Stop Cancer Introduction

Lying still,
Breathing in, breathing out,
Healthy cells grow all by themselves.
I am free of cancer!

white-blood-cell-543471_1280This Zen poem came to me during my guided imagery session on the day of the Vernal Equinox, 1997. It represents the theme of this category (Stop Cancer): Healthy Cells Grow All By Themselves. We have to be willing to allow our bodies to heal themselves by paying attention to our healing process, by paying attention to our breathing. We have to live moment by moment.

This category is devoted to cancer patients in general and bladder cancer patients in particular. It traces the symptoms and diagnosis of my bladder cancer from the onset of symptoms to Father’s Day, 1997 and beyond. It is given in frequent articles in diary format so that other sufferers of the disease or any other disease can make use of my experience in whatever way is beneficial to them. Hopefully, my readers will be inspired to take an active role in their own recovery and be willing to participate in their own healing, rather than being at the mercy of the surgeon’s knife. There is a considerable body of evidence that patients who have a positive mental attitude and engage in their own treatment have much better chance of long term survival.

Not everyone will want to do the amount of research I’ve done to find out about my disease, but if you do, the articles in Stop Cancer should give you a good idea of where to start and what resources are available to help you participate in your on healing. I have incorporated a lot of alternative medicine and spiritual practices in my recovery, and I hope to inspire you to do the same.

There are a few bits of background information that you should know in order to understand my motivation for doing this in the way that it is being done. First of all, I was a 57 year old male living in Marin County, California, one of the best places to live in the world, both from a pure aesthetic point of view, and because of its access to medical resources. The University of California at San Francisco Medical Center is just across the Golden Gate Bridge, and Stanford University Hospital is only fifty miles away. Furthermore, Marin General Hospital and its associated medical organizations are among the best in the country. So, right away, I feel that I am blessed to be living here.

Secondly, I am a person with a deep spiritual commitment. My orientation is Buddhist, and my interests lie in Interactive Guided Imagery1 (mind stories), the enneagram, and conscious evolution. Being diagnosed with bladder cancer was a shock to my system of values, but the supportive community I live in combined with my Buddhist outlook has made this period of my life reasonably tolerable.

Micah age 7
Micah age 7

Thirdly, you should know that cancer runs rampant in my family. My father died of bladder cancer at the age of 86 and my mother died of another form of cancer at the age of 71. In addition, my son, Micah, now 47, survived a stage four Wilm’s Tumor (kidney cancer) which he had in 1976. The key to his survival may have been the use of some of the supplementary medical care techniques described later in this blog, as the surgeon had given him up for dead. Even my surgeon said, “We weren’t saving many stage fours in those days.” My son’s story was told in two episodes of “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy in 1976 and 1980.

Finally, my younger sister died of Leukemia in 1968 at the age of 27. With all of this happening, you might think that I was “predisposed” to get the curse.

PLEASE NOTE: This material is copyright(c) 1997-2016, by Dr. Jerome Freedman. All Rights Reserved.

This document is meant to be a description of the author’s experience and he in no way takes responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of any medical knowledge. The author assumes no responsibility for choices made by any of the readers of this material.

The author is not a physician and makes no claims about the potential usefulness of the subject matter herein to have any medical benefit. Please check with your doctor if you find something interesting that you would like to try.

[1] Interactive Guided Imagerysm is a service mark of The Academy for Guided Imagery, Mill Valley, CA.


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.


The Tail of the Kite

Today was one of those days that started out being very stressful, as I was under pressure to solve a bug and chauffeur my kid around, and it also ended with a lot of stress as a result of negative thoughts that entered my mind after attending the Center for Attitudinal Healing.

After delivering my daughter to the shopping center with her friend, I went for another healing massage with Gail Teehan. She worked quite diligently on my shoulders and abdomen, and remarked that the effects of the chemo seemed much less. I also felt a strong healing coming into my body as she massaged my abdomen in a tender and loving way. This was the first time I had a massage at her house and we sat down for sushi afterwards. So I was feeling pretty good when I left her.

