Researchers Examine Self-Hypnosis to Manage Pain during Needle Biopsy

 

Author: Beth W. Orenstein

 

Date Published: Jan 29, 2007
Publisher: Radiology Today

 

More than 60% of women in the United States aged 40 and older will undergo mammography screening for breast cancer this year. Between 5% and 10% of their mammograms will result in abnormal or inconclusive findings that will require further study, according to the findings that will require further study, according to the American Cancer Society. If a suspicious lump is found through mammography, or by palpitation, a large core needle biopsy (LCNB) is likely to be performed.

 

Found to be a reliable diagnostic tool, LCNB is typically performed in an outpatient setting, which limits the use of intravenous (IV) drugs in reducing pain and anxiety. The practical problem is that administering would make the procedure longer, and suite time is typically at a premium. Also, IV drugs limit the woman’s ability to drive to work after the procedure. “Many of the women we encounter have to juggle job, home, and family, and being out is something they can’t afford,” says Elvira V. Lang, MD, associate professor of radiology at Harvard University in Boston.

 

In addition, with the woman lying prone so her breasts are accessible through a hole in the table, IV drugs could be a danger. “If you give drugs and the patient would have any reaction, it would be difficult to resuscitate her in that position,” Lang says.

 

Studied for More Invasive Procedures

 

Having had success with self-hypnosis during more invasive surgical procedures, Lang and colleagues decided to investigate its use during LCNB. They conducted a study involving 236 women who were undergoing LCNB at the university affiliated medical center between February 2002 and March 2004. Their research showed that self-hypnosis is not only a valuable pain management tool for women undergoing LCNB but also a cost effective strategy.

 

Lang presented their findings at RSNA 2006 in Chicago this past November. Previously, their research group had reported its findings in the September 2006 issue of Pain, the journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Lang’s research was supported by the U.S. Army Medical research and Materiel Command and the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

 

The women included in the study were required to give written consent and be able to hear and understand English; they also had to pass screenings for mental impairment and psychosis. The subjects were randomly assigned to one of three types of care: standard care, empathy, or hypnosis.

 

Seventy-six women received standard care with members of the biopsy team comforting the patents in their usual way. Eighty-two women received empathetic attention, where a person in the procedure room was assigned to be responsive to their needs, asking whether he or she could do anything to make the patient more comfortable. The person was also instructed to avoid negative language. For example, one would say, “This is the local anesthetic,” rather than, “You will feel a burn and a sting.”

 

The final group of 78 women was given empathetic attention and taught self-hypnosis techniques. For the hypnosis, a research assistant read a script instructing the patient on techniques that would help her relax. “The script invited patients to roll their eyes upwards, close their eyes, breathe deeply, focus on a sensation of floating, and experience a pleasant setting of their choice with all their senses,” Lang says. The script also suggested how patients could transform their discomfort into a sensation of warmth, coolness, or tingling.

 

The research assistants included one male and one female physician, two female medical students, ad one female premedical student with a background in mental health sciences. The script provided the consistency needed to administer the hypnosis techniques for the study. “We actually videotaped all the procedures to make sure that the assistants did what they were supposed to,” Lang says.

 

Reproducibility

 

Lang says the results may have been better had the assistants been able to improvise for each patient’s situation, “but we wanted something that the average, compassionate healthcare provider can do” and that can be easily replicated, Lang says.

 

The research assistants received standardized training, under supervision of physicians and psychologists, in empathetic structured attention and hypnosis. They also participated in workshops; used teaching videos, reading materials, and a web-based course; and performed supervised practice with patients. The researchers then compared several factors, including levels of pain and anxiety, and procedure time and cost.

 

Lang says the women in the study had increased levels of anxiety, which is not surprising, adding that the woman are undergoing the procedure because they may have breast cancer and “the prospect of having breast cancer can be very scary. One out of eight women will develop breast cancer in the lifetime. So the odds are very high that a woman undergoing an LCNB knows another woman who has had breast cancer, or worse, she knows someone who had a breast biopsy and had a bad experience.”

 

Time is of the Essence

 

The researchers also found that the longer a patient is in the procedure room the greater her pain. “I think even if you weren’t to do anything, just lying on the table in those surroundings increases the pain experience even more,” Lang says. “That’s why we wanted to give these women something to get through that and, specifically, to address the anxiety.”

