October 2008
THRIVE! A Cancer Survivor Says "Why Wait?"


Thank you for continuing to read and share my ezine with your friends and loved ones. I've been getting some great responses from cancer patients and survivors. Please continue to send this ezine to cancer survivors you know by clicking the "Forward Email" block at the bottom left of this issue. 
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One of my favorite sayings is that since I've done chemo I can do anything. During chemo I learned that humor and unexpected connections with others can really help you just step up and do what needs to be done.
That aside, I must confess that the idea of handling an 10+ lb iguana stopped me in my tracks. It started when I opened my front door to my panicked next door neighbor, Claudia, whose 10 lb dog had dragged a much larger inguana through the doggie door and let it loose in the house. To say I was as reluctant as she was to find, let alone get rid of, a great big lizard is an major understatement. The cute little geckos running around my yard are fine as long as they don't touch me but a great big iguana is a different animal, uh reptile, uh whatever. My first response was "Ick! Oh crap! Who can help us?"
Fortunately I noticed my other neighbor's husband's car at home and sent her to get his help. After all, guys love things like big lizards, right? I went back to what I was doing. But after a few minutes, my curiousity got the best of me, so I went over to Claudia's and rang the door bell.
Armed with brooms, buckets and towels, Claudia and my other neighbor Laurie (not her husband, who wasn't at home after all) were gingerly searching for the big lizard, not at all sure they really wanted to find him, and I was right there with them. I'm thinking we should call animal control or get the fireman next door to help us out.  But as I looked around, I saw the iguana frozen in the corner, as scared of us as we were of him. Compassion overtook me, I asked Claudia to toss me a towel, and in one smooth motion I draped it over him, picked him up and carried him outside to set him free, whispering to him that he was OK as I went.
As I let  him go, I felt like I was on cloud nine, in the zone, at one with myself and the world. YES!! When I turned around, Claudia and Laurie were looking at me like I was Indiana Jones. The unexpected release of our tension turned into shared compassion for the iguana himself and then we were giggling at ourselves and laughing out loud.  
How many times have you felt frozen with fear just because something was unfamiliar to you? Or spent tons of time and energy trying to avoid what you know in your heart needs to be done? 
Chemo didn't really prepare me for a 10 lb iguana. But it did teach me that sharing compassion and connecting with the world around us makes it easier to do what needs to be done, and a lot more fun. If Claudia and Laurie hadn't been with me, I probably would have been willing to wait all day for animal control or someone else to solve the iguana problem. Instead, I shared a authentic heartwarming and hilarious experience with two women I enjoy and admire.  
When things feel scary, it helps to have other share our fear and our laughter. I reminds us how precious the people we love are, and how lucky we are to have them in our lives.  
This is the time of year to start thinking about showing the people we love how much our connnetion with them means to us.
Validate and celebrate the people you love with the best gift ever. See below for ideas.
"Kind words can be short and easy to say but their echoes are truly endless."
- Mother Teresa
Contact Coach for Living to start making your words echo.

Ask the Survivor Coach...

Q:  My treatment for cancer ended a few months ago. Everyone says I should be happy to be back to normal but I'm not.  I'm scared and I don't really want my life to be the way it was before. But I don't know what I want either. Am I crazy?
A:  You are not crazy! Almost every cancer survivor feels the same way you do. There are 4 different basic stages of the cancer journey and your feelings are totally natural and normal for where you are!
You'll be glad to know that the roller coaster of emotions you are experiencing
will gradually shift to feelings of  acceptance and hope as you get more and more comfortable with the new life you're creating for yourself as a survivor.
Many of my clients have found that talking with other survivors, or a survivor life coach like me, can help them get comfortable with their feelings. The presence and words of another survivor can quiet the voice of fear and replace it with hope almost immediately. I specialize in helping survivors creat a new life. Or, Ccntact the American Cancer Society or the Gilda's Club in your area for support info, or call me for a free 30-minute session to talk more about how you feel.

