cancer diagnosis shock

Overcoming the Shock of Cancer Diagnosis

According to the Washington Post, every day in the United States approximately 4,600 people are diagnosed with some form of cancer. 1 The most common initial reaction to those three dreaded words “you have cancer” is shock, fear and disbelief, which are followed by an intuitive sense that life as we’ve known them are forever changed. If you have “been there” yourself or know someone who has been impacted by cancer you know there’s some truth to it. You also know that today, more then any other time in history we have the means and tools to help patients survive and thrive.

Feelings Upon Diagnosis

Once diagnosed, most patients describe feeling disoriented. The pace of change and the life threatening nature of this illness often bring about anger, anxiety, fear, and depression, which take time to process. It’s hard to admit that despite of so many medical and technological advancements, and the fact that more and more patients do survive treatment, Cancer is still associated with a death sentence.

I’m not going to pretend things are perfect in any way, I do however want you to know even during this trying times you can learn how to cope with and successfully overcome all of these experiences. You can journey from feeling like a victim, to feeling and being a victor.

Taking Control

One successful strategy to taking control is to keep your gaze on the big picture. Yes, there is another tomorrow and the sun will rise again. This will help you place the information disseminated by your Medical team in the right context. Everything may sound very urgent, and it may very well be, but you have a voice and it’s the most important one. If you feel rushed, slow things down.

You may feel like your body has betrayed you and therefore you cannot trust yourself anymore, but you are so much more then just your body, you are a whole person with a rich life experience to draw from. As you learn about treatment options, conventional and alternative, and start to put together a treatment plan that is right for you it will be easier to adjust since you know what your next steps are. 2

In most cases, progression of illness is slow which means you have time. You have time to address not only your body but also yourself, the person within this body. Doing so will help you feel acknowledged, witnessed, heard and more in control.

If you read any of my previous blog posts you know that I view illness through a multidimensional lens. My belief is that illness must be addressed not only on the level of the body or physical symptoms but also on the level of the mind.

Imagine a boxer that eats well, lifts weights to gain muscle, and performs cardio to increase endurance. But leading up to the fight he keeps thinking there’s no way he can win. On the day of the fight he is unable to focus on the end result he wants to achieve, he gets hit and will likely lose because he has not realized this match requires mental and emotional endurance as much as physical one. Remember this quote from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.

Mental & Spiritual Wellness

The one takeaway I want you to remember today is that while your medical team is doing everything in their power to mend your body, it is up to you to tend to and mend your mind. Talk to your medical team about integrating complementary medicine into your cancer care, especially hypnotherapy. Why hypnotherapy? Well, hypnotherapy engages the part of your mind called the Subconscious Mind. This part of your mind harbors your beliefs and perceptions (responsible for stress, fear, helplessness). It’s also the part of your mind that governs many of your bodily functions like immune function for example.

Working in the realm of the Subconscious Mind to change the quality of your perceptions (of treatment/procedures) from negative and harmful to positive and supporting can have a transformative effect on your experience. Any medical provider will agree that getting into treatment in the right frame of mind can improve outcome. Furthermore, resolving the mental patterns inhibiting immune functions can allow your immune system to be restored to its full capacity thus make your body more resilient.

Final analogy

I will leave you with this final analogy for the need to treat illness on all of its dimensions:

Think of a person as a musical instrument. Say for example, someone hands you a beautiful guitar made of exquisite wood polished to a warm glow. You start to strum it, but it sounds horrible! So you use a pitch pipe to tune each and every string in order to get the best sound. You take the extra effort to get each string tuned to the correct note and once you start to play again the guitar produces the melodic sound you want. Now it is harmonious and balanced. Translate that into recovery and healing and it becomes clear these goals they can only be achieved when we address every single dimension. Then you can feel like you are in charge of your own destiny and can begin the journey toward a positive outcome.

If you have questions on where to go next or what hypnosis can do for your recovery, please contact me today. I’m happy to help.

1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2016/01/07/how-cancer-will-affect-americans-in-2016-in-xx-charts/

2) http://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2014/cancer-guide2014/at-diagnosis-dealing-with-emotions

The Appleseed Project 2016

The Annie Appleseed Project

If you are interested in learning about Complementary Medicine for Cancer, there is no better place for you to do so then The Annie Appleseed Project website.

The Appleseed Project 2016

Ann Fonfa and Avinoam Lerner at The Appleseed Project 10th Evidence-Based Conference for Complementary Medicine for Cancer

The Annie Appleseed Project was founded in 1997 by Ann Fonfa, a breast cancer survivor herself. The purpose of the project was and still is to inform, educate, advocate and raise awareness around (Complementary Alternative Medicine) CAM for cancer. Through its annual conference on Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies the project offers patients, caregivers and medical providers the opportunity to join, share and learn from one another.

My acquaintance with Ann started back in 2011 when I was invited to place an article in the Conference magazine. This year (2016) I was fortunate enough to be one of the presenters and share with the audience some of my case studies on hypnosis for cancer recovery.

