Giraffes

I know I promised I would update you all on my “research” but it will have to wait a little bit! I am not done yet. I am learning so much and can’t wait to discuss all my findings with my GI oncologist at Shands…

I had another session of Rapid Resolution Therapy with Clinical Hypnosis or RRT for short. I just can’t stress enough how beneficial it has been for me (and continues to be in my practice). I am convinced that is has helped me enormously tolerating the cocktail that I am on. I had heard so many people struggle with nausea and diarrhea when getting this drug, that I got myself prepared. The main ingredient in the cocktail is called “irinotecan” but known to patients as “I run to the can”! When I found out I’d be on this cocktail, I got tons of nausea meds and everything “ginger” you can think of, as ginger can help with nausea. While the nausea was pretty rough after my fist treatment, I had a RRT session after and ever since the nausea is getting less and less to the point where I only took one pill after my last infusion.

I am not sure if I explained this on my blog yet, but with last year’s proceeds from the Booty Run, I wanted to increase emotional/psychological resources for cancer patients, especially young people with Stage 4 cancer. So part of the money was given to RRT so that the founder can help me come up with a cancer protocol. I am sort of the guinea pig so I have been having some meetings with Dr. C. Once we have the protocol, I plan on offering free sessions to about 20 people. This is how the money from the run was/will be used. This year will be different though as the proceeds will be administered by a local cancer center.

To come back to RRT, it is really hard to explain in a simple blog post what it is all about and how it works but the bottom line is that it gives you a different way of thinking about things and helps get rid of emotions that are not of benefit to you (fear, anger, guilt, and so on). I have been feeling pretty at peace lately. I (maybe weirdly?) don’t live my life as if I have cancer. What I mean by this is that I don’t let cancer rule my life, sure I have days where it is at the forefront, when I get chemo, get scanned or blood work, or when I meet with my doctors. There are also days where I am more tired and need to rest but that’s ok, I feel like I can compartmentalize those days and the rest of my life takes precedence . If I can be active and do things, you can be sure that I will do them. I was thrilled to see how I bounced back from my infusions because that meant I could keep working one day a week. I met with a patient last week who is getting divorced and hoping to get alimony (being a stay-at-home mom was their agreement) and I respect where she is coming from. She said to me “who wants to work anyway?” And I laughed because I was so happy and grateful to be at work that day, and I giddily said “me!”. Going to work feels like a privilege, I love what I do and am very passionate about it and am loving being at work.

So again, back to RRT, I have mentioned in a previous post how RRT uses symbols since our minds are very responsive to them. This is why let’s say the American flag is not just a piece of cloth, it represents a lot more than that, and can represent different things for different people. I have described how the butterfly was used in a previous session but in that specific session I was asked to choose between 2 symbols (https://drrlefebvre.wordpress.com/2014/06/05/the-butterfly/). In my last session, I was asked to think about an animal from the wild that would represent what we were aiming for me in that specific session, and I was asked to pick one I had not used before. It took me a while to think of one, I even had to think about what animals we encountered at the zoo! The image of a giraffe popped up into my head and so I said “giraffe”. Dr. C. seemed excited about my choice, I wasn’t too sure about it but I just went with it. So those who know me well can guess what I did when I got home… I asked my BFF “Dr. Google” to tell me more about the symbolic representation of giraffes and I was shocked! My mind could not have picked a better symbol for me, for where I am in my life now!

I found out that giraffes are associated with the ability to reach things that are unreachable for others. With their long necks, they can see far ahead, they have higher perception, and see what lies over the horizon. They have this ability  to remain above the fray. Giraffes are associated with “gracefulness in action” with their patience and sturdy footing in life’s potentially rocky terrain. Their long necks can also represent eloquently and powerfully expressing ourselves and choosing our words carefully and wisely. Some see giraffes as an inspiration for their seemingly ceaseless stores of energy (they only require very little sleep – some sources say 20 to 40 minutes per day while others would say 2 hours – but still that is very little!). Giraffes are also very resourceful and clever and teach us to approach our goals and challenges “upwind” or from an angle that will allow us the most resources without spoiling the process of attaining the fruits of our desires. Finally the color patterns of their fur can look like a maze. It can represent being “sure-footed” in the maze of life. Giraffes represent getting through the twisty curves of life with elegance and dignity. It is so interesting to me that a giraffe popped into my head and now lives within me. I know all this can sound cheesy, I wish I could explain fully how RRT works but I guess the important thing to understand is that 90% of our mind is “primitive” while only 10% is developed and the problem is that the two parts can’t communicate. All of you know and understand that fear is not good for you, that stressing about a scan is not going to change the outcome – we all know that intellectually but try telling this to a goat! what do you get? “baaaaaaaa”…. so sometimes we have to find creative ways to communicate with our primitive and inner mind and symbols are powerful tools that we have! So for now, giraffe it is for me!

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One thought on “Giraffes

  1. My dear giraffe, thank u for keeping us in the loop!
    and let me know if u need help to design a little assessment protocol for these first 20 treatments (I could search brief measures for your variables of interest and could set up a secure online survey including open-ended questions since qualitative assessment would be ideal at this phase but is too work-intensive, i think). As research project it would need ethics approval, but if u want it just to inform yourself as therapist “informed patient consent” should be enough. xox, annett

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