Maxine's Breast Cancer, Hypnotherapy and Surgery
Maxine's story of recovery,
with narrative by Michael Carroll
Below is Maxine H's account of her diagnosis with breast cancer, her hypnosis sessions with me (Michael Carroll), and her recovery which included surgery.
Maxine had been on several of my courses before and I knew her son David, who told me about his mum's diagnosis. The key was to act quickly, cancer spreading to the lymph nodes can have lethal consequences. The surgeon had told her in her consultation on a Saturday morning, that he could not save her nipple, a dominant area of the cancer showing in the mammogram, and had booked her in for a mastectomy the following Wednesday, just 5 days later.
Maxine's session with me, in front of live hypnosis class I was running at the time, lasted about two hours. During the first session, there was a noise intrusion of motorbike continually revving outside my office, which I utilised in the induction providing a series of hypnotic suggestions that the unconscious can 'rev' up and 'accelerate' her healing, an isomorphic metaphor for the revving motorbike outside. I conducted a follow up session on the Monday, in which I incorporated a living metaphor of her travelling to my office as a passenger on a motorbike.
The interesting aspect of Maxine's case is that the biopsy report after her surgery showed the nipple area of her breast being totally clear of the cancer that could be seen on the mammogram just 5 days previously.
Can we attribute this to the hypnosis, or was there an error in the original diagnosis? We will never know the answer to this, Maxine herself did an unconscious check, using the unconscious signals we had set in the session, to affirm with her unconscious she was 20% clear of the cancer, and that surgery was her best option, Maxine's unconscious check that morning, correlated with the biopsy report and the nipple being clear from cancer.
Please note, I am not promoting NLP and Hypnosis as a cure for cancer, that would be totally irresponsible. Myself and my colleagues, including John Grinder, the co-creator of NLP and Steve Breibart, a medical doctor from California and the author of the book 'Healing Beyond Pills and Potions', have worked with cancer patients, in conjunction with medical treatments where the healing has occurred more rapidly than the original prognosis suggested and also with people who chose a non-medical route for their recovery incorporating NLP and Hypnosis to support lifestyle changes, emotional recovery and natural healing.
You can read Maxine’s remarkable story below. All images were provided by Maxine as was her biopsy report. The images and contents of this article are protected by copyright, and are not to be copied, edited or reproduced in any format without permissions of the authors, please respect this as Maxine has been incredibly brave in sharing her story. Feel free to share the article with interested parties via it’s URL.
THE CHEEK OF IT
It was my 49th birthday and my mother greeted me with “Happy Birthday Max, you’ll be 50 next year” … Thanks Mum, just what wanted to hear … can I enjoy the last year of my forties before you expedite me into my half century!
… AND AGAIN - Let me enjoy being 49!
A few months later I received some mail ‘inviting’ me to attend a mobile breast clinic for a mammogram at East Surrey Hospital – as I was now, after all, in my fiftieth year. Thank you again, will anyone let me enjoy being 49?! Well hmmpphhhh if I am not busy I will go, but if my schedule is busy I will postpone it to next year when I will actually be 50.
As luck would have it, I was free that week and after must jesting by the office boys (well men really but they don’t act like it), I went off for my very first routine mammogram. Quite straight forward really, clothes off, breast on cold plates and squashed – not pleasant but we all know that, and after all many of us have been through other things such as childbirth so get on with it. Routine procedure, get dressed, advised that I would receive the results in the mail in about four weeks’ time. Off for a coffee before returning to the office.
The following week I returned from a business trip on Thursday morning and sat down with a cup of tea and went through the mail. Another invite, this time to Guildford Hospital for a repeat mammogram – tomorrow! Yikes. My left breast shows an irregular pattern that they want to investigate a little more. Everyone keeps telling me that it’s routine, they just want to double check. I ignored the nagging voice inside (Max you know irregular patterns are not usual …).
I sat quite confidently with my husband who had driven me there purely because I was not sure where I was going. Firstly, I was called into a little room to give details of my medical history etc. When I was returned to my husband, I told him of the tissue box on the desk which was covered in the same material as the cushions on the couch … very odd looking for a hospital I thought. I met a couple of women in the bathroom and they were crying. I felt really guilty standing there absolutely fine, so I rushed out and sat with my husband again and waited to be call for the biopsy. Of course, the machinery broke down on me and I had to sit there (squashed) until they got it all fixed. Sent to wait again.