 

Anxiety and pain were measured prior to entering the procedure room using a Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Anxiety was also valuated in the procedure room using verbal scales of 0 to 10; a rating of 0 indicated no pain or anxiety while 10 indicated the worst pain and anxiety possible. Patients were asked to make pain and anxiety ratings every 10minutes. “These scales were used because the patient’s self- report is considered the single most reliable descriptor of the pain experience,” Lang says.

 

Results of the study showed that anxiety increased significantly in the women in the standard care group, while anxiety did not change in the empathy group, and decreased significantly in the hypnosis group. All three groups reported pain during the procedure, but the empathy and self-hypnosis groups reported significantly less pain than the standard care group.

 

The researchers also measured time and cost and found that neither differed significantly among the groups, even though the empathy and hypnosis groups had an additional assistant. The hypnosis group had the shortest procedure time and the lowest cost. For standard care, the procedure was 46 minutes and calculated to cost $ 161; for empathy care, the time was 43 minutes and cost $163; and the time for the hypnosis group was 39 minutes and cost $152.

 

Relaxing Staff Too

 

Lang attributes the shortened procedure time with hypnosis to the decreased level of stress. When using hypnosis, the stress is not only less for the patient, she says, but also for the treatment team. “The relaxation technique serves to calm and focus everyone involved in the procedure,” she says.

 

Lang adds that the patients learned a coping tool they can take with them and use to relieve anxiety through subsequent waits and workups related to their diagnosis and treatment. “We had women in the study who were found to have malignant cancer, which they had removed. During subsequent biopsies, they would ask to have self-hypnosis as well,” Lang says.

 

David Spiegel, MD, associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, says he is impressed by Lang’s methodology and conclusions. “She has demonstrated in a very convincing way that a little bit of self-hypnosis goes a long way in the radiology suite,” he says. The results are significant because the study was large scale, randomized, and “elegantly conducted,” he adds.

 

While Lang’s results showed hypnosis did more to relieve the women’s anxiety than it did their pain, Spiegel says, “large core needle biopsies aren’t that painful, so I don’t think there is much room for improvement in that regard.” The hypnosis clearly had other advantages as well, he says, including shorter procedure times with fewer complications and the need for fewer medications.

 

Some people fear hypnosis because they view it as inducing a loss of control, Spiegel says; however, the study shows the opposite is true. When used correctly, it can actually enhance the patient’s sense of control over their emotional and sensory experience.

 

In an editorial in the same issue of Pain as the Lang group study, Spiegel points out the irony that hypnosis, the oldest form of psychotherapy in Western culture, can be successfully wedded to one of the newest medical interventions: LCNB for breast cancer diagnosis. Obviously, he says, “this old technique of refocusing attention can be utilized with great effectiveness to reduce pain and anxiety during a variety of medical procedures.”

 

Overcoming Tradition

 

Spiegel also says that while physicians and their patients “may be skeptical of treatments that involve talk and relationships rather than medications and nerve blocks, “this study, as well as previous work by Lang and her colleagues, showed that “hypnosis works during medical procedures.” Spiegel hopes physicians won’t dismiss the idea of hypnosis simply because “there is no intervening pharmaceutical industry to sell the product. We don’t use dangling gold watches anymore,” he writes.

 

Lang, who is now chief medical officer for a biomedical device company, says she plans to continue her research and promote hypnosis as a way of alleviating pain in patients undergoing procedures in the radiology suite. She has begun another large study of the use of hypnosis for patients undergoing an invasive procedure where the blood vessels supplying tumors are blocked.

 

Some physician groups have already adopted their model, Lang says. “The next step is to have a broader introduction in to hospitals. We’ve already trained people in our interventional radiology division and are training more in our breast division. We’ve been asked by other radiology departments to help them learn how to do this.”

 

“This research,” Lang says, “embraces a holistic approach combining ‘high-tech’ with ‘high-touch’ that respects the needs of women during the stressful times of breast biopsy and…that can be successfully applied to a number of other interventional procedures.”

Beth W. Orenstein, a freelance medical writer, is a regular contributor to Radiology Today.