Below, you can find the presentation in a PDF format. Since the conference was videotaped, I will post the video as soon as they’re done with the editing and I have the final version.

It was a real treat to be a part of the Appleseed community this year. I met some very courageous people and can only hope I have inspired few to take action and learn how to mobilize their mind and inner resources to promote wellness and advance recovery.

If you have any question with regard to the presentation below, please feel free to contact me.

Annie Appleseed Conference Presentation:

cancer patients online support

Hypnotherapy for Cancer Care Online

You can now supplement your medical cancer treatment from the comfort of your own home. This service is designed to help maximize the effectiveness of your medical treatment and your ability to recover.

This online service is the perfect solution for those who live far away or have limited mobility. It’s the next best thing to working with me one-on-one in my office.

alternative cancer immune enhancement

Hypnotherapy for Cancer Immune Enhancement

Do you feel worthy of recovery? Do you blame yourself for your cancer? Do you feel helpless, hopeless or find you are self-sabotaging your progress? If so, it is vital you’ll understand how these mindsets inhibit your body’s ability to fight and recover from cancer and how they impact the functioning of your immune system!

The Healing Journey

The Healing Journey, Overcoming the Crisis of Cancer

Every now and then I get to meet a patient who truly inspires me. It can be their insatiable curiosity, their courage and open mind or simply the fact they read every cancer related book on the planet. Such one patient referred me to a book titled The Healing Journey by A.J. Cunningham which she found compelling.

The Healing Journey CunninghamAlastair Cunningham is the director of The Healing Journey program, a scientist and psychologist. Hi is a professor at the University of Toronto and a cancer survivor himself. The Healing Journey is a program for people who want to learn how to help themselves when they have cancer, or other serious chronic diseases. It is a practical course, providing simple, psychological and spiritual tools which promote inner harmony, peace and healing, methods that can help any of us become a “healed person”. The program has been developed and evaluated at a large cancer treatment and research center, and parts of it have been offered there and at cancer support centers since 1982.

What my patient found compelling about Cunningham’s program is that it reconcile science, psychology and spirituality. He and his team have taken the brave step toward a true whole person approach to recovery and it is that which prompted her to share this with me. There is tremendous value in this program and if you are fortunate enough to live in near any of the Wellspring Cancer Centers in Toronto and other parts of Canada I highly recommend you attend it.

As a practitioner, I found Cunningham’s language and the way he connected the dots through his writing very powerful and valuable. He provided a clear and concise explanation of the relationship between the physical organic event of disease and the psychological and spiritual dimensions.

“Suffering is a mental reaction to events perceived as unwanted. Much of the suffering cancer causes comes from reflecting on the diagnosis and what it implies, rather than directly from the disease itself. Cancer is thus an existential crisis, not simply a physical problem. If we consider the task of the health care professional to be assisting healing, and “healing” in the broadest sense to mean the relief of suffering, then various approaches can be used to help the patient, who may be extremely anxious for his or her life.” ~ A.J. Cunningham

You can read an abstract of The Healing Journey or click The Healing Journey link to purchase it on AMAZON.

“The usual medical strategy is to work directly on the body, attempting to remove the cancer and alleviate symptoms, thus eliminating or minimizing the physical cause of the suffering. A psychological approach is also feasible and , ideally, complements the medical , helping people to change their mental reaction to the situation by modifying the internal monologue and the distress thus engendered. A “spiritual” level in the healing of suffering is also available, and it has a long history in traditional cultures, although it is little understood by medical science.”

I am completely on board with this view but only to the point of defining “spirituality”. The Healing Journey definition of “spiritual” is “helping the suffering person to connect with an aspect of self that has been labelled as spiritual self, the Divine within, God, the Tao etc”. This view in my opinion has a religious aspect to it. A person suffering gain a sense of being a part of something bigger thus his experience or the threat to his body is perceived as much less important. My definition of “spiritual” is drawn from Viktor Frankle’s teaching and therefore revolves around Meaning, as meaning of life. Working from this perspective peace of mind and/or healing can be gained by finding meaning in every moment, in every event and stem from one’s freedom of choice. It is the freedom to find the “good” in that which is perceived as “bad”, the silver lining around every dark cloud if you will.

If you’re thinking we’re only splitting hair here, well that is your choice of course 🙂 as for me, I am grateful to learn about this valuable resource and Cunningham’s contribution.

If you are interested in learning more The Healing Journey Program, visit this link. It offers access to all the written material and audio recordings from the program on their website.

You can also watch this video:

Mind emotions and cancer

Is Your Mind Making you Sick

For just a moment, imagine your brain as an orchestra. Your musical instruments are your beliefs, perceptions, emotions and attitudes. Each instrument vibrates at a specific frequency to create a unique sound, the sound of your mind.

hypnotherapy cancerIf you could listen to the soundtrack of your Mind, what would it sound like? Would you hear harmonious or disharmonious sounds in your orchestra?

We have learned to observe good health as a state of harmony and balance within, and illness as a state of imbalance or disharmony. Therefore when illness is present, the sound is likely to not be harmonious which suggest the vibration generated by the entire orchestra is one of disharmony.

