Friday, December 16, 2011

Reiki and Cancer

What is different about this cat? Look very close.

Does it look right?

Or is something a little off?

This is from a local art show, and is a cat painted onto a large river rock stone.

One needs to look beyond the immediate appearance to appreciate its true form, and in a rock's case, it's true strength.

So is the same with patients with cancer.

"Treat everyone around you as if they are going to die tomorrow. Be kind and caring. Open and honest. And loving, as much as you can, for they will leave the earth knowing they are not alone." That is my motto for all of my extremely ill patients, especially the cancer ones. It is instinctive. It is to my core, and it goes a long way back to my first days in medical school to the hospital.

For some reason, I adore taking care of my cancer patients. And over the years, I find that they respond well to me. Add Reiki to this interaction, and it truly, truly allows a transformative experience for both the doctor and the patient.

Here are some steps to take when dealing with your cancer patient in your life:

1) Listen

One of my first cancer patients was a young teen with a lesion on the scalp. The dermatologist found it was cancer. Imaging showed it was from a large mass inside the head coming out. This patient was confused and perplexed by the medical system. 'Do you walk into walls?' the neurosurgeon would ask.  "What kind of stupid question is that?" she relayed to me. She also had a terror of seeing the operating room, and made me promise not to let her know what it looked like inside. At a world famous children's hospital,, they routinely have the older  kids walk unassisted to the OR. They are not knocked out like everybody else. When she wanted to walk to the restroom, I let her. But then I titrated anxiolytic to effect. Because of her seizure medications, it took more. Four times the normal dose! But it worked! And she trusted me so much, I was personally requested for her anesthesia for every case. I am still friends with the family, and even though this dear soul passed, I have her picture in my house in her cheerleader outfit, I enjoyed working with her so much.

2) Admit that you are not perfect

These people have been through the medical system. A lot. Find out what they need and what has worked for them. And GIVE IT! Even though it is not your usual style. The openness and caring that you want to make a special experience for them is the message that you want to send. They truly are your best customer. In several cases, that short time in pre-op is the most normal they will be in their lives again.  These patients will soak up your compassion like a sponge, their families too, and it is right for it to be like this.

3) Be honest and let love flow from your heart

"The doctor's job is trying to amuse the patient until they get better." is an old saying that is mostly true.
These patients are going for a cure or to relieve their symptoms from the cancer that will ultimately kill them. Be real. Be grounded. Be kind. For your kindness goes a long way with them in their battle for their life. Everyone, most everyone they have met and are going to meet will in some way find out about you if you do your best as you do your job for them. It will be like, "I went through this horrible surgery, but the anesthesiologist was so nice and I had no pain or nausea." when they talk about the experience to others.

4) Reiki, Reiki, Reiki...

There are two kinds of Reiki-1) a continuous source of Reiki to others and 2) formal Reiki, or in my case, intentional O.R. Reiki on the not so obvious to others in the O.R.

Set your soul on POSITIVE. Keep it that way. Your cheerfulness is an anchor to others in an otherwise traumatic situation for them. Be a leader. Show them you are comfortable with this procedure and the anesthetic. Reassure them everything will be okay. And in truth, even if the cancer leads to death at some point, you know that you will have balanced their energy patterns as each individual needs, and moreover placed the transition symbol into their aura to permit a safe passage to the end of life and beyond.

5) Follow up

Patients like to see you after. They have something to say. I know that you are busy as an anesthesiologist, and time is short in between cases. But, if you have the time, and do so, your visit to them afterward will bring closure to you both. Let them have their say on how their experience was with the anesthetic. The encouragement and support offered at this time is blessed. Most blessed. Over all.

It is my hope that these words shall encourage you in working with your cancer patients. I had one yesterday who was post-chemotherapy and still had good veins! But a portacath and no hair. I blessed her when I gave Diksha during surgery, and held her head in my hands with my heart. 

"Is it over?" she asked, puzzled, in the recovery room. 

"Yes, it is." I reassured. 

"Wow, those drugs sure worked. The only thing I remember was in the pre-op room talking to you."she said surprised and with good emphasis on the not remembering part.

"That's exactly how it is supposed to be." I smiled, linking my right  pinky finger in hers, verifying with my pinky promise that I did exactly what I said I would do for her.

Happy Aloha Friday and Namaste,

Reiki Doc