Cancer: Doctors, Chemotherapy to Prescriptions – Knowing Your Options

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner and Founder, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

 

According to statistics from the American Cancer Society and NIH there are 14 million new cases of cancer each year. Diagnoses of cancer are expected to increase by 70% in the next 20 years. Fortunately, only 5-10% of these cases are attributed to hereditary genetics. This means that 90% of cancers are preventable! Thus it is tied back to environmental toxins, poor nutrition and other stressors that are incredibly toxic to our health.

When a patient initially receives that diagnosis and hears the hollow word of “cancer” it is more than devastating. Our society has made this word, “cancer”, to be the equivalent of death, but it should not be this way. Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. It does not have to mean months or years of treatments that will suck the life from you. It is a wake-up call to the person diagnosed and to their family members and a message that needs to be taken very seriously.

What I have seen and learned from walking down this path with a loved one is that cancer is scary, cancer can be emotional and jeering, but ultimately we have control. Control over the doctors we choose to entrust with the care, the road we choose to go down, the treatments we choose to accept or decline, and the medications that we choose to take or not take. Ultimately it is about being as knowledgeable as possible, being your own advocate, not being afraid to speak up for yourself and trusting your gut instinct.

I cringe every time we walk into the oncology office with the bowl of candy on the counter and the cancer patients helping themselves. Hello, sugar feeds cancer and causes it to grow! So, why in the heck would you put a bowl of candy out for your cancer patients?

Remember, knowledge is power.

Do your research, look online, read some books and make yourself an expert in your diagnosis. Know that if you change your nutrition and add in specific supplements that it can alter your course for the better.

After several bouts with cancer and working with many different protocols my husband made the decision to move forward with chemotherapy. The combination and dosages were going to be grueling to say the least. We were told that he would have nausea, vomiting, mouth sores, diarrhea, etc. It wasn’t if, it was when. Needless to say we were given all of the typical medications that are dispensed for the side effects and sent home to get ready for the big day. I could not just sit back and watch someone that I cared for go through that knowing that something could be done to help decrease the side effects. It was time to reach out to colleagues and friends. I found a protocol and case study from Harvard that showed utilizing a photon bed within 24 hours of chemotherapy would increase healthy cells and decrease the noxious side effects of chemotherapy. More research showed using probiotics would increase the good flora in the stomach and intestines. This is key because chemotherapy kills off the good flora and this is what leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Rinsing with warm salt water can help prevent mouth sores. Add in some hypnosis specific to chemotherapy and giving an anchor to control any symptoms gives the patient the ultimate control. Of course diet, nutrition, juicing, sleep, decreased stress, etc. also play a big part in the body being able to recover and heal.

The addition of the protocols and resources that were researched has kept my husband from having to go through the nausea, vomiting, mouth sores and major side effects of the chemotherapy. It is amazing to see the difference between what he is doing and the other patients that I see on a weekly basis that are weak, beaten down, and going through hell due to a treatment that is supposed to help them. It breaks my heart watching and listening to the other patients that are dealing with unneeded side effects because physicians are unwilling to do more than dispense medications. Medications that may not be needed if protocols could or would be put in place to keep their patients from suffering needlessly.

Life is a journey. Cancer is its own journey and one that cannot be taken lightly. But, with proper tools, protocols, knowledge and treatment options it is survivable. Don’t be afraid to be your own advocate or to be your love one’s advocate. Ask questions, speak from your heart and listen to your gut.

Be well.

It All Starts in the Waiting Room, and It’s a Wrap with Your Doctor

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner and Founder, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

 

If you or a loved one has ever been diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, CRPS, cancer, PTSD or any other debilitating condition, this will hit home as you’ve been there. Where is ‘there’, you ask? The doctor’s office to obtain verification of a diagnosis, to gather information, and hopefully gain the answers you are seeking. What most people don’t realize is that initial time in the waiting room is starting to set the stage for what is to come. The thoughts that are whirling and twirling through your head all while sitting there in those uncomfortable chairs. The body language of those sitting around you is dreary, gloomy, and everything but uplifting. Starting to sound familiar? And these are just the uncomfortable feelings even before you get to see the doctor. What most people don’t realize is all of these uncomfortable feelings and emotions are setting the stage and putting us in a place where we are more vulnerable. We are in a place physically and mentally where anything that is said to us is taken very literally, and can either help us or hinder us.

