The first part of the treatment I signed up for is over. No more chemotherapy. And so begins the work of recovery and healing. I have decided not to continue with the maintenance regime, an infusion of monoclonal antibodies that are currently on trial, every two months for the next two years. My immune system is severely compromised and, it turns out, has been for years since I had undiagnosed glandular fever in about 2007. The last thing I feel it needs is to be bombarded every two months with a drug that causes it to turn on itself and make me more susceptible to infection.
My oncologist of course believes that this drug will help. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn’t. They don’t know and they don’t know what the side effects will be. After all, it’s being trialled. So I am going with my instinct. And my instinct tells me that by practising self-care in a way that I never have, I can rebuild my body and overcome this ‘incurable’ condition, or at least hold it at bay, and lead a happy and useful life for many years to come. Part of that self-care involves affirmations and positive thinking. Affirmations remind me that I am worthy of self-care.
According to Deepak Chopra, there are 53 trillion cells in our bodies, each of which resonates with our thoughts. When we have positive thoughts, those cells respond positively and strengthen in their functioning. If we have negative thoughts, the cells will react correspondingly and our negative thinking may lead to disease and other disorders. So if negative thoughts and emotions can cause disease, then surely the opposite can be true.
In a meditation I did today guided by Deepak, he had me express gratitude for each part of my body, for its perfection and the incredible work it does. And I was able to imagine every cell functioning perfectly right here, right now. And if I believe that is the case, maybe, just maybe, those cells will too. It might be true. I choose to think it is.
The Queen of overcoming negative thinking is Louise Hay. I aggressively mocked and scorned her and her devotees throughout my 20s and was quietly cynical in my 30s. When I got my diagnosis, I started reading her books You Can Heal Your Body and You Can Heal Your Life. After all, Louise healed her cancer through the positive power of affirmations. Her positivity and love enabled her to work closely with HIV positive men in the early 1980s when they were being shunned by everyone else.
She offers up affirmations for every imaginable condition and hurt we might have experienced. I now have her affirmations up over my wardrobe mirror. My screen saver on the computer I am sitting at to write this tells me:
“I am perfectly happy to be me. I am good enough just as I am. I love and approve of myself. I am joy expressing and receiving.”
Affirmations remind me to be positive. To seize the opportunities that arise. To say “yes” even when it might have once scared me. To allow things to manifest and unfold the way the Universe would have it be.
My first thought on receiving my diagnosis was that a childhood issue I had not taken serious steps to confront and resolve had eaten away at me and the cancer was the result. I still believe that. And so would Louise Hay. Her observation about cancer is that its probable cause is “a deep hurt, a longstanding resentment or a deep secret or grief eating away at oneself.” Problems with lymphs arise because of a failure to be focussed on the two essentials of life – Love and Joy.
I agree in my case. I can’t speak for others although Ian Gawler also advocates that people diagnosed with cancer practise positive thinking to overcome past and unresolved hurts. This suggests that it might be the case for many. But for me, it meant that I didn’t fall into self pity or ask why this happened to me. I knew in my heart why and luckily, thanks to the Hoffman Process I attended late last year, I was already healing on a profound level by the time the lymphoma was diagnosed.
I have been building on that healing by reminding myself daily that I am not only loved, but entirely loveable. I am perfect just as I am. A human being, rather than a human doing as they say. With an essential part of me that is love just like each of you has an essential part of you that is love and divine. And I remind those around me just how much I love them too. They are also perfect.
And now I see my diagnosis as a gift. It has given me space and time to explore my perfect self through meditation and self-care at a level in a way I’ve never allowed myself. Not to mention the dietary change which has me preparing healthy nutritious meals because I deserve health and vitality. And I firmly believe that my work here is not done. It’s just beginning. So I’m very positive about this journey and that gives me hope.
And so be it.
 Interestingly, the Epstein Barr virus that causes glandular fever also seems to be a possible trigger for follicular lymphoma, which was my diagnosis this year.