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.
My catheter was finally removed this morning with such great relief. The only bad thing about the meeting with Dr. Neuwirth was that the pathology report showed that more cancer had been resected, but this doesn’t change the treatment plan. We finally got the feeling the Dr. Neuwirth was behind us all the way with using the Shipley method.
We stopped by the Pine Street Clinic to pick up a powered form of the Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs that Michael Broffman had prepared for me. Luckily, Michael was available for a brief conversation about the latest pathology report and Dr. Neuwirth’s attitude. He felt strongly that it was still in my best interest to proceed with the Shipley protocol.
Later in the afternoon, I received a call from Dr. Keith Block, an internist who has put together a staff of oncologists, herbal chemists, dietitians and others who offer a combined program of chemotherapy, herbs, diet, psychological support, exercise and stress management. He is a friend of Dr. Rossman and I had placed a call to him as far back as February 9. Dr. Rossman and I had several email messages going back and forth, and finally he called back.
Dr. Block told me that he had a holistic program that attacked the cancer cells at the molecular level. He uses intervenes nutrients combined with oral agents and a detoxification program to reduce the side effects of the chemotherapy. He uses fractional dosages for optimum effectiveness combined with patient comfort. The rest of his life-affirming program consists of nutrition, exercise, supplements and stress management techniques.
I really felt confused after speaking with him, as he likes to treat patients in his facility in Evanston, IL. While it is not out of the question for me to travel to Evanston (after all, I spent three years of my life in Chicago and three years of my life in Evanston!), I would be giving up all my support systems back in the Bay Area. So after an excellent guided imagery session with Leslie Davenport, a very supportive conversation with Dr. Rossman, and a good night’s sleep, I felt better about staying with the plan I already had in place.