You’re finally called back to ‘the room’, or the examination room. It is cold, sterile and very unwelcoming. After a few questions and the typical vital signs, the wait continues. Stress levels are increasing, anxiety is starting to settle in, and you are on the edge of your seat not knowing what to expect.

The doctor finally arrives. You get a quick handshake, if you’re lucky, and then it is down to business. During this time, what the doctor says, how they treat you, their mannerisms, whether they actually examine you or dismiss you, and their words, set the stage for how well you will fare. Patients that are dismissed, not examined, and/or are talked down to, tend to walk away feeling degraded and hopeless. The words that are spoken to a patient at a vulnerable time are key to their success or failure in their future.

Many patients with chronic pain, CRPS, cancer, PTSD, and other debilitating illnesses end up hearing negative statistics during their doctor’s visits. They are told things like, “This is probably the worst case I have seen,” or “You are one of my most complicated patients,” or “I’m sorry, but I don’t think we have anything else to offer you.” All of these negative comments set the stage and start the patient(s) down the path to future failures.

I am not here to bash physicians or Traditional Medicine. What I am here to state is how the information, the way it is presented to a patient, and the tone in how it is said, affects their outcome. As a whole, the healthcare industry needs to do a better job teaching practitioners to communicate effectively with their patients, to make sure that all of their options are on the table, and to keep an open mind about alternative solutions.

Patients and their loved ones are searching for answers. They are holding onto hope that they will find a way to get better. They are trying to find a doctor or practitioner that will provide solid answers and solutions to help them get better. I understand there are times that traditional therapies and treatments may not be enough to help heal someone or get them into remission, but that is the time for the treating physician to be open to looking outside of the box in order to help find a solution, or perhaps encourage the patient to do so. No one treatment will work for everyone. Thus, it is very important that patients have access to information on all treatment options available.

I think I can talk about this as I have been there as a patient diagnosed with CRPS and now as a loved one of someone diagnosed with cancer. I have learned through all of these experiences that the power of suggestion at the times when we are most vulnerable can determine our outcome if we allow it. Just know there are always options out there.

Never give up hope!

 

Lessons Learned From Cancer

By: Traci Patterson, CH, CI, Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

December, 2014 I wrote an article, “Life Lessons I Learned from Cancer”. Well, it’s time to update that article a bit.

In 2015, there will be an estimated 1,658,370 new cancer cases diagnosed and 589,430 cancer deaths in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. These are startling statistics to say the least; Cancer is claiming more and more lives every day.

Cancer is a diagnosis that will rock the foundation of anyone’s world and take the wind out of their sails. Yet, does it really have to be this way?

In June of 2015, the wind was taken out of our sail for both my husband and me when he was re-diagnosed with metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The official results of the PET CT came in while I was out of state treating a chronic pain patient. This is something that no one ever wants to hear and when you do your heart skips a beat, your stomach churns, you feel like you are in a movie and it just can’t be happening, and then you realize… yes, it is real.

In the United States we were faced with the grim reality of the spread of my husband’s cancer and were given the reality check that with this type of cancer that even chemotherapy would not stop it. In short, we were told to get our affairs in order, work on his “Bucket List”, spend as much time with family and friends, and my husband was asked where he was spiritually. I think that pretty much summed it up.

For me it’s yet another life journey, but cancer has proven to be a patient teacher that can and will unlock doors and open your mind, heart and soul to a wealth of lessons if you will receive them. There are many lessons to learn but here are just a few I have learned along the way:

