– Meditation, Mindfulness, & Healing

When I was diagnosed in 2013 with leptomeningeal brain metastases, I was told the average survivability was 2.8 months after diagnosis. I had just lost a friend to the same rare diagnosis a month after hers. Western medicine did not have much to offer me and so I resorted to three naturopathic therapies… removal of a root canal tooth, high doses of CBD oil, and intensive meditation. 6 weeks later, four of the nine brain tumors were gone without a trace. Two previous posts, Root Canals & Cancer and Cannabis & CBDs discuss the former two methods, this post addresses the latter.

Our body is made up of physical building blocks. Our consciousness can be measured, in part, by the combination of those physical building blocks, by the chemical processes that occur within and between those building blocks, and the electrical energy that results from those chemical processes. The ‘metaphysical’ is what we don’t understand about that. As I am fond of saying, “magic is just what science hasn’t figured out how to explain yet.”

Just because we don’t have all the details mapped out, doesn’t mean the magic of the mind-body connection isn’t real. I do not, for the life of me understand how a cellphone works…. the fact that I can watch movies on this little device astounds me. But that lack of understanding does not interfere with my acceptance of the technology. If you sent me back a couple hundred years with this technology, I would probably be burned at the stake for being a witch.

Many things that I cannot explain scientifically have happened to me in my life. By accepting these gifts anyway, I am able to receive their benefits. And science is now actually making breakthroughs in understanding the healing properties of the mind-body connection. The healing properties of meditation is being studied and documented with exciting results:
• Telomeres are those little “legs” on your chromosomes. As we age they shorten and shortened telomeres are associated with the rate of aging as well as to the development of cancer (1). Basically, you want your telomeres long for as long as you can. Meditation has been shown to slow telomere shortening (2).
• A deleterious relationship between chronic stress and the initiation and development of cancer has been demonstrated (3,4). Meditation reduces stress and the presence of stress hormones (2).
• Meditation has been shown to be very effective in the modulation of pain (5).
• Meditation affects brain structure and activity related to depression, anxiety, attention, memory, and cognitive flexibility.

I’m resting my case on the benefits of meditation for cancer patients. I’ve given you a starting point to do your own research and I’ve provided lots of references at the end of this post. I’ll switch my focus to telling how I use meditation.

As a cancer patient, you actually have many opportunities to meditate… waiting in the doctors office, waiting in a metal tube while they scan you or treat you, waiting while the poison drips into your body, during yoga or exercise, writhing in pain, etc, etc. A simple one I can use anytime, anywhere is “Inhale, I heal. Exhale, I cleanse.” Waiting for a traffic light, waiting in line at the post office, getting an MRI… I fill myself with healing breath and I exhale the poisons that are standing in the way of my body healing itself… over and over… until the car behind me starts honking. : )

I try and practice mindfulness in everything I do. I look for beauty and when I find it, I inhale it deeply into my being, imagining the happy feelings it generates to be starting a chain of healing reactions, activating my cancer-killing T-cells, killing cancer, and re-energizing me. If life gets particularly shitty at some point, I frantically search my surroundings for something beautiful… if a loved one is nearby, swoosh, all that love for me gets sucked out of them and into me (I’ll return it later). Sometimes the beauty can be in the image of the cute old lady across from me asleep in her treatment chair who hasn’t realized she put two different socks on that morning. Amplify the smile that brings to your face, imagine it as healing energy that you can plug into that courses through your body. When I focus on beauty, ugliness fades away.

No matter what it is, I bless any substance, medicine or treatment therapy that I receive, and thank it for healing me, infusing it with confidence, intention, and gratitude. We are 70% water, if our thoughts and emotions (or electrochemical energy, if you prefer) can influence the molecular structure of water (6), it can surely influence the medicine coursing through our veins.

