Hypnosis for Cancer Patients: Part 2
by Ronald Shone, B.Sc., M.A., B.Sc. (Psych), DCH
Part 2 deals with the chemotherapy treatment. The purpose is to take some responsibility for enhancing the effects of the treatment. The unconscious mind is very powerful. It knows everything about you from the time you were born (and possibly when in the womb). When you consider how the mind and body corrects illness, how women create babies with no knowledge, how repairs from fractures and broken bones are undertaken: and all by means of the mind-body systems. For cancer patients, the main system is the immune system. White blood cells of many types that attack cancer cells are produced in the bone marrow and are transported to various parts of the body either by means of the blood vessels or by means of the lymphatic system, depending on the type of white blood cell. During chemotherapy treatment, there is constant monitoring of the white blood cells because the chemicals used to treat cancer also attack the white blood cells. This is because the chemotherapy drug treatment is usually of the cytotoxic variety. In fact, if the white blood cell count gets too low then a particular cycle of treatment may be delayed.
Chemotherapy treatment is administered in cycles. These can be weekly, every two weeks or every three weeks. Which type of cycle sequence depends on the particular cancer a patient has and the chosen drugs for treating that cancer, as determined by the oncologist. The oncologist also needs to determine the strength of the drugs, which may be varied during the treatment depending on the effects. In my own case, with bowel cancer, my cycles were every two weeks and administered on a Friday, with a pump attached on going home which was removed on the Sunday. The number of cycles may vary and is very much in the hands of the oncologist. In my case, there was a first set of 6 cycles. The intention is to assess the situation with a CT scan at the end of the sixth cycle to determine how, and if, to proceed. Unfortunately, I developed a stomach infection (as a side effect of the chemotherapy itself), which led to a week in hospital. This delayed my next cycle by one week, but had the advantage that I had the CT scan while in hospital rather than have it between cycles 6 and 7. But such delays can be treated in a positive way in allowing visualisations and affirmations to be repeated frequently. I played my audio files constantly while in hospital.
Since the affirmations for dealing with cancer often refer to visualisations it seems appropriate to first present the visualisations that can enhance the chemotherapy treatment. Although the visualisation deal explicitly with bowel cancer a hypnotherapist can readily adopt the visualisation for other types of cancer. But what the first visualisation particularly shows is that some knowledge of the anatomy of the cancer helps in formulating a suitable visualisation.
Four visualisations for cancer patients
Removing the tumour
We’re going to take a trip down into your bowel to remove the tumour you have there and any linkages into the liver and elsewhere. Your tumour has been growing for about two years and so has been doing you a lot of harm. You are going to be in a sort of space ship that will be shrunk down in size (along with you in it) so that it can enter your abdominal system and make its way to your large intestine, where your tumour is located. It is just like in Fantastic Voyage, but rather than going to the brain you will be going to your colon. This will be a much easier voyage because you only need to remain in your abdominal tract.
Your space ship is fitted with a laser gun situated on top of the ship, which will be used to remove the tumour from the wall of the large intestine, while breaking up the tumour in the process. There is another gun on the side of the space ship that will be used to help the platelets (the natural cells of the white blood that coagulate it), to seal the area where the tumour comes away from the stomach wall. It will also help in sealing the entry/exit from the small intestine into the large intestine, as waste only seeps through the walls into the large intestine so that there is no direct passage. This sealing will prevent the cancer cells from spreading to other organs. The laser gun can easily handle the destruction of free floating cancer cells so that they no longer are a threat to your health and well-being.
So now [name], you are entering the space ship, settling down and preparing the ship for its major voyage. The panel in front of you has pictures of all the intestinal track and surrounding organs that can be displayed at your command. The laboratory now shrinks down the space ship and places it in a beaker of water. You now drink the water and the space ship enters your gullet and passes down into your stomach. You see on your monitor that the stomach is awash with acid-like fluid of digestive juices, but these have no effect on the space ship. And so you now steer the space ship into the duodenum and head towards the small intestine. You manoeuvre through this towards the area which links with the large intestine in the area where your tumour is located. This is important since you have a twist in your large intestine and the tumour is located on the right hand side just below the liver. But this is not difficult since you have been practicing this manoeuvre in the laboratory before doing the journey.
You fire the laser gun making a small hole between the small intestine and the large intestine, so allowing the space ship to pass through, which it now does. Once in the large intestine you fire the second gun located on the side of the space ship, so helping the platelets so seal the hole you made for the passage into the large intestine. You were successful in entering the large intestine on the correct side of the twist as you can see the tumour on your monitor. It’s quite large and has what appear like tentacles growing from it and connecting to the wall of the large intestine, from where it has been leaking cancerous cells into the liver, and possibly other places too.
