Posts Tagged ‘Wish Lists’

Finding a therapist might have seemed daunting given the large supply in the metropolitan area except that I was glad to have a mission to add to my daily regimen of health promoting activities, plus I had a method. I approached my assignment to find a therapist the same way I’ve searched for a house or a job or, once upon a time, a partner/husband: I beseeched the Universe in morning and nightly prayers, and I wrote a detailed wish list.

What makes me believe in the efficacy of wish lists? Maybe I believe because the letter I wrote to Santa Claus produced a Chatty Cathy doll on Christmas morning when I was an impressionable kid. Or, maybe someone suggested a wish list like someone suggested a gratitude list at a time when I was ripe for taking a suggestion, and it helped to relieve my fear of the future for a day. I don’t recall what made me write my first wish list as an adult. All I know is that the sweet 9:00 to 5:00 job with adequate salary and benefits that got me out of the restaurant business manifested within months of making a list. Of course, I had to purchase a proper suit (it was tomato red) and apply to a job placement agency (I flunked the typing test) because actions + focused intention = success. But, truly, it was uncanny just how many of my listed wishes were answered by that job, and then some. My experience is that The Universe has a broader view of my capabilities than I usually do, and is much more generous. Which is why I always add a caveat at the end of my wish lists: “All this or better will come to me swiftly and easily. Thank you.”

So, in the spirit of Jane and Michael Banks in their petition for a “very sweet and very pretty” nanny, I wrote a list of wishes for my therapist. Then, I folded it up and hid it in my God Box. In the days that followed, I did my footwork by calling friends with therapists and friends who are therapists to ask for recommendations, and everywhere I went I carried a list – a list of the providers from my insurance company’s web site – which I would ask these friends to scan. Affordable was a top priority on my wish list. Then, after a week or two of concentrated efforts, I stopped. I stopped praying, stopped asking around, and, effectively, stopped thinking about a therapist. I let go, and let the Universe do it’s work.

Now, letting go is not something I do consciously or easily. It just happens as though it’s organic to the manifestation process. And, usually, I don’t even realize that I’ve let go. It might feel to me like I’ve given up, or taken a break, or that I’m gearing up for the next round of actions, or that I’ve been distracted. Meanwhile, the fallow phase is invariably when the Universe produces with a slight of hand – Voila! – magnanimity.

[Let’s see. Where exactly are we in this long leg of the journey? I feel as though I looked up from an absorbing book and don’t recognize the terrain outside my train window. OK, the sutures are out and the incision in my breast is healing. The tumors are gone. The prognosis is great but not perfect due to a speck of cancer in a lymph node, so I’m waiting to meet with an oncologist to determine what to do next. Right. I’m putt, putt, putting on down the tracks en route to the next great adventure. I’m on my way to meeting my next teacher: the oncologist.]

There are many pages of dream interpretations, meditations, self interrogations in my journal to flip through before I reach the part about meeting the oncologist. Finally, there’s a brief blurb about this momentous occasion. If I were skimming the pages, I might’ve missed it except that I was drawn into a detailed description of a magnificent lucid dream: I dreamt I was towed through the ocean on the back of a huge gray whale. The water, the air, the strength, the speed was palpable. I held on to the whale for dear life for I believed that I had to hold on or die – I was powerless – though, I also trusted the enormous beast to take care of me.

And then:

Today is the day I meet Dr. Dawn Hershman, the oncologist affiliated with Dr. Sheldon Feldman. [see The GateKeeper] In days past, I’ve had some anxiety about what an oncologist will prescribe. Ie. chemo that will kill healthy cells and make me nauseous and lose my hair. My way to cope with the anxiety has been to remind myself that I’m not doing chemo today and to breath into the moment. Today is the day I learn what an oncologist believes. For some reason, I woke up light-hearted.

After this journal entry there’s nothing about my meeting with Dr. Hershman. Nothing. I don’t record how I didn’t find her as warm as Dr. Feldman, but I felt she was very intelligent. I don’t tell how impressed I was by her youth and her bird-like femininity. She didn’t have spiritual icons in her office, though I felt connected to her through the photos of her children. And, I was impressed that her name was on most of the research projects being done by the Breast Cancer Department at New York Presbyterian. But, there’s nothing about her in my journal. Not even musings about how challenging it must be for a female doctor to balance work and family, or how difficult I imagined it would be for Dr. Hershman, a woman, to constantly encounter a sisterhood of amputated or potentially lethal breasts. I didn’t even take notes about our visit: the menu of options that she recommended, the tests that she wanted to run, the perchance that I might be eligible for the new and exciting oncotype dx test (more about this later). I didn’t write about Dr. Dawn Hershman at all then, so I’m glad I’m writing this blog now. My oncologist and her nurse practitioner, Lois, deserve a strong testimony as I will discover and you will learn in the blog posts to come.

Why didn’t I sit with my thoughts about the oncologist and inscribe them for posterity then? My guess is that I was hanging on so tight to that slippery whale that I was afraid to reach for a pen. To write about these matters, that is. I do, however, write about this:

My thoughts about cancer are constant. It seems that whatever I consider somehow harkens back to the primary concern of the moment and I’m so annoyed and intrigued by this. I suppose most of my thoughts have concerned myself always. But, I’ve generally thought in terms of the things I must accomplish, the ways I’m falling short or am not enough, how I’ve viewed myself in comparison to others. Never have I given so much thought to my physical health.

I am afraid of chemo. I am afraid of the side effects. I’m afraid of making a decision that will adversely effect my life for the rest of my days. I’m afraid and at the same time I have some small measure of faith and plenty of evidence of being taken care of by Love through my friends and family.

Just so happens that the therapist recommended to me by the friend that I just so happened to bump into in the health food store has a personal experience with breast cancer. Jean had a lumpectomy ten years ago and is on Tamoxifen.

As it happened, Jean was on my list of insurance providers, practiced within a stone’s throw of my home, and “was very sweet, and very pretty” just as I requested on my wish list. It had never occurred to me to ask for a therapist with a depth of compassion that can only come from personal experience though.

God/Goddess/the Universe is good.

Yours in Awe,



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