A Vision of Health

By Tami Boehmer

I was really upset when I learned recently that one of my favorite TV shows, Brothers and Sisters,  had been cancelled. I remember when Kitty (AKA Calista Flockhart), found out she had cancer. “OK,” I thought, “Here come the head-in-the-toilet vomiting scenes and other stereotypical and dated cancer images you see all the time.”

The story line did start that way, but it got much better. I was surprised at the realistic depiction of the cancer experience, and how I could relate to lots of it.  First of all, I was impressed by Kitty’s need for normalcy.  She’s not a victim; she just wants to go on and live her life with laughter, fun and purpose.

Kitty also talks about using visualization, picturing her cancer being eradicated in her mind. I have used visualization as part of my regimen, even making a drawing of my white blood cells and chemo attacking some scared-looking cancer cells. The whities even wore green healing capes and pronounced, ”Don’t worry Tami, we’ve got them!”

I’ve created a new drawing that includes step-by-step details on how Xeloda, the chemo drug I’m taking, is destroying the DNA of the cancer cells. I drew a sledgehammer knocking down bricks then a picture of a cell with a sign that says “Out of Business.” I’m not an artist by any means. I had to explain what the drawing represents to someone, but it means something to me.

Several of the survivors I have interviewed for my book mention using visualization with great success. Bob Kiesendahl (whom I’ll finally meet in a couple weeks at his upcoming fundraiser) was diagnosed 10 years ago at age 29 with chronic mylogeneous leukemia (CML).  His disease was in its final stage and spreading very quickly. He was given a 25 percent chance to survive – and that was with a bone marrow transplant. Visioning, as well as a successful transplant, helped him become cancer-free:

“Having an athletic background, I placed my battle into a simple sports model. All my pre-transplant treatments – the radiation and chemo – were my practices and training for the big game. The transplant was my personal Super Bowl. I was going to play as hard as I could and win.

I did some visioning of what was happening to my body. I viewed all the unpleasant side effects from the treatments as proof that the cancer cells were leaving my body and dying. I also used visioning to focus on where I wanted to be when I regained my life. It wasn’t a matter of if I was going to survive, it was when I survived. And I knew when this was all over, I wanted to do something to help others affected by cancer.”

Daniel Levy, who was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of brain cancer in 1991, also used visualization:

“I believe the act of participating in getting better puts out good chemicals to your brain. The mind has a tremendous capacity to heal. The brain listens and sends the right chemicals to cure the cancer. For that reason, I did a lot of visualization. My view was that I had an extremely healthy body, but there was something going on in my head that I had to eliminate.

I knew exactly where the tumor was located. For example, when I had an MRI, I closed my eyes and pretended that the loud tapping noise was a line of prison guards firing their rifles at my malignant cells. At home, would lie in bed, close my eyes, and see those spots that appear to all of us. I would label the bright spots as bad and dark as good, staring down those bright spots until they went black. This all may seem somewhat ridiculous, but I am certain that your thoughts and imagination cause your brain to secrete chemical necessary to destroy disease.”

So let’s hear it: Have any of you tried visualization? Please share!

Tami Boehmer is a metastatic breast cancer survivor, speaker, blogger and author of From Incurable to Incredible: Cancer Survivors Who Beat the Odds. You can visit her at www.MiracleSurvivors.com.


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  1. I just turned 50. I was so excited to have a huge party which I normally don’t do. I went in for a ulta sound. A needle in a hay stack, my doctorsaid, who I had been with through my grandmother’s breast cancer. I had two lumps taken out throughout the years. Back to just turning 50. I had my party, went out of town and was living the life of a 50 year old house wife. I went to have an ultra soun…d the doctor told me YOUR LUMPY! I know this, this has been my life. But usually they can drain most of them. Doctor said come back in 6 months. Okay so six months roll around it’s January. O No I have my deductable to meet, I am going to cancel my appointment. I called to cancel but thephone was busy. So I went and he did a mamo and ultra sound again. Same thing you are a LUMPY woman. He was done, Then I said hey what about this one can you drain it? He took the ultra sound wand and I could see by the look on his face it was bad. He took a biospy and called me the next day, and said get to a surgeon you have a very aggressive kind of breast Cancer. I waited for a month to get the tag team of the surgeon and plastic surgeon. I stoped breathing during the double mastectomey. My husband and son where devastated as code blue was called. I made it! I am hear, I am going through the easy chemo now. I finished the hard chemo a few months ago and now have some hair! Kinda like Ellen! Life is precious. Also learned and always new to trust your own instinct, had I not had the doctor check what I found he missed, It could have been a differnt outcome. Things are really hard right now. I still can’t work and hubby doesn’t have work this recession. But I am alive ♥. Life is good!See More

  2. Hi Victoria,
    Just catching up with comments on here. I wish you much health and hope in the new year! Thanks for sharing your story!


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