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After Breast Cancer, She’s More Assertive, More Grateful

10 Sep

Listening to guided imagery helped me so much 4 years ago when I was dealing with breast cancer. I am a cancer thriver today, even though the chemicals were debilitating, I never missed a night of sleep using that chemo CD and restful sleep CD.

I found in the process that I was more auditory, and use affirmations now. Guided imagery helped but was a little more difficult for me to do.

These audio programs and the experience of cancer profoundly affected my life, so that each day I wake up with gratitude. I also continue to find the daily, mundane tasks in life so profound. This has not changed in four years and I do not believe it will for the rest of my life (and I plan to live a long time).

One of the loneliest times on this earth that I have felt is in pre-surgery. I had 5 surgeries in 2 years. Each time a nurse would come in and try to stick me for intravenous hook ups. After 4-5 times, it would get so old.  

Finally I became assertive and asked for the most professional, experienced person to do the job.

They would give you something to calm you before surgery so you didn't feel like yourself. Then the anesthesiologist would talk to you. I could hear nurses laughing and talking about their day, and other patient conversations I didn't want to be privy to.

Finally I wised up and listened to music and other recordings while in presurgery and as I was carted into the surgical room, nurses and doctors would be asking what I was listening to and supporting my decision. It calmed me as never before (although I was getting the hang of surgery too!).

Anyway, I am thinking of patient advocacy in pre-surgery by giving out CDs and Playaways for people to listen to. I am not exactly a layperson as my career has been as a biologist. I just would like to help people and this is a high anxiety period in their lives. There is no need to go through the anxiety that most people experience in pre-surgery.

I continue to use a variety of mind/body/spirit techniques each day.

Thriving Miss Molly

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