Don Alejandro

This week and next week will determine the future course of my treatment. The Shipley protocol calls for another TUR around May 6, to determine if there is any cancer in my bladder. The question for Dr. Neuwirth is, “Is my bladder free of cancer?” If the answer is no, then I am to proceed with more chemotherapy and radiation. This phase is known as “consolidation CFI,” where CFI stands for cis-platin, 5FU, and irradiation. If the answer is not no, then Dr. Neuwirth will probably recommend “radical cystectomy,” which I want to avoid.

To help me cope with such a decision, I went to see a Peruvian shaman by the name of Don Alejandro this morning. The session took place in Sebastopol, about 50 miles north of Sausalito. I had in interpreter who translated Don Alejandro’s Spanish into English for me on the fly – as he was speaking. This was a little confusing at first, but I eventually got used to it. I asked him the question on the list in appendix 4.

In the session, Don Alejandro told me that my disease was hereditary. Then I explained to him how my sister died of Leukemia, my mother of an osteosarcoma, my dad of bladder cancer, and how my son survived kidney cancer. Don Alejandro recommended that I continue with the chemotherapy and radiation, if that was required. He felt for sure that I would be cured of cancer, but that it may be a slow process. He said that there would probably be more than one looking into my bladder for cancer. He gave me advice on what to eat: no cold drinks, no red meat, fish in small quantities, and no sea food (my favorite). I should eat steamed or raw vegetables to make up the calories that I need to take in. Cold drinks cause the digestive system to clam up and can cause inflammation in the bladder. I don’t quite understand this, but maybe Michael Broffman can explain it to me. He suggested I take cat’s claw, which I already knew about. I’ll also check this out with Michael Broffman.

He said that I should maintain peace of mind and let all of my problems go. He asked me if I followed any religion, and I naturally told him that I followed Buddhism. He didn’t make a comment about this, but I’m sure it figured into the psychic equation.

Prior to doing his psychic healing, Don Alejandro had me drink a herbal beverage that was quite bitter. I was expecting apple juice! Then I laid down on the bed and he proceeded to heal me according to his methods. He first explored my bladder with his hands and then began a chant in a strange language that could have been mistaken for Hebrew. The chant lasted about five minutes and was very soothing. I noticed that he was sitting with his hands in the prayer position while chanting.

The next thing I knew was that he was laying his hands on my bladder area. After a while, I got the idea to open psychically to him, and I felt him penetrate my defenses. I found myself smiling during the process, and furthermore, I maintained a focus on my breathing with “healthy… free…” Some of his manipulations of my bladder area began to hurt, and I tightened up a bit. Then I realized that this was part of the healing process and I relaxed into it. His work proceeded without further hindrance from me, and soon it was over. He pronounced the healing complete, and, at the same time, ended the session.

I left Sebastopol almost immediately, as I felt that I needed time to integrate what he said and what he did. We came straight home and I did a “mind story” about the healing. My feeling now is that he did major good and I would definitely see him again. By the way, the tape recorder was on “pause,” so I didn’t get any of the conversation. However, the essence of the treatment was the healing, not the words.

In a way, I am now better prepared for a bad answer from Dr. Neuwirth, because Don Alejandro had said that I may have to have my bladder looked into more than once. I’m not sure if he was seeing the follow-up cystoscopic exams, or another TURBT.

In the afternoon, I went to see Dr. Neuwirth, who was quite pleased with how I looked. However, he did not examine me and his scheduler made a point of my having a physical exam with Dr. Belknap before the surgery next week on May 8. He did say that he was willing to have Julie Motz in the operating room with him. He even mentioned that she was in the operating room with a friend of his last week.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Julie Motz, I’ll give you a little run down of what I know from reading the Pacific Sun article from April 23, to April 29, 1997. The article basically states that Julie enters the operating room with the surgeon and does laying on of the hands healing during the surgery. She is the first to use energy healing in the operating room. She works primarily with cancer and heart disease patients. She is giving a lecture at Marin General Hospital on May 8 at 7:00 P. M. I’m trying to use my connection with Leslie Davenport to get to speak with Julie Motz about visiting me during my surgery next week.

Julie Motz called me a little later and said that she would love to work with me, but she can’t do it on May 8. I’m now trying to reschedule my surgery for May 9 to have her there and participate in my healing experience. Maybe I can even get her to write a preface to Yellow Stream!


