Friday, January 22, 2016

Breast Cancer Warning Dreams: Interview with Sunni Ingalls

This is part three of my ongoing breast cancer warning dreams interview series. These interviews cover my co-participants in a study of breast cancer warning dreams published in the May/June 2015 issue of  Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

Today I interview Sunni Ingalls, a computer systems analyst from Rochester, New York. In 2014 Sunni's story was shared in the Huffington Post article - I Believe A Dream Saved My Life: A Tale of Breast Cancer Detection.


Can you tell us about your life as it is now?

Sunni Ingalls

I am married with two boys. I live in Webster, NY (but I hope to move somewhere warmer someday soon) :). I have a small family in the area but we are very close. I work as a System Analyst for East Irondequoit Central School District. I went part-time after I finished treatment. However, I am also a certified yoga instructor and teach 1-4 classes a week. On a personal level note, practicing yoga changed my life and has really helped me to hone my intuition.

Can you set the stage of your life at the time of this dream that suggested you had breast cancer? Were dreams about health issues common for you or did this come out of left field?
Sunni Ingalls
There is a family history of breast cancer but the women in my family were diagnosed in their 50's and 60's so being in my early 40's, I honestly had no concerns about my breast health (at least not yet). Additionally, I thought I led a relatively healthy life. I was a good weight, I ran for exercise and I didn't eat a ton of "bad" food (however, I later realized I ate much more bad food then I thought). BUT my stress levels were HIGH! I had two teenage boys at home, I was running from one event to another and dealing with some “teenage” behavior. I had a failed business a few years earlier and I really felt my job was too demanding. I was NOT a priority in my own life but I don’t know that I really recognized it at the time.
Your story is similar to mine: family history of breast cancer, healthy eating, and poor stress management. Though I did have family history of breast cancer I do not have the BRCA1 or BRCA 2 genes. In fact, I have no genes known to be associated with cancer of any kind. Despite the familial breast cancer history, I assumed my general health nuttery would dodge that bullet from me, at least at a young age. It did not. I was stressed because of my child's chronic illnesses and didn't manage that so well. I now accept that comprehensive self care is everything. Not just in one area of life, but across the board: mind, body, and spirit. I meditate every day now and I'm pretty inflexible about that. Like your yoga, it has changed my life.
How did the dream unfold? Did it move you to seek screening right away or did you wait?
Sunni Ingalls
The dream began on a beautiful Fall day. I could feel my heart pounding and the sound of my shallow but rhythmic breathing buzzing in my ears. My entire body vibrated each time my foot struck the ground. This was the day! I was in the zone! For the first time ever in my running career, I was at the front of the pack and nothing was going to stop me! The wind was at my back and the strength I felt was undeniable. I was certain it was the day I would set a PR!
Running along I am suddenly yanked from my thoughts by the sound of a car that I can see is riding alongside the race. I try to put on my blinders and just concentrate on my run but I am positive I can hear someone calling my name. Finally, I give up and lookover. I have to do a double take because I realize it is my husband driving and waving me over like a mad man!
He is pleading with me to get into the car but I tell him he is crazy...that today is the day I am going to set a PR and there is NO way I am leaving! We bicker for a bit and then with a promise that he will be able to return me to the same place in the race (for some reason this makes sense to me at the time), I relinquish and get in the car with him.
We arrive home. I walk into our home and immediately observe my reflection in the mirror. I look exhausted and my left gland is severely swollen. I soon became aware of my mother’s presence; she is standing to the right of me and I can see the worried look on her face. I assure her I will be fine and then suddenly…. the dream is over.
I called my mom immediately and shared the dream. I explained to her that I KNEW something was going to happen that would "take me out of the race of life" but that I was certain "I would get right back in where I left off."
I knew my mother's reflection in the mirror was because whatever was going mother had also experienced (I was a reflection of her). Because my neck was swollen and my mother had thyroid issues I initially thought it might be that. However, my mother had also had breast cancer! Within a week or two I was diagnosed with grade 2 invasive ductal carcinoma of the LEFT breast. Coincidences? I think not.
What was the outcome of your screening?
Sunni Ingalls
After the mammogram and subsequent ultrasound, the Dr. diagnosed me with breast cancer. Although they took a biopsy to confirm and called with results the next day  (invasive ductal carcinoma – grade 2 – so relatively fast growing).
Did you tell your physicians or their staffs about the dream? If so, how did they respond?
Sunni Ingalls
Down the road,  I shared with one of my oncologists and my Dr. at the breast clinic. Both are open minded and encouraged me to continue to listen to my intuition and pay attention to my dreams.
I told everyone and anyone at that hospital who would listen, because I was still reeling from the fact that such a thing could happen: that I could dream I had breast cancer and be diagnosed with it during a routine screening within weeks. Responses were mixed. I left out, though, the part about later having met at a support group the very woman, a stranger, who diagnosed me in the dream......
Do you believe your dream and subsequent actions you took as a result saved your life? If so, how?
Sunni Ingalls
Saved my life? Quite possibly. At very least, I definitely believe my dream prevented me from having a later stage cancer. I am certain I either wouldn’t have noticed the dimple or just ignored was very subtle.
How did you come to be included in Dr. Burk's study? As someone who has done grassroots organizing for twenty years I am fascinated by how he found all these breast cancer warning dreamers without help from the major breast cancer organizations. He seems to be a natural at bringing people together.
Sunni Ingalls
One day during my treatment, my mom sent me a link to a dream website and she encouraged me to post my dream. She thought it’d be therapeutic and a great idea to get feedback on what others thought. It was the only time I had shared a dream on a website. I really don’t normally do “stuff” like that. Dr. Burk contacted me from there.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience?
Sunni Ingalls
I just think listening to your intuition is so important. Don’t dismiss dreams or feelings that are strong or “stick with you”. That’s how I describe my “prophetic/message” dreams. Take time and just sit with the thought or dream, don’t attach to it but ask yourself some questions, like if you should act on it, follow up with a dr., etc. and then honor yourself by following though with what you come up with.
I totally agree. I was the one who had the dreams about potential relapses, so I'm always paying attention. Sometimes, most of the time for me, a dream is just a dream though - so learning to decipher the precognitive from dreams that are just processing fear has been a challenge. Still, it is work worth doing.
Thank you for this interview.
Sunni Ingalls in the media:
Breast Cancer Warning Dreams Series

