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of 1994, I had a mammogram. I was surprised when the
radiology department of my HMO flew into a panic. Hysterical hospital
personnel left "URGENT!" messages for me at work. The calls terrified
me, and I knew that if I did have cancer, fear could only make
matters worse. The calls also enraged me, as they violated my
privacy, so I fired my HMO.
new HMO, I selected a holistically-oriented physician. When
the lump on my breast had grown alarmingly two months after the
mammogram, he recommended a lump biopsy. It disturbed me that he
offered no alternative. But he had all the right credentials and said
that the procedure was simple and virtually painless, so I decided to
trust his judgment. We selected a surgeon and I made an
not go well. Six hours after the surgery, I was in
tremendous pain. The incision had filled with blood, causing a
hematoma. A few days after the biopsy, the surgeon told me over the
telephone that the biopsy revealed the presence of cancer. He
recommended more surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. He also told me
that there was no way to relieve the pain from the hematoma, and
guessed correctly that it would last for several months. He was
actually surprised that all this bad news upset me, so I fired
tentatively recommended more surgery, combined with
radiation. This time, I decided not to follow his advice.
as though my nightmares, of which there were many, had
overflowed into waking life. My holistic physician, two surgeons, an
acupuncturist and herbalist, my friends, casual acquaintances, and my
family were unanimous in the opinion that surgery, radiation and
chemotherapy were my only options. At one point, I seriously
considered a mastectomy. Then in a dream, I saw the dark figure of a
human form with little bits and pieces of its flesh lopped away.
Awakening from this dream, I realized that if cutting, burning or
poisoning my body were the only ways to deal with my predicament,
then life just may not be worth living. I was shocked to discover
that death was beginning to look appealing, and this discovery woke
there must me another way, I arranged to visit a
friend of 30 years who now lives in Ukiah, California. After a few
hours with her, I felt like ME again, instead of a cancerous breast.
She inspired me to hope, laugh, and choose to live. She reminded me
that there really are alternative to conventional western
that, I told a new friend about my condition and she
invited me to a meeting of the Gerson network. There are people
follow the Gerson therapy that were diagnosed as "terminal" as much
as 30 years ago. Other approaches work, too. One of my business
contacts in Napa, California was diagnosed with lung cancer and given
6 months to live. He quit his job, and spent what he thought were to
be the last 6 months of his life helping his wife open an antique
store. A year later, he was still alive, got a job, and became deeply
involved in his work. That was 14 years ago!
the stories of these wonderful people and realizing
that my life may not be over after all, I shared my excitement with
my physician. He responded that none of the options I was so excited
about really works, so I fired him. Two months later, I dropped my
insurance, both because I could no longer afford it, and because it
was of no further use to me. Currently, I am treating my condition
with a modified Gerson therapy, combined with herbal supplements and
with the Basics
the chance of adding more chemicals and toxins to your
body. Eat only organic foods. If you eat flesh and/or dairy products,
make sure they are free of antibiotics and growth hormones. Drink
only filtered or distilled water. Store food and water in glass, not
plastic. Use only non-toxic household cleansers and pest control
products, and cosmetics that are free of chemicals. You can do this,
with the help of your local natural foods market.
Honest, Be Selfish
relationship, encounter, TV or radio program, piece of
music, situation, thought, and feeling, pose the question, "Is this
contributing to my healing?" If the answer is no, let it go.
Fear and Think Positive
wrote, "More people die of fear than of cancer." Dr.
Bernie Siegel also speaks often and eloquently of the devastating
effects of fear. When fears assail you, use whatever method you can
to move quickly to a place of peace and confidence. Turn to friends
or family for comfort. Trust that God, or Goddess, or the Higher
Power, has everything under control. Read, read, read, and listen to
inspirational audiotapes. Anything by Louise Hay, Dr. Bernie Siegel
and Norman Vincent Peale, and Teach Only Love, by Gerald Jampolsky
and Wellness Workbook by Travis and Ryan.
of your dreams as well. Dream imagery reflects our deepest
beliefs, and we tend to get what we deeply believe. If you have
negative dream imagery, take the time to change it through writing,
artwork or visualization.
a Support System
with those who face similar challenges can help you
avoid their mistakes and reassure you when your "alarming symptoms"
are actually a healing response.
honest and open you are with friends and family members, the
more they will be able to help you. I knew that I had good friends,
but until I shared this challenge with them, I had no idea how good
they really were.
wrote, "We are all dying. It's just
that some of us are
dying faster than others."
know if the treatment program I am following will allow me to
live longer or cause me to die sooner. Of course I want to live, but
for me, that is not the most important point. That's hard for many of
the people who care about me to understand. But more than anything
else, I want to deepen my trust in process---the kind of trust that's
reflected in a line from Desiderata: Ò"Éand whether or
not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it
only one cell in the body of Gaia, and I don't know how I figure
in the overall plan. I do know that the dis-ease in my body has
volumes to teach me about believing in myself, claiming my power and
authority, looking terror squarely in the face, and relating fully to
other people. That doesn't mean that I want to keep this dis-ease
around. I intend to get rid of it, by listening closely to what it's
telling me about my life--and changing. If I can pull that off,
whether I live to be only 51, or reach 85 or 90, won't matter so
much. At least I will have lived.
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