In to meet the Radiologist who conducted a Doppler test and showed me the blood flow with red and blue lines. Then she put the mammogram up on the light screen. She started talking. I was picking out odd words such as left breast; micro-calcification; carcinoma; DCIS; irregular, all over; surgical removal. Somehow none of it quite made sense. Why wasn’t she just telling me what she meant? I stopped her and said “Can I just clarify … you are saying that I have cancer and I need to have part of my breast surgically removed” she responded with “All of your breast”. I’m then told to take a seat in the waiting room – again – I said to my husband “S***, well that wasn’t my vision, that’s not in my plans, what the heck!”.
“Okay so what do I do now? What is the procedure?” Apparently, get a surgeon and await the biopsy result (one week). I asked that the biopsy result be telephoned to me but they don’t like to do that. I asked why and was told that they like patients to have someone with them. I explained that I already know the result and she advised the biopsy could come back clear. “And if it does” I asked “does that mean I am clear?”. “Oh no, you definitely have cancer, we would just have to do another biopsy”. “Well no let’s just get on with it. I will have someone with me when you call” (Okay, I had my fingers crossed, but they had already told me the facts). So the result was due Friday and I had arranged a Consultation with Mr Adam Stacey-Clear the following morning, Saturday at 09:10.
THE REALISATION and HOW TO TELL PEOPLE
Okay now I have to tell work that I am going to be out and can’t go to Houston, oh and my daughters, oh and friends …
My husband dropped me off at the office and waited for me outside. My friends were busy working, office doors shut. So, I went to my desk and wrote a note (they knew I had gone for a routine double check):
I slid it under Andrea’s office door and left. Just as I got to the front reception my phone rang. It was Andrea – “Stop wait, I’m coming down”. And her head popped round the reception doors followed by Paula … they were devastated – hugs and kisses, tears and sad faces, … I told them I was fine and had to go and get things organized – it was so nice to know they were there for me. They were great! I asked them to tell everyone and make sure they all knew so that I did not have to bother with that bit. I don’t like Chinese whispers, I would rather everyone felt free to know and to ask me about it, rather than wonder, whisper and skirt around the subject. That makes it harder for them and me.
I told my family, I dislike the word but it really does describe the responses – ‘Gobsmacked!’
My boss in Houston called and said “How can you be so positive, I’ve been crying all day since I heard”. I didn’t mean to sound hurtful but I told her that I don’t have time for that and crying isn’t going to help me. I think she was a little taken back but I could not afford to go down the route of feeling sorry for myself. I am not the first and certainly won’t be the last person in this situation. I have to deal with it, learn from it and move on. I want to be able to share the experience and have as many people as possible benefit from me.
It took the rest of the day and until nearly midnight with my husband calling people and answering the phone in between, he was on one phone and I was on the other - so that everyone was in their place knowing the position so that I could finally take some time for myself. Naturally my children came first and all calls had to stop when I told them. They need to know directly from me and not from an overheard call going on. What a draining night. I did not realise how much what other people say (with all good intent) can be so draining.
Their baggage is so heavy with this stuff and asking questions I still have no idea about … And had not thought of. I had to put out of my mind everyone else’s concerns and concentrate on me and my situation specifically which is different to everyone else’s …
I went to bed exhausted … and had my little pity party for about 10 minutes and cried myself to sleep.
Saturday morning, I sat there with my husband still so full of being busy organizing everything. Mr Stacey Clear said “I can’t save your nipple I’m afraid but we should be able to get all of it”. “When can you come in?” Oh, I have a choice, great … “Um, when can you do it?” “Wednesday” … “Oooh” I said “I have to be in Houston next week ..” I could tell by the physiology of the nurse, my husband and the raised eyebrow of the surgeon that was the ‘wrong’ answer so I changed it quickly to “Okay, that will be fine, thank you”.
He went on to tell me that I could opt for immediate reconstruction if I wished and asked where I would like the muscle to come from to reshape myself over the transplants, my choices were back, stomach, thigh … I chose my back. I have a lovely tummy, so no need to touch that. He told me that he could not save my nipple because the cancer was all over, and in the nipple, he showed me the mammogram with it showing up as white little specks.
Next, I was warned I would be in for up to seven days (the following Tuesday) but as there was a bank holiday Monday I may come out a little sooner, like the Monday or Sunday and that could mean that I come home with drains in (yuk – that sounds horrible, what’s that all about – okay let’s just put it out of my head, worry about that when it comes to it – it may not happen to me).
