I was diagnosed with melanoma just over 10 years ago at my very first appointment with the dermatologist. I had made the appointment under the plea of my mother who had been heavily suggesting a check up for the past few years! I was young – in my 20s – and thought I was the queen of health and surely invincible. That particular appointment back in 1997 showed me otherwise.
Upon the diagnosis, I felt scared, confused, angry and guilty. I felt guilty that I had not taken better care of myself, angry that this was happening to me, confused about what my chances for living were and scared that I had NO idea what this all meant for my future. Could it spread in me unknowingly and that would be that? I was a victim.
As suggested by my doctor, I took care of the melanoma through surgery and began on a schedule of regular check-ups. Young and not wanting to believe that I had a condition that was life threatening – I tried to move on with my life. I took a job overseas, lived and traveled abroad for a couple of years and the “regular” check ups at the dermatologist became scarce. I was trying to convince myself that I had moved on completely. Actually I was in denial.
Within a couple of years I moved back to New York and decided it would be a good idea to get a check up. I was quickly awakened from my state of denial when I was diagnosed with a second melanoma. I felt helpless and angry at my body. What was going on in my body that I could not see? How could I feel so good and yet be confronted with something that is life threatening? A bit of the victim mode snuck back.
At this point I had been a victim, been in denial — and now was confronted with the fact that two family friends had died from melanoma in the recent years. I began to see that if I wanted to live I better shift my practices and my ATTITUDE. Instead of playing victim, I decided that I wanted to know more about what was happening “behind the scenes” in the cells of my body and become a player in my own healing.
One major tool I used to find out more was yoga. Yoga helped me become acquainted with my body in a deep and intimate way. I could feel when my kidneys were in fear, when my liver was in anger, and when my heart was closed. I could feel when my mind was relaxed, my hands happy, and my eyes at peace. I studied and explored yoga and yoga therapy and soon added Reiki, acupuncture and massage. I had my chakras read, my aura read and became a big fan of Louise Hay and her book “Heal Your Body.” All of this work helped me understand the connection between illnesses I was having (not only the melanoma) and the emotions and attitude behind the illness.
Today as I waited in the doctor’s office, I felt calm and secure. I felt that after spending years with a victim attitude and years in denial, that this time I was the one determining my diagnosis. I have learned tools that have empowered me to be my own healer. This is not to say that I won’t be going to the doctor on a regular basis for checkups, preventative care and early screening, but it does mean that I have a new attitude about healing. No longer victim, I am a partner with my doctors and I know deep in my heart that I have the power to change any negative result. As my yoga teacher, Saul David Raye, said in class tonight., “Our bodies have a deep intelligence…we have the power to change things…Look at the election!”
What is your attitude about healing?
Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.