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I didn’t think there could be anything more terrifying than hearing the words, “You have cancer,” but I was wrong. Two weeks ago I was the target of a sinister, high speed chase down a dark, deserted, dead end country road. For almost 10 miles of twisty road, I kept thinking, “This isn’t how I want to die.” I like to think of myself as a tough woman, able to handle most anything. Since then, however, reliving this terrifying night has consumed most every minute of my waking and sleeping life.
I’ve replayed every foot of this nightmare, unable to concentrate on anything else. I’ve gone through every phase of fear, terror and anger a person can experience. After 10 days of drowning in terror, I realized I needed professional help to reclaim my life and so I turned to Inspiritas. <PREVIEWEND>
Inspiritas is a wellness spa located on the ground floor of the START cancer center in San Antonio. In the midst of “pill hill,” Inspiritas is a refuge and a slice of calm that’s not just for cancer patients and their caregivers. Doctors and medical professionals, as well as people without cancer, come for facials, manipulative therapies such as pressure point massage and reflexology, as well as nutrition counseling, Reiki, mind/body interventions and acupuncture: treatment modalities that have been shown to reduce side effects of conventional cancer treatment and provide a host of benefits to patients.
The brainchild of START oncologist, Dr. Amy Lang, the aesthetics of Inspiritas rivals some of the most luxurious spas in the country. From the moment I entered this beautiful wellness spa, I was surrounded by water that cascaded down clear glass walls; other walls were curved and painted an ethereal blue or lined with iridescent glass tiles. Pots of blooming orchids and soothing lighting led to a beautiful private bath with a luxurious robe and thick towels. There are rooms for different types of massage, yoga and Guided Imagery. Another elegant room, that looks like it was torn from the pages of an interior design magazine, invites you to relax with a book from the Inspiritas library, drink soothing tea, eat fresh fruit and breathe in a general sense of well-being. It is not just a haven from cancer and other serious illnesses, but a place for everyone interested in integrative health practices to relax, be pampered and recharge batteries drained by the stress of everyday life.
Many of you know I’ve practiced self-hypnosis for over 20 years and am skilled at getting my conscious mind to relax and allow my unconscious mind to accept helpful input, but fleeing from that terrifying night called for more help than I could muster on my own. Inspiritas’s Ginger Kemmy, an oncology nurse certified in energy therapy and Guided Imagery, listened as I recounted what happened, then suggested we do a session to help me process my experience and stop me from fixating on it.
I kicked off my shoes, reclined on the sofa and closed my eyes. With her experienced guidance, I used the same techniques I’ve used over and over to cope with everything from the death of my late husband, to coping with the scary uncertainties of breast cancer. Ginger’s voice was warm and nurturing, but her words were empowering. She helped me create a mental icon, a shield to stop my recurring thoughts and reassure myself that I was safe, plus she gave me powerful emotional tools I can use in other situations. From the moment I left her safe cocoon, I was in a different frame of mind and had moved on toward a healing path. My session with Ginger was a reminder of how much hypnosis and Guided Imagery have helped me through every phase of breast cancer.
Afterwards, Kim Gilyard, a nurse and skilled massage therapist and esthetician, gave me a pressure point massage. I will be seeing lots of Kim. She is a miracle worker, especially for people like me who are position sensitive. I'd rather not lay on my stomach and take the chance my implant will pop out from under my pectoral muscle, again, so I must lay on my back during a massage. Words cannot express the positive difference these highly trained women helped me achieve in one afternoon. Whether you’re a cancer patient, caregiver, survivor, Superwoman or James Bond, do yourself a favor and make an appointment for one of the many services of Inspiritas, or of a wellness spa in your area.
Kudos to Dr. Lang and the other oncologists and hospitals that are thinking outside the traditional cancer treatment box and finding ways to bring substantive alternative therapies to their communities. Wellness spas like Inspiritas are more than the services they offer. They are tangible gifts of support, encouragement, inspiration and hope. Cancer wellness is routed in more than surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Wellness also encompasses diet and exercise, along with inner strength and the powerful healing mechanisms of the mind/body connection. To that, add faith. Hebrews 11:1. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Faith is the healing power of God.
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