In the evening, I attended Anna Halprin‘s class. As Anna was receiving an award from her piers, the class was taught by Jordy. She taught a class before, and this one was quite good. The theme of the evening was getting in touch with parts of our bodies that were free and not so free. I identified my knees as being not so free and my buttocks as free. We expressed these parts through writing, movement, working in pairs, and drawing. I drew the above picture. Click on the picture to get a full size version. Then click here to get a rotated version. Quite by accident, the picture works from both orientations. In the first, we see two people lying in the grass with a blue sky above them. In the second, the people are still lying in the grass, but now they are by a lake and the sun is reflecting in the lake. On the back of the picture I wrote,

“Life is made up of free and non-free elements. Aren’t we lucky that there is no permanent self to carry foreword after this life is over? We are free to live our life as we want and discover how to integrate free and non-free elements.”

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Overprotection

April 20, 1997 – Overprotection

When I was a boy of around twelve or thirteen, I studied and played the game of chess. I studied the masters like Lasker, Reinfeld, Alekhine, Botvinnik and Capablanca. In fact, when Reshevsky played a simultaneous exhibition at Purdue University in 1959, I played him to a tie by playing the Lasker variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. My favorite master was Aaron Nimzovich, who published My System in 1925. This was my favorite book on the subject and I studied it long and hard. One of the strategies that Nimzovich taught was called overprotection. He maintained that if you have a pawn in a strong position, especially in the center of the board, you should do everything in your power to overprotect that pawn, which, in turn would lead to a very strong position. Overprotection became my primary strategy in chess, and perhaps in life.

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Overprotection is a good strategy for raising children if you consider expressing your love and affection for them consistently throughout their childhood. I’m not talking about protecting them from the outside world so much as assuring them that they are loved and cared for in a way in which they feel secure and protected. My girls and boy have been raised this way and are wonderful people.

I think that overprotection is a good strategy for healing from cancer also. What I mean here is that the more you can do for yourself, the better. For me, this means being a support group junkie, doing “mind stories,” having guided imagery sessions, doing Feldenkrais and other massage therapies, acupuncture, and all of the other activities I’m engaged in to support and overprotect my health.

I came to this realization early this morning after a very difficult night of little sleep. I was looking deeply into my feelings and remembered how I played chess and bridge as a youngster.

I studied the game so much so that I could feel like a winner. I had felt like such a looser as a child that I needed something to win at and I chose chess. Almost every time I played a good game with a good player with a chance to win, I would get heart palpitations and start to shake. I would get very nervous and feel compelled to win. I needed to win at something. This attitude and nervousness carried over into my college days at Purdue University to the game of bridge. I quickly became one of the best bridge players on campus, but winning was still an issue. When Mike Sears and I entered a tournament in Terra Haute, Indiana, I was nervous and shaking as usual, and we did not win. Mike was very disappointed in me. However, when Charles Goren visited Pudure, I was his partner in a tournament and we won.

Now my life is on the line and I’m playing for keeps. I get the same heart palpitations and shaking when I think of the possibility of actually helping someone with my ideas and guidance. I get nervous when I think about publishing this web site as a book and actually speaking to people about how they can learn to make appropriate decisions for their medical treatment. Now that the word is out, I may be able to control my nervousness and shaking enough to heal myself and realize my goal to deliver this message far and wide. This is serious stuff, and I am committed to getting well again. My girls are still young enough that they need overprotection – overprotection in the sense of feeling loved and protected.

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Reframing a Bad Day

April 13, 1997 – Reframing a Bad Day

I’m having a bad cancer day today. I woke up feeling tense and anxious and it took me around two hours to get in touch with what the problem was. I was feeling all of the financial pressure of paying for my cancer care and at the same time, keeping my household in order. Before I had cancer, we were already stretched to the limit, having chosen to spend our money on our children’s education. Now, with the added stress of medical bills not covered by insurance, I’m really feeling the pinch. Just talking with friends and family and writing about it relieves the pain a little, and now I’m feeling more centered.

I got another email from R. M. in New Zealand. He had his TUR and it went well.

I managed to get myself out to play a little tennis this afternoon. This, combined with the advice from M. C., who gave me the massages when I returned home from the hospital on January 31, helped to finally lift me out of the bad day. M. C. suggested that I reframe my financial worries into gratitude that the cancer was found in time and pay the bills with thanksgiving for the opportunity to explore my life and bring my cancer under control. I took her suggestions to heart and now I’m feeling much better.