The Mind and Illness

Harmful beliefs, erroneous perceptions and unresolved emotional turmoil fuel the Subconscious with disharmonious vibrations, and the result is illness. In a state of illness, the soundtrack of your subconscious mind would be like an orchestra of untrained musicians playing un-tuned instruments.

We can safely say that without being aware of it and certainly without wishing for it, we “think” ourselves into illness because our thoughts, beliefs and emotions affect the body.

The Law of Vibration states that: “Everything in the universe is what it is by virtue of its rate of vibration. Change the rate of vibration and you change the nature, quality, and form. The vast panorama of nature, both visible and invisible, is being constantly changed by simply changing the rate of vibration, and as thought is a vibration, we can exercise this power. We can change the vibration and thus produce any condition that we desire to manifest in our bodies.” (Charles F. Hannel).

Risking oversimplification, I created the Subconscious Illness Paradigm model to illustrate how Mind factors affect our brain and our body.

Restoring Harmony to the Mind and Body

One of the most significant discoveries we’ve made is that we actually can “think” ourselves back into health. And though we are still exploring how and to what degree the above statement is true, we know that we have an innate capacity and ability to participate and our experience. And we can do so by changing our Mind, or better say, Subconscious Mind.

Boston hypnosisThe challenge for a long time was to form a methodical and systematic practice to engage with the Subconscious Mind and to do so in a way that is meaningful and authentic. To get the Subconscious Mind back into a harmonic state of health, we must identify, address and heal every aspect of the governing mental Paradigm that is not in harmony. We must change values, beliefs and perceptions that are negative and inhibiting to our health to positive and supporting of our health.

“The way to health is founded on the law of vibration, which is the basis of all science, and this law is brought into operation by the Mind, the ‘world within’. It is a matter of individual effort and practice. Our world of power is within. If we are wise, we shall not waste time and effort in trying to deal with effects as we find them in the ‘world without’, which is only an external, a reflection.” (Charles F. Hannel)

Immersive Healing which utilizes Clinical Hypnotherapy as its therapeutic vehicle is a method for changing disharmonious Mind patterns into harmonious. If disharmonious patterns promoted illness, then by changing from their quality from negative to positive, we change their effect from destructive to constructive and allow healing to begin. As outline in the Subconscious Health Paradigm model, discord, disharmony, and disease give way to mental, psychological and physical health.

The two Mind models illustrations can be found in my book The New Cancer Paradigm. If you wish to learn more about the Mind, illness and our individual ability to transition back into health, this book is to provide you tools and techniques to do so.

6 Most Compelling Reasons for Integrating Hpnosis into Your Cancer Care

Cancer is more than just a physical event, it affects every aspect of our being. Emotional pain, mental strains and even spiritual challenges are rooted in the very core of illness and increasingly patients are seeking to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to these challenges such as Hypnosis.

If you ever had medical emergency you already know that the onset of a such threat is frightening to say the least. For many people the ground seem to have shifted beneath their feet and in spite of themselves they unwillingly begin to contemplate the unthinkable. Fear gets stronger because we’re not sure what this threat means to our livelihood, what it means to our family and career. We’re not sure that we have the inner strength or the innate resources to cope with all that is about to come.

While fear is a perfectly normal respond to any life threatening event, it can quickly paint our experience with anxious and dark colors. Here is where hypnosis can be of tremendous help to patients, offering relief and remedy not only to our thoughts, beliefs and fears but also to our body.

6 Ways Hypnosis Can Help Cancer Patients

Hypnosis, as an adjunct therapy to conventional medical care can help patients address a wide range of challenges and symptoms. It has shown to help with the following:

1. Lessen anticipatory fear and anxiety.
2. Lessen many adverse treatment side effects.
3. Accelerate rate of recovery from the treatment.
4. Improve patient’s attitude toward treatment.
5. Enhance patient’s outlook for possible recovery.
6. Instill a sense of mastery during and after treatment.

Because patients can feel and experience the results from their hypnosis session right away it is the perfect natural and noninvasive, drug-less and painless therapy. Either working with a hypnotherapist in his or her office or listening to a self-hypnosis recording; patients can play an active role in their healing and participate in their treatment.

More Cancer Treatment Centers Offer Complimentary Cancer Care

altenative cancer therapyNow days many cancer treatment Centers offer patients access to Complementary Alternative services. Services such as massage therapy, acupuncture, Qigong and even music therapy are more common than ever and patients greatly benefit.

Hypnosis also makes its way into mainstream facilities, slowly but surely. The trend is positive and I can attest to this myself having developed a relationship with one of Boston’s most prestigious Cancer institutions. Doctors, even the skeptics or those still holding some misconception about the practice and its clinical value simply cannot ignore the ever growing body of evidence that strongly support it.

For medical professionals and patients alike research is the definitive factor and rightly so. It is likely that with more quality research and greater awareness to the validity and efficacy of Hypnosis for cancer its use will increase. In the meantime, patients will continue to manage their care outside the hospital walls.