  1. Knowledge is Power:   As aforementioned, in the United States we were told there really was no stopping this type of cancer. We were pretty much told to get our affairs in order and live life to its fullest as long as my husband was able. When we asked about getting treatment out of country and doing alternative or integrative treatments we were told we would have nothing to lose, but none of it was proven. We were told if he did get better with these methods he would be, “an anomaly”. I don’t know if physicians say this because they are afraid of being held liable for suggesting alternative routes, if they are not up to snuff on other options available, or if they legitimately don’t believe in the integrative/alternative treatments. What I do know is that plenty of people take such words at face value and remain discouraged or never seek other treatment options. My husband and I, however, decided we’d take a different approach. Despite the opinions of the oncologist(s), we choose to believe we could impact the cancer with integrative medicine and chose to do so. I contacted the Medical Director of Infusio, a clinic that I had been treated at myself for CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and my husband had been treated at previously. I was fortunate enough to know about Infusio from both of our previous treatments and was able to reach out to them for an immediate consultation. We made the decision to get the treatment needed with Infusio in Frankfurt, Germany. They gave us the best options to give us hope and health in the long run.
  2. Mind – Body Connection: The importance of the individual going through cancer to realizing the mind – body connection is huge. Utilizing hypnosis, self-hypnosis, meditation, relaxation techniques and biofeedback can be a big facilitator to the body having the ability to heal. Decreasing stress levels for cancer or any type of medical condition is a great starting point.
  3. Accept Support: This is the time to embrace the support of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. We had a wonderful support system in place from family and friends. It is important to stay connected with loved ones and to allow them to nourish you when you feel depleted. So often, people go through life wanting to shoulder burdens themselves but at the end of the day, you only end up physically spent, emotionally exhausted, and mentally taxed. It’s imperative to allow people to help you and to allow yourself to be helped. Also know that the journey is not without surprised along the way. Cancer has a way of teaching you who your true friends are; the ones who will be beside you through thick and thin, through up’s and down’s, through the good and bad. Keep those friends close once their faithfulness is revealed through the trials. They are the ones who will help you build a life of unconditional love and memories.
  4. Celebrate Life: Anyone who’s walked through the footsteps of cancer or chronic illness can attest to the way you celebrate life as you are going through the storm and once the storm has passed. With every sunrise and sunset; with every butterfly; every bird song and rainfall; with every blossoming flower in the spring and every golden leaf in the fall – we celebrate the little notes that compose life’s great symphony. We take the time to breathe in the fresh air. We take the time to savor the sweetness of fresh fruits. We laugh, we play, we work on the “Bucket List”, and we spend time with loved ones. As ironic as it may sound, facing cancer has caused us to live life with even more resilience and passion.

We have received the encouragement that we needed from the doctors and staff at Infusio that allowed us to focus on fighting the cancer and my husband getting better. Sometimes you need to change your environment, your surroundings, allow yourself to do some soul searching while going through this journey and know that you will survive. Focus on the good!

We know what we have been through, cancer, and it continues to make us stronger. We live in constant gratitude, hearts brimming with love and thankfulness because no matter where we find ourselves, no matter what our present situation, no matter the trials before us… we’re here, we’re alive… and we can continue to make our mark on this world one day at a time.

“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” ~ Francis of Assisi

Breast Cancer: Published Study Shows Hypnosis Can Control Fatigue

By:  Traci Patterson, CH, CI – Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

Hypnosis can be used to control fatigue from radiotherapy for breast cancer according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. People living with cancer and other diseases have been learning hypnosis at Advanced Pathways Hypnosis with Traci Patterson. Hypnosis is an evidence-based intervention to control fatigue in people undergoing radiotherapy for cancer.

Medical Hypnosis is noninvasive, has no adverse effects, and its beneficial effects persist long after the last intervention session. If you are living with cancer, an autoimmune disease, chronic pain or other illness, you too can learn hypnosis and create lasting benefits.

Randomized Controlled Trial of a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy plus Hypnosis Intervention to Control Fatigue in Patients Undergoing Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

Results: The CBTH group had significantly lower levels of fatigue (FACIT) at the end of radiotherapy (z, 6.73; P < .001), 4-week follow-up (z, 6.98; P < .001), and 6-month follow-up (z, 7.99; P < .001) assessments. Fatigue VAS scores were significantly lower in the CBTH group at the end of treatment (z, 5.81; P < .001) and at the 6-month follow-up (z, 4.56; P < .001), but not at the 4-week follow-up (P < .07). Muscle Weakness VAS scores were significantly lower in the CBTH group at the end of treatment (z, 9.30; P < .001) and at the 6-month follow-up (z, 3.10; P < .02), but not at the 4-week follow-up (P < .13).

Conclusion: The results support CBTH as an evidence-based intervention to control fatigue in patients undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer. CBTH is noninvasive, has no adverse effects, and its beneficial effects persist long after the last intervention session. CBTH seems to be a candidate for future dissemination and implementation.

