“I have six months to live. I need help.” These were the first words Lucy said to me.
Tumors had been found in her left lung. Her doctors reassured her she’d be kept comfortable. Removal of the lung was not an option. Her right lung had been taken eighteen months ago. She’d been breathing with one lung ever since.
Even though she’d known since first diagnosed that cancer could spread the news that it was active in her remaining lung stunned her.
I listened in silence. Having witnessed clients recover from early onset to late stage tumors I knew Lucy’s body had the capacity to heal. I also knew it was not my job to spin false hopes.
What was needed now was to give first aid to the shock. Fear and anxiety grips hard. It’s an emotional cocktail that disables the body’s natural healing response. I explained that I’d work with her to calm her fears and then we’d see what was possible.
As a nonsmoker Lucy’s world had been rocked. If her body could develop a condition usually associated with smoking what could she trust? She felt her body had betrayed her. This brought to the surface buried emotions from the past.
Raised in an unloving home, abandoned by her husband after the birth of their third child she had dropped her love of art to find a ‘sensible’ job to support her children.
For Lucy there was no question that her children’s needs were more important than her own. She coped by putting on a brave face and being self sufficient.
What she didn’t see was that by ignoring her own needs and feelings of loss and insecurity she quietly undermined her health. Even now, with her children grown up, remarried to a loving and attentive man, she found it difficult to accept support.
The Turn Around
Shaken and afraid Lucy was willing to take a fresh look at herself and life. She was open to the idea that her cancer was more than a problem to be fixed and got rid of, it was a messenger to bring her in touch with her true self.
I explained that emotions are a natural expression of being human and not something to be afraid of.
This idea was new to Lucy. She’d spent years trying not to feel hurt and upset. But as this understanding took root feelings of disappointment, betrayal released all by themselves and her adrenal system took its foot off the gas pedal.
No longer drained by pushing away her emotions Lucy regained her vitality. In the place of fear and insecurity she re-connected with her love of creativity and art.
By the time she was due for her next scan she had let go trying to maintain the status quo in exchange for the freedom to express her real self.
When the scan revealed that the tumors had reduced in size we celebrated. Now the real work could begin.
Living as her True Self
Over the next six months Lucy began to question her beliefs and assumptions about who she thought she should be.
As she dropped trying to be self controlled and independent her heart opened. She discovered the joy of receiving love from her husband and children without hesitation or guilt.
As her old beliefs dropped away Lucy connected with her innate wellbeing. Her body continued to heal naturally without the use of further medication and as often happnes when anyone wakes up to their true self, a desire to help others arose.
She was concerned about the lack of positive messages for people with lung cancer and was inspired to establish and run support groups and founded a charity to raise funds for cutting edge diagnostic equipment for her local hospital.
Serving others was not something Lucy had ever imagined for her life. Her work to champion and empower others arose naturally as a result of her own healing journey.
It’s been four years since we first spoke and in that time Lucy has re-shaped her life. She has welcomed new grandchildren into the family, healed her relationships, touched the lives of thousands with her charity and advocacy work and, most importantly, opened to receive love.
Lucy still faces an unknown future. Her cancer may or may not return but either way she’s no longer afraid. She’s living a full, productive life and knows that her joy cannot be taken away because joy is her true nature.