I also spoke with my brother, Max. He gave me some valuable suggestions for copyrighting this work and finding a publisher! I’m really grateful for his suggestions.

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Feel Good to Heal Good!

April 10, 1997 – Feel Good to Heal Good!

I woke up very early this morning, feeling almost normal! Before I had cancer, I would wake up early, go down into my office, and begin working. This morning, I followed the same procedure, in spite of having taken a sleeping pill last night. Aside from Cancerport, later this morning, I have an Evolutionary Circle meeting tonight, for the first time in about a month.

Cancerport was a very moving experience for me, as mothers spoke of children they wanted to see graduate and get married! This is also my experience, as one daughter graduates middle school in June and the other next June. I want to be there when they have grandchildren! I felt that it was appropriate to share my guided imagery session about “healthy cells growing all by themselves” again, and once more, it was received with great interest and care.

Several of us went to eat together at Taqueria San Jose in San Rafael. If you have never been there, you’re in for a treat. This is a real, down-home taco place that serves fresh orange juice and fresh carrot juice made to order. I also enjoy their soft tacos more than anywhere else.

During the discussion, I heard about one woman who is surviving cervical cancer for over twenty-two years, with eleven recurrences! One of the women I had lunch with has survived over eleven years with hers!

At the Evolutionary Circle, I showed a ten minute segment from In Search of … Faith Healing from 1980, in which my son’s Wilm’s tumor was the subject of research. The group was moved by his amazing healing and felt very inspired. I next spoke for a long time about my healing process, including “healthy cells grow all by themselves,” and other anecdotes. The love and support I felt transformed my feeling of exhaustion into as state of excitement. We all shared where were mentally and emotionally and left with good feelings for each other.

A friend of R. W.’s was there who is a Reiki healer and does laying on of the hands healing. I look forward to next week’s meeting where she will teach us some of her healing techniques.

This group has been going now for almost two years! In we try to support the goals and desires of each of the members with our thoughts and imagery. Next week we should have T. W. and her husband also.

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Healing Support

April 3, 1997 – Healing Support

Today I went to Cancerport again. The group was once again quite small, so just about everyone got a chance to speak. People asked how I was doing, and I had a long opportunity to explain what was going on with me. Basically, I told them that I had not recovered as quickly from the second chemotherapy and radiation as the first, but mentally and emotionally I was doing quite well. I still have difficult periods with my elimination and a lot of tiredness. I explained how my meditation and imagery work kept my mind focused in my body and away from morbid thoughts. I explained how radical cystectomy was the standard of treatment and that I had decided to take charge of my own case by doing the Shipley method and just how that worked. I told them how I used the web to find out information about my disease and as a means of tracking my healing progress.

Someone then asked me about how I felt about having cancer. I proceed to explain that my father had bladder cancer and died at the age of eighty-six from it, but that he had had a tumor in his bladder for perhaps twenty years. I told them about my son’s metastatic Wilm’s tumor, and that it was another form of urinary track cancer. Then I explained my sister’s death due to Leukemia twenty-eight years ago and my mother’s osteosarcoma. Finally, I mentioned that all my aunts and uncles died from cancer. Thus I felt that I had a genetic disposition towards getting cancer and that the stress brought about by the loss of my job two and one-half years ago probably brought it on.

The discussion turned more towards the alternative treatments that I am using and I spoke about specifically about Michael Broffman and Marty Rossman as partners in my care with the Marin Cancer Institute. I tried to explain that one did not have to believe in meditation or imagery for them to work, even though several people insisted that some level of belief was necessary. So I explained that just a people go to work out at the gym to keep their physical bodies in good shape, they could learn to quiet their mind with a little practice. Wonderfully enough, other people with imagery and/or meditation experience backed up my mini-lesson on meditation, and I felt safe enough to share the insight about “healthy cells grow all by themselves.”

From there, I went to Gail Teehan for another Functional Integration session. It was tremendously healing, once again, and Gail and I shared a lot with each other about our lives and our personal growth. I love working with her because she’s so understanding and has such great hands. I bet she gives a hell of a massage!

Tonight I was supposed to meet my wife at M. C.’s house for dinner and a movie, but I really don’t feel up to going out again. I think yesterday was too much for me and I still exhausted from the long drive to Menlo Park.

Well, “enough for today,” as Bhagwan used to say!

