My brush with breast cancer - or how a lump helped improve other lives
How it all started
For many years I have “looked after myself”. Eating healthy foods, no animal products, exercising regularly, gynaecological check-ups on a regular basis… At 59 I have been happily remarried for nearly ten years… I have great relationships with my children and step children… a wonderful job… I am spiritually content.
So perhaps you can imagine how shocked I was to discover that a benign lump in my right breast, which I had had for fifteen years, suddenly changed at the beginning of 2006. It grew larger and suddenly became painful. Not screaming out loud can’t stand it pain, just a dull ache that sometimes sparked like I was being jabbed with a horse prod. I dutifully went to my gynaecologist for my regular mammogram. Best to have a biopsy she told me.
Long story short, my medical aid would not pay for a biopsy at the clinic where my gynaecologist practised. So my frustrated gynaecologist referred me to ‘a very nice surgeon’ to have the lump removed – the medical aid agreed to pay for that!
The very nice surgeon told me it was a simple procedure. Was I prepared that the lump might be serious? Just take it out so you can see it is nothing was my confident reply. He just nodded and booked me in for the operation.
Everything went well and I came home the same day. I had an appointment to see the surgeon for the results a few days later and I duly arrived, accompanied by my husband, at the surgeon’s offices.
When he asked my husband to come into the office with me I knew something was not right. I was diagnosed as having breast cancer.
I went into total shock and disbelief, just sat there and said nothing. Luckily my husband asked the questions while I could do nothing but think why me?
I was more angry than fearful. I had done everything I was supposed to do… had the lump checked every year at my annual check-up… had my mammograms… lived well – I don’t even have a medical doctor as I am always healthy… what was the Universe trying to tell me?
Cancer was something that other people got. I had spent several years working through ‘problem’ areas in my life with various forms of therapy. I was fine… I had no hidden anger at anyone. I had resolved all my issues. Why then was I sitting in this doctor’s chair hearing him tell me I had breast cancer?
I calmed down and thought about what to do. My surgeon was very composed. He said I had a rare strain of breast cancer that only 2 – 3% of women get; ‘very well behaved’ was how he put it – and I did not need radiation or chemotherapy (that would be like swatting a fly with a ten pound hammer were his words), only surgery and follow up hormone treatment.
Well… I was just about OK with having surgery (mostly to assuage any ‘how wacky can she get’ comments from any members of my family if I refused surgery) but no way was I taking hormones for the next five years. First of all, I believe that we, as human beings, can resolve our issues ourselves and, perhaps more importantly for me, was that being vegan there was no way I was going to take drugs, prescription or not, that were more than likely tested on animals (I currently follow a vegan lifestyle after being vegetarian for over forty years).
It is all well and good to have personal belief systems that are not ‘main stream’ when the chips are not down… everything is going well… but it seems that a lot of people expected me to ditch those beliefs now that the dreaded ‘C’ word had come into my life. What good are one’s beliefs if they never get tested? I was still ‘lucky’ as the type of breast cancer I had was not life threatening and would not be rushing all over my body within weeks or even months. It was as if I had got breast cancer ‘lite’. Nonetheless it was breast cancer. And something had to be done about it.
After we arrived home I sat by myself and thought quietly about what I was going to do. Then I phoned my step-daughter in the USA who was in her final year of studying as a doctor of Chinese Medicine. She told me about herbs I could take… what to watch out for… Then I thought about ‘taking’ anything and decided that if I did that I would only be treating symptoms and not the root cause of the cancer.
I decided to contact a therapist with whom my son had worked successfully in the past who specialises in Journey therapy and chat to her about things. Fortuitously, (and as I realised afterwards, also serendipitously) she had a cancellation on the day before my scheduled surgery.
So off I went to see her and we sat and talked and she explained to me that many women nurture everyone else ahead of themselves. I actually had no idea of what I personally wanted out of life. I knew what I wanted for my husband, for my children… for the world even – but no idea what I wanted for me.
Talking about this triggered the memory of a recent coffee date I had had with my youngest son. He and I went out just to chat about things as I hadn’t seen him for a while. So Mom, he said, what do you want from life? Well… I want this and that and the other… He interrupted me with ‘But what do you want for yourself?’ I looked at him blankly. For myself? I don’t subscribe to ‘selfish’ when I want things for myself. I buy myself clothes when I need them, I don’t go short of material items any longer, not how it used to be in my days as a single mother with no maintenance forthcoming. Things are different now but it seemed that I really had no idea of what I wanted for myself. As my son continued to ask me I honestly couldn’t think of anything. How sad is that I thought.
Meanwhile back at the therapist… she said that as I had basically ignored the lump, the Universe had decided that the heat needed a bit of turning up, hence the change in the structure of the lump. But I did do something about it was my reply… I mentioned it every year at my checkups. What I did not do, she explained, was find out why the lump arrived in the first place and actively do something about the reason why.
