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Essences Following the Diagnosis of Cancer
©2002 Deborah Bier, M.Ed.
pear blossomPut yourself in your client's place: suppose you or a loved-one has just been diagnosed with cancer. Time seems to stop. Everything else in your life may recede as fear, shock, panic, helplessness, denial, grief, or anger take the forefront. Regardless of the prognosis offered, you're shaken and unsure as the ground seems to tilt beneath your feet.

Brimming with this typical overload of surging emotions, new cancer patients and their families are required to research options, weigh alternatives, interview healthcare providers, and make treatment decisions which in some cases can literally mean the difference between life and death. Oh, and make it snappy -- time could be of the essence here!

Is it any wonder that after a diagnosis of cancer it may seem like your clients have had their life and health drained from them -- even if they felt pretty well before they heard the news? This overwhelming load of feelings and tasks can at first seem impossible to navigate and absorb. Each component requires clear thinking and grounded intuition to get through. Typically, new cancer patients quickly become physically and emotionally drained -- right at the very moment their physical immune systems and emotional and spiritual attitudes need to be at their very best.

The Physical Isn't the Only Need!
As both an experienced holistic practitioner and a former cancer patient myself, I can attest to how little attention is usually paid to the emotional upheaval created by a cancer diagnosis. As healthcare professionals, we all want to rush right in and heal that body once the "c-word" has come into play -- forget about attending to the rest of the person. But if we do, we not only trample the patient's emotional state in our rush, we may also inadvertantly place obstacles in the way of efficient physical healing. We may also lose an early opportunity to support our clients in the type of emotional and spirtitual growth often triggered by such a crisis.

st. john's wortI cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to address the emotional and spiritual aspects of the cancer diagnosis from the first moment possible. After all: to the degree that patients are tied up in knots by unresolved emotions, they will not have energy available for the body to heal. The same is true of their support system: if their friends and family are unable to deal with their own feelings, how available will they be to support their loved one? While issues of the body do need to be attended to, the emotional aspect must be addressed immediately and powerfully to maximize opportunities for physical healing.

This is a marvelous opportunity to introduce vibrational essences to the treatment protocol, whether you are practicing medicine, acupuncture, counseling, or another modality. Essences are wonderful tools for dealing with the shock of the new cancer diagnosis, as well as potent allies every step of the way through treatment, recovery and/or the dying process. And at a time when quality of life may count for everything because time could be short, essences may truly be a Godsend.

Choosing the Right Essences
To select the best essences for whatever phase of cancer diagnosis or treatment the person is in, focus on the emotional and spiritual quality most strongly present -- or most strongly needed -- at the moment. And better not to choose an essence for, say, fear in general. A more effective approach would be to focus on what exactly is the most frightening thing at the moment: is it the potential for death (Milkweed, Purple Monkeyflower, Blackberry)? Fear of others' rejection (Goldenrod, Holly)? Feeling that the body is unclean or has betrayed them (Crab Apple, Rosemary)? Fear their strength will fail (Pale Yellow Lily, Cerato, Olive)? The more specific you can be, the better the remedy may work.

Below are some essence choices for just a few of the typical needs of many cancer patients; of course, there are many others. And don't forget -- their friends and family may need essences, too. Consult the manufacturers' descriptions or other articles on this website (links provided) for more information to help you make the best selection.

Key: A = Alaskan * AB = Australian Bush * B = Bach * HH = Healing Herbs * F = FES * M = Masters * W = Whole Energy Essences
angel's trumpet/datura Shock (both initial diagnosis and at times of other bad news; sometimes these remedies can also help with physical shocks) - Rescue Remedy/Five Flower (B/HH), Help is On the Way (W), Echinacea, Self-Heal (W, F), Fireweed (A, W, FES), Pear (various)

Fatigue/Endurance - Echinacea (W, F), Oak, Olive, Hornbeam, Impatiens, Sweet Chestnut, Willow (HH, B), Pale Yellow Lily (W), Corn (various), Macrocarpa (AB)

Hopelesness/Courage - Beech, Larch , Wild Rose (HH, B), Orange (M), Tomato (M, W), Astilbe (W)

Denial/Escape - Agrimony, Birch, Clematis (B, HH), Chrysanthemum, Deerbrush, Black-Eyed Susan, Nicotiana (F), Honeysuckle (B, HH), Self-Heal (W, F)

Opening to Spirituality/Faith/Guidance - Lotus (various), Aspen, Cherry Plum, Sweet Chestnut (B, HH), Angelica, Sage, Angel's Trumpet (F), Corn (various), Forget-Me-Not (various), Corydalis (W)

Acceptance and Meaning of Suffering - Love-Lies-Bleeding, Pretty Face, Rosemary (F), Clover, Crimson Rose, White Solstice Rose, Red Rose (W), Impatiens, Mustard, Pine, Walnut, Wild Rose (B, HH), Blackberry (various)

Anxiety/Panic/Overwhelm - Rock Rose, White Chestnut, Oak, Star of Bethlehem, Aspen, Elm, Hornbeam (HH, B), Dill, Red Clover (F), Yarrows (several by various), Kale (M), Rescue Remedy/Five Flower (B/HH), St. John's Wort (various)

Illness as a Springboard for Transformation
rosemary in bloomOptimally, we want to realize all the emotional and spiritual growth possible throughout the process of dealing with cancer. Whether the patient will recover or die, this type of transformation is available to everyone involved if they take advantage of the opportunity.

Without essences, I am not sure how I would have experienced my own time as a cancer patient -- I used one or more daily, changing them as needed. Given an extremely poor prognosis and a negligible chance of survival, I was nonetheless able to spend an intense and vivid year being productive, creative, very present to the moment, and ready to die with peace in my heart and mind. Though it certainly was a very stressful time, it was also a deeply spiritual passage for me. With the help of essences, I know how blessed I have been to have experienced that level of consciousness even as I faced my death.

And now, fully recovered, I carry those blessings forward with me. What essences did I take? I no longer remember them all, and besides: the ones I used were right for my emotional and spiritual needs at that time and might not be appropriate in other cases . Use the ideas and concepts above to select the ones right for you.

Do I credit essences with my unexpected survival? Did they help bring me peace so my physical body could heal better and in a more unobstructed manner? It is impossible to answer these questions. I only know my quality of life was what mattered to me and I do believe essences helped that immeasurably.

Editors' Note: Here are additional articles in Vibration applicable to this subject:
  • Emotional Effects of Chronic or Serious Illness
  • Essences and Death and Dying
  • Remedies for Emergencies
  • Trauma and Crisis Virtual Booklet
  • Essences and Spirituality (special theme issue)
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Deborah Bier, M.Ed. is the maker of Whole Energy Essences and co-editor of Vibration Magazine. For more of her articles in Vibration Magazine, see here.

    ART CREDITS: Design by Hometown Websmith. Images courtesy of ArtToday.

    The World Wide Essence Society does not mean to imply any recommendation of nor give certification to any individuals or companies above. This article is provided purely for informational purposes. We ask consumers to make their own determination as to quality of the services and products offered above. This article is not meant to be advice, and the information is not meant to replace medical or psychological treatment.
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