FRIENDS, MICHAEL AND HYPNOTHERAPY
Saturday afternoon my son, David had arranged for me to visit with Michael (NLP Academy) who I had worked with for several years and with my permission he took me through a thorough session (in front of an audience of 50 for training purposes) on the three outcomes I wanted to achieve
1) Increase my haemoglobin count
2) Regress the cancer
3) Ensure a speedy and healthy recovery.
Michael was fabulous, he put me and my needs in front of everyone and everything. He took me through the session in a wonderful hypnotic state directing me to be successful. It’s amazing how strong the mind is. Just knowing Michael had worked with me gave me the most motivational feeling – somehow, I knew I would be okay. During the session a Motorbike revved loudly outside, and continued revving for a while.
Michael immediately latched on to the sound and utilized it as a metaphor for ‘revving up the speed of recovery’ and took me through to seeing myself free and healthy. Michael specifically had me concentrate on a transparent model outside my body and guided me to see it gradually go away. For some reason I started at the nipple and cleared it moving inwards. I saw it as red gradually disappearing. This becomes poignant later on ….
Michael also conducted the ' Healer Within Pattern' in hypnosis to set a healing frame, using ideomotor signals to connect with the unconscious mind. Michael suggested a second session the following Monday to verify the healing process set up in the Healer Within process and to help me prepare for the reconstruction.
REVVING UP THE RECOVERY
Monday morning a Virgin Atlantic courier motorbike called at my home to collect me – what a surprise (Michael had told my son, David, about the motorbike revving up and they came up with the brilliant idea as a living metaphor for the bike revving up my recovery). Of we started for Croydon on this super bike for a second session with Michael, this time one-on-one to see how I was doing and to give me some more assistance in preparing for the operation ahead. I felt so good from both of these sessions.
I had also spoken to Julie in Arizona, another friend who took me through some mind cleansing techniques to ensure that my thoughts were clean and pure and free of any baggage. This resource is so beneficial when one is thrown full force into a situation. It is paramount to put everything in perspective so I can continue as normal as soon as possible.
THE MORNING OF THE OPERATION
What a beautiful May day … I sat in the garden going over the items I had packed ensuring I had everything:
2) Dressing Gown
5) My husbands’ Blue Shirt – Oh come on, I don’t own a nightie or pyjamas, I never wear them so why would I change that just because I am going into hospital?! Be yourself! Be unique. Don’t follow the trend. Being different, means being successful. I will not conform and fall into this trap that begins with C
6) Laptop – yes, I will need to work. Athens is starting up business on Friday I need to ensure the dry runs work and everyone has everything. For goodness sake, not everything stops just because I am popping in for an operation! Life goes on. I have things to do.
Yes, that’s about it – I don’t need much – just make sure I look feminine and that will do (Okay, I hear you laughing – what, look feminine in a man’s shirt!? – come on girls I know how to wear that shirt, trust me!! My friends were being great and laughing and agreeing and telling me to go ahead and be different, show my true spirit, they were urging me on and I was having fun. A new adventure ahead, another thing to conquer.
I’ve conquered many other things in my life. I’ve always come through. My husband has been there to help me through most of it and he was there for me now, sort of not noticeable, not making a fuss but doing, somehow, all the right things at the right time. I don’t know how he knew what to do when … or if I was subconsciously bossing him around (yes I am good at that) – I wonder now what he was thinking … what a wonderful man he is …. I think he was proud that I wanted to wear his ‘best’ blue shirt – it somehow made us one. The strength we have as a team is immense. I was going into this with sleeves rolled up and ready!
So back to the chair in the sunny garden waiting for my husband to come home from work and drive me to the hospital – I sat and concentrated inside of me – I went to my deepest inner being. I asked of myself how I was actually doing in there … from my session with Michael and his students, had I had any effect (each day I had been carrying out a repeat of the positive thinking techniques – seeing my strength grow, seeing my haemoglobin getting thicker, stronger and duplicating good cells to overcome the baddies; and having a strong, healthy body ready to drive a speedy recovery).
My first question to myself was: ‘Am I cancer free?’ ‘No’ came the answer. Hmmm not quite what I wanted to hear.
My next question: ‘Has the cancer regressed?’ ‘Yes’
'How much 75%?’ ‘No’
‘25%?’ ‘Yes’ – Hmmm interesting response.
Is my haemoglobin any better? Again the response was around 20% … so I felt that I was at least on the right track within myself.
Final question – ‘Shall I go ahead with the surgery?’ ‘Yes’ was the response.
