Brenda Gibson: Reiki supports traditional care while restoring strength

By Bob Reynolds

A few minutes into Brenda Gibson’s first Reiki treatment, she felt some things she’d never felt before. There were chills, and then a movement inside her body she couldn’t explain. She noticed that in the days following the session she didn’t feel as sick as before. She started getting her strength back and, for the first time in a while, was able to function again.

Brenda found out she had triple-negative breast cancer, a fairly uncommon form of the disease, in June of 2013. She had never had to deal with a health issue that serious before, and didn’t even have a primary care doctor at the time. Genome analysis in September indicated the cancer was extremely aggressive, progressing rapidly in her body. In October she began chemo. She suffered from neutropenia, and her platelets and white blood cell count were down. She felt sapped of energy, her body depleted.

When Brenda learned that there was no standard treatment for her cancer, she decided she had nothing to lose by going to LifeSpark. In the five months following her initial diagnosis Brenda researched alternatives to chemotherapy. She recalled that even though Reiki “sounded a little ‘woo-woo’ at first, I knew there was nothing toxic about it … Because of the cancer’s aggressiveness, and there being no proven protocol, I needed something to help me retain energy and balance, to keep me strong.”

Brenda had heard of healing touch therapies before, and was open-minded about them. Still, she went in to her first Reiki session not knowing what to expect. Her practitioner Phoebe calmly explained what would happen in the session. The experience was an epiphany. Besides being restful and meditative, the gentle hand movements seemed to purge Brenda’s body of toxins. She discovered, much to her relief, that her chemotherapy became easier as a result.

“Your immune system is very compromised,” Brenda says. “When the neutropenia set in, I had no immune system at all. My energy healer understood that, and worked with it. … The Reiki helps with the detoxing of the [chemo] chemicals,” she explained.

Brenda is a supply chain executive for Cisco Systems, which distributes Internet hardware all over the Americas. When she got sick she had to leave her job for six months. But she’s back at work now. “The outcomes are more favorable than I expected. Reiki has helped me go back to work much more quickly [than I anticipated].”

Brenda first learned about LifeSpark through the Website of the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center. That organization works with LifeSpark as part of its extended integrative care system. LifeSpark appealed to Brenda because the treatments it offers are more holistic than the traditional approaches of allopathic medicine, surgery, and chemo. Brenda has a naturopathic oncologist, who works in parallel with her other health practitioners and medical team. This oncologist uses nutritional supplements and dietary preparations to help Brenda live with her cancer. Her regular RMCC oncologist has been very supportive of these complementary practices—for example, by sharing medical records with her alternative practitioners.

Brenda underwent her last chemo treatment January 30. She is currently in her second round of Reiki treatments with Phoebe, every week or two, and will continue those sessions for the next three months. As a result, her adrenal system is getting back in shape. Recollecting the day she got her initial diagnosis, and the succeeding months, Brenda said, “Nobody ever expects to be sitting in that waiting room. When you’re going thru something like cancer, the Reiki can be very therapeutic.” But, she says, “The recovery continues.”