Monday, January 08, 2007

Sunsets and Visualization

Back on October 7, I wrote about visualizing the cancer cells dancing in the sunset like Dorothy and her friends the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Man. I continue to do the visualization as often as I think of it, usually during meditation or when viewing a sunset. My image is still essentially that the cells are moving toward the sunset, a natural cell death (apoptosis), and out of my body. I have seen some stunningly beautiful sunsets over the past months, but usually when I don't have my camera handy. The sunset here was photographed from our front porch last month, and only begins to capture the colors and the beauty of this winter sunset viewed through the trees.

Sometimes the cancer cells bring their "own" images to the visualization experience, which is always a surprise, and sometimes a question. One day later in October, the cells were all backed up as if behind a locked door (like people trapped in a fire behind an exit door that won't open). I "opened" the door and watched the cells flood out, and I directed them to the sunset, wishing them "apoptosis" as they flowed. This image had me concerned about the cancer spreading quickly for a while, but with some time having passed since then, and having had a good scan in November, I'm less anxious. And, after that image, when I "gathered" the cells in my mind's eye to travel to the sunset, it seemed there were fewer cells than there had been.

In December, one morning, the cells had picks and shovels over their "shoulders" (well, where their shoulders would be if they had them! They actually do look a little like a Pac-Man, with his round body, with skinny arms and legs), and they were skipping and singing/whistling "Whistle While You Work." This image also gave me some pause, as I don't want those cancer cells doing any work but dying, but it came around the time of my day surgery to remove "the spot," so I'm hoping the work was to go into the sunset and off to the pathology lab!

This morning, the cells were in a playful mood, and they were rolling off to the sunset, and singing something. But now, despite racking my brain, I can't remember what they were singing!

After my first description of the visualization, my friend Susan H said that she imagined me waving a "magic wand" and saying "shazzam" or some such magical word. I had to admit that I don't usually see it with the magic, but everytime I visualize her image of it, I have a chuckle. And once or twice, I've had a wand to wave.

Does the visualization make a difference? I have the same answer I had four months ago. I just don't know. But visualizing the cells, and visualizing them heading for a natural cell death as they approach a gorgeous, colorful sunset, gives me some measure of working consciously to combat their spread. And that's a good thing.


Jane's Family said...

Thanks so much for taking the time to post on my blog. As I said, you do meet lots of special people after being diagnosed. Keep up the blog, I've now added it to my favorites. Your blog is so full of information, you should be proud of it. I can see you put a lot of time and love into creating this blog to share your thoughts.


Anonymous said...

When I'm wicked stressed...I have a visualization of putting all my stress into a shoebox...or of some kind....walking over to a window ( preferably high up ) and opening the window and dumping them to fall into a big vast black hole...forever gone...then shutting the window with empty box in hand.
It seems to help me.
I think visualization can work miracles, myself!

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts...
Pac-Man makes a specific sound when they are going places...
"wocka-wocka-wocka" (there's some sound effects for you!
Second, one of my favorite gifts from Santa this year was one of those "EASY" buttons (you know, the one's advertised on Staples). I also got one for my Office Manager who just had a double mastectomy (her hair is just now coming back). I have been amazed at how much comfort everyone gets by just pushing that button and hearing that voice say, "That was easy!" You should get one! It may work just as well as a magic wand, "shazzam" and "apoptosis"!
Susan H.

Slarry said...

Hey Lynne,

Thank you for allowing others to take a peek into your
world; your thoughts, fears and how you cope with your cancer.
My brother, Scott, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer late last
March 2006. He too was a Professor. His Cancer was also aggressive, pervasive,
invasive and as it turned out-- terminal. He died 3 weeks ago today.
December 20th 2006. He was 38 years old.

He also created a blog upon learning of his diagnosis. He wrote daily,
until he couldn’t write anymore. But he raged, fought and battled this
insipid and senseless disease so bravely. If it is “ok”-- I’d like to
share one of the last poems he wrote.

“Life, the Crash Course Version” by Scott Swaner

9.03.06, A Sonnet from Fragility

“Life, the Crash Course Version”

Death opens vistas through its immanence. Widened
Vision and broadened possibility both result from the horror
Of the approach, the horror. Every possibility existing gossamer,
Hanging by delicate threads of if, comes to the fore of when

Pain’s freedom is finally achieved. The ambivalent joy is where
In the eye-opened crash course for life, life until death is no more
Fast on silent shoes of black patent leather across a floor
Swept clean by silence? The daily expectancy is where,

In dodging nausea, neuropathy, constipation, diarrhea, and more
The localized general pain, incessant & unseen like a cancer,
Stop a step short of simile — as cancer without “like” is interred,
Buried in the belly of everything you could have become before

Your horizon expanded to reach anything, yet restricted to the now?
Dream your fullest desire your everything, just do it fast somehow.

slarry said...
Dear Scott:

A few sentences, a comment on your Sonnet From Fragility.

Initially, as always, whenever I read and attempt to digest your raw, honest
painful, heartfelt, yet eloquent words, my eyes well up with tears as the thought of
losing you remains a constant unimaginable and unbearable reality.

I appreciate your generous sharing of self, of the now, and how much I revere
and respect your ability to create such poetry, especially and even now---
knowing that you have these fragile moments and feelings of loss of time, of life.
Time and the fulfillment of your dreams, the cancer that robs you of your time, time
that you are so deserving of, makes my heart ache as it breaks a little more everyday.

And yet, I love this poem, even with the pain that it brings.

Your work has always amazed me and this piece in particular made me wonder about the where and how of it. I guess that is why you are the poet, the writer.
No one else’s words move, inspire and impact me the way yours do.
I know you think that I am biased when it comes to your writing and creating---
but even you must know, that this particular Sonnet is incomparable, one of your
clearest, deepest and best.

Thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts-- your words. Allowing
me and the countless others who grieve the imminent loss of you.
People who don’t even know you, the nameless, faceless “others” who are going through the similar tragedy of having their life cut short and the people who love them will also read your words. You have created something that will be available for them to read and it will bring them comfort even as it brings them pain.
Knowing that they are not alone in their sadness and how the word and concept of “time” and loss have taken on much greater meaning.

Thank you for that. But more, I thank you for you.
I love you like I always have-- unconditionally and with infinite numbers---
8:49 PM

wormwood said...
I come to this blog daily. eyes widened, blinking slowly. poor posture, and slowly exhaling. I should use my residual lung space.

The space between "Leave your comment" and "kydaqn" contains alot of silence and nonsense thought before the space is filled.

And it seems the space is envitably filled with nonsense drivel, mainly because I don't know what to say but have always treasured interaction with you.
8:53 PM

Lynne, I will have good wishes and hope for you and you will be in my thoughts. Yes, I am a grieving
sister, but my brother’s blog helped me through this journey, helped me to connect with others who are going through similar situations.
Leroy was also one of my brothers daily reads. It remains one of mine.
My best to you--

noone said...

Way to go Lynne! I've been doing visualization for Mom, since she finds it too difficult. Mom is very practical so anything to do with meditation or visualization just overwhelms her. She can't manage it.

Your visualization sounds wonderful. I may use that for Mom if you don't mind :) Keep doing it. I do believe it works!