Archive | January, 2020

Dreams and Intuition Can Lead Us to an Early Diagnosis — If We Pay Attention!

4 Jan

Recently I was going through some old journals that had been in storage.  In one, I was stunned to find a reference to cancer 13 months before my diagnosis of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).

Here is the dream:  I am in a healing circle. I am singled out for healing because I have cancer.

I woke up and wrote in my journal, “That’s more than three dreams I’ve had that I have cancer!  I should make an appointment with my gynecologist, get a mammogram, and get a colonoscopy.”

I was ashamed that I had done none of those things.  My dreams had been guiding me and I had ignored their guidance.  It wasn’t until I found a bloody discharge from my one nipple that I finally went to the doctor.  (Interestingly, that breast had only a benign nodule, it was the other breast that had the microcalcifications often indicative of early cancer. I would not have found that cancer had I not had the discharge and been scheduled for an emergent mammogram.)

I know I am not the first woman to receive warning dreams about a health condition.  In a book called She Who Dreams, Wanda Burch writes about how her dreams ultimately saved her life. A series of disturbing dreams took her to the doctor, concerned that she might have breast cancer. The doctors did not take her intuition seriously.  Fortunately, Wanda persevered and using dreams as guides, she not only survived but became a vitally healthy woman doing important work in the world.

Unfortunately, it is not unusual for doctors to minimize women’s concerns about their health. There are countless stories about how women’s pain, symptoms, and concerns are dismissed, underplayed, or otherwise judged unworthy of attention.  Often women are belittled, or it’s implied that they are hypochondriacs, or they are told to “just take a Tylenol.” (See the following article for some of the many, many examples: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/08/womens-health-care-gaslighting/567149/)

A friend, herself a breast cancer survivor, told me about a woman who went to the doctor saying that her one breast “felt heavy.” She was essentially told it was just her imagination. The feeling persisted.  The doctors continued to metaphorically “pat her on the head.” Eventually it was discovered that she did indeed have breast cancer, but by then it had spread too far and, sadly, she died.

We need to take our dreams and intuition seriously.  They are there for a reason. As renowned dream teacher and author Jeremy Taylor used to say, “All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness.”

Dream well, friends.  Listen well.  And be healthy.