While getting treatment or during yoga, I imagine inhaling a fine mesh fishing net into my body that fills me and reaches to my farthest extremities. As I exhale, I gather the net, gathering the cancer within it, tugging gently at the stubborn areas so as not to tear a hole in it. It takes several breath cycles to gather it in from each extremity and my head. As it nears my mouth, I expel it and the cancer in one large exhale. I practice this visualization whenever cancer gets me down or whenever I remember to practice mindfulness.

I don’t take pain medication if I can help it. Whenever I have, I have regretted it. To help my body heal, I need to hear what it is telling me. I have withstood a lot of pain in my life and have learned to leave my body when it gets too intense. Or I walk right into the pain and through it as I learned in natural childbirth. Face it, breathe deeply, fortify yourself, and walk straight towards it, not stopping until you are through it and it is past you. The more you tense up and tighten and fret, the more it hurts.

I happened to be reading two books when I got the diagnosis of leptomeningeal metastases in my brain…. Remarkable Recoveries and Radical Remissions. The books were filling me with awe… everyone who had survived against all odds (not just cancer or even illness, but also horrific accidents) had at some point made the decision that they were going to live, in spite of what everyone said. They didn’t just say it… they believed it with every cell in their body. Then, I read an article by Dr. Bruce Lipton on the concept of a “nocebo”. A placebo is something that has no obvious physical mechanism for working, but does, due to the belief that it will. A nocebo is the opposite… the belief that we do not have the ability to heal ourselves. It comes from years of being convinced by the western medicine establishment that they, and only they, hold to key to our recovery. Dr. Lipton says that you can reverse this “programming”, but only on the subconscious level, by achieving an altered state through meditation.

Damn, it all made sense. And I had nothing to lose. I was so lucky to be in Hawaii, living on the beach I grew up on, when I was going through this existential hell. I was alone and everyone thought I was crazy for being alone during this time (especially since my “job” was watching and waiting for symptoms such as seizures and losing consciousness). But I felt it was best to focus all my energies on healing myself… that was my “job”. I spent hours, every day, floating in my beloved bay, reprogramming my subconscious, praying to the Kahunas to spare me so I could return to the islands, casting my internal fishing net over and over, and “scrubbing” away my brain metastases with little mindful scrub brushes.

So, by now, you are possibly shaking your head at what a nut case I am. Perhaps. But I’m a nut case who is alive! And nobody thought that I would be or that it would be possible for 4 of my tumors to disappear without a trace. And I know you actually think I’m kinda cute with all these weird ideas of mine. And I know that you are toying with the idea of practicing mindfulness and meditation yourself, if you don’t already.

But perhaps you feel sheepish and don’t know how to get started. If my visualizations don’t speak to you or if you feel you want someone speaking in your ear, check out your local library for CDs of guided visualizations. Check out YouTube for “guided visualization, cancer, healing, mediation”. Check out this book, Mindfulness-Based Cancer Recovery or this DVD by Dr. Deepak Chopra, Return to Wholeness: A Mind-body Approach to Healing Cancer.

“Scientists have proven it is aerodynamically impossible for the bumble bee to fly.
Its body is too heavy and wings too light.
Good thing the bumble bee can’t read – it just flies!”

1.) Telomeres, lifestyle, cancer, and aging
2.) Can meditation slow rate of cellular aging? Cognitive stress, mindfulness, and telomeres
3.) Impact of stress on cancer metastasis
4.) Stress and breast cancer: from epidemiology to molecular biology
5.) Brain Mechanisms Supporting Modulation of Pain by Mindfulness Meditation
6.) The Hidden Messages in Water


Disclaimer: Nothing contained on this website should be construed as medical advice. I am not a doctor. I am a Stage IV breast cancer thriver who is currently NED/NAD and simply sharing what I did, and do, and why. Please research anything I share to determine if it is a good path for you. Bless you all on the path you choose.

All original content contained on this web site, What I did and do and why, is copyrighted, 2015,2016 Kaiulani Facciani.



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