In the launch of my website and blog, I made the decision to change the name. I know there is lots of opinion out there saying that this isn’t necessarily a good idea when you already have a following, but the way I work now – and my goals for the site – have changed, and so the name needed to change too.
So why CALMERme?
Well, by now you have probably noticed that the name is an acronym where the CALMER part stands for Cancer Advocacy through Lifestyle Medicine, Empowerment and Research. The “me” part is also very important as that reflects how vital personalization is in our health and wellness. One size does not fit all. We are all very different and while two people may have exactly the same disease or illness or symptoms, the causes can be very different.
So put together, the site name is Personalized Cancer Advocacy through Lifestyle Medicine, Empowerment and Research – created to support patients as they deal with a diagnosis and treatment, and also to help others reduce their risk of getting cancer or a recurrence.
But there is more than that. And the ‘calmer’ part is key.
Descriptions of cancer so frequently use terminology related to fighting and war such as
- the war on cancer
- she is fighting cancer
- cancer-fighting foods
- he’s battling on with his treatments
- she defeated cancer
- he lost the fight to cancer
- she is a survivor
I have several issues with this kind of terminology and one of them is that these kinds of terms are associated with activation of the sympathetic nervous system – the fight or flight response. Even when we think in terms of fighting, our body prepares to run away from the “tiger” chasing us. And when the sympathetic nervous system is activated, our immune system is compromised and we are not in a healing state. The body is too busy priming us for escape. Healing occurs when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, such as when we are calm, meditating, happy, enjoying ourselves.
Of course cancer is stressful and is associated with fear. And I’m not suggesting that cancer patients should just be passive and let whatever happens happen. Quite the contrary, it is important to take control, but it’s also important to take your time and make decisions in a calmer state than when you first hear the worrying news. Feeling that every day is a fight and your own personal battle is extremely stressful and not conducive with self-healing.
So the name CALMERme was chosen because through the information you will learn on this site, it is hoped that this knowledge will empower you so you can have a greater sense of calm. You can make decisions that are informed and evidenced based – and personalized to you.
In that calmer state, there will be better balance between the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, so healing can occur – alongside important decision making.
This concept of decision making while being calmer is useful not just with a cancer diagnosis but with other illnesses and in general life. I’m sure we’ve all had a situation where, feeling angry or hurt, we responded to something instantly and then later on, when we are calmer, realized that we would have made a different decision in how to respond.
So think about being calmer as we make decisions – and also remember that that is a time for healing – both bodily and emotionally.