Another Year Has Passed

More than a year has passed since my last entry.  I must say that 1998 was much better than 1997.  I had cystoscopies in January, April, June, and November, and they were all normal – i. e., no cancer.  I am now on a four month schedule for cystoscopies.

As far as the rest of my recovery is concerned, I continue to follow the directions of Michael Broffman as far as herbs, vitamins, and other suplements are concerned.  I don’t want to underestimate the effect of these supplements.  I believe they are helping my body to cope with the foreign toxins that were introduced all of 1997.

I continue to play tennis and practice walking meditation.  Once in a while, I got to Anna Halprin‘s class, but not as much as I’d like.  I’ve dropped out of the other support groups I was attending.  My family and friends continue to be my first line of support.  It’s pretty amazing that I’ve come out of this with such a clean skin!


Lessons Learned

To continue my story, I’d like to share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned in dealing with cancer. First and foremost is the love and support of caring friends and family. For this, I am very thankful, and don’t know exactly what to say beyond how difficult it would have been without them.

Secondly, I learned the value of doing my own research, and, at the same time, having the support of competent physicians and healers. I could not ignore the input of the doctors, but I knew enough to present a viable alternative. I am grateful to Doctors Harry Neuwirth, David Gullion, Francine Halberg, Sara Huang, Robert Belknap, Peter Carroll, Jeffrey Norton, Peter Klaphaak, and William Shipley for their willingness to put up with my radical approach to healing. When I think about the possibility of having had a radical cystectomy and compare it with the treatments I’ve had, I really count my blessing at having made the right decision for me. The radical cystectomy could have led to complications too numerous to understand at the time of the surgery. I am happy that I bypassed this option.

Thirdly, I don’t have any clue about the direct effect of the cancer support groups, alternative medicine, supplements, body work, and psychotherapy had on the physical healing of my illness, but they were all indispensable for my emotional and mental healing. To this, I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Martin Rossman, Thich Nhat Hanh, Leslie Davenport, Anna Halprin, Michael Broffman, Gail Teehan, Elyse Genuth, Dr. Van Vu, Dr. Patricia Frisch, and Alan Sheets for their contribution to my healing efforts, be they of the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. I guess I’ll never know whether these methods had anything to do with my healing, but I don’t want to think about how it would be if I hadn’t done them.

Finally, even with all the love and support of the people I’ve already mentioned, I have to acknowledge my own part in this process. I did my research, found a creative outlet for my experience in these pages, practiced mindfulness during critically ill times as well as healthy ones, and continued to look forward to a happy and healthy life beyond cancer. My goal has been to maintain as much mindfulness in all my activities as possible, including, but not limited to time on the tennis courts, walking meditation, computer work, and enjoyable outings with family and friends. My experience has been beneficial to other people, as well, through my web site, support groups and contact with friends taken ill by a similar disease. I am happy that I can help them, but not quite happy with the path that led me to the knowledge I have to do so.

In conclusion, let be state once again how important I think it is to combine the best of Western medicine with natural healing methods to come up with a treatment plan that can result in a cure. The process of healing the body must be accompanied by the process of healing the emotions, the mind and the spirit.


One Year Later

Two days ago, I received a call from Dr. Neuwirth’s office that my cystoscopy from January 14 was negative! This means that there is no longer any cancer in my bladder, and I am well on my way to a complete recovery. It also means that I am in remission. What events led up to this wonderful result? I shall try to trace what happened since my last entry Father’s day.

The summer was difficult to manage because of the effects of the chemotherapy. To help myself out, I continued body work, movement, therapy, and tennis. I did as much work as I could and was able to keep up with my assignments. I played tennis about twice a week, and that was all I could manage.

In August, we took a family trip to Santa Barbara in honor of my youngest’s birthday. The trip was pleasant, but I was not recovered from the chemo. This, I was terribly exhausted most of the day and took restoril to sleep at night. My wife and I got along quite wonderfully, considering the three girls in the other room, and my inability to function most of the day.