Friday, January 15, 2016

Breast Cancer Warning Dreams: Interview with Dr. Larry Burk, M.D.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in a dream, then shortly after, in real life. My experience and those of other breast-cancer-warning-dreamers, were published in the May/June 2015 issue of  Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

This is part 2 in a still evolving series of interviews with my co-participants in the study. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Dr. Larry Burk, M.D., the paper's author.

M & E
Can you please tell us about your medical background and how you eventually found interest in parapsychology research?

Dr. Burk
My story begins in my hometown at the University of Pittsburgh where I did my medical school and radiology residency training. There I was fortunate to get in on the ground floor of MRI just as it began to flourish in 1985. While doing some of the early research in MRI of the knee I developed a mysterious pain in my shoulder which was unrelieved by arthroscopic surgery. This experience inspired me to pursue research in MRI of the shoulder at Thomas Jefferson University after doing a musculoskeletal fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, eventually leading to the first study of MRI in professional baseball players with the Philadelphia Phillies.

After this very conventional beginning, I was unexpectedly launched into a multifaceted adventure into holistic healing in 1987. It was prompted by a perfect storm of events including my father being diagnosed with metastatic renal cancer, discovering my first metaphysical bookstore, and joining the national MRI safety committee to address concerns about claustrophobic patients and the health effects of electromagnetic fields. The safety issues led me to become interested in hypnosis and acupuncture, taking my first hypnosis training in 1990 while beginning to explore alternative cancer therapies for my dad including acupuncture.