From there, I went to a session with Leslie Davenport. As I brought her up to date with all the wonderful experiences I’ve been having since our last session, I began to cry again, as the full extent of the emotional impact of the events hit me again. We talked at length about the opening of my heart chakra. During the guided imagery, she was trying to ground the energy so that my heart would stay open. While I was there, it seemed to work, but when I got home, I really experienced the fear of being hurt when I was so vulnerable. I spoke with her later on the phone and expressed my fears. To this, she once again emphasized the importance of grounding the energy rather than closing off.

All of these experiences led me to go the Center for Attitudinal Healing, even though my wife was taking the night off. At the Center, I shared the heart-warming events since last Thursday, and felt good about being open again. But then someone shared some experiences that made me start to think again, and I became lost in the fear. I began to doubt my love for myself, as I had most of my life. I felt like I was about to lose it and then the session was over and I could retreat into myself. I tried to explain what was going on to my wife, but wasn’t able to compete with the TV.

So what started out stressful due to performance and duty wound up stressful due to fear and doubt. All of these characteristics can be explained through knowledge of my point on the enneagram. Point six, as I’ve mentioned before is the position of the doubter, and fear is the passion. It looks like I’ve allowed my old personality to rear up again in the face of stress. And then I wonder, how can I alter my path of recovery so I don’t wind up in the same place I was when the cancer struck. If I do, there will be no real healing, as I must heal my aching heart.


The Enneagram: Know Your Type! Awaken Your Potential

How Much Love Does It Take?

Today I went to a benefit concert of classical music for my friend J. W., a long-time friend and member of my small enneagram group. She is also living with cancer, and the Diamond Heart group she belongs to sponsored the concert. The concert raised more than $1,400 to help J. pay for her medical expenses. She’s a great lady and deserves all the help she can get. There were more than fifty people there and I thought to myself, “How much love does it take to heal from cancer and get on with your life? How much love does it take to make you realize that you need to love yourself first, and then you can share it with others?” J. certainly was surrounded by people who loved her, and she was radiant!

I sat with D. K., another member of my eneagram group, and his wife. All three were so supportive of my situation, and when I had to lie down for the second half of the concert, D. was rubbing my feet!


“Let My Heart Fly Open, Let Me Come To You”

I was speaking with Joe, one of the facilitators of the Life Threatened group at the Center for Attitudinal Healing the day before yesterday to find out what went on in the group. There was one person who wasn’t given much of a chance of returning, and yet she did. I had been thinking about her the whole time I’ve been recovering from the treatment, and couldn’t wait to talk to Joe about the person. As we were speaking, Joe told me the story of his illness and work with the Center, which I can’t repeat here, except to say that he had had an experience of moving out of himself to the other.

Helen Palmer speaks about a similar experience. Our first line of work in the enneagram is to know ourselves. This we do through self-observation practice which corresponds quite closely with mindfulness meditation that I often write about. In fact, the self-observation practice that Helen teaches is to pay full attention to the breath in the belly, following the inhalation, the pause, the exhalation, and the return. This is the full cycle of the breath in the belly. As bodily sensations, feelings, thoughts, plans, memories, and fantasies enter into the mind, the are swiftly moved away, like a fallen leaf drifts slowly down by the effect of the wind. She teaches that when one becomes still in this way, one begins to get feelings that come before you know what you will feel, and that these feelings can be of the other. This process leads to the second line of work, which is to know the other as they know themselves.

When I spoke about similar matters with Leslie Davenport at our last session on May 29, I asked her what she thought was going on with me. She said, that in Sufi terms, she felt the I was changing “macoms,” which she described as “place.” I had heard about macoms at the First International Enneagram Conference three years ago, but I still don’t know much about them. She had said that one man’s macom is another man’s ecstasy. Apparently, as one moves from macom to macom, one becomes closer to the divine. My interpretation is that I am experiencing a great opening of  my heart, which probably began in the spring and was furthered by my experience at Anna Halprin’s studio on May 28.