September began with a wonderful experience at a meditation retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in Santa Barbara. In a way, the retreat helped to prepare me for what was the beginning of extremely hard times. On September 9, I had a needle biopsy of the growth in my left thigh, and on September 10, I underwent a cystoscopy exam by Dr. Neuwirth. The needle biopsy was so unusual that the specimen was sent off to Stanford University. The result was that I have a schwannoma in my thigh, and the recommendation was to remove it.

Even though Dr. Neuwirth did not see any visible cancer, the washings had to be sent off to the lab for biopsy. Unfortunately, the result came back that I still had some displasia and carcinoma-in-situ. This result was extremely depressing to me, as I had counted on a clean result. Dr. Neuwirth, however, was not terribly discouraged, and he expressed confidence that a six week treatment of BCG would clear up any remaining cancer in my bladder.

On a positive note, my visit with Dr. Gullion and the accompanying blood tests were good. In addition, I had a CT scan on September 24, which revealed no sign of cancer elsewhere in my body. But these results didn’t help avoid the pain and suffering that was to come.

On October 3, I went into Marin General Hospital for a biopsy under anesthesia to confirm the findings of the cystoscopy three weeks before. The results did indeed confirm that I still had carcinoma-in-situ and displasia, and that BCG treatments would be the recommended procedure.

Meanwhile, I made several appointments with various surgeons to discuss my schwannoma surgery, and on my 58th birthday, October 8, I met with Dr. Jeffrey Norton at UCSF. His arguments for immediate surgery were convincing and he said, “I can do it Friday!” In addition, he wanted to excise the lipoma under my left shoulder blade while he had me on the operating table. So, on Friday, October 10, I checked into the hospital. In the pre-op room, I pleaded one more time to make sure the surgery was absolutely necessary, but I was overruled. Dr. Norton did agree not to touch the lipoma if anything went wrong with the schwannoma.

Well, nothing went wrong, and both masses were excised. I spent the better part of three days in the hospital, and then I went home. Getting up the steps was quite a chore, which I managed by sitting on a pillow on each step. I had to get around the house in a walker for about a week, and then I could use crutches. The lipoma surgery prevented me from using crutches to get around after the surgery, and actually this is what kept me in the hospital for the extra days. You know how they want to get you out of the hospital as soon as possible these days.

I started physical therapy with Julie Wong at ProActive Physical Therapy in San Francisco on October 28. She was the same physical therapist that my wife used after her hip surgery last year. Julie is marvelous and highly recommended. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Julie. She taught me exercises to strengthen my shoulders and my legs, which I am still doing today, even though I am completely recovered from the two surgeries. All in all, I had six sessions with Julie.

I felt I was ready for the BCG treatments by October 29. Whereas the treatments themselves involve inserting the BCG directly into the bladder by means of a catheter, the precautions necessary when you get home are strenuous. Every time you urinate, you have to disinfect the toilet as well as yourself, because the bacteria is still active. I found this part to be quite annoying, and to keep this up for six weeks was a major undertaking. Furthermore, after the instillation, you must try not to urinate for at least two hours afterwards, so you have to stop drinking all liquids at least four hours before the treatment. What a hassle, but it beats the alternative hands down.

During this whole period, I felt quite depressed, and sought the help of Leslie Davenport, sometimes twice a week. Her help and guidance made the impossible just difficult, and I managed to pull through the whole thing. In addition, I managed to attend Anna Halprin‘s class as soon as I was able to get around. These two women have really helped me a lot throughout the entire duration of my illness.

On January 14, I had another cystoscopy with Dr. Neuwirth. The purpose of this procedure was to check on the effectiveness of the BCG treatments. Dr. Neuwirth made two statements that game me hope that the treatments actually worked. He said that my bladder looked like one that had been treated with BCG, and that he could tell that I was taking high doses of vitamins.

