On November 21, 2004, my sister Carla, at 58 years of age, died of breast cancer. My sister was a beautiful woman who rejected her own beauty. She had a passion for conversation and loved to give advice whether you wanted it or not. She wove her husband and three sons into a tight-knit family structure, believing that they would never leave her. Eight years prior to her death her husband Larry died of leukemia. Before her husband died, Carla had a will to live. Afterwards, she slowly slid into a depression. Therapy and medication weren’t able to help, nor did her affinity for shopping or her supportive family.
For the past two years my sister hid that she had breast cancer. She blamed her ill health on a car accident. She disregarded medical intervention, refused to get a mammogram and sought treatment that kept her in denial of her prognosis. By the time she allowed an oncologist to examine her it was too late. The family was shocked by the revelation that Carla was going to die.
As my sister lay dying I cried out to the heavens. How could this happen? I stared at her swollen face aching to receive an answer. Carla remained silent, entering into another realm of existence. My mind’s eye wandered through menageries of memories: Carla and I dancing on the front porch of our Brooklyn home; playing tag; dressed in frills and lace; fighting over a dress, a brush and our parents’ attention. We were sisters through and through.
But now, our differences became apparent; Why did she avoid getting a mammogram? I read somewhere that 13 million U.S. women 40 years of age or older have never had a mammogram. What made my sister one of the 13 million women? Perusing through breast cancer Web sites, I found a multitude of interesting information about technologies, treatments, prevention, genetics, detection, surgery, improved outlooks and more. However, there was no coverage regarding cancer and depression, cancer and nutrition, cancer and meditation, cancer and healing childhood abuse, cancer and creativity, cancer and anger, nor cancer and grief. Though I do not disregard proven medical treatment and the urgency for early detection and treatment, I do advocate for extended research into the emotionality of cancer, more education on carcinogenic foods (sugar, caffeine and food additives) and high-caloric diets, and an investigation regarding the negative mental influences that activate cancer.
As a trained metaphysician and an emotional-body practitioner, I believe stress to the body is caused by traumatized emotions and repressed expression, and that negative thinking causes mental, physical and emotional disorders. And it seems I’m not alone in my beliefs. One of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world, SmithKline Beecham, distributed the video to hospitals throughout the United States.
Metaphysician, publisher and author Louise L. Hay wrote in her best-selling book “You Can Heal Your Life” that “The thoughts we think and the words we speak create “our experiences” After she self-healed vaginal cancer, she wrote the book to guide individuals to uncover emotional beliefs and traumas that cause illness. A breast problem, according to Hay, is “a refusal to nourish the self” and causes behaviors such as “over-mothering, over-protectiveness and overbearing attitudes.” She also wrote that cancer is caused by “deep hurt” and that people who are afflicted with these unexpressed wounds “carry hatreds” and “blame and give up.” These intense emotions and thoughts were the exact issues my sister denied throughout her life.
Kabalistic teachings (mystical knowledge of the ancient Hebrews) talk of the body being the vessel for the soul’s expression. According to the teachings, if the body is cut off from the soul’s life-force, then disease can occur. But even today, the media has become involved in bringing this important message to the forefront:
The recently released movie “What the Bleep Do You Know” explores-through the conscious and subconscious-how repressed emotional expression weakens our immune system. To delve into the self to heal, a person needs to enter into the shadow side of his or her psyche. Though a therapist/healer can try to help an individual dig deep to recover a lost and wounded soul, the person has to ultimately choose to make the journey on his or her own. To direct a person’s attention through years of defense into deeper feelings and expression takes focus and dedication. Through the use of breath work, creativity and experiential mind/body processes I help awakening movies the body’s trust to release painful emotions.
There are many answers and questions that guide us to make choices. I hope these facts, both medical and humanistic, will spark at least one person to choose life.
Here are some tips to help you keep your body free of disease:
” Eat a balanced diet and exercise.
” Hug yourself often.
” Express, feel, express.
” Ask for help.
” Never give up.
” Be creative.
” Intimacy heals. Spend time talking with family and friends.
” Receive life as a gift.
” Remember: Your life has purpose.
” Ask: What makes me feel alive?
” Say: I am enough just the way I am.
” Realize that you alone create the meaning of your life.
There was so much my sister loved in life; but what she loved could not save her from what she hated about herself. She stopped caring and therefore denied her body life. My heart hurts knowing my sister is gone. I will miss her smile, her voice and her flamboyant laughter. She will live on in my mind and soul forever. Hopefully, my story will inspire, educate and motivate at least one of you to encourage a sister, mother, daughter, brother, father or son to never give up on themselves or life.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT BREAST CANCER
” Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.
” Each year, 182,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 43,300 die.
” Approximately 1,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. About 400 of them are predicted to die.
” One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast cancer during her lifetime.
” Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55.
” Seventy percent of all breast cancers are found through breast self-exams, but not all lumps are detectable by touch.
” A mammogram can detect breast cancer up to two years before a lump is large enough to be felt. Thermo grams (which measure changes in the skin through heat) can detect an abnormality approximately seven years in advance. Found early, there is a five-year survival rate of 96 percent, so get at least one of these tests done yearly.