If your question is used you will win a Life Balance Exploration session!
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"Paula took me through exercises that helped me figure out what's most important to me. The top 10 priorities became crystal clear. Paula's coaching helped me pick a direction and the steps to get there!" - Alicia, April 2008
"Joining this group was the best thing I have done in my life. Now I know that it's not about how well things are done, it's about being fully presentwhatever I am doing". - Vickie, March 08

ON 11/4!

Give the Best Gift Ever! (It's easy, inexpensive, and unforgetable) 

One of the most powerful lessons of cancer survivorship is the reminder that life can be short. Why does it take a crisis like cancer to remind us to savor and share our connection with the people we love?  Give a gift to the people you love that is personal and powerful now, instead of assuming they know how much you care..

Acknowlege and celebrate the person you love.
Give the gift of words. Validate their unique and irreplaceable contribution to your life and the world. When was the last time you told someone point blank how much you respect and admire them, and thanked them for their influenced on your life? Do you remember how they lit up with pleasure and gratitude?

I challenge you to try one of the suggestions below as gift ideas this year:
1. Get 5 -10 people (including you) who are important in your loved ones life to write a letter of praise to him or her. (Friends, teachers, family, coaches, coworkers, etc.). The letters can be long or short, but should be specific and heartfelt, and should include what your loved one means to the person writing it. 2. Put the letters in a special envelope, a keepsake box or a special album and give as a gift. 3. Have your loved one read them aloud when the present is opened, and add your own applause and praise. 
We all need to know that we are loved and valued. Remember, you are giving the gift of love and self esteem that will help shape the rest of their lives.
Read this story on the power of letters of praise.  
For someone special to you, contact as many people as you can (no limit) who are part of their life and ask them to answer these questions: 
1. What are three or four words that you think describe who (name) is?
2. What impact does/has (name) have/had on you?
3. What can you count on (name) for?
4. What's your favorite memory of (name) so far?
Organize them the way that makes the most sense (chronologically, co workers vs. family, etc.) and get creative on ways to make them a fabulous keepsake gift. Some type of album or book, a special envelope or box or a custom scrapbook are a few options. 
The beauty of this gift is that often themes emerge - people acknowledge several traits over and over, which is very validating to the recipient. When I gave my parents one of these books for their 50th Anniversary they were thrilled to be able to say "These are the words I want people to say about me at the end of my life. I've been more succestul than I ever dreamed."
What better gift could you give? 
Contact me to learn more about creating the best gift ever for someone you love.
Not so creative? There are people that do all or part of these types of projects in paper or video format for a fee. You can search the web, or check out Jerri Stroezer's Life Stories, Inc, which helps people write the stories of their lives, the stories that "beg to be told," and turns those stories into lovely paperback, hardback or hand bound books for family and friends. She can be reached at (828) 633-1011 or jerri@lifestoriesinc.com.
See Paula in the Susan B. Komen "Sharing Stories" photographic essay. Opens October 20th at the Broward County library
Deepen the Learning: What's Next For My Life? reunion workshop at Gilda's Club South Florida Thursday November 6th, 4:30-6:30 pm 
   Manage Your Own Motivation workshop October 22, 6-7 pm at Point Pleasant Wellness Spa, Wilton Manors FL  
Less Stressed Holidays 101 workshop October 29, 6-7:30 pm at Point Pleasant Wellness Spa, Wilton Manors FL
THRIVE telecourse for cancer survivors debuts January 2009    Email Paula for more info or to register. 
What have you done today that made you smile? 

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Paula Holland De Long 
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Life coach and cancer survivor Paula Holland De Long is an authority on how the lessons of survivorship can bring joy, passion and purpose to anyone's life now rather than later. Her support programs for survivors are offered at cancer treatment centers and support organizations. Her women's teleconference action groups attract participants from around the country. To learn more about how you can live your best life now visit CoachForLivingOnline.com. 

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Who do you love who wants to live their life more fully and passionately?
Get them started with my Life Balance Assessment & Action life coaching package, specially priced at $295. This 3-session package includes values and strengths exploration, personal  motivation and accountability exercises and and helps build a base of personal strength to use to make healthy, empowering choices.
Call Paula at 954-565-6894 for more info. 

Offer Expires: January 30, 2009