Nine days later, I had the results. I had no cancer in my bladder! I had no displasia or carcinoma-in-situ! I was in remission! What a marvelous and wonderful ending to a very difficult year. Just two days before the one year anniversary of my gross hematuria, I found out that I no longer had cancer in my bladder.


Eric Vormanns

Eric Vormanns is a West African energy healer residing in Belgium.  He is in Marin until September 29, and I was referred to him by Leslie Davenport.  My session with him left me quite sad.  Even though he thought the cancer would eventually go away, he thought that I was not doing what I came to this life to do.  He thought that I should be writing, teaching, and practicing in the areas of healing and spiritual growth.  I felt sad because I knew that I lacked the courage to devote my life to these activities.  Of course, this web site and other activities contribute, but I don’t feel that it is enough.  I need to get Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves published and appear on talk shows all over.

In the evening, I went to Anna Halprin‘s class.  The picture I drew was quite amazing.  It was called, “grib-it,” and featured a frog and the stream of life.  I felt quite good expressing myself through this drawing.  It seemed to contain everything that I experienced in being with Thich Nhat Hanh.


Stop Cancer In Its Tracks: Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves
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to learn about
Mindfulness in Healing

Gabrielle Roth

This evening, I attended an evening with Gabrielle Roth, and American Shaman.  Back in 1975 and 1976, I spent much of my time with Gabrielle, as her student and assistant.  Her main contribution to my life at that time was to support me through the worst of my son’s bout with cancer.  In addition, I learned a lot about movement from her.  She actually had trained with Anna Halprin. On the day my son went into the hospital for surgery of his tumor, I was supposed to go to Eselan with Gabrielle to assist her in her workshop.  However, this was not to be.  A month earlier, Gabrielle and I put on an amazing event to honor Rajneesh.  We had about 250 people attend, and it was wonderful.

This evening was very nice for me.  As Gabrielle entered the auditorium, I greeted her and she remembered me by name.  She had just recently told someone about my son’s miraculous recovery 21 years ago.

After about thirty minutes of movement, Gabrielle began to speak about trialectics (although she didn’t mention the name).  From my understanding, trialectics teaches that for every active force and its corresponding passive force, there is a neutralizing force to go along with them.  Gabrielle spoke about awareness, attention, and action in the context of ourselves, our one-on-one relationships, and our relationships to a group.  These last three concepts fit nicely into the three instincts of the enneagram.  In respect to awareness, attention, and action, Gabrielle spoke about thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations – the three centers of intelligence.  At an appropriate time in the discussion, I delivered a little speech about the advanced stages of these centers.  I used my concept of playing tennis with mindfulness as an example of being about to move before you know how you will move, that is, very instinctually.  The phenomena occurs in athletes when the enter the “zone” of ultimate capability.  This was an example of body awareness that goes beyond the normal range of effort.  I similarly spoke about feeling things before you know what you will feel, giving rise to lucid dreams, clairvoyance, and other psychic phenomena.  Finally, I spoke about having thoughts that seem to come out of no where in which you just simply know.  With these capabilities in place, one being to experience what it is like to be another.  Gabrielle was pleased with what I had to say, and told the crowd that this was the essence of what she was teaching.

By the way, earlier that day I had a wonderful session with Leslie Davenport.


Anat Meets Anna

I brought Anat Baniel, Gail Teehan, and Nancy Aberle, a Feldenkrais practitioner in Santa Barbara to Anna Halprin‘s class this evening.  The interaction among these wonderful teachers was wonderful.  One of the members arrived at the class and was actually too sick to do anything.  She wanted to be taken to the emergency room to see if there was anything they could do for her.  She left with the lady that brought her and another member of our group.

This put the group in a rather somber mood, so Anna had us do a remarkable ceremony with Native American overtones.  The movement brought us quite close together and we all felt better for ourselves and for the sick lady.  It turned out that she was able to go home that evening.


