Updated: Dec 22, 2020
Like so many others, Breast Cancer has had an impact on our family. It robbed my son of knowing his grandma and is frequently lingers in the back of his mom‘s mind...even 18 years later!
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, it is a perfect time to remind all of us who have boobs...and all of you who love someone who does...to ensure you are getting routine checks or urging those you love to do so!
I am certain that early detention (although unbelievably scary at the time) changed and saved my life more than 18 years ago!
This is also a perfect time to mention the impact mental training - specifically visualization - had on me as I moved through my treatment and recovery!
I was so fortunate to be at Cleveland State University during my diagnosis for so many reasons. The first being that I was able to get world-class care at the Cleveland Clinic!
But just as important, I was lucky to be mentored by our Sports Psychologist, Dr. Susan Ziegler, who took the time each week to walk me through a visualization of “fighting” the cancer out of my body. “Just be sure you knock it all out” she would remind me! So I fought and fought and watched my self win!
Although I have no direct evidence that this practice a few times a week had a clinical impact on the fact that I remain cancer-free 18 years later, there is a ton of research that suggests it did. Studies show that visualization helps people recover faster and with a more positive mindset...and I believe it because I lived it!
I looked forward to my sessions with Dr. Ziegler, knowing it was a time where I felt in total control and was completely focused on defeating my internal enemy.
The world was spinning so fast with healthcare decisions to made at every turn. But during my time laying on the floor of her office, I had the upper hand. I saw myself as strong and powerful. My brain was flooded with positive thoughts and was wiring new and important pathways - all leading to an attitude of “I WIN” as opposed to all of the other attitudes that could take over during a time of such stress and fear.
Now don’t get me wrong!
I don’t believe that visualization can cure cancer on its own. My mother-in-law could have visualized all day, every day and I am certain we would have had the same heartbreaking outcome.
However, I do believe - and research shows - that a feeling of control in a time of chaos can improve our health, our well-being and our performance.
So, I am sticking to my story...that along with my world-class doctors - my own personal world-class doctor, Dr. Sue Ziegler, gave me an amazing gift during my battle. She helped me WIN in my mind which helped me make more confident decisions and got me back to the people and the things I loved faster and with a more positive outlook!
Feeling powerful is always positive...and we can go there any time we want! It doesn’t have to be fancy! It just takes you (and maybe a good friend like mine) to FIGHT the internal enemy that wants to hold us back from being our best!
So, get mammograms...or encourage those you love to do so.
And if you face a foe - or just need to feel in control - live it in your mind’s eye. You have to be able to see it there before you can do it out here!
Here’s to all the survivors, all of those who have lost the fight and all of those fighting right now!
Be strong and courageous!