1) Make your home as cheerful as you can. Buy fresh flowers every week and place them
in rooms where you spend the most time, and plant a garden where you can watch it grow. If
your immune system is extremely suppressed, avoid the water in vases of fresh flowers
which can contain a bacteria that causes pneumonia. You can substitute a bright artificial
flower arrangement. Locate old photographs and display pictures of fond memories and loved
ones. Find reasons to celebrate your own occasions and decorate with strings of Christmas
lights, balloons, colorful crepe paper, banners, etc. Open the drapes and spend as much
time as you can in rooms that have natural sunlight.
2) Create your own healing prayer or meditation santuary in the house. You may want to
create an altar or meditation spot. Surround yourself with objects that inspire feelings
of love, hope, healing, and connection to your spiritual beliefs. Arrange with your family
to have quiet, meditative time in your santuary.
3) Buy the best recliner chair you can afford. It's a great psychological step up from
lying in bed or on the couch and is usually much more comfortable. Consider one with a
built-in heater and massager/vibrator.
4) In cold environments, obtain good local heat sources like safe room heaters or even
a wood stove. Heat packs which can be warmed in the microwave are ver comforting on cold
nights. (Be careful not to overheat them and burn your skin.) In warm environments, use
air conditioning or fans. A ceiling fan can add much comfort to a bedroom without air
5) Eliminate household odors that can cause nausea for those doing chemotherapy. Cook
odoriferous foods outside on a camp stove or gas barbeque grill. (Charcoal briquette
grilling can add more carcinogens--cancer promoting agents--to your food than gas
grilling.) Alternately, you can buy an air filtration unit or cook when the odor sensitive
person is not around. Air out the house after cooking.
6) Anyone with a depressed immune system should drink tap water only if it is filtered.
Use a high quality water filtration system or have purified bottled water delivered to
your home. Some food cooperatives have good on-site water filtrations systems, so you can
refill used containers. Be sure to use glass or hard poly-carbonate plastic bottles. Three
gallon water bottles with built-in spouts are very convenient to use. Clean the water
containers well between each refill. A good cleaning rinse is white distilled vinegar.
7) Do little things to give yourself an advantage in the healing process. In addition
to filtering your drinking water, you may also want to filter your shower and bath water
and use natural rather than chemicals to clean your spa water. Replace traditional light
bulbs with full spectrum light bulbs in both standard and flourescent lights. Full
spectrum lighting simulates natural sunlight and is believed to positively affect your
mental attitude. Avoid prolonged exposure to computer screens and watch TV from a distance
of at least 10 feet. Avoid noxious fumes from household products like bleach and bathroom
cleaners, or switch to non-toxic cleaners. Most holistic healers recommend replacing
aluminum pots and pans with stainless steel kitchenware or using non-stick kitchenware
only if it is not scratched or deteriorating. In your yard and garden, try using natural
pesticides and natural pest controls like releasing ladybugs and praying mantises. Spend
some time thinking about other ways to make your house a healthier place to live, then act
on your ideas. Web sites with tips on less toxic household and yard products are: http://www.metrokc.gov/hazwaste/house and
http://www.betterbasics.com and http://healthdept.co.pierce.wa.us/water/haz/alter.html
8) Be aware that new homes and recently remodeled homes for the first 12-18 months may
contain building products which could release low levels of toxic substances. Even low
levels of toxicity may negatively affect a person with a compromised immune system. For
more information on home toxins, read Staying Well in a Toxic World by Lynn Lawson
(Noble Press, 1993, $15.95) and Tired or Toxic by Sherry Rogers (Prestige
Publishing, 1990, $17.95). Also the Washington Toxics Coalition has an informative booklet
on the toxicity of household consumer products called, "Buy Smart, Buy Safe: A
Consumer Guide to Less Toxic Products". Order by calling 206-632-1545.
9) Enjoy radio, TV, and video programs that are uplifting to your spirit. Avoid
programs that involve intense strife, violence, or depression. Find programs that will
inspire you as well as educate you about physical, emotional, or spiritual health. Your
local public radio and TV stations often have this kind of programming. For video and
audio tapes, ask for recommendations from your local public or hospital librarian, cancer
support group, community wellness center, or church. Look for these video titles:
"Cancer: Increasing Your Odds for Survival", "Fight for Your Life",
and "Cancer Doesn't Scare Me Any More".
10) Food can be like a powerful healing drug. Stock your house regularly with
fresh organic fruits and vegetables, and resis the temptation to have unhealthy snacks
readily available. Make eating a sacred time to send much-needed nutrients to your body.
Don't "multi-task" while you eat. Avoid eating while watching TV, reading,
working on the computer, etc. Eat slowly, giving thanks, and focusing on the food that is
giving you life. (For more details, read "10 Tips for Using Diet and Nutrition in the
Healing Process" which appeared in the June 2000 issue or can be accessed below from
the Ten Tips Archives.)
Copyright © 2000 Jim Acee and CONVERSATIONS!, (Permission
is given to make personal copies or copies for free distribution to cancer
fighters.) Available on the web at: http://www.ovarian-news.org
under "10 Tips Series for Coping by Jim Acee."