Hmmm. Now that’s an interesting idea I thought. It made a lot of sense and I was excited about this discovery. So how can we sort this out, I asked?
We started to talk about a new therapy she was finding effective. ‘It is called Emotional Freedom Techniques’, she said, “and ‘all’ you do is tap on various places on your face and body and talk”.
Within minutes I was exploring memories going back to my childhood and even though I had (in previous other non-EFT therapy sessions) rationalised them, there was apparently still a lot of emotion attached to them. Tapping on various facial and body points with my fingers and repeating various phrases helped unlock the emotional response to these memories and ‘freed’ them, never to return!
She told me that in subsequent sessions we would work to implant new thoughts so I would be able to learn how to nurture myself. Once you ‘weed’ out all the old stuff and get the soil right you need to plant new things so they can flourish and you become healthy and happy. I was really looking forward to that experience as my mind was totally blank on how I could nurture myself. She assured me implanting the new nurturing ideas were a habit and new habits just take a bit of practice to become entrenched.
By the time my first session was up, we had established that I was beginning to heal myself. I also felt about ten years younger. I looked lighter and I suddenly had an enormous reservoir of energy and was actually looking forward to my surgery to see what the doctor would find!
Surgery went successfully and as I came out of the anaesthetic, the surgeon’s words to me were: ‘I am ecstatic with how well the operation went… there was hardly anything to take out!’
I healed better than he expected I would, the drain came out sooner than usual, the scarring has faded and the scar tissue has disappeared much more quickly than any previous scar tissue from any operations I have had.
I had a bit of a ‘discussion’ with the surgeon regarding my refusal to take the drugs; apart from the vegan viewpoint (which we talked about for some time), these were ‘wonderful drugs’ that I could only take for a maximum of five years, as by then the hormones would have essentially destroyed my bones and I would be left suffering from osteoporosis. It didn’t sound like an option at all – five years of drugs and then basically no bones left. My surgeon obviously thought it was a reasonable trade off. I did not.
Needless to say I am not taking any medication. I have had regular blood tests and my surgeon and I are convinced the cancer is gone never to return. He is the first orthodox medical doctor I have met who is open to discussing various alternate means of therapy. He never dismissed my ideas and views – always discussing them with me and acknowledging that I could well be correct for me. That is the most important point I think… that my views are right for me, not necessarily for the rest of the world (even though I would welcome everyone becoming vegan and preferably overnight!)
I soon got back to my weight training and walking. Water skiing took a bit longer! I cannot truthfully say I am ‘proud’ of my scar but I can say that I am happy that I had this opportunity. I have never felt that I was a breast cancer ‘survivor’ – I had a breast cancer experience.
Update December 2011: After not having any exams or mammograms since the op, I went for a free (on our medical plan) check up. The GP decided that I should get a mammogram to ‘make sure’ things were fine. Went for the mammogram. Everything is fine. Normal. No problems. Nothing.
Update December 2016: I now get an annual thermal imaging check-up with my step-daughter in the USA. No more mammograms, just a special camera that then sends off the images for them to be scrutinised. Each year I get an A1 result - which means that if I had not had the breast cancer in 2006, I would only have to have a thermal image done every four years. But to be on the safe side, they recommend one annually. So I do. And each year it is A1 :). Just wanted to say that again!
Using EFT also helped with the ‘what if’ issues – what if ‘it’ came back? I 100% believe that the breast cancer will not come back as I do what I tell my clients to do and that is put yourself equal first in any and all of your relationships. Not ahead of anyone else but equal. You are worth it :).
How the lump changed lives
The reason a lump has changed lives? Since my discovery of EFT, I have become a qualified EFT therapist; I have helped numerous people to heal themselves, from both physical and emotional problems and I now specialise in helping women deal with weight loss and eating disorder issues. My eldest son has also become a qualified EFT therapist and is now helping improve the lives of children as well as specialising in sports performance issues.
EFT is not restricted to people! I have helped my pets to heal, most significantly helping one of our cats, Snowball, to overcome his skin cancer; helped many other cats and dogs with various issues, including several with cancer, jealousy and fear of thunder. I have even helped a Hadeda Ibis (bird) with a crippled foot!
It may sound too good to be true, too easy a way to heal… but it is just as easy as I have written. As long as you want to heal. If you are not ready, there is no shame in that; perhaps later in this life you will be ready.
There are no drugs to take, no lengthy soul-searching sessions with years of therapy, just simple tapping and talking. It works for children, for adults, for animals, for sports people and senior citizens! You can literally try it for anything!
Thank you Universe for the wakeup call that has helped me and will continue to help me help others.