The next stop on the journey was private practice in Virginia Beach where I was introduced to the Edgar Cayce material and medical intuition. Experiences with a number of talented intuitives caused a significant paradigm shift in my worldview, and in 1993 I moved to Durham, home of my alma mater, Duke University, and the Rhine Research Center, formerly the Duke Parapsychology Laboratory. I took a job as section head of musculoskeletal radiology at Duke and also pursued parapsychology research in intuitive diagnosis, eventually becoming a founding member of the American Board of Scientific Medical Intuition and Rhine board president for a year.

Upon arriving at Duke I discovered a number of like-minded colleagues and started the Mind-Body Medicine Study Group. The deaths of one of those friends and my father led me down a spiritual rabbit hole into the world of dreams and
shamanic journeying, including a healing encounter with my first power animal, the jaguar. Following these unusual forms of guidance I co-founded the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine in 1998, became the education director and took the UCLA Acupuncture Course for Physicians. I left full-time radiology and began to practice acupuncture along with hypnosis and dream work at a variety of clinics at Duke.

A fortunate twist in the story occurred in 2002 when I was introduced to EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), the perfect combination of my hypnosis and acupuncture training. Through a series of magical synchronicities in 2004 I was guided to leave Duke to set up Healing Imager, PC, to offer consulting services in MRI musculoskeletal radiology for NationalRad and in EFT and hypnosis for Oriental Health Solutions, LLC.  I became a Certified Energy Health Practitioner through the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology in 2010 and was certified in hypnosis by the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis in 2011.

After telling stories about all these healing adventures for many years, I was finally inspired to publish Let Magic Happen: Adventures in Healing with a Holistic Radiologist in 2012.  Along the way the journey has continued to unfold in mysterious ways. I’ve explored my own various musculoskeletal ailments through the lens of symptoms as metaphors and have gained valuable insights that I enjoy sharing with patients in my practice as well as with healthcare practitioners through workshops. In 2014 my first medical intuition teacher Winter Robinson, MA, invited me to co-facilitate Medical Intuition and Symbolic Disease workshops with her at The Monroe Institute in Faber, VA.

My use of EFT has expanded to include working with symbolic grief-related illnesses such as sinusitis and post-nasal drip in conjunction with After-Death Communication using imagery and dream work. Health-related dreams have expanded as a focus inspiring me to publish a research paper in 2015 on women who have warning dreams about their breast cancers before diagnosis.

How did this breast cancer dreams study come together?

Dr. Burk

I first heard of the dream breast warning phenomenon from a physiologist-turned-mediation teacher friend who had a series of vague dreams about cancer culminating in a precognitive dream of having surgery on her breast by a woman surgeon. This startling dream prompted her to go for a mammogram which was normal. Unsatisfied by this result she pressed the radiologist to do an ultrasound. The radiologist refused saying it was not standard practice to do ultrasound to search for a cancer that was not palpable or visible on mammography. She pleaded to have it done exactly where the dream indicated, and the radiologist was stunned to find it. 

Another friend is a physician-turned-consciousness researcher who had two disturbing dreams in one night. The first scary dream was about a serial killer. The second one was about having breast cancer. Those were enough to send her for a mammogram which showed a cancer in the location from her dream. A third friend of mine reported that “I had a dream that I had cancer. I went to the G.P complaining of a lump and spasm-like feelings on my sternum. The G.P. concluded it was normal breast tissue, and the feeling in my sternum was dismissed, a devastating mistake. A year later, a different doctor diagnosed stage 3 breast cancer.”

These three eye-opening stories of dream intuition inspired me to do a literature and Internet search for additional examples. Psychiatrists Vasily Kasatkin and Robin Royston have reported large series of dreams that warn of a variety of health concerns, including cancer. Kasatkin‟s research is described in Robert Van de Castle‟s book, Our Dreaming Mind.

Royston recounted the case of a woman named Nancy, who had a precognitive dream of receiving a stunning blow to the chest by a strange hooded figure. She punched the figure, who turned out to be herself, in the chest and shouted, “Bad Nancy,” which turned out to a be a play on words for Malig-Nancy when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 months later.

