For No Name:

First let me say I pray that you reach a level of serenity.......That seems to me to be the most important part of any "recovery".......... I would find Coda (Codependents Anonymous) meetings asap..........I believe with all my heart, this is the most wonderful form of recovery for anyone.............No one can take away our MPD/DID, and only you know what terminal illness entails. Learning to turn it over, to find a Higher Power to take charge.............to be the leader and let us do the leg work, I believe will relieve more pain than you could imagine............I believe this acceptance and letting go is imperative..........with a path of light, anything can be addressed............. Do not misunderstand, I am not making light of the situation.........I am not misunderstanding, I am not unsympathetic....I am just hoping to give you another road to take to make what you have , tolerable. I am being redundant but my desire to express my hopes for your sanity is so strong..........Please just give it a try.......Okay, let's try it this way.............You are walking down to a row boat..........You are excited to get in it, the oars await....Once you get ready to row, you are rowing in circles......against the waves............against the tide...........you are getting exhausted but know that you need to row that way...You have to get somewhere.....But it is too much....It is getting worse, you are getting more tired....Now you quit....place the oars in the boat, sit back in your seat, ask your Higher Power to just let the boat go where it has to go and right...........that is it, simply let the boat go..........Do the leg work, the doctors, the nutrition, the therapy, whatever you are supposed to do but let the managing be done by the Highest of Powers....Good luck dear girl, and how I do wish you well and hope you find this path a lot less exhausting,

md

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For NoName,

I can sort of relate because I was misdiagnosed with a very serious degenerative lung disorder this spring. At present I do not know if I have a disease (the experts at NIH are not sure), but I have lung cysts and they have to be checked out next year to see if they have spread. If they have not spread, the conclusion will most likely be that I have a condition from childhood that is harmless, but if they have spread, I probably have some sort of protein-based disease.

I was incorrectly told (and believed for about a month) that I had a very rare lung disease, which I was told had a high mortality rate. The first patient information I saw discussed an almost 100% mortality rate within 10 years of diagnosis. I am 34 years old.

My feeling is that dealing with both dissociation and a life-threatening or other serious illness is extremely tough, and the trauma recovery community does not devote enough attention to it. What helped me was to devote a lot of time and energy to therapy and not worry so much about work performance, which suffered for a while. Also it helped to be treated for the very high levels of anxiety that I felt and still feel. I take a couple of medicines regularly, including a low dose of a sleeping pill. That is another thing: I was miserable until I started to get enough sleep.

I also joined a listserv with women with the same rare disease I thought I had. These are all practical suggestions though, which help, but to me were not enough. When I thought I was very sick (and I really did feel sick due to a combination of a number of things, including anxiety, a very bad allergy season, and the rotten feeling of not sleeping much, then trying to function every day) I was miserable. I just really wanted to know that someone cared. But it was hard to talk to people because I felt healthy people could not understand.

My therapist was a lifesaver for me in this situation. Also, I would consider psychiatric hospitalization, day program, or other support if at all possible. My advice would be to take care of your system at this very rough time. I'll be thinking about you. thanks

Mary K

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Dear NoName:

I was the partner of a DID person who passed away from her battle with cancer. I am also DID. We both found one other person to trust. A therapist, who is a survivor of cancer. For three years we had plenty of good days. Life presented us with many wonderful experiences, when we weren't afraid to reach out and take some chances. When we were in fear we found music and movies and pleasant conversation together, hiding in our home was just fine. We worked really hard on making all alters find safety within and with this therapist. Medication, and treatments were tricky. We just lived in the now. I know that, sometimes, that seems like a lame statement. With cancer, I found I and all, had no choice. It isn't an easy road, and some times it seemed impossible, but what else were we to do? We all did our best, and I came out feeling really glad I was with this person right up to the night of her death. That too was a beautiful experience, I would not have missed those three years for a life time of happiness. Best wishes.
RR.

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Dear NoName

You are not alone. I also have dealt with a life threatening illness, as have many people. I will share with you some things that can be helpful, and trust you to choose the ones that best fit for you and your specific situation.

