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Woman with breast cancer introduced to Guided Imagery and is very happy with results

11 Jul
A 50-year-old, newly married woman who had never been to doctors or even had health insurance, was beside herself, having been newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and suddenly facing surgery, chemo and radiation..
I began 2005 with a great attitude...I was turning 50 in September, had just gotten married the previous October - for the FIRST TIME!! - and had a full-time job with benefits after 20 years of being a freelance writer.

During the holidays, I saw a cousin who had shed 70 lbs. by going to a "low glycemic index" doctor/weight loss clinic. I signed up, and in one month I had lost 15 lbs. That''s when I felt the lump in my breast. I had never gotten a mammogram before (no health insurance), but now, because of my new coverage, I went right away, because the lump kind of hurt too.

Long story short? The mammogram was on Feb. 14th (happy Valentines Day, Honey) and by the 17th I got the news...breast cancer. Surgery was scheduled for two weeks later, and I was totally beside myself. Breast cancer didn''t run in my family, I''d NEVER had surgery, and pretty much never went to the doctors - again, because I always felt okay and didn''t have any health insurance anyway.

My mind was taking me all over the place: "What if I die during surgery? What if I die from the breast cancer? What if, what if, what if…." In the midst of all this turmoil, I found a flyer one of the nurses had given me about a guided imagery class that was being held at the new Complementary Therapy department at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. I felt so much better after the group session, the instructor suggested I go to the Health Journeys web site and get your CDs. I bought the Cancer Pack, and two days before surgery I received the cds. I listened four times total before my surgery (and had a Reiki massage at the hospital the day before surgery).

Anyway, during my own guided imagery sessions, the tears just started streaming down my face, but I must tell you, I really felt a lot calmer. As a matter of fact, the surgery went so well the doctors were even amazed. My blood pressure before surgery was so low the nurses were a little concerned, but I actually felt so super-calm it was like I was watching it all from afar.

After the surgery I didn''t need the gigantic bottle of darvocet they gave me for pain, and actually, I had absolutely NO PAIN. Unbelievable. For some reason, I couldn''t get into the chemotherapy guided imagery, which is probably why I was at death''s door during the chemo (well, that’s what it felt like.... but I did do affirmations.

Well, I''m done with that experience and am now awaiting 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week (which the radiologist says will take my 30 percent chance of reoccurrence down to 7 percent...good odds). I''m cancer-free, though, and feeling great, and I have become a total proponent of guided imagery. I''m back to work, and my team has to make individual presentations for an upcoming meeting and I''m doing mine on guided imagery and creativity!

Thank you for helping me make it through all this... someone who had never been to a hospital, doctor, etc. I truly believe I would not be a cancer survivor without guided imagery. Thank you so much.

Detroit Diva
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