In searching for recent research, I got more than I bargained for when I hit the "mother lode" by finding Wanda Easter Burch's She Who Dreams. In her book she describes the dreams that guided her to find her cancer after doctors dismissed her nagging breast pain. Wanda also presented Dreaming Well: Harvesting Dream Imagery for Healing in the 2008 Psiber Dreaming Conference. She reported a survey of 19 women from a 2004 breast cancer support group meeting at the Charles Wood Cancer Center in Glens Falls, N.Y. Ten had experienced prodromal dreams of their breast cancers, with warning visits from deceased family members in all but one of them.

I presented many of these cases in my Dream Diagnosis of Cancer and Clinical Correlation talk at the 2013 IASD conference, and the discussion afterwards centered on ways to create a database that would allow scientific study of prodromal dreams in breast cancer. Included in this dialogue was the management team from, who offered to collaborate in providing a cyber platform to facilitate collecting this important data. This project can be initially approached retrospectively in the short term, beginning with Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October  (including outreach to breast cancer support groups), but ideally it would evolve into a long term prospective study.

For an initial retrospective study, a request could be posted on the Dreams Cloud website for women with confirmed diagnoses of breast cancer to post any prodromal dreams they previously recorded in a dream diary. According to a search of their site, there have only been two spontaneously reported dreams of breast cancer posted since February 2013, without any indication of radiological follow up or a confirmed diagnosis. Beginning to collect more comprehensive data in this fashion would provide some idea of how a prospective study might work, with the goal of establishing a substantial online breast cancer dream registry.

M & E
Post publication you introduced a number of us from the study to one another. Have you noticed any similarities amongst participants in terms of personalities, worldviews, or how we seem to process information? Do you suspect there may be certain characteristics shared by people prone precognitive dreams pertaining to illness?

Dr. Burk
Since I know about 1/3 of the group rather well now including two of my closest friends and have had some personal interactions with most of the rest, I do have a sense about some shared characteristics. Many of you have a long history of intuitive guidance, so the fact that you are breast cancer dreamers may not be that surprising. My one close friend is a cardiovascular physiologist turned mindfulness teacher, and the other is a physician/psychologist synchronicity researcher. Kat and Wanda have both written books about their intuitive development. Carolyn Kinney is an outside-the-box thinking nursing professor who published her article in the 90s even before Wanda's book came out. There are also 3 women from the IASD who have doing dream work for years.

M & E
Do you think such medical intuition is unique to certain people or can it be developed in those with no such history? I see that you are offering a couple of medical intuition classes in 2016. Can you please tell us about those?

Dr. Burk
Clearly some people are born with more enhanced intuitive abilities than others, and some acquire them as survival skills due to childhood trauma in dysfunctional families. Others have very active left brains whose right brains only come out to play during sleep as intuitive dreams or through guided imagery processes. It is kind of the like Force in Star Wars. Some training may be required for Jedi skills to emerge, while others like Rey in the new version seem to know exactly what to do when the time comes for it. Winter Robinson was one of my first intuitive teachers, and I am thrilled to be co-facilitating a series of medical intuition workshops with her at the Monroe Institute.

You are working on a book with one of the study participants, Kat Kanavos, who will also be interviewed as part of this series. Can you tell us more about that project? What is the vision or is that still in the shaping process?

Dr. Burk
Kat and I have had fun co-presenting at the last 2 IASD conferences on dreams and breast cancer, so the book idea came from those shared experiences. We have both written books and spend a lot of time working with social media, and it felt right to both of us to collaborate on this book project. The tentative title is Dreams that Can Save Your Life:  Early Warning Signs of Cancer and Other Diseases.  In addition to the dream material already collected for the research paper, we have been gathering reports of dreams of many other types of cancer including thyroid, prostate, skin, brain, lung, uterine, and colon cancers. Thus far we have the outline completed and are working on the first chapters for the book proposal.

Part 1: I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in a Dream: An Interview with Wanda Burch

Dr. Larry Burk's Website

Dr. Burk's book (available in paperback and Kindle version)

Friday, January 8, 2016

I Was Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in a Dream - An Interview with Wanda Burch

Wanda Burch
"It's your time to get cancer."

