Have you faced the loss of a loved one or survived cancer yourself? Ever wondered what might have contributed to the disease? I recently read an article, The Importance of Emotional Clearing for Health & Healing, which validated much of what I learned from my mother about disease and through her cancer experiences. When I was a junior in college, my mother was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer at age 54. Through surgery, we all learned that the cancer had spread to 17 of her 18 lymph nodes. My mom had the strongest will to live of anyone I have ever encountered. She was determined she could survive the cancer. She became a quick study of Dr. Bernie Siegel’s Love, Medicine & Miracles concepts, and chose to believe that healing stems from the human mind and will. She had a less than 2% chance of survival post-surgery, although her oncologist did not tell her that. He supported her determination and strong will to live. He did share with us that she had 98% chance of recurrence and she would need bone marrow and liver tests every 6 months for 15 years to monitor any potential signs that the cancer had returned. We joined Mom in Austin at her 15-year mark and celebrated with her by walking the Komen Race for the Cure. Following the celebration, she lived each day to its fullest, enjoying painting watercolors at their lake house and taking daily walks around Apache Shores. We were all surprised when she was diagnosed with rectal cancer at age 74.
While my mom became a big believer in the connection of mind over body, the association between the emotions and disease has been talked about for a very long time around the globe. From Chinese medicine to Yogic traditions to bible verses, linkages between emotions and diseases are prevalent. And now, modern science is aligning around this concept. Whether it is 10-year-long studies published in the British journal Psychology and Psychotherapy in 1988 concluding that “emotional stress was more predictive of death from cancer or cardiovascular disease than from smoking” or the understanding of how neuropeptides pave the way between the brain and the body. The article provides more research to support the connection between emotions and health and ends with four basic steps that will lead to better health.
In the Gift of Goodbye, I share the details of my journey with my mother as she endured cancer for a second time, enjoyed time in remission, and ultimately said goodbye to her loved ones over a three-year period. Although she did not leave us completely. Today, as I started my hike with my lab Coco, she made her presence known again. A purple butterfly, the size of a thumb nail, was flittering so quickly just above the grass, and right in our path. She landed a couple of times on a blade of grass, each time closing her wings fully and showing off the mostly white and grey outer wings. Then, would take off quickly showing off her iridescent purple inner wings…reminding me that she is here as we help our father celebrate his first Father’s Day without one of his daughters, my sister Susan. Happy Father’s Day to those of you with children of any kind, including four legged treasures.