Your first task is to detach the tumour from the wall of the large intestine. You line up the space ship so that you have a clear view of the tumour’s link with the stomach wall. Having done this, you fire the laser gun breaking all the links that the tumour has with the stomach wall. There are a number of these links, which are like blood vessels. It has been through these that the cancerous cells have spread to the liver and elsewhere. You can see quite clearly on your monitor the links breaking away one by one. Now they are all broken and the tumour floats freely in the colon and no longer is it attached to the stomach wall.
There is another job you prepared yourself for in preparation for this voyage. You have another weapon attached to the space ship. This contains a liquid that can be fired at high pressure. The liquid contains a chemical that can destroy the cancerous cells that were passing from the tumour in the large intestine to the liver and other possible organs. You line up this weapon and fire the chemical into each of the links that the tumour made with the stomach wall. This required some precision, but again you had practised this in preparation for the voyage. The chemical acts like an antigen, locating only cancerous cells and destroying them. Pleased with your work on dispensing the chemical and allowing it to get on destroying cancerous cells in the liver and elsewhere, it is now time to seal up the end of the links. The aim is just like sealing a wound. You set up the gun located at the side of the space ship and fire. It sends a substance that coats the end of the links and supports the platelets in coagulating the blood where the tumour has come away, basically cauterising the wound, and seals the area so that no more cancerous cells can escape from the colon into other organs of the body.
You now search out the tumour, which is free floating around the large intestine. You align the laser gun and fire. What you are attempting to do is break up the tumour into smaller units so that the cancerous cells no longer form a polyp. Having broken down the tumour into small pieces, mostly just the cancerous cells, the white corpuscles are ready and come swarming in to attack the cancerous cells. This is your formidable army of white cells, the most important of which are the neutrophils (noted as neuts on white blood cell counts). These are the first line of attack and absorb and digest foreign bodies. A low count indicates a poorly operating immune system. But yours are fine, and the number is good. They have been given clear instructions (even pictures of the cancerous cells) which they are to attack. So, in they come, a large formidable army, attacking each and every cancer cell. Since the tumour itself is no more, the small cancer cells are just no match for the invading army of white cells. The battle continues until every cancerous cell is destroyed. Destroyed so that they can no longer multiply. Destroyed so that they are devoured by the army of white cells. This whole battle frees you totally of the tumour and cancerous cells in the stomach.
But you have been instructed with another task. You are to ensure that no other cancerous polyps are forming in the large intestine. All these must be destroyed too. You find only a little and these are destroyed in the same way.
Your job is now done and your space ship can exit by the large intestine, manoeuvring through the twist so that you can move the space ship to the rectum and exit the intestinal track with the next bowel movement. You feel good about the whole procedure. You are confident that you have destroyed the tumour with the help of your army of white blood cells; you feel confident that you passed the antigen chemical appropriately between the colon and other organs to which the tumour was seeping cancerous cells. You feel free to have full health and well-being. You are free of any further cancer. Your tumour no longer exists.
As the tumour shrinks, and as the cancerous cells that spread to the liver are destroyed, you find you experience little or no side effects of the chemotherapy. The destruction of the tumour along with the chemotherapy means that recovery is very quick and the side effects are either minimal or not at all. Your cancer marker shows rapid improvement; your blood counters rise quickly to their normal level and your health rapidly improves. The whole Fantastic Voyage is a great success.
The healing white light visualisation is a very popular and very powerful visualisation. Here we have adapted it to specifically deal with chemotherapy. It is quite a general visualisation and so is readily adapted for any type of cancer. Simply direct the healing white light to that part of the body that has cancer.
Healing white light
Sit comfortably in a chair or lying down with your eyes closed. Let a feeling of comfort spread throughout your body. Now focus your mind in the centre of your forehead, with this point of concentration about the size of a pea. Let the pea rise out of the top of your head to about a foot above the head, and as it does so it is growing to about the size of a tennis ball, glowing white and radiant. The tennis ball may be pulsating or revolving, but it is glowing brighter and brighter. And now the tennis ball is growing even bigger still, to about the size of a football, glowing even more radiant as it does so. The base of the ball now opens and sends down sheets of radiant white light energy. It is as if you were under a shower, but it is not water but a radiant white light energy that passes through your head and shoulders, down your body and right down through your arms and legs. Every part of your body is bathed in this radiant white light energy.