(These may seem like strange questions but later in my story you will see their relevance)
So off I go wearing L’air du Temps, sunglasses and in an open front dress (thoughtfully easy for post operation to wear home!) – I can hear my friends say ‘Oh, she’s so organized ….’
Sitting in the garden waiting on Ian’s return, reflecting and strategizing for the weeks to come and how to maintain a healthy and happy attitude for a speedy recovery and for those around me.
Amazing – I had to put my bra back on for the surgeon who then drew a blue line along my bra line so that the scar would be hidden under a bikini – I was amazed at the thought that goes into this.
Okay – all gowned up and ready to go at 2:30 p.m. (that’s what I like, an on-time departure). I slipped into a dreamy, lovely state …… zzzzzzzz
When I awoke I could barely see the clock through fuzzy eyes, straining I asked the nurse is that 7:30? ‘Yes it is, how are you feeling?’ ..‘F i n e …… zzzzzz’. In and out of sleepiness and prodding until they started to wheel me back to my room – bump, bang, crash … into the elevator. Whoa, I feel hot, nauseous, faint … Oooooh I am going to f a i n t …. More oxygen, head down again.
Turns out I have low blood pressure and every time a nurse came in to ‘make me comfortable’ she would insist I need to have my head level or up slightly … no please leave me be … and as soon as they put my head up I would faint again and my blood pressure would plummet. Every fifteen minutes all through the night the staff would come in and check all my vitals and top up the fluids. I was reminded again that there was a button for Morphine shots and warned not to take too many otherwise they would take it away from me altogether.
I never used it. By the time they unhooked it from me they asked me why I had not used any and said I must have been uncomfortable. Yes, but I had not been in pain as such. Except when I was trying to reach for my meal that the waitress had left out of my reach and knocked my nurse call box to the floor and pushed my side table out of the way with my phone on.
Now it was first time up to ‘have a look’ and a wash. There’s a big notice on my bathroom door
So like any good girl I stayed in bed and waited to be escorted, especially knowing I had a tendency to faint at the tip of a hat! So the nurse guided me to the bathroom and told me to take a look at my wounds (apparently the sooner one does this the better and quicker one comes to terms with the facts). She disappeared. I stood there looking in the mirror, holding three drains emanating from my side in a white pillow case thinking I don’t have enough hands … and all went fuzzy again … oh shoot here I go … so I guided my body to the ground and lay over the loo to keep my wounds away from the floor. What am I doing … where is she … oh god … I feel like s***. She came back and helped me out and got me back to bed. I’ve got to get over this …
Mr Stacey-Clear came to see me at about 11 a.m. I said ‘Can I have the last drain out?’ He checked it and said ‘Hmm, yes you can …’. He gave me a copy of the biopsy report that I was so pleased with and he said, ‘If you want to, you can go home …’ ‘Wow, yes please … super’. I called my husband (who was supposed to be delighted) but he was shattered and had a cold but I didn’t care … he picked me up and said ‘There’s no food in, I’ll stop at the supermarket and get a few bits’.
He stopped at the doorway at my request and I got out and scuffed very slowly to the entrance. He was bemused, parked the car quickly and came to me. We wandered slowly and somehow I drifted off down an aisle and tried to pull out some pre-packaged meals. I couldn’t pull the freezer door open towards me … oooohhh there goes that funny feeling again. I held the trolley, then stooped down and sat on my heals – I tried to peer around the trolley for Ian and I could only see people’s feet moving at the end of the aisle … everyone was avoiding the odd lady on the floor. Oh god that’s me, I’d better get up. Slowly I pulled myself up to the trolley and held on. Ian came over and said in an accusatory tone ‘Where did you go …?’ I told him it was him that walked off and left me (okay I had an excuse, right!! Yes, the anaesthetic… what did you think I meant?)
Now that vital biopsy report - My surgeon read it out to me on the Friday night and my mind immediately clicked on one phrase ‘The nipple is normal’. So when he came to see me on the Saturday morning I asked if I could keep the biopsy report and he handed it to me. Great, I read it and re-read it. This means that the hypnotherapy really worked … I knew I had removed it with my mind from the nipple backwards … that is fantastic! I wonder how long it would have taken to rid myself of it completely?! WOW! Ever since I have seen more and more evidence of how we can effect change in our bodies. See the actual report below:
To learn how you can apply Hypnotic Healing for your everyday health and wellbeing and for fast recovery when your health changes, you can attend the London Hypnosis Academy's course Hypnotic Healing, which is taking place on the 17th and 18th of September 2022, live-streamed with Michael Carroll.
For more information click the link below.
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