Question for Bernie
I’m really glad to have found you, you are an inspiration!
I am a fifty-year-old woman recently diagnosed with cancer of the breast. I am from London, England, living and studying in NYC. I have a second opinion today at Sloan Kettering. I am really grappling with something that I would like your advice on as a father, practitioner, and general wise man.
I have not yet told my beloved 77-year-young father, who lives in London and also has cancer (prostate metastasized to the bones), or my mother. I am really struggling in my heart as to whether to tell him and my mother about my diagnosis.
I feel bad keeping it from him as we have an extremely close relationship. I can’t be open when he asks how I am, and I imagine he would want to support me, but on the other hand he is 77 and fighting his own battle with cancer. I am worried if I tell him he will spiral downwards and his health would suffer. He loves me so much and I couldn’t forgive myself if that happened. I also have two brothers and a sister. One brother knows about me but the others don’t.
Do you have any pearls of wisdom to offer? I have been looking up how to get to Woodbridge, CT from New York to attend your monthly ECaP support group. I wish you did things here in NYC, too.
My suggestion is to let your heart make up your mind. The problem with keeping your diagnosis a secret is that you have to lie and make up stories to maintain the secret. In the long run, the secret can make your self-esteem plummet and cause a heightening of anxiety making it much more difficult to manage your emotional life. It is usually always better to be open and not place the extra burden on yourself of having to maintain a false impression. Share your diagnosis with your whole family and let them love and support you.
At the age of 90, my mother did better when we told her our troubles because she had the wisdom to share from her life. Also, when she could offer us help she would not focus on her problems.
So if you choose to tell your father about your breast cancer, when you talk to him, ask him to share his wisdom from a lifetime of experience. Remember, you are a survivor.
Question for Bernie
Why can’t I visualize? I can’t ever remember being able to visualize. Is there anything I can do to help with this?
You may not be a visual person. Your other senses may be stronger, so think about them. If, for example, you are one of those people who has a very discerning “nose,” imagine yourself somewhere where you are relaxing surrounded by your favorite smells.
All you have to do is imagine yourself where you want to be with aromas, sounds, things that you get pleasure from touching or wearing because of the way they feel—like silk, and finally something visual. Perhaps you like photographs of colorful markets.
Browse through my CDs and pick one that appeals to you for visualization. It will help you use visualization.
Question for Bernie
I have just read your book A Book of Miracles and I was very taken by it. It left me with a feeling of peace, and I do not recall having had that feeling before when reading a book on healing. I have never read any of your other books, so I have ordered some more here in Denmark. I do so wish to follow the best path for myself and my family.
I have two young boys 9 and 14, and I need to summon up all my courage to keep fighting. Five years ago I was operated for ovarian cancer. I was cured but have since been very frightened that it would come back. Last year it turned out that the doctors had been watching me for some time without my knowledge (this is partly my own fault as I did not want to know my marker values). However, I had to have chemo again and then they left it at that. They would not give me a post-treatment PET or CT scan. When I went for a check-up five months later they did give me a scan, and it turned out that it is now in my lymph system.
I have since, on my own accord, sought out the best hospital and treatment for me right now and have started treatment. I have met with doctors who are so kind that I had to pinch my arm, and at the same time I know that they are very good (and daring, too). I have had two chemo treatments and feel a lot better. However, I find it so difficult to keep up my hopes, although I look and feel good.
I am frightened for my boys, and I really want to have the courage to believe that I shall be here for them. They are both at such tender ages and it tortures me to think of leaving them. My husband is very supportive and he really is an angel. I really want to try my best to have the courage to keep fighting. I do wish to live my life in the present and love it, but I am also so, so sad. It is a tough treatment and I thought I was cured. If you could send me just three words of courage, I would be ever so grateful. I keep thinking of the lady who said to you, “I feel good when I am here, but I need to feel good at home too!”
I wish I lived in the States and could see you, but I live in Denmark.
We spoke in Denmark years ago. There are people there who know me, too. I suggest that you read Love, Medicine & Miracles and my recent book, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing.
Lots of mothers stay alive because of the strong feelings you express about leaving your children. But my suggestion to you is that you need to become your own child and love yourself, your body, and your life. Let yourself feel loved and your body’s immune system will respond to help you heal.
This is a time to love your life because it is giving you a chance to teach your children about how to live with difficulties—and how much they are loved. You then become immortal through your love of yourself and of them.
You have the potential to heal. I know that from what you shared. Another thing to read about on my website that will help you is The Immune Competent Personality Test. You will find it listed right at the top of the first page under “Quick Links.” Learn to say “no” to doing anything that doesn’t make you happy.
And, of course, let your heart make up your mind.
Question for Bernie
I recently chose to leave the health care institution for which I have worked 25 years as an RN. There were several reasons that I left. My most recent position was in research, and in the midst of dealing with a rather hostile co-worker, I realized that research wasn’t for me.
In fact, I am quite disheartened by mainstream medicine and how patients are NOT treated. When my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, there was no time to think. My sister was like a robot. She did everything the doctor told her to do. Of course, I was always sending her information and websites, etc., as loved ones will do in this situation. I backed off after a while, realizing that it’s her journey and she has to do what she feels is right for her.
I feel that all we are doing is feeding people prescription medicines and not addressing them as human beings. I know there is a place for mainstream medicine, but I’m looking for other avenues as a health care professional. Do you have any suggestions?
Look for integrative or holistic physicians and naturopaths to work for. Where do you live?
It is good that you realized it really isn’t your place to tell your sister what to do, but you can do the most important thing for her—you can listen to her. Eventually she will hear her own words and they may open her eyes to alternative ways to heal.
You can give her information but not pressure her to use it. She can decide what she wants to read, but she might be open to two of my books—Love, Medicine & Miracles and my latest, The Art of Healing: Uncovering Your Inner Wisdom and Potential for Self-Healing.