Thank you for letting me know.

Newly unfurled leaves of a Japanese Maple
Newly unfurled leaves of a Japanese Maple

One thing is clear. If I am going to live the rest of my life without any of my cells reverting to the cancer-ing lifestyle, I need to transform, or perhaps to metamorphose is the better term? After I am done transmuting poisons, and healing from surgery, and recovering from any radiation treatments, my primary job will continue, which is to make myself incompatible with cancer-ing.  I need to live so wholeheartedly that there isn’t any room for tumors.  I’m assuming that the pendulum is not so out of whack already that my body-mind can return to a harmonious, and hopefully cancer-free state. That is the idea anyway.  The trouble is I am not so sure how to do it.  I feel myself changing in small ways, and wondering if they will add up to a big enough shift.  So I have been reading and reading and reading. Which is generally my response to any daunting task.  I want to know who has done it, and how?

“So love yourself, take responsibility for and participate in your life and state of health. This is not about avoiding dying but about living and its beneficial side effects.”               Bernie Siegel

I just finished Bernie Siegel Love, Medicine and Miracles.  He talks a lot about the healing power of thoughts and particularly of love. He says choose to work towards living fully, not towards avoiding death. Which brings me back to being 100% committed to healing, without being 100% obsessed. Bernie provides the second example of using love and gratitude images rather than kill and destroy images to visualize healing. (The first was in the book Radical  Remissions – more on that later.) It is very validating to read about others using love messages to heal.  Bernie also points out some interesting studies about how our early childhoods effect our health as adults, and speaks of what he terms Reparenting.  Basically, working to retrain your thoughts towards healthy self love to compensate for any deeply held messages you may have that don’t support health.  We all have our demons – and the long slow hypnosis of childhood creates most of them.


Morning snuggling
Morning snuggling

While parenting the boys we have made lots of mistakes; however, communicating about feelings openly is one of the things about our parenting which I feel really good about. When Sam was a tiny baby, Joe and I worked to cultivate a habit. I think that the wisdom behind it must have come from one of the midwives.  We would try to thank Sam whenever he cried, because we understood he was simply letting us know about an outstanding need. Neither of our boys were very colicky – so any crying could usually be soothed.  Crying is a primary form of communication for babies.  We actually would thank him verbally, “Thank you for letting me know ________.”  Gratitude while changing diapers, gratitude while nursing.  By the time Martin was born, we were pretty good at it. Because we also learned to read other signals in addition to crying, Martin enjoyed a mostly diaper-free life after he was five months old, and we enjoyed having fewer diapers to wash. (I still think that elimination communication is very cool.) Also around the time Martin was born Joe and I were exposed to NVC, Non-Violent Communication,  and we both got some training in it.   I believe the degree to which the boys are fluent in their own feelings and needs is directly connected to these early life habits that we cultivated. Their fights with each other are often very  interesting. (NVC definitely has made conflicts between Joe and I more interesting!)

I started to focus on love and gratitude to heal my cancer-ing early on, by imagining the cancer cells  as a cry, trying to let me know that things have gotten out of hand.  Ironically, this practice didn’t start consciously from the ideas gained from our baby gratitude practice, or NVC, but as a side effect of training myself to think of Cancer as a verb. Realizing that the Cancer-ing cells are part of me meant that I couldn’t relate to the “fight against cancer” visualizations of killing the tumor cells with a little army of paratroopers or whatever.  Every person has a different journey, and different images that resonate.  I can imagine that for some, fight images are a very powerful tool to healing.  For me it feels better to do it another way.   The learning and practicing we did with the boys while they were babies gives me a bit of a head start with this work.   It is an intriguing process to turn both of these skills, gratitude and NVC empathy, towards myself so consciously.

“Miracles come from finding your authentic self, and following what you feel is your own true course in life.”       Bernie Siegel

So publicly I say to my cancering cells: Thank you for letting me know I needed to focus on self love. Thank you for helping me redirect my path. Thank you for giving me a chance to grow closer to my husband and children. Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity to change and grow. Thank you for letting me spend a little time basking in the love of my beloved community.  Thank you for bringing such amazing new people into my life. Thank you for teaching me things I didn’t even know I needed to learn. Thank you for helping me slow down. Thank you for teaching me to listen to my body better. Thank you for making the voice of spirit more clear to me.  Thank you for leading me towards the light.



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sharyn says:

    Thank you Iris, for your willingness to share your healing journey. What an honor to know you and Joe, Sam and Martin. You inspire me. Sending love.

  2. Erin Beyer says:

    Iris this has touched me in such a profound way. Being grateful for everything in our lives, the good the bad and the overwhelming. Finding a gift in every circumstance…wow! I saw in a previous post that as you heal you want to get back to helping. Honey your writing is touching many, making a difference in their perception…What a huge impact! Although we’ve never met I feel as if I we are family, as Miranda is my sister through blood and yours through spirit 🙂 I look forward to the day we meet in person. Till then I am praying for you and sending good energy your way. Love to You!

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