I recommend Shaina Noll's CD or tape Songs for the Inner Child. This can speak to you at many levels, and be very reassuring. I also recommend sensory experiences: play in the sand at the beach, collect pebbles and leaves, bring yourself into contact with nature in a very direct way- especially healing for the inner child parts of you. Consider a home sand box (miniature cardboard box or other box, add sand and shells and pebbles- so that child alters can play this way at home).

I also highly recommend some kind of breathing or breathwork. Deep breathing (from the abdomen) is very important to the lymphatic system and immune system- our bodies are very dependent on healthy levels of oxygen. Deep breathing can also help profoundly with relaxation. Deep relaxation and visualization helped me tremendously. Visualize yourself in a meditative state or profoundly relaxed state, healing completely. Sometimes visualizing a healing light can be helpful. Think about what metaphors will work for you and consider a custom made self-hypnosis tape for healing cancer from a certified, licensed professional (you can ask alters to write down what metaphors will be healing for them on a piece of paper; this can help you know what to ask for or what to visualize on your own without a tape). Changeworks has a very effective Pain Control self-hypnosis tape (the imagery is very neat). Consider HemiSync relaxation and healing music. Give yourself some safe time and space to relax and breathe and heal.

Consider changing your diet to organic foods and plenty of pure water daily (some say half your body weight in ounces, balanced with 1/4 tsp. of Celtic sea salt every 32 ounces). Consider macrobiotic or other healing ways to eat (Body Ecology Diet, wheat/dairy/sugar free). Eliminating refined sugar, sodas, Aspartame can be helpful (sugar suppresses the immune system). Address any mineral or nutrient deficiences or systemic Candida (a naturopath can be helpful; but there are home tests for this and you can research healing diets to a great extent yourself). Then, consider adding healing foods to your diet (see www.wholehealthmd.com for healing food suggestions).

I know it is so difficult to trust, but you might consider giving yourself the suggestion that you will trust only appropriate people who can be of help to you. Illness can be your body and soul's way of asking for help. Allow some people to help you, to give you support and kindness. An important element is to trust yourself, and trust that- intrinsically- you know how to get well.

Much of this you can do on your own, without a lot of money. Remember to check in with all of your alters so that each gets some time and nurturance- you might even ask each one what they need to heal and what special thing might help them feel safer and healthier (you can write this down).

Also, form a support system. Hospitals often have free support groups for cancer patients. This may not address the dissociation, but I learned when I was healing from my illness that it is difficult to expect everything from one or two sources (it doesn't work really well!). A cancer support group might be very helpful, and give you a chance to express some emotions rather than turning them inward and further supressing your immune system.

I hope if you have more specific questions, you'll post another question. I wish you deep, cellular, and complete healing! Please let us know how you do.

Gwen

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No name....

I hope that this email finds you able to cope a bit...I am dissociative and I've gone through two surgeries on my back.

I'm not able to share on coping with cancer...but being dissociative and having any kind of new trauma pretty much throws the system into chaos. I would think though, like with any other part of our lives, that you may want to treat each part separately...find a good support group for your cancer...there are many ways either at your local hospital or on line groups.

And then separately find support groups on line. Honor your feelings no matter what they are...each part of you will cope with any thing that comes along...that's the real gift I have found with being dissociative.We are survivors and we cope...that's what we do best...Doesn't mean We aren't totally overwhelmed with things, it just means that somehow we pull together when need be, and can help ourselves if need be.

Yet I do know that having these online message boards to just vent on has been the greatest things that happened to me since they finally made antidepressants that work and still allow you to live a "normal" life ...

To find any community or "groups" as we are now called at MSN, just go to your server directory and put in a search for "DID/MPD" and go to them until you find one that fits. Mine is listed on manyvoicespress here ....lady jz talk zone... also on MSN are glass fairies and manyselves. Both groups are good. Just start looking and you'll find the one you need

Good luck, Lady J

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