Welcome breast cancer sisters, family and friends. We hope to make this chapter of your life a little easier, treatment less difficult, help families cope, provide inspiration and guide you to a new place of strength and purpose.

Hypnosis and Breast Cancer

If there is a way to turn something insignificant into a major source of worry, I will find it. With laser-like precision I can turn a simple blackhead into Stage IV melanoma, while bulldozing through a likely list of candidates to be James’s next wife, all in the time it takes to examine the blemish in question in better light. Like my mother I am a champion worrywart but unlike my mother, I work hard at dealing with my sometimes paralyzing anxiety. How, you ask? Hypnosis.

I love hypnosis. For over 20 years, hypnosis has helped me alleviate many of my fears and anxiety. It has helped me deal with death, disease and dread. Conducted by a certified clinical hypnotherapist, hypnosis bares no resemblance to stage performers who get audience volunteers to believe they have been abducted by aliens from planet Zeon. Simply put, real hypnosis keeps your conscience mind busy while a certified hypnotherapist talks to your unconscious mind about issues you want to address. At all times you have free will. Your unconscious mind knows what you can handle and what is in your best interest. No one will make you do anything you do not want to do while you are under hypnosis. Your unconscious mind will not let them.

Hypnosis works for most everyone and can lessen fear, anxiety, even sleep problems and hot flashes, but it is especially effective for newly diagnosed cancer patients, survivors and those with recurrence. Before both mastectomies and reconstruction surgeries, and before and after each of my chemotherapies, I used hypnosis. The psychologist I use was recommended by my family physician and is affiliated with a local hospital. Make sure you only deal with someone who is certified and experienced in hypnosis. During our sessions we talk about my concerns, whether it is the duration of the surgery, the anesthesia, my recovery, etc., then she inserts a tape cassette into a recorder and we began the hypnosis process. At the end of each session my doctor gives me the tape cassette we made in her office so I can listen to it as often as I want.

After one of my breast cancer surgeries, the anesthesiologist stopped by my room to tell me he did not have to administer as much anesthesia as he had expected to keep me at the level the surgeon required. The anesthesiologist was quite puzzled by this. I told him I was not surprised because I had been listening to a custom hypnosis tape everyday for two weeks. The tape said my body would begin to relax on a muscular/skeletal level and would produce its own pain suppressors, thereby keeping me from needing as much anesthesia and making for a quicker post-surgical recovery. The anesthesiologist agreed hypnosis had done both of these things for me, and he wished more people would take advantage of hypnosis. By the way, I never took any pain meds after any of my eight surgeries, and I never was never nauseated after any of my eight chemotherapies.

To find an accredited hypnotherapist in your area, checkout the American society of Clinical Hypnosis, www.asch.net/ plus watch the MIND & BODY videos on www.breastcancersisterhood.com/