Do you enjoy having injections? Obviously not! But we endure them because we have to. Maybe it’s a flu vaccine, or you’re donating blood. For cancer survivors who have undergone chemotherapy, they understand that sometimes an injection is necessary to save a life.
Chemotherapy is one of the most trusted methods we have of fighting cancer. A patient undergoing chemo can either receive it intravenously (through injections) or orally (with tablets). Intravenously is the most common method and that involves a LOT of injections, often administered over months and months, sometimes years. The chemo might be injected into a vein in your hand or even straight into your chest and connected to one of the veins near your heart.
Now imagine being a small child. You feel sick, you’re going for these injections often without your parents there to hold your hand, and are constantly being poked and prodded with painful needles that only seem to make you feel worse. What a scary, traumatic experience!
That’s where the Kids Kicking Cancer Needle Ninja technique plays its important part. The senseis practice this with the children at ever session so that they can learn to master the needle. Rabi Goldberg (KKC founder) explains how it’s done:
“When a pain message comes into our body, there’s a very primal response to push out against it but usually that only makes the pain worse. The tighter the muscles the more painful the needle. Together let’s learn a process that the children of Kids Kinking Cancer use to take needles in and push the pain out.
We’ll start by doing a simple meditation of relaxation. Train your brain to conquer needles by taking a deep breath breathe in and letting it out slowly. Close your eyes and take another deep breath and breathe it out slowly, feeling the coolness of the air as you breathe in and the warmth as you breathe out. Create a rhythm with the flow of your air gently coming in and then flowing out. Now scan through your body for any place of tightness, fear, anger, or pain. When you exhale, feel all tightness relax from those spaces as you blow out any pain, fear, or anger.
Imagine that you’re sitting in the clinic waiting to have your blood drawn from the vein in your arm. Allow your eyes to focus on one place on the wall. It could be an interesting picture or a light, anything. Focus on that one place as the nurse or the doctor walks into the room. As they begin their preparation, continue to focus on that one place but notice the coolness of the air as you breathe in and the warmth as you breathe out. Remember to pace your breath to be slow but comfortable.
Any tightness that you feel coming into your body, pull it up and breathe it out. Feel your body move upwards as you inhale and down as you exhale and extend your arm outwards. Continue your breath and then as they take the alcohol and rub it on your skin, feel your breath coming a tiny little bit faster. As the needle comes into your skin, turn your head towards the needle, take a strong quick breath in as you draw into your body any discomfort entering into your arm. Then, take your free hand and put it near where the needle is entering your body and then use it along with your breath to pull the discomfort into your body and take control of it. Pulling is powerful. Pushing is weak.
Continue to pull in that breath, bringing in any discomfort as if a cloud is going through you. Then, turn your head and your free hand away from the needle and breathe out that cloud of discomfort and use your free hand to mime pushing out any pain that you feel towards the opposite side.
If you continue to feel discomfort from the sight of the needle, come back and pull it up and then turn away to breathe it out again. Repeat the procedure until you find comfort again. Let your free hand control the pathway of your breath as your breath takes control of the direction of the pain until you have blown it all out from your body.” Now you’re a Needle Ninja!
In this month of March we’ll be having our first of many visits to a Kids Kicking Cancer session. Check out our April edition of Voices to see how it goes!