Last week, our sweet friend, 8-year Piper, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. Now, even in the hospital, hooked up to a machine and awaiting her first round of chemo, Piper was a hoot. She’s spunky, dramatic, fun-loving and if you can envision anyone donning a purple bob wig and kicking cancer in the booty, it’s this girl!
When I visited her last week, I brought a Diva Supply Kit that my daughter and I had put together (because when you’re a diva, you’re a diva – whether at home, school or in the stinkin’ hospital!) filled with fun stuff like a pink-feather boa, shiny hat, VIP badge, autograph book and a stack of 8 x 10 colored glossies and a pink sharpie so Piper could sign autographs for her visitors. The kit was a hit. She put on her diva hat, VIP badge and cheetah scarf and then posed while her dad took pictures until she said, “No more paparazzi, please! No more!” putting a dramatic hand to her brow.
Another thing I came prepared to give Piper that day was a guided imagery. This is something I do for all of my clients at the end of each coaching session. Guided imageries are relaxing and a nice way to access the intuitive wisdom of our right brain. My hope was that it would offer Piper a way to relax by being able to put herself in a “happy place” if things got tough during her treatments. I didn’t know if she would have the patience for it, or “get it”, but I thought it was worth a shot.
I sat gently beside her on her hospital bed and asked, “Have you ever done a guided imagery, Piper?” She immediately closed her eyes, relaxed back onto her enormous, pink furry pillow and said, “No, but I’m going to right now.... I’m on a beach…I have a big glass of iced tea. Oh, this is so nice. The paparazzi are everywhere. It’s so sunny. I can hear the ocean waves…” On and on she went painting this beautiful, fully realized picture of herself as a diva, relaxing on the beach. Her mom and I tried our best not to belly- laugh so that we could hear what she was saying because it was all priceless.
“Wow, that was great!” I told her. “You don’t need me. You really have this guided imagery stuff down. And you know what? Any time you need to go to your ‘happy place’, you can close your eyes and do exactly what you just did here! It’s a great way to relax, slow down your blood pressure and feel a little better all by yourself!”
“Hmmmm….”, she said. “Happy place number two…I’m back stage at a rock concert! The paparazzi are everywhere!” And she was off! Clearly, this little girl is well adept at tuning into her own “happy places” and we adults could learn a thing or two from her!
As her friends and family well know, Piper rocks!
(Some good friends have assembled a team to walk in Piper’s honor this Saturday night at the Light the Night Walk – sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you’d like to join them and support Team Piper – click here -http://pages.lightthenight.org/ntx/Plano09/TeamPiper!)