|A Healing Image: Secret Harbor Beach on St. Thomas|
Over Labor Day weekend, my 84-year-old father ended up in the hospital after passing a gal stone that inflamed his pancreas. His doctors suggested surgery to remove his gal bladder to prevent a similar situation in the future. I was visiting friends in Maine at the time and he was in a hospital in KC. Although I could only call him long distance, I wanted to help him as much as I could. I remembered some mind-body techniques that helped me tremendously when I was facing brain surgery several years ago that I learned from a book and CD by Peggy Huddleston called Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster. Huddleston's main theory is that going into surgery with a relaxed, positive state of mind helps one feel calmer before surgery, strengthen the immune system, use less pain medication and heal faster. My dad believed that it works because he remembered how calm I was before surgery and what a nervous wreck he was worrying about me. He said he would stay positive and try to relax.
Another technique that I borrowed from Huddleston was to ask my friends and family to send me healing thoughts on the morning of my surgery. When I asked my dad if it was okay for me to make the same request on his behalf, he said, "It couldn't hurt!" When I awoke on the morning of my dad's surgery, I tried to send him healing thoughts, but I couldn't get my mind to settle down. I tried to visualize him wrapped in a blanket of healing light, but other thoughts kept intruding. I was getting very frustrated, because this was so important to me.
Suddenly, I heard a voice inside my head say, "You have a gift - now use it!" Instantly, I was transported to the beach on St. Thomas where I went with friends for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation while healing from bi-lateral lung embolisms. I saw my dad and I on the beach together. I felt the healing warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze in my hair. I heard the relaxing sound of the surf and I saw the beautiful turquoise water. I called my dad before his surgery and told him about my vision of the two of us on the beach in St. Thomas. I wished him good luck and said good-bye.
His surgery went very well that afternoon and he recovered quickly. He didn't even need pain meds when he was in the recovery room! He had good color in his face, good spirits and was able to go home the following day. I called him at home to see how he was doing. He tells me, "So, I'm lying on the gurney (going into surgery) and I'm visualizing the two of us on the beach on St. Thomas." I said, "Really?" And he said, "Pardon my French - no shit, I really did!"
I was thrilled that not only did he take my advice to relax and stay positive before surgery, but he used the exact imagery that my subconscious had conjured up. I'm so happy that my gift for visualization could help someone I love.
My advice to all of you, is to buy Huddleston's book and CD, whether you have an upcoming surgery or not. The Relaxation/Healing CD contains a 20 minute guided visualization to help you relax and doesn't specifically mention surgery. Besides my brain surgery, I've used the guided relaxation for insomnia, menopause symptoms, anxiety, and, of course, fibromyalgia. Huddleston claims the CD (which can also be downloaded as an MP3 file) can help to:
- Reduce anxiety
- Treat insomnia
- Stop headaches
- Prepare for surgery
- Reduce chronic pain
- Speed healing
- Lessen the side effects of chemotherapy
- Feel calmer during procedures such as biopsy, endoscope, cardiac catheterization or MRI
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