That sentence kept waking me from dead sleep during the summer of 2013. By December, when due for my annual breast screening, I had a nagging feeling that this time I should ask for an MRI. Between getting the scan and receiving the results I dreamed a woman in a white lab coat told me I had breast cancer. Thanks to that MRI  I was diagnosed with Stage 1 HER 2 (+3) breast cancer that previous mammograms missed. I was forty-three years old. That was a very aggressive tumor that had not yet spread.  Would a mammogram alone have missed it again, destining me for diagnosis at a later, less treatable stage? Quite possibly.

More shocking than being diagnosed with cancer in a dream was learning that I was in good company - that this is actually a thing. In 2015 I was part of a study with eighteen other women, Warning Dreams Preceding the Diagnosis of Breast Cancer: A Survey of the Most Important Characteristics,  published in May/June 2015 issue of  Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing.

I have begun an interview series with Dr. Larry Burk, M.D., the paper's author, and several women from the study. This first installment features Wanda Burch.

M & E:
Can you set the stage of your life at the time of this dream that suggested you had breast cancer? Were dreams about health issues common for you or did this come out of left field?

Wanda Burch:
 "I was born in the South in Cullman, Alabama, and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. My grandmother was a healer in the Alabama mountains and dream sharing was a constant in my life. Keeping a daily journal was not a part of my life until a friend, Robert Moss, encouraged me to do so. The journal saved my life. When I realized I was dreaming the diagnosis of breast cancer, Robert was in the process of developing a set of “questions,” which he called Lightning Dream Technique. In helping me work with and understand the dreams, which were nightly, I worked through the process of diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and healing, as Robert refined his technique, assisting me in learning how to mine the dreams for active work with the imagery for healing.

I can’t imagine having “one” dream. Each dream held unique information, crucial to diagnosis; then the dreams changed when I had acted on the information, each one unfolding, as you say, into the information I needed for the next part of the healing process. They addressed the technical aspects of chemotherapy, providing the imagery I needed for a positive experience, providing the words and phrases I needed for the creation of meditations, for drawing, for writing and for actively moving the imagery from the dream to my waking reality.
M & E:
Did you tell your physicians or their staffs about the dreams? If so, how did they respond? Do you believe your dreams and subsequent actions you took as a result saved your
life? If so, how?
Wanda Burch:
I will not repeat the entire content of the book. Read it for my story; but I shared my dreams first with my gynecologist and then with a surgeon who “paid attention.” He asked if I had dreamed the location of the tumor. I had. He gave me a felt tip pen and asked me to draw the location on my breast. The location was accurate and he passed along information to my oncologist on the nature of my dreaming and asked him to participate actively with me in the healing process. I had an aggressive cancer that did not show up on a mammogram. One of my dreams warned me of this and encouraged me to aggressively pursue the only information available on the diagnosis - my dreams. I did. Dr. Barlyn shared later that had it not been for my dreams, I would have been dead within a year with almost no symptoms."
Interesting. Mammogram missed mine, too. How did you come to be included in Dr. Burk's study?
Wanda Burch:
I don’t recall exactly how Dr. Burk came to me. I think he was aware of my book and of my friendship with Robert Moss.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about your experience?
Wanda Burch:
I continue to work with women who have diagnoses of breast cancer and other chronic illness, and women veterans, who often have unique health issues. We work together with their dreams, using Robert’s technique for dream sharing and using more advanced work with dreams: dream tracking, dream re-entry, drawing, writing, and dream theater. I plan an eventual book on healing and the imagination, based on the hundreds of stories shared in workshops on dreaming, diagnosis, and healing. My current research is soldiers’ dreams, both historic and current. I believe working with dreams and the arts is a safety net that can bring the soldier home from war with humanity and soul intact.
I am a 26 year breast cancer survivor. In 2003 New World Library published the story of my experience of healing and dreams: She Who Dreams: A Journey into Healing through Dreamwork. My book still influences people and I still receive testimonials from those working with healing and dreams. In She Who Dreams, I describe how working with dreams and dream imagery saved my life, not a process of “one” dream, but a process that involves first and foremost keeping a journal, working with individual dream imagery and understanding the ongoing process of diagnosis, action, and healing, using the information and imagery in each dream. I dreamed my diagnosis of breast cancer for over two years before I understood what I was dreaming about. When the dreams became more definitive and more urgent, I paid attention and acted on the dreams, and currently, with the help of a few simple questions, I understand how to approach each of my night dreams and how to work actively with dream imagery and information as it comes. 

