The day after my surgery, on April 16, 2009, Sarah Mandel, Breast Navigation Nurse, walked into my hospital room and kickstarted my emotional healing. She was my guide to all the services available to me as a cancer survivor. But this post isn’t about her; it’s about the time before her and the one thing I did for myself which helped me the most.
Being an internet junkie, I looked for all kinds of information on the web to help me make my treatment decisions. I realized at some point, however, that I was overloaded and scared to death about facing surgery and giving up my breast. I went to Amazon, did a little searching, and came up with Preparing for Surgery: Guided Imagery Exercises for Relaxation and Accelerated Healing (Amazon associates link) I put it on my iPod and listened to Dr. Martin Rossman’s “Preparing for a Successful Surgery” exercise at least once a day for several weeks before my surgery. My relaxing place was my front porch, surrounded by beautiful orange day lilies. It was especially helpful in the middle of the night, when I couldn’t sleep due to worry.
That CD got me to the surgery date with a deeper sense of acceptance and faith in my decisions and my doctors. After the surgery, the “Healing Well After Surgery” exercise helped me accept the downtime of healing. To this day, if I can’t sleep, I’ll often listen to Dr. Rossman’s soothing voice and drift off.
The most important thing is to get help, from anyplace you can find it. Cancer is not something you can face alone, especially in the middle of the night.
Survival > Existence,
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