And this radiant white light energy breaks down into little, little pieces all your worries and all your anxieties about your cancer. But it does much, much more than that. The radiant white light energy attacks the cancer cells wherever they are located in your body and burns them up and destroys them. It leaves all other cells unaffected, it only burns up the cancer cells. You can feel the energy pulsating through your body, you can visualise the cancer cells being burnt and destroyed. And as they get destroyed, they break into little, little pieces.
Now the sheets of radiant white light energy from the ball stops. The ball grows bigger and comes down over your head and shoulders, descending through your body. As it does so, it pushes all the bits from the destroyed cancerous cells down. Down further and further as the ball continues to descend. It descends all the way down your body and down your legs and into the ground. All your cancerous cells have now been removed from your body. The ball now rises filling you like you would fill a kettle, but filling you with a feeling of health, joy and a sense of freedom. Filling you with a feeling of confidence about the future; a future full of well-being and free of any further cancer.
The ball is now once more above your head. It shrinks down to the size of a tennis ball and shrinks further down to the size of a pea. The pea once again enters your forehead. You feel good, you feel confident about the future, you are positive about the future and your health and well-being.
Patients undergoing chemotherapy experience a variety of side effects. Not all will be experienced, and some individuals are very lucky in having very few or very mild effects. The side effects that are experienced are particular to the person, the drugs being administered and the person’s current state of health. But there is no need to simply accept these side effects. The unconscious mind can be brought into play to reduce, and possibly eliminate, them. Here we present just one visualisation for dealing with side effects. It involves imagining a control panel with a set of gauges, as illustrated in Figure 3. This figure illustrates 8 gauges, but a hypnotherapist dealing with a specific cancer with its own unique side effects can readily add or substitute another.
A control panel visualisation
You are sitting and lying down with your eyes closed. You imagine a control panel with a set of gauges, each gauge indicating a particular side effect that you have been experiencing, or likely to experience. Each gauge indicates the strength of the side effect in a range from 0 to 20. At the moment, each gauge indicates the strength of the side effect. Some gauges are at zero, since you are not experiencing these now. Others read much higher scores. Each gauge has a dial that controls the level indicated on the gauge. You now turn the knobs of those gauges which indicate some strength in the side effect, bring down the needle towards zero, or even to zero itself. As you do so, you can feel the side effect diminishing. You are confident that you are bringing the side effect under control.
The white blood cells fight of infections, but you know that your chemotherapy treatment reduces these and so you have difficulty fighting off infections. You are also aware that certain white blood cells, neutrophils, are produced in the bone marrow and when mature enter the blood stream. Other white blood cells, called T-cells and B-cells, are also produced in the bone marrow but move to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system. There are also killer cells. So it is now time to increase the manufacture of these white blood cells. It is also time to increase the number of platelets that are also produced in the bone marrow and which help to coagulate the blood when a blood vessel is damaged.
The immunisation army
Factories have been set up in some of your larger bones, each factory specialising in the production of different white blood cells, since there are several of these and each having a different function. Four factories have been set up in the bone marrow of different bones. The first, and most important, is the factory that produces macrophages, of which there are two types: the phagocytes and the neutrophils. The largest part of this particular factory is in the production of neutrophils, since these cells are the first on the scene to attack any infections. Then a second factory produces T-cells and B-cells, these specialise in monitoring signs of infection, and move via the lymph, through lymph nodes that are located throughout your body. The third factory produces killer cells. These are cytotoxic cells that specialise in targeting pathogens living inside body cells, e.g. the stomach, as well as malignant tumour cells, e.g. cancerous cells. So killer cells can identify and attack malignant cancer cells. But these are a second line of defence after the work of the neutrophils. Finally, there is a factory that produces platelets, cells that produce a clotting agent that will repair any damaged blood vessel.
All the workforce has now come into each of the factories, and have been instructed on the importance of top production for your well-being. They are in for life-saving work. Production needs to be high, and maintained at a high level. The workforce is happy to do this, knowing how important their work is for your well-being. So down to work they go, churning out in great bulk the various white blood cells that kill off infections that you might naturally come across in your everyday living and interaction with other people, interactions that you cannot avoid. The workforce sings along happily with the work they do, knowing how important it is for your well-being. And incidentally, their own survival as they too do not want to die.
Production is high and the factories are now turning out lots of white blood cells of the various types to handle any infections you may encounter, such as a cold, pneumonia and most especially the cancerous cells. The factory producing platelets too is at a high level of production. The workforce is very happy with their work and the level of production they are achieving.
