CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When most people meditate, they think of calming scenarios. When Janis Silverman meditates, she imagines destruction.
Sometimes she imagines being on the beach and feeling waves wash over her and retreating, destroying cancer cells in its path.
Four years ago to the week, Janis was diagnosed with Stage I Breast Cancer. She attributes her health and remission today to two big aspects of her life, early detection and the power of positive thinking.
Janis says she believes your mind has a say in what happens in your body and found meditating to be helpful in reducing stress and clearing her mind.
Through her treatment, Janis said she had a painful experience with radiation because of a preexisting autoimmune disorder. So, she turned to journaling and wrote down her meditations. She was able to visualize the cancer leaving her body instead of dwelling on the pain.
Janis' battle with breast cancer started before her own when her aunt and mother were diagnosed and passed away. Janis says her mother was blindsided by her diagnosis because she never got a mammogram and didn't stay on top of preventative care.
That's when she and her twin sister vowed to not be surprised by a breast cancer diagnosis.
The two have regular mammograms and went through gene testing. The tests came up negative, but that didn't stop cancer from finding it's way into Janis and her sister who was diagnosed with Stage 0 cancer twice. Doctors were able to detect cancer cells in a milk duct the size of a pencil point.
Janis says her fears and worries during her treatment were turned into something positive. Today, those meditations can be found in digital and audio books and are helping other women conquer their diagnosis.
Writing wasn't a new venture for Janis, she's written children's books in the past. She says writing her meditations was something that happened naturally and organically when she was battling cancer because she used meditation therapy first along side treatment for her autoimmune disease.
Janis has also been able to get plugged into a relaxation strategies program through Novant Health's Buddy Kemp Cancer Support Center.
If the idea of meditation interests you, but you just don't know where to start, Janis recommends that you first turn everything off, make the world around you quiet.
Next, try counting, focusing on your breathing. Inhale. Exhale.
You can try to tense and release your body.
Janis says she sometimes listens to instrumental music that involved nature sounds.
If you are interested in learning more about her meditations and journaling techniques, you can go to Janis' website here.
If you hear nothing else from Janis' story, she wants women and men to be proactive with preventative cancer screenings and check ups. She knows it has saved her life, her twin sister's life.