Tough Dreams Big Lessons

I dreamed I had cancer. No one in the dream told me I had cancer but I read it in my medical file. There was a note that said "discharge patient when test results show CF." Somehow I knew CF meant Cancer-Free.

I woke up that morning convinced I had cancer. Then, I became aware of the overwhelming squeeze a cancer diagnosis puts on a person's soul. At one moment thinking our bodies are healthy and then with one bump, smudge of blood, or abnormality we find ourselves battling cancer one way or another. Recently my client was at a New Years Eve party and slipped on the ice walking out the door. She fell and injured her back. At the hospital an x-ray revealed a node in her lung. One month later she was in surgery for biopsy and removal of one of her lobes. I traveled to her city to give her a pre-operation Reiki session. I knew this surgery could be life changing if only because it was the start of a cycle of illness and hospitalization. It turned out the node was malignant but the cancer had not spread to the lymphatic system. She living in full health with just a little less lung capacity. This dream reminded me of her.

Did I ever really imagine the fear she was experiencing around the cancer diagnosis (or any of my other clients?) Looking as my dream-state medical chart, I felt a horrible sense that my body held cells that may kill me. It's an invasion of the body – our sacred physical space.

My dream didn’t leave me and the impression of uncontrollable panic and even grief still lingered into my day. If dreams are the subconscious mind speaking to us, what was the message for me? Waking up to eventually realizing it was only a dream left me grateful as I reveled in my healthy body – I woke up without cancer. I didn't always appreciate my health but suddenly, after this, instead of measuring my flaws, everything felt perfect in its own way.

The second lesson of the dream was vocational. Should I be helping cancer patients find peace? I was once a Reiki volunteer at the local hospital in the oncology department. My dream showed me how a cancer diagnosis can rob the peace from the patient. It was a terrible feeling. My impulse is to find a way to put the peace back into the diagnosis and treatment process.

This dreamed changed me. It changed the way I listened to stories about cancer. I still remember the dream of looking at my medical chart and realizing I was battling cancer. In the meantime I send prayers to everyone who can not wake up from such a nightmare. Peace was lost and I was seeking it like water in a desert. I want to bring back peace to the cancer patient– what ever form that ultimately must take.

Of course, this dream could be a dress rehearsal for any possible health crisis. More evidence that life is best lived in each moment because in this where the joy dwells. It's good to be awake.

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