from Cheryl Mack
“I have to get out of here!” I said to my husband, as I grabbed keys, jacket, and cell phone.
“Do you want me to go with you?” he asked.
“No!” I was right on the edge of full-blown panic as I ran out the door.
When I have an anxiety attack, I feel like running as far and as fast as I can. This time I went about a mile to the edge of the lake near our home before I could stop and consider what was going on in my mind.
There was a reason for me to be afraid. It was two days before Christmas and I had just been diagnosed with stage four metastasized cancer. The doctor was going to call this afternoon with the results of the PET scan, which would tell us where the cancer had started and how far it had spread.
“This could be my last Christmas!” I thought. “I might never sit by this lake again, or kayak in the water, or watch my grandkids play here.” Panic was overcoming me. I wanted to scream.
“Stop it!” I told myself. “If this were happening to your sister or one of your friends, what would you say to help them get through?” In the past I had often been able to help others through difficult times. Now all I had to offer myself was fear. I took a couple of deep breaths.
“Give the cancer to God,” I responded, carrying both sides of the dialogue.
“But to give it to God,” I protested, “I would first have to own the cancer and I don’t want to have anything to do with it!” Once again panic was rising.
Suddenly, standing in front of me a little to the left, as clear and solid as the trees behind him, I saw my Guru, Paramhansa Yogananda.
“Offer up your fear,” he said.
Cupping my hands in front of my heart, I visualized the fear that filled me from my toes to the top of my head. I saw it flowing out of my body and into my hands, which I held up to him.
“Thank you for taking this,” I said.
A wave of peace and love came over me. I walked home, cheerfully greeting my neighbors, “Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas.” In stark contrast to the panic-driven flight before.
“Hi Honey, I’m home,” I called to my husband, as I went in the door. “I’m going to put on a pot of coffee. Do you want some?”
The cancer turned out to be serious indeed. I spent many days in the hospital and several times nearly died. Through it all, however, I was almost never afraid. I felt Divine Mother’s presence within me, and flowing through all my caregivers.
Once, during what I thought would be a routine examination, the doctor suddenly grabbed the phone, called the Diagnostic Imaging Center and said, “I’m sending a patient down to you. Get her in immediately!” I had a blood clot he thought was heading for my heart.
Fear started to rise within me. Fortunately my husband thought to call the “prayer hotline” at Ananda and ask for immediate help. By the time I got to the Imaging Center, I felt a wave of peace sweeping over me from the prayers being offered on my behalf. I was no longer afraid. If I had died then, or been told death was imminent, I knew it would be fine.
“I have done what I need to do here,” I thought. “God will take care of the rest.” I don’t know how people make it through an experience like this without faith in God.
I’ve always been a purist when it comes to food and medicine, shunning allopathic in favor of more natural healing methods. Now I had to surrender all of that. Every time I took chemotherapy, I said grace over the chemo bag as if it were a meal I was about to enjoy. I wrote a special prayer:
“Divine Mother, receive this chemo in Thy Light. Infuse it with Your Love, Your Light, and Your Divine Healing power. With deep gratitude I accept this gift and expect only the highest good to come of it. With deep gratitude I anticipate the possible side-effects to be minimal or nonexistent. Thank You, God. Thy will be done.”
I would visualize the medication flowing through my body as healing energy, gathering up the darkness (cancer cells) and leading them to the Light for transmutation. I also addressed the cancer cells directly.
“Dear cancer cells within my body: I thank you for the messages you have given me. Your presence is no longer required in my body and I ask you to leave now. I gently release you into the Light.”
Despite my prayers, I did lose my hair. On the morning I knew it was going to happen, I was afraid even to comb it. I shed a few tears, and tried all the usual clichés—“It’s just hair. It will grow back. No more bad hair days.”—but nothing worked. I needed something positive to hold onto. I decided that every clump of hair represented an equal amount of cancer cells leaving my body. It took about an hour to comb all the hair out. It was not a time of sorrow. It was releasing, renewing, and joy.
I’ve been cancer-free for over a year now. My life has changed completely. I had spent most of my life worrying about everything, especially my daughter who has an incurable disease. Repeatedly over the last twenty-five years she has been in and out of the hospital.
Every time the phone rang or there was a knock at the door, I expected it to be bad news about her. I wouldn’t go anywhere without a cell phone. If the phone didn’t work, I would be almost in a panic that something would happen to her and I wouldn’t know.
I love my daughter and all my family the same as before, but now I know that they belong to Divine Mother as much as they belong to me. She will care for them, whether or not I am here to help Her. I am at peace with that.
For six months during the cancer treatment I couldn’t swallow anything—neither food nor water. A feeding tube kept me alive. Now even a sip of water is cause for rejoicing.
After it was over—when the cancer was gone, the treatments were done, and my hair had grown back—I spent a long time finding just the right words to tell others what it all meant to me.
she decided to let go of her fear and her past
and live only in the present
She opened her eyes
and saw beauty everywhere.
She opened her heart
and found herself surrounded
by love and compassion.
She searched within and realized
that happiness comes and goes
but joy and inner peace are inherent.
she chose freedom
and found that she could fly.