust yourself. But doctors approve aerobic exercises, resistance training, and stretching workouts.
Aerobic exercises improve circulation, and thereby lower your blood pressure and heart rate. It also boosts your aerobic fitness, which will be reflected on your treadmill test and cardiac output. If you also have diabetes, aerobics will also curb your blood glucose.
Resistance or strength training burns fat and builds up your muscle mass. This will increase your HDL or good cholesterol levels, and simultaneously decrease your LDL or bad cholesterol levels.
Stretching workouts, such as yoga and Tai Chi, enhances your musculoskeletal health, minimizing the pain from doing aerobics and strength training. It also induces mindfulness, which improves your focus and eases your stress.
The Miracle of Positive-thinking
Doctors have discovered that miraculous healing has a lot to do with your mind’s power. If you perceive yourself as “sick” or surround yourself with people who see you as the same, you are more likely to suffer the effects of your disease, and thus find it tougher to recover. On the other hand, if you perceive yourself more positively, and have loved ones that don’t treat you like an ill person, you’ll thrive and experience less pain and symptoms.
Some patients even rely on faith healers to recover. You don’t need to do the same, but it’s worth knowing that faith healers focus on your energy rather than your disease. For patients that have experienced their care, it’s not just disease that has healed, but also their entire being and soul.
You can feed positive thoughts to your mind by practicing positive self-talk, receiving counseling, listening to inspirational speeches, and reading self-help books. Keep believing that miracles happen, but like any achievement, it also requires work and faith. That way, you can live your life to the fullest, and treat your illness just like any setback in life. You bounce back from it stronger and happier.