Featuring Kathleen (Kat) O’Keefe-Kanavos
By combining the intuitive aspects of healing with modern medicine, I had a prescription for healing that was greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Unable to sit still, I wait at this world-renowned hospital for my mammogram to be read in front of me. I’m scared out of my mind but not sure why. The moment reminds me of a dream I had five years earlier, right before the pathology report diagnosing my breast cancer.
Being on the List
A young secretary in a hospital waiting room holds a clipboard in her hand and says, “You’re on the list. The doctors are going to call you. You have let this go on for far too long, and now it has gotten into everything.” Then she disappears.1
Although I’d had a normal mammogram, blood test, and physical exam a few weeks before, the dream had guided me to self-advocate for a second set of tests, and those eventually found cancer the conventional tests had missed.
A few weeks after the dream and lumpectomy, the doctors called to tell me the tumor that nobody had seen on the mammograms was more massive than they’d initially thought. Rather than early, Stage One breast cancer, it was Stage Two, and they’d also found it in a lymph node. The pathology report had validated my dream.
My dream had been a warning that the cancer was much worse than expected. Should I have been stronger at self-advocating that first time, five years earlier? And how could I have done so?
Now its five years later, almost to the day, and my life is imitating my dreams again—or is it the other way around?
I’m cold and clammy. These are the symptoms of a classic anxiety attack. What is wrong?
Perhaps the answer is evident to me because I’ve been hearing unintelligible whispering in the background of my mind all day.
Why the hell am I so frightened?
A voice distracts me from my mental babble. “The doctor is ready to see you, Ms. Kanavos.” The nurse is pointing to a list of names on a clipboard.
“Congratulations!” the seated doctor says.
My eyes strain to adjust in the dark cubbyhole of an office. Back-lit walls display multiple mammography photos with my name printed in bold, black letters at the bottom. No doubt about it, these pictures are mine.
“Your mammogram is healthy,” the doctor announces.
An inner-voice counters with, Don’t believe it! Look, right here and here. Oh shit, where did you come from? Here we go again!60
As I pull my gown closer around my trembling body, a hooded monk-guide from my previous dreams is standing beside me. My breasts are under attack … again.
“Are you sure?” I ask the radiologist. “What about over here?” My finger points as if it’s being led by an invisible hand.
The doctor faces me, looks surprised, and then motions to the other mammogram and replies, “That’s not the breast that had cancer. You are healthy.” And as if to send the message home (or dismiss me), he shakes my hand and says, “Get dressed.” The monk-guide is gone.
“Yeah, okay. Thanks. Bye.” Perhaps the voice and monk were just my imagination.
My husband asks what is wrong. “Nothing. The doctor said I’m healthy.”
He’s confused because of my positive words juxtaposed with my negative body language. He knows I should be doing cartwheels of joy up and down the hallway from this good news. Happiness should be written all over my face. But it isn’t. And I don’t want to alarm him with “my monks, voices, and gut-instincts” when things seem to be going so well.
“But I still want to get an MRI. I’ll ask Dr. Harold to make an appointment for me now.”
Dr. Harold is already waiting for me. “Dr. Goopka called and said you were on your way down here, Kathy.” That’s odd. How did he know?
“We both think you’re suffering from anxiety. Go home. You’re healthy.”
Later that evening, while lying in the bathtub, I pour water over my head while poring over the day’s events. Which to believe … my voices and instincts, or my mammograms? My dreams and intuitions had saved my life once before when my cancer diagnosis was missed. Are they trying to rescue me again?
What a frightening thought! But history might be repeating itself. I want so badly to believe the doctors and tell my voices to leave me alone. But I don’t think I can—or should. I don’t think I dare.
I’ll sleep on the information before deciding which to believe: the healthy medical results or my celestial voices.
A dream that night makes my decision for me.
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Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from just one of many Sacred Stories of our time. Powerful voices from around the globe that speak to our shared human experience. May they inspire you and give you great hope. Order your personal copy of CHAOS TO CLARITY: SACRED STORIES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE today and discover hope for the future and a blueprint for your life ⤵︎