Monthly Archives: October 2014

Creative Visualization for Breast Cancer

“Thoughts become things – so choose the good ones”

Mike Dooley

Creative visualization can be a powerful tool to help you relax, reduce stress, and focus on your desired outcome after a breast cancer diagnosis.  Many years ago, long before my breast cancer diagnosis, I purchased a book called “Creative Visualization” by Shakti Gawain.  Shakti has written many similar books on using your mind, your creativity, your thoughts, to create what you want.  I really like this particular book because she provides specific affirmations and visualizations for various aspects of life including health, relationships and prosperity.  It is also relatively short and very easy to read.

book

I used creative visualization immediately after my diagnosis, prior to my surgery, and before receiving chemotherapy.  Creative visualization is a form of meditation, using specific images and affirmations throughout the process.  In the book, Shakti shows you how to “unblock” and open up energy channels, as well as clearing your mind of self sabotaging thoughts.   Focusing in detail on what you want to achieve and giving it all your energy, from really deep within, is the essence of creative visualization.

If you choose to practice this, you may want to “visualize” your tumors shrinking, the cancer being removed from your body; your body healthy and strong.  You could also focus on being healthy and cancer free in the future while playing your favorite sport again, going on a vacation, or laughing with family and friends.  Or pick a date in the future, like a holiday, birthday, wedding, etc. and visualize yourself in that place in time happy and healthy.

Please do not underestimate the power of your own thoughts.  Learn how to control your thoughts, visualize what you desire and use the unlimited energy from within to help you prepare for a most positive outcome.

Weight Gain and Breast Cancer

Unfortunately, many breast cancer patients and survivors gain weight either during or after treatment.  Certain chemotherapy drugs can cause weight gain in cancer patients, in part due to the instant onset of menopause brought on by those drugs, as well as the extreme fatigue that is a common side effect, making it more difficult to exercise.  Breast cancer drugs that block estrogren (such as Tamoxifen and Arimidex) can also cause weight gain.

Why is it important to minimize or avoid weight gain that accompanies a cancer diagnosis?

1.  First and foremost – survivorship.  Interestingly, studies have shown that excess weight does not seem to increase the risk for pre-menopausal women.  However, plenty of evidence has shown that being overweight or obese can increase risk of recurrence, and has a negative impact on survivorship among post-menopausal women.  That catch is that even if you are pre-menopausal at diagnosis, like I was, and you end up doing chemotherapy, like I did, you are most likely going to become menopausal during treatment.

2.  Excess weight increases circulating estrogen, which is especially bad for women with hormone-receptor positive cancers, like mine.  Fat tissue is the largest source of estrogen for post-menopausal women.

3.  Obesity increases risk of lymphedema.

4.  Excess weight increases risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other cancers, not to mention high blood pressure, higher cholesterol, and stroke.

Research has established that maintaining a healthy body weight can decrease overall cancer risk, increase survivorship, improve quality of life, increase energy, and have a positive effect on sex life!

So what exactly is a healthy body weight?  One guideline is BMI, or Body Mass Index.  Click on this link to determine your BMI.  If you are in the overweight or obese range, talk to your doctor about a healthy diet and exercise plan.