How Hypnotherapy Saved My Life

I have no doubts about the effectiveness of what I teach my clients because I’ve had the opportunity to ‘put it to the test’.

I had always wondered how I’d react if I learned that I would be dying soon. In 2013 the opportunity to find out appeared: while I was standing outside my home in the warm sunshine of a summer day, I was startled by the sensation of a hard, round lump which one of my fingers absent-mindedly traced on the left side of my neck. I was instantly in the throws of thinking some powerful feelings and feeling some powerful thoughts.

As my fingers continued to examine and define the shape of the lump, a flood of thoughts gushed through my mind. It seemed that a deepening fissure opened inside of me as a beastly terror rose from my core.

Slowly I began to sift through the thoughts and feelings, and to unravel the knot of what I can now name as ‘shock’. “This is IT,” came the answer to the deluge of questions triggered by the sensations of the lump. “This is cancer. This is the beginning of the end of my life. This is the evidence of the disease that will kill me.”

To maintain some equilibrium, I tried to counter with some calming, rational responses: “I don’t really know what this is. I’m just being paranoid. Freaking out right now isn’t going to serve any purpose.” Within two hours, though, I had seen a doctor, had a CT scan, and absorbed numerous looks of compassionate concern from the healthcare professionals who were dealing with me. My original, intuitive synopsis of my predicament was now in charge. And within two weeks my doctors received conclusive results that I did indeed have cancer.

The journey to heal this disease and recover from the treatment I received has brought insight and clarity that has changed the way I live. I’m grateful for the good fortune that makes my story of healing a successful one. I also want to share what I know about healing and what helped me the most. I want to tell you how my vocation and practice as a hypnotherapist brought a wellspring of courage, comfort, and serenity to replace the momentary experiences of pain and fear which passed through me during the treatments and my body’s recovery from them. Here are two specific examples from the first round of treatments:

Each of the thirty-five sessions of radiation to my neck, throat, mouth and head, with my body strapped to a table, my head constrained by a customized contoured fitted face mask secured to the table with snaps, with my breath moving through a straw stuck in my mouth protruding through the mask, gave me a chance to practice calming my anxiety about being confined in a small space with no room to breathe.

Each of the seven weekly chemotherapy infusions gave me a chance to practice soothing myself before, during and after the procedure. I repeatedly used the visualizations, meditations, and breathing practices I teach my clients. Sometimes it wasn’t easy, but I kept practicing. Sometimes, when I felt like giving up, I prayed for help and the courage to continue.

3 weeks after this first round of treatments were over, the skin on the left side of my neck and jaw had healed so quickly and thoroughly that my radiation oncologist’s jaw dropped when she had her first glimpse of me at the follow-up appointment. At the end of the treatment I had looked like a burn victim. 3 weeks later my skin looked brand new. My doctor said, “Wow! You must have some special healing powers.” She is correct. In fact, we all have healing power. It’s called a body, mind and spirit working in balance and harmony.

One of my primary focuses when I begin working with a client is to help them get connected with their own source of healing. It’s not something I need to create for them. It’s something I know is there, and I see it in them when they first walk into my office at the Westside Healing Arts Center. That source is the essential, fundamental first step to all healing work. Trust me on this one.

As my body healed from the damaging effects of radiation and chemotherapy, my team of doctors were expressing great positivity about my prognosis for a full recovery and an end to my ‘fight against cancer’. However, the disease lay undetected for a couple years. With renewed vigor it then resurfaced into Stage 4 Metastatic Carcinoma, spread now through my neck and into my lungs. In fact, the presenting tumor, the one I’d first felt which led me to the cancer diagnosis and treatment…came ‘back to life’ in a very robust incarnation. This was the very tumor which had been the main focus of those 35 radiation treatments and 7 weekly chemotherapy infusions! I’m not sure why the word ‘cancer’ became the name for a very large group of immune system failure related diseases, but for me, in the sense that these ‘abnormal’ cells have learned to escape from the normal governing ‘laws’ of cell death (apoptosis), ‘cancer’ is a nick-name for ‘can-sur-vive’. Perhaps if anyone truly wants their body to achieve immortality, they should take a closer look at these death defying cells.

