A little while ago my oncology nurse, the amazing Angela, asked me to write about my marines. She wanted it for a few of her patients that needed some guidance. Here is what I wrote.
I was raised in Religious Science. Religious science is a religion born toward the end of the “New Thought” movement in America. It was begun by a philosopher named Earnest Holmes. Ernest had down a great deal of research into different world philosophies. He had studied them all and in the late ’20’s began a series of lectures which people came to in droves. They all suggested he begin a religion and he said “I don’t want to .” I think he believed religion to be such an independent thing he wanted to guide people toward it not decide for them. But the demand was there and he started The Church of Religious Science also known as the Science of Mind.
In Religious Science it is believed that we all can have a conscious contact with the divine. What ever your name is for God, the lord, the divine, the power…it is all the same. A power that is greater than all that includes all that is running through all people places basically everything you can see, hear, touch, smell. We belive that how we think—our thoughts--direct our life. God listens to all the thoughts so you really need to consider what is put in your mind. What you allow to be there.
Along with this idea is the idea that we can change our lives and our health with right thought. Put the positive thoughts in your head and eliminate the negative ones and you can cure cancer. It is all there for us but it takes commitment.
I will also say that for the most part I have always been a positive person who could find the bright side of things. When I have faltered in this I have been guided. By Sister Margaret who said “with every given there is a gift” and by a woman who said god has three answers, Yes, not yet and I have something better in store for you. And by my husband who keeps me in the present and says that he has a god who is everything—he has a theory about this but that is for another time and that is his to write.
What I am writing is not about my religion—it seems like it is right now but really it is about my journey to peace with my diagnosis and recovery.
Now I will say that for most of the steps along my path the news was not what I expected nor was it what I had prayed for or hoped for. Things did turn out worse than what I had hoped. BUT and this is a big BUT not as bad as they could be by a long shot.
I found a lump. In late June I found a lump. My husband of 19 years has always been good at keeping in the present moment. I have always been good at planning, packing and all that. I also was extremely skilled at jumping into the future and losing sight of what is here right now when I got worried. So here we were on a trip to New Jersey with a big worry. A lump. Every woman’s fear right here in my hands. Luckily I took his good example. I stayed present. I prayed to God to keep me present. I kept saying over and over, “This is not my story.”
It didn’t seem possible for me to have cancer so I didn’t. That was Science of Mind(SOM) at work. Think positively.
We got home and I went to my doctor. He had taken care of me for 19 years through babies, endometriosis, miscarriages. He sent me to a Breast surgeon. One direction by God. Don’t wait go to the next doctor. Go now.
This Doctor did tests which all came back negative, Mammogram, ultrasound and fine needle aspiration. All said you’re fine don’t worry. Except we did worry, the Breast Surgeon and I. I didn’t make sense. He didn’t give up and I wanted answers. He wanted answers. The second direction by God. We waited two months. During those two months I was so good. I rarely checked my breast. I knew if I constantly checked I would drive myself crazy. Now I am the kind of person who finishes the roll of lifesavers so this was tough. I also prayed everyday. I denied it was possible everyday and went off of all caffeine and took more vit d.
I went back to him. He said it is still there, We could do an mri which would show us more but your insurance won’t pay for it. I said I will pay for it and we did it and we found cancer. The third direction by God. Then a core needle and I was needing surgery. One whole breast to be removed for certain as the mass was big.
All the way along I felt I was walking a path with god holding my hand and the hand of Dr S. He sent me to a plastic surgeon who is my light in this as well. He shows me what is possible with reconstruction and he has held my hand along the way. They both have. They are old fashioned doctors who hold hand,s look you in the eye and talk to you and know you by name.
Then I was having surgery and I felt god directing everyone in the room. Working through them. I prayed for them to be guided by God and to do their best work. And then I was waking up looking 12 and my cancer was gone. The margins were good but it had become invasive. Got good margins around the invasive part.
So it was not cancer then it was ductal then it was invasive so that meant chemotherapy.
So being the good positive person that I am who had spent the summer saying this is not my story had to change. This is my story. My story right now.
So now I was wondering how to justify the chemo. See I don’t just believe, I know I am cancer free. There is no doubt. Some would say then why do the chemo? I have too many people around me who have had it come back. The majority of them did no chemo and had lumpectomies instead of mastectomies. I had a double. My cancer was triple positive. So I have chemo, herceptin and tamoxifin.
The justification—how do I see this as an asset? I see it as an asset, as insurance. I am 45 with a loving husband and a 7 and a 12 year old daughter. I have so much life left. I am also in the best health of my life. I want to attack now and annihilate the enemy so it never Dreams of coming back anywhere. I feel like Churchill on d day who said let’s go now.
I want to go now. Right now so I don’t have to do it in 5 years.
I read a book by Simonton. A great book about visualization. In his studies of cancer patients he found that those with the strongest visualization who saw chemo as a comrade, an asset,an allied force had the greatest recovery. Even those who had been sent home to die were not dying. They were living well past the expected.
So how do I see my chemo…My chemo is a troop of marines. Their helmets are my white blood cells. These are strong men and women with pure white helmets that protect us from everything we need them to protect us from.
Do you know about the USMC? They search and destroy. They lie in wait. They hunt through the underbrush searching out any hidden enemy and they stay until the job is done. They don’t leave anyone behind. They carry their dead back to the base. They are strong and passionate and never give up. They are the essence of Churchill’s “Never never never never give up” statement. They come in with gusto. I once had the privilage to be at an event where all four branches of the military were represented and they all came in singing their songs proudly until the Marines. The Marines came in singing like they were storming the beaches at Normandy with their voices. It sent chills down your spine and you would have followed them anywhere.
So my Marines are on reconnaisence. They search all month long during the drip and beyond.
My visual is this. They come to me for orders and I tell them to go to it. They start marching through my body, my intestinal tract is where they gather at the end. They round up (like a cattle drive) these little tiny shiny pewter- like beads that act confused and bump into walls like batteries put positive to positive. They are stupid, my cancer cells, and can’t see hear or speak. They run around bumping into walls and each other having no idea what to do. They are kind of pathetic but I try to keep them from being funny. They are not funny in any which way or how. They are stupid and they need to leave. They have no right to be in my body.
So the USMC rounds them up and does something they don’t do in real life. They shoot them dead as a group. Every last one of them is executed. And then they are eliminated with the waste of my body. I am sure there are moments when a marine comes upon one or two by himself and kills in that moment. Those hiding out ones are so very important to kill. So they are killed and eliminated the same way. My Marines are on the job and they won’t ever quit. At the end of my treatment there will be no further threat. The USMC has taken care of that. They are working hard. They won’t ever relax. Even after the chemo they will be checking in with my white blood cells to make sure all is well. They will come in a heartbeat if needed.
In the beginning I was worried about the violence of the idea-which is funny because I am not a pacifist in any way. I have shot guns since I was a little girl—though I don’t hunt. I believe anyone who breaks into my house has no right to be there and I will kill them to protect my family. That understanding helped me with my imagery as well. I needed to stake a claim. A claim to my body as my own.
Simonton made a statement in his book about how we fight cancer all the time. Cancer cells start and are taken care of by our white cells all our lives. Last summer I had more cancer cells than my white blood cells knew what to do with. It was time to fight.
So we are completely capable of taking care of them now. Of killing and eliminating them right now. Right here In this breath I hold all the power in the universe to cure my cancer to keep me safe forever from this disease. So I am cured. And so it IS. Amen.