You now have an army of white blood cells. The neutrophils form the infantry and are the first to engage the enemy. Then the T-cells, B-cells and killer cells form the cavalry. Your army of white blood cells are now all lined up ready to engage the enemy – the cancer cells invading your body. In comes the commander to give your white blood cells support and encouragement. He says, “This is your day, today we fight as one. The enemy is weak, has no commander and each works alone. You are a coordinated army, an army with a purpose, and an army that will succeed.” The commander then points out that he will first send in the infantry, the neutrophils, that will gobble up the tumour, eating away at it until it is dislodged and no longer a threat. Once the tumour is dislodged and any cancerous cells are on the loose, in will go the cavalry, the killer cells. The command is given, in go the infantry and begin to gobble up the tumour. You can sense this taking place and you are pleased with the result. Then in go the cavalry, engaging all the loose cancer cells that are attempting to escape, but they cannot succeed in doing so. You keep up the battle as long as you feel it is necessary. Once over, you are confident about the outcome and your future well-being.
Affirmations for overcoming cancer
Throughout chemotherapy treatment one needs to be positive and confident that the unconscious mind can help in the healing process. To encourage the unconscious mind to do this, and it does need encouragement because it needs to know your intention, we present here a set of affirmations that help in overcoming cancer.
- You see the drugs searching out and attacking the cancer cells.
- You see the drugs gobbling up the cancer cells.
- You see your medication attacking the cancer cells and destroying them.
- You see and feel the cancer cells being consumed and dying.
- You see your medication as a battalion; infantry and cavalry: all playing their part in the battle against your cancer.
- You see the battle raging. Each drug wages war on the cancer: knocking out and gobbling up the cancer cells and destroying them totally.
- You see your white blood cells, your own defence mechanism, going into action.
- You see the results of the battle, the debris and the residue, and this is all excreted from your body.
- The battle debris is excreted from your body in your urine, in your bowels, and in your lungs.
- You see your body having been cleansed of all cancer cells, leaving your body clean and free of cancer cells.
- You are in control of your body and you are waging war on the cancer cells. You are the captain of your body and mind.
- As captain, you can control the pain you feel from the treatment you are having.
- You can turn off the pain wherever it manifests in your body. You control the off switch.
- You can turn off to the feeling of nausea. See the switch in your mind's eye and switch it to the off position.
- For each unpleasant experience you have, you see a gauge which you can move. You take control of these switches and turn down their impact as much as you can.
- You are the controller; you can turn down or even turn off the different switches — the switches that control the different aspects of your cancer.
- Whenever you feel any discomfort, whether pain or the results of therapy, you can take a deep breath and take over control.
- When you take over the controls and reduce their impact on your body and mind, so you relax more and more.
- Your unconscious mind knows how best to deal with your cancer: how to eliminate the cancer cells. And you have confidence in your unconscious mind to do what it knows how to do.
- Your body knows how to heal itself. It has healed your wounds, your colds, and many other ailments in the past. It can do so too with your cancer.
- You are re-organising cells every hour of every day and sending cancerous cells into oblivion.
- Your body is your temple and in it dwells the divine.
- Cancer is just something you go through and does not define you.
- Cancer is just one experience of many in your life.
- Healing is a state of mind and heart, and you are healed.
- Genes can be turned on and off and you give yourself permission to turn the cancer off.
- Of the trillion cells that make up your body, cancer cells are a small percentage, and so you will focus on what is right for you.
- You heal with every intake of breadth and let go of cancer with every exhale.
- Your future is not set in stone; you create your own wellness and freedom from cancer.
- Your cancerous cells will stop replicating.
- As each day passes your cancer diminishes in its power and influence.
- Each day you will have victory over your cancer.
- Your cancer cells are misguided and can be retrained.
- You refuse to be defined by the word 'cancer'; it is simply not big enough to take over your incredible life.
- Miracles happen every day and cancer is not immune to their magic; so you choose miracles.
- The universe if full of energy and you draw on this energy to diminish the cancer and destroy it.
Cancer treatment, whether in the form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, is spread over many months. There is therefore plenty of opportunity to repeat the visualisations and affirmations. This is important. The success of hypnosis in part depends on repetition. There is little point in visualising just the once, or repeating the affirmations just the once. Self-empowerment requires commitment. One interesting observation is that when a visualisation is repeated it often conjures up a different image in the imagination. This is a good sign. The same is true, but probably by a lesser extent, when repeating the affirmations. So, the message here is repeat, repeat and repeat.
Ronald Shone B.Sc., M.A., B.Sc (Psych), DCH is a Clinical Hypnotherapist based in the UK more information at: www.shoners3.co.uk