I am a retired historian from a 37 year career as site manager of an 18th century house museum. I continue to work in historic preservation and on boards of historic societies and museums. I continue to work with dreams and with breast cancer advocacy programs. I am a peer advocate reviewer with the Department of Defense breast cancer grant proposal program and have articles published on dream imagery in self-help magazines, in on-line blogs, and other like venues. I co-present arts retreats in the Adirondack mountains, one at Great Camp Sagamore for women surviving chronic illness and one at Wiawaka in Lake George for women veterans. These are under the auspices of Creative Healing Connections, Inc.
Most recently I have partnered with John Kenosian, singer/songwriter. We offer programs on healing through dreams and music that will allow participants the opportunity to explore the imagery in their dreams and the healing potential of music. Wiawaka will host our first three day program on Healing the Spirit through Dreams and Music, July 8-10, 2016, with one day programs offered at other venues throughout the year. Both John and myself are featured in a newly released CD, “Come Dearest the Daylight is Gone" [the 77th NY Regimental Balladeers], with an accompanying booklet authored by myself, Dreaming of Home in the American Civil War. The booklet includes excerpts from a book manuscript, working title, Soul on Paper: Dreams and the Imagination in the American Civil War, which will be published by McFarland Publishing, Inc. in 2016. Visit my website at

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Kiva Update and New Borrowers

This blog was badly neglected in 2015. I was too caught up with cancer recovery, advocacy work, and starting a new job to write. So imagine my delight when I logged into my Amazon Associates account and saw that, despite my absence, readers still purchased enough through banners on this site for me to issue one Kiva loan to an entrepreneur in the developing world.

 I chose Rember Saturnino, an organic farmer from Peru, pictured above.

Kiva: "Rember is a hardworking 39-year-old man who has three children and lives in the rural Cabanaconde district, located in Arequipa. He makes a living raising organic cattle, paying a great deal of attention to the their care and the food that he provides for them, which is the organic alfalfa that he grows.

Rember also works in organic agriculture, especially in the cultivation of potatoes. It is for this that he is requesting a micro-loan in order to plant organic potatoes. That is to say, to buy organic seed potatoes and to prepare the agricultural fields with organic fertilizer.

In the future, Rember hopes to be able to provide his children a better quality of life and to continue having good health, which is the reason he opted for organic methods. "

When Mr. Saturnino repays his loan that $25 will be lent to another Kiva borrower and so on. What started out as a no interest loan to one low income entrepreneur will benefit many other borrowers in the future.

2015 completes my third full year using Amazon Associates earnings from this site to issue Kiva loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. This year brought in $32.17, which I added to my Kiva account this morning.
Though 2015 only earned enough for the one borrower, previous loans were repaid this year, enabling us to take on eight additional entrepreneurs.
My Amazon Associates account has earned $245.31 since 2013, which is nine loans. Those funds got re-loaned upon repayment so the grand total is now eighteen low income entrepreneurs funded and counting (two ended in loss). There is a metaphoric loaves and fishes aspect at play here. Your initial contributions have doubled so far. You will now be helping feed families of low income entrepreneurs not yet even listed on Kiva! 
Several years ago a contestant on Jeopardy was introduced as having raised something like a million dollars for Kiva. Kiva was my favorite charity, too. I figured if she could raise THAT much I could at least raise a little. Thank you for helping make that dream reality. 
Happy New Year!
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