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Episode 130: Timothy McCall’s East/West Journey Through Cancer

One out of three people will face a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime. While a regular yoga practice might not prevent cancer, it can certainly help ease the fear, anxiety, and emotional anguish that can come with it. Today’s guest, Dr. Timothy McCall, is a medical doctor and yoga teacher, who talks with us this week about his road to recovery from throat cancer. His story is an inspiring testimony to the power of a yoga and meditation during hard times.

Timothy shares how he discovered his cancer, how he chose his care team, and which asanas supported him through treatment. He also talks about the benefits of fasting prior to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. And how he both prepared for treatment and convalesced after treatment in Kerala, India with Ayurvedic treatments — and the effect they had on him. You can pre-order Timothy’s book, Saving My Neck: A Doctor’s East/West Journey Through Cancer on Amazon.

RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

Timothy McCall’s website

Pre-order Timothy’s book: Saving my Neck by Timothy McCall, MD

Episode 123: All About the Ketogenic Diet with Dr. Will Cole

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SHOUT-OUT TO OUR SPONSORS

1. It’s been about a year since Sunbasket has been a sponsor of Yogaland. Each week, I get a Sunbasket box delivered to my door and I still get excited! The recipes are creative and delicious with organic produce and clean ingredients. I do the Paleo plan but there are many to choose from — Vegetarian, Vegan, Lean & Clean, Quick & Easy, & Mediterranean, to name just a few. Go to sunbasket.com/yogaland to get $35 off your first order.

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Episode 105: Epidemiologist Ai Kubo on How Mindfulness and Nutrition Benefit Cancer Patients

Ai Kubo Yoga Podcast

Ai Kubo received a PhD in cancer epidemiology from Columbia University, and has nearly 40 scientific publications in peer-reviewed medical journals. Years ago, Kubo was told flat out, by one of the most renowned mindfulness researchers, not to try to create (and fund) mindfulness studies.

At that time, studying mindfulness and yoga was too fringe, she was told. She heeded this advice and spent a decade studying the effect of nutrition on cancer. But, as a yoga teacher, she felt that something was missing, so she decided to change the focus of her research.

These days, Kubo is hard at work creating studies that examine the effect of mindfulness for cancer patients and their families in reducing stress and depression. We had a lively conversation about her current studies, her approach to eating and living in a way that minimizes cancer risk, and the details on her 3-week Mindfulness Cleanse, which focuses on helping the body rest and reset.

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RECOMMENDED AND RELATED LINKS

The Mindful Cleanse with Ai Kubo

Episode 15: Rebecca Katz – Nourish Yourself with Cancer Fighting Foods

Episode 73: How Talking about Adversity Inspires Positive Change

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If you like the podcast, please leave a review or rating on iTunes! It makes it easier for others to find the podcast. If you don’t know how to leave a review, here are some step by step instructions. Woohoo! So easy!

SHOUT-OUT TO OUR SPONSORS
1. I love cooking but even I get tired of the grind day after day. One thing that’s helped me immensely is Sunbasket meal delivery service — they offer organic produce and clean ingredients and many different types of meal plans. Their food is so delicious and I LOVE how creative they are! Go to sunbasket.com/yogaland to get $35 off your first order.

2. To my women listeners out there – have you tried Lola yet? LOLA is a female-founded company offering organic cotton tampons, pads, and liners. For 40% off your first order, visit mylola.com and enter the code YOGALAND40 when you subscribe.

3. HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that shops, plans, and delivers step-by-step recipes and pre-measured ingredients. They have three plans to choose from — Classic, Veggie, and Family 
 and every week there’s a 20 minute meal on the classic menu if you really don’t have even 30 minutes! Which let’s face it, happens! For $30 off your first week of HelloFresh, visit hellofresh.com and enter 
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What to Say When a Friend Has Cancer

You Got This
When I was diagnosed with cancer, my friend (who is also a cancer survivor) texted those words to me. I cherished this text. He said exactly what I needed to hear. It made me wonder if I’d said “the right” thing to him when he went through treatment. All I remember is offering him a bed to sleep on after surgery (he took it), ginger tea, and some homemade cookies. Other than that, I think I was completely at a loss for what to say.

When someone close to you tells you that they are diagnosed with something terrible, it’s easy to go into panic mode where you tell them how horrible you feel for them. The truth is, there is no one right thing to say to anyone and even when people said insensitive things to me, I didn’t get angry. (Like I said above, I’d been on the other side, not knowing what to say.) But at times, it made an already difficult time even more stressful.

So, I thought I’d share four of my favorite resources for communicating with and supporting a loved one who has cancer.

1. When someone is going through a rough patch – any kind of rough patch – the best thing you can do for them is to pause, stay calm, and listen. This is where your mindfulness practice comes into play. Instead of going with your gut reaction – which may be to scream “No!!!!” or otherwise react dramatically — do your best to hold the space and be supportive. I realize that “hold the space” may sound a little woo-woo. What I mean is, keep your energy and facial expressions even while they talk to you. Create a safe, supportive environment for them to share (or not share) exactly what they can handle in that moment.

And BE POSITIVE. It’s not their job to take care of you and your emotions right now. It’s your job to simply be there for them. This video is THE BEST for giving you encouragement along these lines. My favorite line is, “If you come across cancer, let it transform you into your most positive self.”

2. If you need to talk through your own fears, sadness, and terror, that’s OK. Just don’t do it with the person who has cancer. And don’t do it with their husband. Or mother. Or sister. Do it with someone who is further away from the patient than you — this is what’s called the Ring Theory or Comfort In, Dump Out. I learned about it from this article that ran in the LA Times: How Not to Say the Wrong Thing

3. It’s important to know that everyone’s diagnosis and case is different. Even within breast cancer, there are many different types and classifications. It’s easy to slip right into, “Oh, my neighbor died of that cancer in three months.” But, doctors and scientists are making great strides with certain types of cancer. This article from the Wall Street Journal about “super survivors” chronicles patients who outlived the odds because of a new treatment that harnesses the immune system to fight the cancer: How the Promise of Immunotherapy is Transforming Oncology

4. And this last one is a link to Emily McDowell’s brilliant, funny line of cards. If you’ve found yourself hiding out from your friend and don’t want your first words to be face-to-face, you can send him or her one of these cards, designed and created by a cancer survivor. My personal favorite: “Please let me be the first to punch the next person who tells you everything happens for a reason.”

So, there you have it. These links have helped me immensely and I still look at them from time to time. I hope they’ve helped you, too. And if you’ve got an uplifting cancer-related link to share, please do so in the comments!

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