In April 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. When I was diagnosed I have to say, I was at a low point in my life. Leading up to my diagnoses I had been feeling depressed, I felt like an afterthought within our family, the last to take water from the well. It wasn’t a complete surprise to hear CANCER, after all I had felt hopeless and contemplated my life for some time. My experiences and my thoughts were having daily conversations with my DNA and somehow a tumor the size of grapefruit grew in my breast practically overnight.
Then began a difficult journey of self-exploration & self-love. Changing my mindset was the beginning of my healing journey, I was 35 years old and terrified of leaving my three children without a mother, I knew that meant I had to change the lifestyle and belief systems I had that brought me to that moment in my life. Sadly, before my healing journey I believed in the nonexistence of self-care as it related to myself within my role as a mother, daughter and wife. I was a dedicated caregiver to my extremely ill mother for 20 years, worked full time and part time, went to school part time and was exhausted from managing a busy house as my husband travelled continuously for work.
I would like to say, a rainbow appeared and with it my tumor disappeared, end of discussion. The truth is at that time in my life, I found myself full of fear, hope and anger. Remarkably guided imagery, self-appreciation and mindfulness made room in my life for pure gratitude. I grew up with a mother who (although stricken with a debilitating neurological disease unimaginable to most people) who was a fierce warrior. She would be my guide, my source of strength on a journey that was going to be more difficult than anything else I had done before. My mother taught me to trust my intuition, to listen to my gut and reminded me to “fake it till you make it”. She said you can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought. Lisa, you need to know your body wants to heal and that it can. I decided to try everything that was successful for other survivors. I listened to guided imagery, meditation and hypnosis that echoed healing and the body’s innate ability to heal. I drank green tea at almost every opportunity, I used homeopathic remedies, natural supplements and blindly used nutritional trends to empower my physical body. I started to see a psychologist to sort through and replace the thoughts and patterns that led me to abandon self-care and unconditional self-love. I did go through conventional treatments with my heels dug into the ground, never missing my chemotherapy or radiation appointments with my husband who accompanied me to all of my chemotherapy appointments. I embraced surgery as a forceful attempt to revenge any trace of cancer left in my body. I wanted to confidently say that I did it all!
At the end of my treatment, realizing that I had an impaired immune system not only as a result of my treatments but as an underlying factor leading to my diagnosis, this forced me to take a look at my relationship with food. I didn’t fully grasp at that point how important good digestion was and the relationship it had with the functioning of my immune system. Who knew that foods were used to treat and improve certain symptoms in the body? When I started at the school of Canadian Natural Nutrition it was immediately engrained to fill my diet with powerhouse foods but also to remove the foods and food products that lead to an inactive digestive system from my diet. As I learned that food was a big component to becoming healthy again, I felt empowered and passionate about this new way of thinking and I couldn’t wait to share my knowledge with others.
Nutrition was the starting point, but it became refreshing to consider the power of the mind body connection, it propelled me to further self-healing that otherwise would not have taken place. The sum of my experiences has taught me to value and respect the conversations that take place between the mind and the body. The body wants to heal, we need to create the right environment for it to do so. I am extremely passionate about psychoneuroimmunology which is the study of mind body medicine. Mind-body medicine uses the power of the thoughts and emotions to influence physical health. As Hippocrates once said “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well.” This can contrast the Western medical view that the mind and body are separate. There is solid evidence that the mind-body techniques actually do fight disease and promote health. When the body is physically or emotionally stressed the body will release stress hormones that can have a direct effect on all your systems and organs. In fact certain emotions have been associated with specific diseases. To some people this may seem outside of their point of reference. At the very least many people can agree that feeling stressed and having negative emotions can be unhealthy and cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms.
This is where the concept of Mind’s Eye Therapeutic Healing came from. I believe that we all have the intuition and desire to direct healing within our own body. Healing comes from within, it is my honor to work with all of my clients to help create the environment to love and nurture their body and mind. I work with clients to establish or make a space in their lives for self-care. Nutritional imbalances play a part in mood disturbances, low energy, body and joint pain and immune function. Stress can be managed through meditation, guided imagery, yoga, counselling and a variety of relaxation techniques which I offer including Reiki, Indian head massage and essential oil recommendations that complement the tangible nutritional recommendations to facilitate the beginning of their healing.