Posted by: 2in10 | 07/27/2010

i can’t visualize something that won’t happen

A doctor friend of mine was preparing for a second surgery about four years ago, and she used Peggy Huddleston’s method. This was a second facial surgery and the first, 18 months before, had concluded with pain, terror and panic. She did not want to repeat that experience, so she decided to enter unfamiliar territory, to use the methods she had watched me use in my recovery from ovarian cancer to attempt to achieve a different outcome.

“What Peggy Huddleston wanted me to do was actually very difficult for a doctor,” my friend says. “She wanted me to tell the OR staff what I wanted them to do — NOT to say negative things in the OR, or shout, or shake me awake, but to tell me, ‘You will wake up without pain and able to move your face normally.”

The second part of the Huddleston Method is visualization. My friend practiced and practiced. “I couldn’t visualize life in five years’ time,” she recalls. “I told Peggy, ‘I can’t visualize something that won’t happen.'” Then Peggy urged her to visualize what she could. At the end of summer, in three months, what would she like to have happen and where would she like to be? Able to smile and present an animated face to her friends. OK, let that be the goal. Slowly they moved forward.

I’m not advocating solely for Peggy Huddleston’s method, as there are other routes to mindfulness and the relaxation response, but I believe it is an effective and accessible method no matter how much time you have to prepare. You can learn more at

I do want to share examples of becoming partners in our own healing and having the courage to advocate for our needs. This friend had time to prepare well and further to go because of a previous bad experience. I recently shared with you the story of another friend who had just one evening before surgery to prepare. With the new news that she could ask her medical team for what she needed, she felt transformed and is grateful for great results from her surgery. 

Be well, and happy mid-summer!



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