The quote in the title is from a Sufi song that cries out for the presence of the divine. From this sparse information, I gathered that Leslie thought that I was moving into a new state. In this state, I personally feel a transformation from thinking mostly about myself to thinking about others. I’ve always thought a lot about my children and my spouse, but now I am thinking about other people a lot, especially the ones in my support groups.

So, today, when I had a massage, followed by a Feldenkrais session with Gail Teehan, I could only think of this song. Her loving hands seemed to strip the chemotherapy of its grip on my healthy cells and, as she massaged my feet, I felt the unwanted cells leaving my body through my shoulders. Her work on my lower back, shoulders and abdomen was the best massage I’ve ever had in those particular areas. I felt so cleansed by the whole massage that I began to cry when I sat up to change over to the Feldenkrais lesson. My heart was singing, “Let my heart fly open, let me come to you!” I had never cried before after a massage, and I had never felt so touched by the divine. I’ll never forget those feelings. It was like yearning for the divine and receiving grace. Throughout out my whole emotional experience, Gail was there with me with her loving presence and guided me to a safe space for us to continue with the Feldenkrais work.

The Feldenkrais lesson was shortened, due to the length of the massage, but it was excellent. She worked on my shoulders and my spine, and I really felt great! Then I gave Gail a shortened version of a Zero Balancing treatment, which I think she enjoyed. Nonetheless, it’s up to her to write about it!


Finally Feeling Better

I woke up twice this morning. The first time was the to sprinkler system in the back yard beginning to water the plants. The second time was when the phone rang. Now I am up and feeling better than I have for days.

During the night, I got some answers to the questions I raised yesterday about the foreground thoughts and feelings. I started thinking about what exactly was going on and I remembered two schools of thought about it.

The first school of thought comes from the teachings of the enneagram. In this school of thought, the we function from three centers of intelligence: the physical or body center, the emotional center, and the intellectual center. These are also referred to as the belly, heart, and head center, respectively. Because we function from these three centers, we have bodily based experience impinging on our consciousness whenever we feel a slight pain or discomfort. We have an emotional experience whenever our feelings are triggered. Finally, and probably most of the time, we are bombarded through our mental center with thoughts, memories, plans, images, dreams (really another type of image), and so forth. In addition, we must note that energy follows attention. That is, wherever we place our attention, our energy will follow. If we are focused on a goal we want to accomplish, we may be able to place all of our attention on that goal.

We can actually create pretty much at will each of these experiences. For example, don’t think of an elephant! What happened? You probably thought about an elephant and had an image of one in your mind. So basically, this is the contents of the mind, according to the enneagram.

The Buddhist philosophy about these matters is surprisingly similar, although it doesn’t deal with three centers of intelligence. In The Art of Happiness, Myrko Fryba talks about the four levels of experience on page 88:

  1. Immediate experiencing of real events, processes, and states (and the feelings and sensations associated with them) bodily taking place in the present moment.
  2. The bodily experienced meaning of represented (remembered) events, relations, constellations, situations, and scenes (and the feelings and sensations associated with them) that have led to current states of feeling and alterations of consciousness.
  3. Conceptual thinking related to the flow of immediate experiencing or to the felt meaning of entire situations, which are presently happening. From this thinking are derived matrices and programs for apprehension and action (to the extent that they are consciously accessible and thus also “thinkable”).
  4. Conceptual thinking whose content has no relationship to the current state of the thinker and thus which has no conscious relationship to experiential reality. This could be a kind of non-reality-related babbling that is unconsciously motivated and directed, or mechanical data processing (for example, calculation), or it could also be wise reflection on rules and programs with the help of the meta-language of Abhidhammic algebra-in other words, planning and coordinating of liberational strategies. The key point here is that this level of experience has no present bodily anchoring in reality.

