Wednesday, March 22, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0118 - Crayon Cancer

Today was the final session I will be able to attend at HopeSpring's Tools for the Healing Journey program. We were all present today and had a good discussion about how we're doing with our various treatments. My fellow travellers all wished me well next week with surgery.

We did a guided imagery exercise with our instructor Kathy Hancox, followed by the one exercise I really didn't want to do - drawing something related to healing cancer. I knew we'd do something like this eventually, but I didn't have any clue as to what I might come up with.

Not since primary school have I had any inclination to draw, but I did my bit. The drawing was done with crayons and, in my case, was a combination of anatomy and symbolism. The colon, sigmoid colon and rectum are clearly there in purple outline. The cancer is represented in red as well as 2 lymph nodes in the mesorectum. Most of the lymph nodes are clear. The green is supposed to be shovels cleaning out the cancer in the bowels. The brown is a symbolic representation of the staff of Aesculapius or caduceus and is meant to represent the attention and healing provided by traditional medical interventions including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy . Finally, the yellow circular surround is the sun, a symbol of light being the single most potent symbol I have encountered in doing the visualization exercises in the program. It is also meant to symbolize self healing through mental exercises, the healing journey program itself.

We saw a short video of Alistair Cunningham with a group of cancer patients reviewing drawings created by former patients of the program. There was also a story at the end about one person's discovery of a potent visualization which worked for him for the duration of his therapy and beyond as he survived his battle with cancer. I now have his materials in WMA format so I can practice visualization, guided imagery, progressive relaxation and goal setting using my UTStarcom 6700 device. This will be useful while I am hospitalized.

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