View Full Version : Migraine fun and personifying cancer

Heart Sutra
01-07-2007, 08:20 AM
Sue has dealt with migraines all of her life. For those of you who have this condition, you know how terrible this can be. She has her emergency kit of Imitrex injections which are blessings beyond description. When migraines are bad enough, they cure them within minutes. It is a necessary evil as it is a relatively potent drug.
This morning found Sue with a migraine bad enough to use the shot. This means that she was vomiting, crying, with blurred vision, barely able to speak. We also had to contact her on-call onc to see if there were any reactions with the COmpazine and Zofran she is taking for nausea from the AC treatments. Sounds as bad as it was. Shot taken, problem solved ten minutes later. May the maker of Imitrex have only the best in life.
There is a benefit, strange as it sounds.
All of this helps Sue to personify the disease of cancer. This helps to fight against it, and by fight I mean drinking lots of water, eating, etc. when she doesn't feel she is able to. Kicking cancer's butt is easier to do if you can visualize a butt to kick. Makes sense, right?
So, she is forming an image of cancer as a being that is ever vigilant in trying to weaken her resolve with physical discomfort and mental exhaustion. This being she can tell to go **** itself whenever she feels down, hurt, or drained by the endless cancer treatments and their side-effects. It is easier to visualize an entity that is an enemy then the sort of amorphic nature of this disease as a whole. It is easy to think that when she fights against this thing, it gets weaker, and when she doesn't (there are times, as we all know) it get stronger. So visualizing this entity as getting more or less muscular depending on her actions gives her the resolve to keep at it. To drink when she's staurated, to eat when her appetite is gone, to listen to the experience of all of you when she feels she just can't.
To think of it as a very clever, ever persistant demon of sorts is a good way to be vigilant against it, to not let her guard down. She has all sorts of tools to use, from the scientific advances in medicine, to the people who support her, the techs who make these drugs, faith, even the phone company for providing a way to reach her onc this morning. All of this is on her side, whereas the disease entity can only try to convince her to give up and not do what is best for her by making her uncomfortable or exhausted. This is what it means to fight, as all of you know.
This is a long rambling one, but you're probably getting used to that from me. It probably sounds a little weird too, but I know from experience that sometimes personifying difficult situations is a very helpful way to stay focused and to find inner strength. Just another technique to put in you toolkit if you'd like.
Thank you for being here

01-07-2007, 03:26 PM
Kevin and Sue, Your personification idea makes real sense to me, and I applaud it! I have used visualization successfully throughout my 20+ year fight with the BC beast. It is good to visualize the monster as not really that strong, but mishapen and ugly and abnormal (as cancer cells are). And I always visualized the chemo and white cells and all I was fighting it with, as white dragons or wolves or something very strong and powerful that could tear at the beast and weaken it even more. You can write your own script and tape it to listen to during chemo or whenever you need it. I am a hypnotherapist and know self hypnosis can be tremendously powerful in your treatment. Good luck with all you are doing! Tricia

01-07-2007, 04:43 PM
My visualization was rather violent. I imagined machine-gunning the cancer cells. I am not a violent person. But after my diagnosis and before treatment, I dreamed that some bad people -- criminal types -- were hiding in a closet in my living room. So machine gunning criminals seemed right to me. Possibly I had a cell or two hiding in my body. I also remember that when I was taking AC there seemed to be a lot of James Bond movies on TV and I watched them while lying on the sofa. I think I liked the violence in them. It helped me imagine kicking the H--- out of my cancer cells. Thank heavens it's over now.

01-07-2007, 11:58 PM
Whatever it takes to get into the game, Sue, work it out.

Tricia mentions the use of visualization. We had a thread here about "guided imagery," a technique I put to very good use when fighting my mets. I think the first time around I was too lenient on the disease not feeling that at stage IIb I was in much danger of progression any time so soon. The disease had other ideas!

I thought of things like an anteater eating the cancer cells - not a search and destroy mission. And not as personally interactive with the cancer since my tumor was so small.
Now I see this disease as a real Dragon - one which needs constant taming, and gets it since I am a Herceptin "lifer."

Keep that broadsword sharpened and swinging!