Here is a link if you would like to read the entire article: Randomized Controlled Trial of a Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Plus Hypnosis Intervention to Control Fatigue in Patients Undergoing Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

Advanced Pathways Hypnosis offers a caring environment, compassion, and excellent resources for noninvasive treatment options.  If you or a loved one is dealing with cancer please contact us to see how we can assist you to increase your energy, decrease pain, and more… all while working in conjunction with your current physicians.

www.AdvancedPathways.com  |  714-717-6633  |  Info@AdvancedPathways.com

Life Lessons I Learned From Cancer

Written by: Traci Patterson, Owner, Advanced Pathways Hypnosis

According to the American Cancer Society, the statistics are startling; Cancer is claiming more and more lives every day.  The numbers tell us that over 1.6 million people will have been diagnosed by the end of 2014 – a diagnosis that can rock the foundation of anyone’s world and take the wind out of their sails.

In July of 2012, that’s what it felt like for me and my husband when he was diagnosed with cancer – Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the tonsil/neck. This is something that no one ever wants to hear and when you do your heart skips a beat, you feel like you are in a movie and it just can’t be happening, and then you realize… yes it is real.  At one point my husband was told that he needed a very invasive surgery followed by large doses of radiation.  When I asked about possible complications to the surgery – they were catastrophic.  At another point, we asked the oncologist about alternative options to the surgery or radiation to aid in the fight against the cancer.  “There is nothing,” the oncologist said.  The devastation that initially hits along with the diagnosis is enough to knock the wind out of you.

It’s been a journey, but cancer has proven to be a patient teacher that can unlock doors and open your mind, heart and soul to a wealth of lessons if you will receive them.  Here are some lessons I learned along the way:

  1.  Knowledge is Power:   As aforementioned, my husband’s oncologist insisted there was nothing we could do other than an invasive surgery and radiation treatments for my husband’s cancer. I don’t know if physicians say this because they are afraid of being held liable for suggesting alternative routes, if they are not up to snuff on other options available, or if they legitimately don’t believe in the alternative treatments. What I do know is that plenty of people take such words at face value and remain discouraged or never seek other treatment options. My husband and I, however, decided we’d take a different approach. Despite the opinions of the oncologist, we choose to believe we could impact the cancer with integrative medicine and chose to do so. I contacted the Medical Director from a clinic that I had been treated at myself for CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) and I knew they also treated cancer patients with integrative medicine. I was fortunate enough to know about Infusio from my previous treatments and was able to reach out to them for an immediate consultation.  We made a commitment to change my husband’s diet, taking all sugar out (sugar feeds cancer), plus many other things were implemented and get him to Infusio for treatment.  It paid off as he came home after 4 weeks of treatment a new man, and here we are wrapping up 2014 with him cancer free.
  2. Accept Support: This is the time to embrace the support of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues. We had a wonderful support system in place from family and friends. It is important to stay connected with loved ones and to allow them to nourish you when you feel depleted. So often, people go through life wanting to shoulder burdens themselves but at the end of the day, you only end up physically spent, emotionally exhausted, and mentally taxed. It’s imperative to allow people to help you and to allow yourself to be helped.  Also know that the journey is not without surprised along the way. Cancer has a way of teaching you who your true friends are; the ones who will be beside you through thick and thin, through up’s and down’s, through the good and bad. Keep those friends close once their faithfulness is revealed through the trials. They are the ones who will help you build a life of unconditional love and memories.
  3. Celebrate Life: Anyone who’s walked through the footsteps of cancer or chronic illness can attest to the way you celebrate life once the storm has passed. With every sunrise and sunset; with every butterfly; every bird song and rainfall; with every blossoming flower in the spring and every golden leaf in the fall – we celebrate the little notes that compose life’s great symphony.  We take the time to breathe in the fresh air. We take the time to savor the sweetness of fresh fruits. We laugh, we play, and we spend time with loved ones. As ironic as it may sound, facing cancer caused us to live life with even more passion.

We received the encouragement that we needed from the doctors and staff at Infusio that allowed us to focus on fighting the cancer and my husband getting better, and he did. Sometimes you need to change your environment, your surroundings, allow yourself to do some soul searching while going through this journey and know that you will survive. Focus on the good!

We know what we have been through, cancer, and it made us stronger. We live in constant gratitude, hearts brimming with love and thankfulness because no matter where we find ourselves, no matter what our present situation, no matter the trials before us… we’re here, we’re alive… and we can continue to make our mark on this world one day at a time.