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Any Imagery to Help a Disabled Son during His Father’s Bone Marrow Transplant?

16 Feb

We got this question from a Mom dealing with multiple stresses from all directions. She's a cancer survivor herself, with a disabled adult son who finds changes in routine difficult, and a husband probably facing bone marrow transplantation ....

Question:

Do you hve any materials for parents of children with disabilities? My adult son has a severe genetic disorder and his father is in chemo for multiple myeloma. The chemo appears to be working well at this point.

As you can imagine, my son is wonderful, but he cannot understand the implications or be part of a support system. As a bone marrow transplant becomes more and more a reality, I need to reassure him that things will be OK, but different.

My son has a chromosomal disorder. He is verbal, extremely intelligent, does basic math in his head, has an incredible memory and a dry sense of humor. He is the highest producing employee at his sheltered workshop and a joy to be with. Verbalizing feelings is very difficult for him, as are changes in routine.

I myself am a breast cancer survivor in my early 70's.

Thanks. Dorrie

Answer:

Wow, certainly a challenging time for you and your family, Dorrie.

I would try out something like our Relaxation & Wellness guided imagery, which has some comforting images - emotionally evocative in a positive way - and it's designed to create a sense of protection, safety and support. He also might like the Healthful Sleep imagery, for the same reasons. If he responds well to either of these, then I'd consider some others, but not until you know that guided imagery is something he likes.

This may sound a little far-fetched, but if he enjoys and/or benefits from the imagery, he might like 'helping' his Dad during his chemotherapy infusions by listening to the Chemotherapy imagery with him or for him; and if treatment does lead to a transplant protocol, he could do the same by listening to the Bone Marrow Transplantation imagery with/for him.

Both are uplifting and soothing guided meditations, and the BMT narrative uses the archetypal image of rebirth and resurrection as its central metaphor (This was the contribution of a terrific psychologist, Richard McQuellon PhD, who worked with BMT and all manner of oncology patients at Wake Forest Baptist Health in Winston-Salem NC at the time, and who was a wonderful help to me when I was doing the research to write that imagery).
Listening to the imagery could help him deal with his own feelings of helplessness about his Dad's situation, and help him cope with his father's absence by allowing him to be "with him" in this way. Or maybe not – it's hard to say, but I think worth a try.

2153bAnd Dorrie, maybe you could at some point use our Caregiver Stress imagery?? Just sayin'.... The demands on you must be incredible.

I hope something is of use here.

My very best wishes to you and your family,

Belleruth

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Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.