As we all know, cancer is devastating. Whether you’ve been diagnosed with it or maybe a friend or loved one has been diagnosed, the emotional impacts have a tremendous affect on all.
Unfortunately, speaking from experience, our family is experiencing this devastation. My dad, at 72 years old, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in November of 2019. Since then, he has been through two rounds of chemo, radiation, and then surgery. My dad was a trooper. He remained positive throughout until we got the news that the cancer is still winning this fight and that he will have to go through chemo again.
In this moment, darkness set in for my dad. He said words I never thought he would ever say. “I can’t do this anymore. I feel like I’m dying.” Cancer was beating down the warrior we thought my dad always had been. He became severely depressed and was prescribed antidepressants which caused him to seem spacey, unmotivated, and have a general loss of apathy.
Several weeks after his surgery, my dad was depressed and he did not want to leave the hospital. The surgeon said to me that he is physically doing okay, but he needs to get up and get motivated; that he needs to move his body; and that it is not healthy for him to dwell on it.
At this time I knew what he needed. It was my turn to step in and use all the tools that I have learned over the years in my yoga training on how to be present, how to let go, how to stay motivated, and how to keep your body physically healthy at the same time.
For the past several weeks, I have focused on breathing, relaxation, and gentle yoga with my dad. He was surprised at what he could actually accomplish and was proud of himself and expressed that yoga is not easy, but he felt good. I could see in his eyes that he was no longer spacey and that he was now truly present and grateful. The healing power of yoga is truly amazing.