Tag Archive | Louise Hay

Perk # 98: Cancer Has Increased My Vocabulary

Invasive ductal carcinoma.  Oncologist.  Tamoxifen.  Adjuvant therapy.  Metastasis. Before getting cancer, I would have thought these words to be part of a foreign language.  Now they are part of my every day vocabulary.   They are not pretty words, and some of them, I will admit, (like metastasis) scare the living daylights out of me!  There is one word, however, that I am happy to have learned from my cancer experience:  Psychoneuroimmunology. Ahh, don’t ya just love how it rolls off your tongue. Psychoneuroimmunology (pronounced “kale”….just kiddin’) is the study of the interaction between psychological processes, and the nervous and immune systems of the body.  In other words, it is the study of the mind-body connection.

Many best-selling books have been written about the mind-body connection: Love, Medicine and Miracles (Bernie Siegel, M.D); The Power of Positive Thinking (Norman Vincent Peale); and You Can Heal Your Life (Louise Hay), are among my favourites.  Both Siegel and Hay propose that cancer can be caused by underlying psychological factors. Hay says that cancer is caused by holding on to resentment, which eats away at the spirit as cancer eats away at the body. I think she has a good point. One of the questions that Dr. Siegel asks his patients is “What happened to you in the two years leading up to your diagnosis?” He believes that traumatic life events can serve as precursors to cancer.  That makes sense to me.  In the two years leading up to my diagnosis, I was under stress, and lots of it!

Some people take offence to this way of thinking. “Are you saying that I caused my own cancer?”  Well, not exactly, but how you live your life, how you cope with stress, and even your personality type play a role in creating an environment in your body in which cancer can grow.  Here is the good news: if your mind can play a role in making you sick, it can also play a role in healing you.  BINGO!  That’s why I love this new word, psychoneuroimmunology (I just had to say it again).  It is the reason why meditation, prayer, visualizations, affirmations, forgiveness exercises and gardening are an important part of my healing plan.

Tip:  If you are going to read only one book on your cancer journey, make it Love, Medicine and Miracles.

Perk # 92: Cancer Forced Me To Forgive

Long before my diagnosis, I read a book which changed my life:  You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.  She believes that all dis-ease/disease in the body has an underlying emotional cause.  In the case of cancer, the underlying cause is holding on to resentment, which eats away at the spirit as cancer eats away at the body.  In order to free oneself of resentment, it is necessary to forgive.

I believe in a holistic view of healing.  I took a firm hand to healing my body, through my treatments, diet, exercise and supplements.  I realized however, that true healing would not happen unless I also addressed the needs of mind and my spirit.  I had some forgiving to do!

Every day for more than a month, I would visualize the people who have hurt me, and I would say in my mind, “I forgive you and I wish you well.”   Sometimes a little voice in my head would jump in and say, “I forgive you and I wish you well……you bitch!”  But eventually I came to feel the truth of my words, and I was able to truly forgive.   It does not matter that these people do not know they are forgiven.  Some of them may not even know that they have hurt me.  This exercise was not about freeing them, but freeing myself, since the only person I was hurting by holding on to resentment was me.  Once I was able to release that, I opened a space in my spirit for true healing.

Although I was diligent in practicing this exercise, I still had a nagging feeling that I was forgetting to forgive someone.  Hmmmmmm……my exes?  Check.  Friends?  Check.  Family members?  Check.  People at work?  Check.  Then, one day, while waiting for a radiation treatment, I was practicing my affirmation: “ I love and approve of myself just as I am”, when that little voice in my head spoke up once again.  It said, “How can you possibly approve of yourself just as you are?  You are far from perfect.  You are bossy, stubborn and you expect perfection in your relationships with others.”  I then realized that the person I was forgetting to forgive was myself.  I had never really forgiven myself for a failed marriage, and I harboured guilt for having hurt other people.  I was also having trouble forgiving myself for Ben’s autism.  Deep inside I wondered if I had done something wrong to cause this disorder.   So I was then forced to forgive the one person most in need of my forgiveness: Me.  Now when I say my affirmation, “I love and approve of myself just as I am,” I really mean it, warts and all.

Tip:  Repeat after me:  I love and approve of myself just as I am.