A brain tumor! Really?
This was my thought last April 2012 when I was diagnosed with a 3 centimeter tumor in the left occipital region of my brain. What happened to simple illnesses like a cold, or if that was not getting my attention how about a less life threatening sickness? Of course those questions can not be answered, so I made a decision. I would do the best I could and use all the tools available to me (medical and other wise) to manage this crisis, learn from it, grow with the experience and free myself from it! This is the first of several articles that will outline the process of healing and understanding how to make the best out of a health crisis.
My Story: It is traditional at Passover Dinner for all participants to read. When it came to my turn, I tried to read and could not! Of course I went into immediate denial. "I'm tired from all the cooking" and "I just got a new puppy". Well that didnt make a difference. What did was my good friend Judy who yelled at me to "Call the doctor." "But I was in the middle of a TV show", I complained. She and my husband would not leave me alone so I called. Two days later I had an MRI and 4 hours later I was up at Cedars Sinai Hospital with the best neurosurgeon in California. Three days later I was operated on to remove the tumor.
The good news … they got it all … the bad news … it was aggressive and I had to do radiation for 6 weeks and take chemotherapy pills for 6 weeks. The protocol for treatment is taking 5 days of chemotherapy pills every month for a year. I have also entered a clinical trial at Cedars Sinai for a vaccine that will disable these cells. The end result of the surgery is that I am healthy but still am unable to read or drive … darn … more to deal with! I believe that we have lessons to learn from the crisis in our lives. I will address that important issue in a later article.
I told you my "story" because I did not want you to get stuck on what happened. What is important is what I decided to do about it and the journey that I have been on for the last six months.
When first diagnosed, after the initial ripple of fear and apprehension, we move into action. We listened to the doctors and choose who we want to be on our team. There is a lot of pressure on everyone to do the 'right' thing. But what is right? How do you know what is right for you? The questions flood your brain. The tendency is to give the decision making over to the doctors or to family members. Do not do that! Keep your cool. Feel the emotions that come up. Then come back to yourself, your truth, your intelligence, and what you believe in. This is the only place where you can really listen to yourself. It became identical to me that I needed traditional and holistic treatment. I saw it as a full circle. Pretty simple. Now I had to find out what the circle contained.
I knew that I needed an advocate, a therapist who could keep me in tune with myself so that the fears did not take over. I knew I was going to do the Western medical treatments, even though I have always been suspicious of the traditional medical society. I took a leap of faith and realize that they are experts in treating tumors, are expertly trained, and I would get good advice and guidance. I listened to my family and friends and made my own decisions. I checked out every option and idea that was presented to me. I believe that when an idea comes to me I should pay attention. It is an opportunity that may or may not be right for me. I decided yes on a nutritionist, yes with my holistic medical doctor (which I already had), and yes to a clinical trial for an anti-cancer vaccine. I decided no to acupuncture and a few other healing modalities simply because I was overwhelmed with doctor appointments. I, of course, said YES to hypnosis and guided imagery. I have practiced hypnotherapy for 30 years and it is such a big part of me. The difference is that I allowed other practitioners (my friends) to work with me. I have some wonderful CDs to listen to and hypnosis is multi-faceted in that I can work on stress, fear, negativity as well as healing, symptoms alleviation, and strengthening my health.
My mindset was important. I chose a therapist who believes that once the tumor is there the crisis that caused it is over and the healing was in progress. It resonated with me. I have never seen myself as sick or unhealthy.
The articles that will follow will outline for you how I keep my strength, my power and my patience. They will discuss different healing modalities and how to pick what is right for you. The last six months have been a journey of letting go, re learning what I took for granted, compensating, allowing myself to be taken care of and receiving. I'm learning to control my urge to be in control! This is the toughest job I have ever had. As I navigate through life, sometimes I feel like I'm failing and do not get it, and at other times I feel very wise and powerful. When friends, family, doctors, people I meet admire me for how I am handling it, I just smile quietly inside.
© 2012, Hypnosis Concepts. Publication rights granted so long as article and byline are reprinted intact, with all links made live.