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Off to Florida

March 31, 1997 – Off to Florida

My oldest daughter is off to Florida today with her best friend and her best friend’s mother. My youngest has plans for the whole week. Just after she left, J. W., from my enneagram group was in Sausalito and stopped by to see me. We spent quite a long time together, reviewing each other’s cancer treatments. She’s reached to turning point in her cure and was very encouraging about my current status.

Unfortunately, the rawness inside my body continued to haunt me most of the day, but I tried to take a short walk and spend a few minutes in the sun with Itzzy. He was comforting and of great help when I needed to be taken to bed. We had a few quality moments of time together, as I could tell he was concerned.

Anna Halprin’s class was again taught by her students. It was another great class, and my drawing was a “magic circle.” I barely had enough energy to move, however.

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Easter Sunday

March 30, 1997 – Easter Sunday

I wasn’t able to write anything yesterday because I was feeling quite badly. I felt like sleeping most of the day, which I did, even though D. and S. came from Arizona. They’ll be here next weekend, though, and I will be better by then. I’m already better today, but the raw feeling inside my body persists. I still feel a lot like sleeping. Perhaps this is quite a normal response to 5FU and cisplatin. I haven’t had too much nausea, and it has been quite controlled with Ativan.

About the best thing that I can recall about yesterday is that I was able to return to my belly breath quite frequently, in spite of feeling awful. I still remembered, “breathing in I’m healing myself, breathing out, I’m clear of cancer” or simply, “healing… clear”, with each breath. This practice removes me from the remorse of having cancer and controls my discursive thinking quite a bit.

We had a pot luck at our house today. Our best friends showed up with the best food! I was still feeling like my insides were raw, so I tried to soothe my insides with Aloe Vera and Rescue Remedy. They worked a little, but not 100%. I was nervous about the Aloe Vera that was bought because of its potency and purity. I’m still wondering if T-Up is worth buying.

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“Waiting is … Grocking in Fullness”

March 28, 1997 – “Waiting is … Grocking in Fullness”

Today we begin the long wait for the results of the induction chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Frankly, I am quite pleased with the results so far, and I am thankful for possibly adequate time to build up my immune system so as to eliminate all cancer cells, dysplasia, and atypia. Using Broffman’s protocol and other supplemental and conjunctive approaches, I plan to be free of cancer five weeks from now when I have my TURBT.

In case you have forgotten the above quote is from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, which is wonderful entertaining reading while you’re recovering from any illness.

This morning I had another wonderful guided imagery session with Leslie Davenport. The focus of the session was on what guidance I need to make it through this period of waiting. Most of what came up was being in the present with my breathing (“breathing in, I’m healing myself, breathing out, I’m clear of cancer”). The other part of it seemed to come from my past experience with my son. My friend B. C. and I performed certain magical rituals that I think had an effect on his health. I’m now on the lookout for such magical thinking. At the group session which followed my guided imagery, this concept came out in a drawing I made of a healing spot in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Perhaps tuning into that healing spot well enough will do the trick, but I certainly want to do some more exploring.

I came home to nap and then had a visit with A Ce Diamond. I plan to do a web page for his non-invasive form of Body Sculpture. Stay tuned!

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Stranger in a Strange Land

Bagel and Lox Cream Cheese Spread

March 26, 1997 – Bagel and Lox Cream Cheese Spread

My mother would have been 81 today had she not died of an osteosarcoma almost ten years ago. I have been thinking about all the cancer in our family, and it is really outrageous. Something must be going on here that we have no control over.

Today’s treatment went more quickly than yesterday’s, and lunch was great! All I needed to feel quite good by 6:00 PM was a guided imagery tape of Leslie Davenport and a short nap. My wife and the kids have been very supportive, and I expect to fly through these days quite well.

While the cisplatin was being infused I had another massage with Nora. Because of the IV, and the time limitations, all she had time to do were my shoulders and neck, but it felt good.

In the meantime, I worked on the professional services web page.

I have decided to photograph the drawings I’ve done at Anna Halprin’s classes. One of them was linked into the day before yesterday.

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Raining in California

March 16, 1997 – Raining in California

I wasn’t able to write anything yesterday. I felt really lousy. I needed a lot of rest and spent some of the day with company. I was feeling a bit nauseous all day and didn’t feel too much like eating, even though my wife made smoked salmon caviar pizza! It was a day to vege out and forget about cancer. Maybe that’s good to do once in a while!

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