Stress blog

Fight for your life

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. January 26, 2011

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

I often point out the importance of taking care of oneself. I recently visited with a woman for whom it was a matter of survival. She had a cancer arising from the throat and participated in an aggressive program involving daily radiation for six weeks in conjunction with weekly chemotherapy. The side effects of this treatment can be devastating in terms of weakness, fatigue and a decrease in quality of life. The patient lived close enough to our facility that she could have driven in each day. However, she had the insight to shift the odds in her favor and do everything possible for a cure.

She resigned her academic positions. She told her husband and young family, "I love you, but you're on your own because I'm in the greatest fight of my life." She rented a room in a hotel near the treatment facility, ordered nutritious meals, worked out as she was able, and focused on getting at least eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.

As of the last checkup, the patient appears to be cancer free. Which of these actions saved her life? I don't know, but I do know that she maximized the healing potential of treatment by taking care of herself.

Likewise, when you are injured or tired, when you anticipate a stressful time in your life, a light bulb should go on reminding you to: slow down, focus and eliminate distractions.

What did I miss? What advice do you have to share?


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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3 Comments Posted

Jan. 26, 2011