Mammogram, ultrasound exam — I was optimistic. I thought being conscious about my health and exercising regularly would keep serious illness from inhabiting my body.
I am wrong.
The week between hearing, “You have cancer,” and meeting with the surgeon was emotionally draining.
I envisioned my left breast malformed from lumpectomy, felt the itchy, burned skin damaged from radiation, visualized myself bald from chemo, and wondered, Would I feel free like I do when I am sitting naked in a wilderness campsite sipping tea?
I imagined myself after mastectomy. Lopsidedness? Twenty years ago, I knew a marathon runner who unabashedly ran with a well-formed breast on one side. She seemed comfortable and confident both as a runner and a one-breasted woman. Could I be so courageous?
After the appointment I had a better sense of the surgical process. I got a stern recommendation to schedule surgery soon, definitely within four weeks, and meet with the other oncologists after my surgery was scheduled.
Healing or Handling?
A tiny Stage One tumor seems to stir up lots of dust — like a bull warning he is about to charge; I felt trampled by the sheer force of the actions called a “cure.” I insisted on appointments with the radiation and medical oncologists.
At each appointment I would ask, “Extreme sleep deprivation this year has greatly compromised my immune system and I’m still recovering. Wouldn’t it be extremely difficult on my body’s ability to heal to have surgery, radiation, or chemo at this time?”
The first doctor said, “Don’t wait more than a month to have surgery.” The second, the medical oncologist, explained my diagnosis, options, risks, and side effects. From here I learned that all the medical options have risks and side effects — and my decisions were about how much I believed I could tolerate.
I researched online, got support from close friends. A niggling feeling, a mere quiver, kept me from jumping onto the conveyor belt of traditional breast cancer treatment. I could not take that step. Instead I paused, listened to my inner guidance, and heard the whisper, Pay Attention! You are holding back…for a reason.
Words from Wisdom
Then I remembered — whenever I face a major decision I can break the gridlock: I put aside the plethora of information and listened to the Divine (my preferred word for God). I relaxed into a meditative state, allowing the niggling feeling to be my guide.
Stillness. Then a series of rapid-fire, visceral, full-body memories. The doctor is saying, “Complete knee dislocation is a very serious injury. I will put it back, then see about surgery.” Next I’m in the hospital bed, right leg in a toe-to-hip cast, visualizing blood flowing to my toes and back, washing away toxins and healing my injury, even though I am oozy and dizzy from the pain. Yes, I commanded my blood to heal my knee, leg, and ankle.Â That was 1975; I hadn’t heard of creative visualization.
The next memory, more recently, a surgeon on the phone is reviewing my MRI, explaining why I need surgery for two cartilage tears. He keeps wanting to transfer me to the scheduling nurse; I insist he answer my questions instead. As I hang up I say, “Thanks, you told me what I need to know to heal my knee.” And I did.
Searing heat burns my fingers as I grab the 350-degree casserole lid. I calmly replace the lid and recall how my fingers were before touching it. Holding that as my experience, the heat in my fingers dissipates; they never “took on” the burn.
As inky blackness envelopes me the inner voice speaks, How did you decide not to be a scientist?
Registering for eighth-grade classes, my hand freezes as I start to write Biology. It would not move. Biology? I would have to dissect a frog….Â My inner-self spoke, I am against intrusive research!Â My body vibrated in agreement. (And I did make it through eighth grade Biology, high school, and college science classes without ever dissecting an animal.)
Clarity and Choice
Back in the present, I hear my mind respond to this barrage of images and sensations. But this is cancer, not surgery for my knee!
The ensuing silence seems to say “So?!”
This is cancer!Â
Somewhere inside, feelings and inner voice conferred. But this is an illness! I’m not sure I can overcome this.
The voice spoke, I am a healer.
Now my conscious mind is saying, “So?!”
The vibration of I am a healerÂ welled up and washed over my conscious mind. No lumpectomy, no radiation, no mastectomy, no chemo. My path is the one less traveled.
How can I truly be an intuitive healer working alongside the Divine and not embrace the same healing myself? How will I reclaim my body from this pea-size infraction that stealthily took form in my left breast, this tiny tumor poised to wreak havoc on my life and everything in it?
Healer. Heal Thyself!Â And so it is. Like Christopher Columbus, I do believe there is land out there, I will find it, and I will walk upon its fertile soil. I must stay present for this journey; no auto-pilot will do!
This is the first of a series of articles about freeing myself from these cleverly cancerous cells.