Coping with Cancer book

Coping With Cancer Book

[some background information on Steer Into The Skid]

The Journey

May 25th 2020

I have always had a mole in the middle of my back.

It’s between my shoulder blades and has been there ever since I, or anyone in my family, can remember.

Because of where it is, I have never seen it directly; I have only seen it by using two mirrors, and then not very often.

Today, I got out of the shower and glanced into the bathroom mirror while drying myself. I noticed something dark coming out of my back. I spoke to Catherine, my wife, who immediately said she had not seen it before and that I needed to get it checked out.

The next morning, we rang my medical practice and spoke to my GP, who said it was probably nothing but that I should take a photo of it – immediately – and email it to him. Half an hour after doing this, he rang me to say he didn’t like the look of it. In turn, he had arranged an appointment for me at Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) for the next day.

May 27th 2020

I drove to the LRI for my appointment in the Dermatology Department without thinking too much about what would happen or what I might be told. I was surprised by the reaction of the medical team, however, who seemed somewhat taken aback when they looked at my back. At this point, it was agreed that the whole mole should be removed as soon as possible.

Things were moving very quickly, particularly when considering that Covid was really starting to impact and medical services were stretched. I’ll be honest when I say I was spooked by what was happening. Could this be something very serious, indeed? Something life-threatening?

There was nothing more to be done that day, so I went home and left the scheduling of what was to come next in the hands of my medical team.

Between today and whatever might come next, I started to put together some thoughts on what specific tools, techniques, activities and skillsmight be appropriate for me to use, depending on how things progressed.

* * * * *

[From here, Ted began to develop Steer Into The Skid. At the start of the book, Ted maps out the purpose of the programme he develops:]

1. To give purpose to my life (however long that lasts), not let it drift.

2. To live in the moment, not dwell on the past or worry too much about the future.

3. To give myself skills that help me cope with my cancer diagnosis.

4. To become and stay positive; positivity can only help my chances of recovery. 

5. To empower myself – I will not be a passenger on this journey.

6. To develop mental toughness.

7. To make a plan, and work the plan!

– Ted G.

* * * * *

Table of Contents

The Journey

Stage 1
Activity: What do I Feel Good About In My Life?
Activity: Bringing Mindfulness to Everyday Activities
Activity: Pleasurable and Mastery Activities
Activity: Mindful Breathing
Activity: Outcomes/Obstacles
Activity: Automatic Pilot
Activity: Dealing with Distractions
Activity: Do One Activity a Day in a Mindful Way
Work-Based Activities
Activity: Self-Awareness Checklist
Hobbies and Other Interests
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Reframing
Interview with Linda Banister

Stage 2
Activity: The Body Scan
Activity: Dealing with Difficulties
Activity: Pleasant Events Diary
Activity: Doing Habits Differently
Activity: Do One More Habit a Day Mindfully
Ideas for Action
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Strategies for Success 1 – Planning for an Action
Hobbies and Other Interests
Interview with Ian Jay

Stage 3
Activity: Being in the Present
Activity: Breathing and Sitting Activity
Activity: Doing Mindful Movement
Activity: Unpleasant Events Diary
Activity: Doing Something Different
Brain Mapping and Training
Activity: Self-Monitoring
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Affirmation
Activity: Anchoring
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Strategies for Success 2 – Practising Tools and Techniques
Activity: Mental Rehearsal Checklist
Hobbies and Other Interests
Interview with Paul Williams

Stage 4
Activity: Calming The Chattering Mind
Activity: Labelling Thoughts
Activity: Three-Step Breathing Space
Do An Activity Every Day
Hobbies and Other Interests
Activity: Paying Attention to What Works – Activity 1
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Strategies for Success 3 – Integrating the Practice into the Day-to-Day
Interview with Sue and John Dutton

Stage 5
Activity: Working with Difficult Emotions
Dealing With Difficulties in the Physical Body
Activity: Mindful Walking
Stepping Back from Thoughts
Activity: Becoming More Aware of My Thought Patterns
Activity: Distinguishing My Thoughts from Facts
Activity: Clearing My Mind
Work-Based Activities
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Mental Toughness Checklist 1
Activity: Strategies for Success 4 – Dealing with a Situation Live
Brain Mapping
Hobbies and Other Interests
Interview with Bob Wheeler

Stage 6
Activity: ABC of Mindfulness
Activity: Realising that Thoughts aren’t Facts
Activity: Stepping Back from Thoughts
Activity: More Mindful Movement
Activity: Relaxing Tension 1
Activity: Relaxing Tension 2
Activity: Choiceless Awareness
Interview with Nick Burnard

Stage 7
Activity: Loving Kindness Meditation
Activity: Nourishing/Depleting
Activity: Paying Attention to What Works 2
Activity: Dealing with Stress
Using A Diary
Other Tools/Techniques
Activity: Mental Toughness Checklist 2
Hobbies and Other Interests
Review of Mental Programme and Health Situation
Hobbies and Other Interests
My Mindful Journey
Activity: Strategies for Success 5 – Reviewing a Situation
Interview with Deborah Callaghan

Stage 8
Activity: Visualisation
Activity: The Ted Garratt Values Programme
Activity: Mental Toughness Checklist 3
Activity: The Rest of Your Life
Activity: Reflections and Change
Activity: Mental Toughness Checklist 4
Other Tools and Techniques
Activity: Strategies for Success 6 – Planning for The Next Time
Interview with Caroline and Steve Walton

Looking Back
Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Stage 6
Stage 7
Stage 8


Additional Materials
Checklists to Use for Action and Reflection
ABC Worksheet Checklists
Having a Mental Approach to the Day Checklist
Checking Your Critical Thinking Habits Checklist
How My Beliefs Contribute to my Current Situation Checklist
Optimising Beliefs Checklist
A Note on Checklists!
Different Schools of Psychology
Psychodynamic Psychology
Behavioural School of Psychology
Person-Centred School of Psychology
Cognitive Behaviour School
Mindful-Based Cognitive School
Maintaining an Effective Personal State
Using Perceptual Positions
Using Humour
Reference Experiences
Noticing Behavioural Changes in Yourself (and Others)
Creating Positive Beliefs
Future Pacing
Tasking Yourself
Improving Your Memory
Using Present State – Desired State
The New Behaviour Generator
Using Internal Dialogue Effectively
Being Aware of How You Use Defence Activity
Developing Greater Effective Behaviour Activity
Testing Your Irrational Beliefs
Making the Most of Our Self-Development
Using Effective Pre-Suppositions to Help You Self-Develop
Developing A Growth Mindset
Developing the 4-7-8 Breathing Technique
Learning To Let Go and Accept Change
Meditation for Self-Awareness
Checking Out Difficult Emotions Meditation