Later, when describing Satipatthana-Vipassana exercises, he refers to these as the four foundations of mindfulness:

  1. Contemplation of the body (kayanupassana)
  2. Contemplation of the feelings (vedananupassana)
  3. Contemplation of consciousness (cittanupassana)
  4. Contemplation of mental contents (dhammanupassana)

When practicing mindfulness meditation, one becomes aware of the different categories of experience and systematically assigns what I have called “foreground” material to one of the categories and returns to concentration on the object of mindfulness. If the experience is related to light, color, sound, noise, warmth, movement, trembling, itching, stinging, pressure, lightness, etc., it is assigned to the body. If the experience is pleasant, enjoyable, pleased, amused, bored, sadness, pain, indifference, etc., it is assigned to the feelings. If the experience is concentrated, scattered, tense, greedy, hate-filled, freed, etc., it is assigned to consciousness. Finally, if the experience is thinking, wishing, planning, intending, trust, doubt, knowledge, etc., it is assigned to mental contents. One tries to make the assignments as quickly as possible and return to the object of mindfulness.

My wife and I went to the Center for Attitudinal Healing together tonight. I went primarily because she wanted to go and I am not sleeping well, so I thought I’d go. I was deeply moved by the experiences shared by the members of the group! I felt compassion and understanding come to the foreground of my consciousness, and I realized that my side effects from chemotherapy and radiation are pretty slight compared to what some of the people are facing. I did a short sharing of my treatment plan, Dr. Halberg’s surprise statement, and a few other things, but I got more out of listening deeply to other people.


Art of Happiness: Teachings of Buddhist Psychology

Having a Bad Day

I had a bad day today, which probably resulted from not enough good sleep. I worked for a while in the morning, and then tried to take a nap. Once again, I couldn’t sleep, but the quite, restful mindfulness of breathing kept me from caving totally in.

In the afternoon, I went to see Alan Sheets for a Feldenkrais treatment. Alan’s gentle hands and compassionate understanding were very helpful. He was purposefully trying to move me into point nine on the enneagram, as this is my so-called, “heart point.” The heart point on the enneagram is the place that you tend to move towards in a secure life situation. It goes in the direction opposite to the arrows on the enneagram. For me, as a point six, the heart point is point nine. Point nine on the enneagram represents sloth with respect to spiritual growth and doing good things for yourself. I often find myself there when I am comfortable and relaxing with my children. Point nine is the point where love enters the enneagram. It is a point where well-adapted individuals remain peaceful without turning away from problems. The point in the direction of the arrows is know as the “stress point.” For me, this is point three on the enneagram. Point three represents the over-achiever, which experience I’ve had many times in my life as I have tried to enhance my professional career. For more information on these and other points on the enneagram, please visit The Enneagram in the Electronic Tradition.

When I returned home from my appointment with Alan Sheets, I once again attempted to nap, with a similar result to the morning. I know what is bothering me, but that hasn’t helped my sleeping situation. I am rather nervous about the results of my transurethral resection of the bladder tumor (TURBT) on Friday.

In the evening, I struggled to make it to Anna Halprin‘s class. She had just returned from the opening of the FDR Memorial in Washington, D. C. Apparently, her husband had a lot to do with the internal construction of the memorial. She sensed my discomfort and had us work primarily on our backs in order to conserve my energy. She had me moving my back in ways I’ve never experienced before, and it was quite amazing. I realized that one could do “moving meditation” in much the same way one does “walking meditation” in the Buddhist tradition. Her guided imagery took us to a clear blue sky above an expanse of ocean, with waves to match our breathing. We were to visualize a creature either in the sky or the ocean. I saw a whale most clearly and drew a picture of the wale just having complete a dive, with its tail still visible above the ocean surface. I wrote:

“I’ve created a ‘whale’ of a problem that needs to be solved. What I need to do is follow the lead of the whale and allow my tail (how about tale – Yellow Stream!) to float freely on the waves.”

By the end of the evening, I was feeling much better. Anna placed me in the middle of the circle so that everyone could send me healing energy for the upcoming ordeal. Each person found a spot to touch me and bring even more healing energy into focus. It was a wonderful experience!


To Click or Not to Click…

Today was a very nice day! I went to Menlo Park around 11:00 A. M. and spoke with my boss once more about my annual review. Next, my son came for lunch and we had a nice time with the V. P. of my group. I received such tremendous support from everyone at work today that it really made me feel happy.

