The Breast Blog: When the Body Says No

I've been reading When the Body Says No by Canadian author Dr. Gabor Maté. The books subtitle provided the impetus for the purchase; The Hidden Costs of Stress. I've been managing a stress condition for the past two years.

According to a review from the Edmonton Journal, posted on the books website, "People have always understood intuitively that mind and body are not separable," writes Vancouver physician Gabor Maté in his enthralling exploration of the relationship between stress and disease, WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO. "Modernity has brought with it an unfortunate dissociation, a split between what we know with our whole being and what our thinking mind accepts as truth."

"Maté argues with passionate conviction that mind and body are not just connected, but inseparably intertwined. He believes certain chronic diseases (ALS, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer) are at least in part "an expression of an internal disharmony" driven by the abrasive effects of stress."

I don't have breast cancer. However, anyone who does and who is seeking answers that penetrate deeply, might find the book revealing, particularly the chapter titled ' You are part of this too, mom.'

The chapter explores the relationship of a particular mother and daughter, from the mother's perspective with the guidance of Dr. Maté. The mother is exceptionally honest with herself and the reader. And Maté is skilled at questioning and probing for deeper insights. I found myself drawn into the complexities of this dysfunctional relationship knowing that all relationships hold as much inter-connectedness and potential for disharmony and the very best we can do for each other and ourselves is to 'know thyself including thy emotions'.

The daughter, Barbara Ellen, died at 27 from breast cancer. Maté concludes this chapter with a simple none blaming sentence....."there are generations on generations who had lived to bear a part of the genesis of Barbara Ellen's breast cancer." Another words, dysfunction is passed down the birth line. You can pass it on to your kids or you can decide to unravel the ties that keep you and yours bound.

We need to find the courage to listen to our bodies.

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