To make a long article a bit shorter, I had more standard medical treatments, including neck surgery to remove as much of the neck tumor as possible with as little ‘collateral damage’ as possible, and a more precise and less (apparently) damaging form of radiation to the biggest lung tumor. This time around, though, I declined the added recommendations for 20 more treatments of radiation to the area that the neck tumor had been removed from, as well as more chemotherapy.

Today, 1 1/2 years after the last standard medical treatment, I am clear of disease. I am free of pain. I am a living miracle. I am…also nothing, if not patient.

Did you know that the two meanings of the word ‘patient’ come from the same root? The root is ‘pati’ and ‘passio’, which is Latin and means ‘to suffer, to endure’, as in ‘the passion of Christ’. We have patience, and doctors and healthcare systems have patients. In any case, I am patient…with things and people. But I’ve learned that there comes a point when patience is not a virtue that one needs to apply to every situation at hand.

I had patience for the medical treatments, but there was a juncture where I lost faith in them. They had knocked me down the ‘hill of health’ further than I cared to go. I was told by my speech and language pathologist that, because of the damage I ‘suffered’ from the previous cancer treatments, I’d lost 2 of the 3 ways that human beings prevent food and liquid from entering their lungs when they swallow. My epiglottis is not only paralyzed, it traps food in my throat every time I eat. One of my vocal cords is paralyzed due to the nerve that controls it being severed or “vasculariized” (scraped to death), which apparently needed to happen to remove the tumor that was embedded in it. I have other nerve damage which has given areas of my body numbness and muscle groups that don’t move together in the way that they should.

But as I said, I am free of pain and I am a living miracle. Some of the people I know who have gone through the same route of standard treatment for the specific kind of cancer I began with use a feeding tube to eat so they can be nourished (because they can’t swallow anymore). Some don’t have saliva anymore so they have to drink water with every bite in order to swallow, and take 4 times as long to eat a meal as anyone else at the table. Some don’t have taste buds so they don’t taste the sweetest or the other flavors of life through their food.

Some don’t feel comfortable eating with anyone else around. Many don’t go out to eat. I eat, swallow, I have saliva, and I revere the full palate of tastes that life’s bounty offers me through my tastebuds. I don’t have any pain in my body, only comfort, ease, strength, joy, peace and love. There is a reason for this, and I want to teach you what it is and how to make use of that information for yourself.

I’m thankful for the skillful work of everyone who cared for my well-being, including my wife (she is my Queen), my family, my doctors and healers from many disciplines, and the good wishes, energies and prayers of many people near, far and dear to me. My gratitude for these healers reminds me every day that I am blessed.

I have also come to understand that healing is not a passive (ah, there’s that enduring word again!) process. Following the advice and protocols of those we trust with our care is not the complete remedy for what ails us. I have learned that something else is being required for healing: that what we think, how we interpret and make sense of WHO WE ARE and the world we live in determines the outcome of each chapter of our lives. There is the capacity within us to shift negative emotional energy, Future Evidence Appearing Real, towards the positive, Luminous Open Vibrant Energy that provides, protects and perpetuates balance and harmony within and without our bodies.

We have a mission, and we live in pain and suffering until we take this work to heart: transform fear into LOVE.

Deep-rooted beliefs taken as fact and left unexamined can be the instigators of great suffering. I have learned how to bring these beliefs to the surface of our silent awareness, into focus and clarity and hold them with care. I want to show you how. We can all experience our freedom to choose who were are, and our freedom to let go of who were are not.

I am devoted to helping others who are facing their own healing crisis learn the skills and tools that have helped me. Please contact me or share this article with someone you know who might benefit from working with me.

In gratitude,

Eliot Nemzer

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