My little enneagram support group met in the afternoon. This was the first time we were all together for a very long time, and it really felt wonderful. In this group, we use our combined knowledge of the enneagram to help each other through good times and times that are not so good. We were all trained by Helen Palmer and completed our certification in 1991. We have been meeting regularly since September of 1994.

V. R. was describing how she had used email to end one relationship and begin another. At each step of the way, she had to decide on whether or not to send a specific message to one of her friends. This gave rise to the phrase of the day, “to click or not to click!” (Another example of “to click or not to click” occurred in the morning. I had just pressed the send button on an email message to D. K. when he phone me to answer the question I was asking in the email!) As I shared what was going on with me, I felt totally supported, and each of us got enough time to share what we wanted to.


Seeds of Enlightenment

April 7, 1997 – Seeds of Enlightenment

This morning, I managed to get in about forty-five minutes of tennis! It was difficult to manage my energy, but I’m feeling stronger every day.

By the time I went to Anna Halprin’s class, however, my gut was churning and my energy was quite low. Fortunately, we spent a lot of time during check-in because there were several new people there, including J. B., the mother of my daughter’s best friend.

The movement segment began with sitting in or chairs and doing deep breathing exercises. I gradually picked up to where we were supporting our faces with our hands and keeping our hands in touch with our bodies. At a certain point, I felt the desire to do a modified form Zen prostrations as an expression of gratitude. I continued moving about on the floor for quite a while, returning to the prostrated position quite frequently. Then the movement picked up all over the room and my energy began to accelerate. Mostly, I was dancing alone, but there were quite wonderful encounters with other dancers, and soon, most of the group was dancing together. I spontaneously moved into the third stage of the “chaotic meditation” that I learned at the Ashram from Rajneesh. This is the stage where “With raised arms, jump up and down shouting the mantra HOO!…HOO!…HOO! as deeply as possible, coming from the bottom of your belly.” Most of the people joined my in this movement, and I was filled with images of the Ashram and Bhagwan.

After the movement segment settled down with a group circle, we did our drawings. I wanted to draw a group of people dancing together at the Ashram in Poona, but I knew that I lacked the artistic talents to make it happen, so I just started drawing orange faces, which transformed into six vibrant flowers with roots in the earth and healthy leaves on the stalks – all reminding me of “healthy cells growing all by themselves.” On top of each flower, I wrote the name of one of my major teachers along my path.

The first flower was dedicated to Father Eli, from whom I learned the trance work that forms the foundation for guided imagery well enough to teach it to over two hundred people since 1973. He told me that he had taught both Jose Silva of Silva Mind Control, which I had learned in 1971, and L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, which I studied between 1968 and 1971.

The second flower was dedicated to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, also known as Osho. I spent the summer of 1975 in Poona and was given the name, Swami Deva Ninad. I have collected more then four hundred tapes and twenty-five books of his lectures.

The third and fourth flowers were dedicated to the Buddha and Thich Nhat Hanh, respectively. Since 1985, I have been devoted to Buddhism in general and Zen and Vipassana meditation in particular. I love the way Thay has interpreted the sutra on Mindfulness of Breathing. My own meditation is totally inspired by him.

The fifth flower was dedicated to Gabrielle Roth, a former student of Anna Halprin, and an internationally known shaman. I studied with her in 1975 – 1976, as we shared a common interest in Bhagwan and the enneagram. I was scheduled to assist her at a workshop at Eselan in June of 1996, but on that very day, my son went into the hospital for his Wilm’s tumor surgery. What a shock it was for me to have to change my plans and spend the time in the hospital instead. Gabrielle harnessed the energy of her workshop at Eselan and all of her remaining workshops that year to perform healing circles for my son. I have been devoted to her since then and have felt a great sense of gratitude.

The last flower, I dedicated to myself, as I am now my own guru. I am learning a lot every day from my illness and my efforts to keep my mind focused on healing. Naturally, I look to the other teachers for inspiration, but most things are coming from deep inside myself.

As a result of the drawing, my meditation has changed slightly, once again. It now goes, “Breathing in I heal, breathing out I’m free,” or simply, “healthy… free.”