07/13/2012 05:46 pm ET | Updated Sep 12, 2012

Support: What We Need Most When Life Is Sabotaged

The first blog in a three-part series.

What threatens to sabotage your life at this very moment? Whatever you may be going through, having the support of others can be what you need most when difficulties come your way. Unfortunately, often without even realizing it, those closest to you can end up being the least supportive when life is sabotaged.

For most people, discovering that they have a life-changing condition is devastating. Even before the initial shock has a chance to wear off, they can face what seems like volumes of information, laced with unfamiliar terms and mind-boggling explanations that may as well be delivered in a completely foreign tongue. It is difficult to comprehend even the base facts presented, let alone the list of options. Decision making is usually required while still in a fog of confusion mixed with disbelief, and the overwhelming feelings of the moment are further compounded when there is no help or support from family members or close friends.

During the process of dealing with life-threatening illnesses and life-changing situations, there are those who choose to accept whatever the medical community tells them, and then... there are those who are often looked at as "the rebels." "The rebels" decide, at some point (either from the start or after enduring regimens that provide too much discomfort with little to no change), that they will not be content with being a bystander in the event that involves their very life. Instead, they make the decision to actively participate in improving the condition of their health, usually doing whatever it takes and usually at any cost, with or without the approval of the status quo.

Let's face it: There is nothing status quo about learning that you may not survive long, regardless of all that today's advanced medicine can provide.

Such was the case for me and continues to be the case for many with whom I speak each and every month. When I discovered that I had cancer the first time in 1990, it threw me a curve ball, for sure. When I faced it again, eight years later, I was like a sailboat that had just drifted out to sea with absolutely no wind in my long-term forecast. All I wanted to do was live!

All that anyone facing such a life-changing moment wants to do is to live! And when you want it badly enough, you don't stand idly by while others make all of the decisions for you. You become "the rebel," desperate and beyond motivated to change your lifestyle, hoping to also change your odds for survival.

I chose to implement a life-changing diet. Moving from a standard American diet to a plant-based way of eating, or macrobiotic diet, can easily cause well-meaning family and friends to have a "red flag reaction." "What will you do for protein?" is an often-posed question, along with moot points such as, "Your hair could all fall out!" Really? I mean, I thought only chemo did that!

Though they may mean well, the fact is, others can sabotage your efforts to achieve better health and a full recovery. People tell me that the most difficult part of their journey toward improved health is making those choices that family and friends see as "too radical." They report that their loved ones seem to be constantly thwarting their progress, making it nearly impossible to succeed at doing what they personally believe to be a healthier lifestyle choice on their path to becoming whole.

Despite the fact that it is YOU who is attempting to battle a potentially, life-threatening condition, your loved ones are afraid.

That's right! You may well be scared to death, but the reality is that those who know and love you are probably just as scared. The same fear that causes you to become "the rebel" can also cause them to rebel against the radical choices you are making -- at a time when you most need their support.

If you have cancer and are going through chemotherapy (or have recently finished the chemo and are in a weakened state), you definitely need something in your life to be less difficult! It may be up to you to prevent potential sabotage from those with whom you live and associate, by helping them to understand the benefits of what you are doing -- and the importance of their role in supporting you.

Family support is like having a big, soft blanket to fall into -- that necessary constant in the midst of all the chaos and that comfortable landing spot, just when we need it. But, how exactly do we educate family and friends and enable them to provide us this type of support?

In part two of my series, I address this question and explore various ways that you can choose radical lifestyle changes that provide healing benefits while getting the support you need when life is sabotaged. I am living proof that it works as well (or better) than any medicine available.

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