Ten Days Later

It’s been over a week since I’ve had an opportunity to write in these pages. Two weekends have gone by, and a week of hectic activity. I’ve finally become a “regular” for tennis with D. F. and E. M. on Mondays and Fridays. I’ve been a substitute for years and now I’m finally playing all the time. This changes a couple of things around for me. It means that I will have to miss Gail Teehan’s Feldenkrais lessons at D. B.’s house. It also ties up two mornings a week, but it’s what I want to do.

Last week I went to Anna Halprin‘s class on Monday, which was led by Julie. We performed a “hands” ritual, and my drawing was of hands in various positions. They were all variations of “loving hands”, even though none of the drawings had that name. They were called, “praying hands”, “begging hands”, “healing hands”, and “just hands”. The “begging hands” came from an insight I had while doing the ritual: we are all beggars, asking for just one more day on the earth, but there is no one to beg, and no one to answer. Therefore praying and begging amount to the same thing. We need to take responsibility for our own lives and allow other people to live around us.

I had a great Feldenkrais lesson with Gail on Tuesday, and a wonderful session with Leslie Davenport on Thursday.

Wednesday was quite exciting! I received calls from two publishers and met with a third. The first one wanted a copy of the complete manuscript for Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves! I have been very busy converting the web pages to a document in the format required by this publisher. This has taken all of the time I usually spend writing the web pages.

The second publisher wanted to see a business plan for the book, which contains a synopsis and Table of Contents.

The third was Burton Goldberg, publisher of Alternative Medicine Digest and co-author of  An Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide to Cancer. I told him my story and listened to his. Apparently, there is a lot more to the cancer cure than I or anyone one that I know is currently aware of and Goldberg’s book has many new answers. I don’t quite know where this relationship is going, but it could be very interesting. He especially likes my ideas of teaching people about cancer alternatives, through Mindfulness and ART in Healing. He thought that my idea to form a non-profit corporation to raise money to offer the workshop for free to financially handicapped patients was quite viable.


Stop Cancer In Its Tracks: Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves
Buy This Book
to learn about
Mindfulness in Healing

Six Months Later

I spent most of the morning doing work and then went out to play tennis with my younger daughter. We had a nice lunch together and then her friend came over. Later in the day, I met Gail Teehan for dinner and Anna Halprin‘s class. Tonight, Gail came for me, as my support person, but from now on, I think that she is going to come for herself! She had such a marvelous time.

In Anna’s class, we did movements that reminded me of what Gail taught last Wednesday at our workshop. We began with massaging our feet, and then migrated to moving the rest of our bodies and especially our pelvises. As a result of earlier sharing, the theme of the evening was anger and determination. It was viewed that the energy of anger and the energy of determination were of the same nature. My drawing reflected my determination to get well. It began as an image of a boy jumping up and down, but since I didn’t have the artistic skills to represent such an action, it turned into what looked like fireworks triggering other fireworks! Or, I even thought that it represented a one thousand petal lotus with each petal having one thousand petal lotuses upon it. It was a marvelous event!


Marin Feels Healing Energy

Today was full of excitement! I began the day with two sets of doubles, which I managed to play with a remarkable degree of competence. There followed an hour bath and a brief nap. When I awoke, I had some lunch. Then I began writing and called Gerald Freedman to ask his permission to publish his poems and haiku on the web. To my surprise, he told me that I was famous! The article I had sent to the Marin Independent Journal on Monday appeared almost entirely in an article entitled, “Marin feels healing energy” on the front page of the “Lifestyles” section. I was extremely delighted to hear this news. A copy of the original paper that I submitted is on this web site as healers.htm. The editor left out some information about Feldenkrais with Gail Teehan and all that I said about Nicholi Levashov, but quoted most of the rest of the article. I imagine they left out Nicholi because he is from San Francisco.

In my excitement, I phoned Anna Halprin, Gail Teehan, Barbara Rose Billings,  and Michael Broffman. Marty Rossman is on his way to Oregon with my daughter, so I’ll tell him about it when I next speak with my daughter.