March 3, 1997 – Healing the Body – Healing the Mind
The morning started out with a Feldenkrais class incorporating arm movements. I couldn’t believe how exhausted I was when returned home! I found it necessary to settle into another guided imagery tape after lunch to even have a chance of making my day.
Next came a very revealing guided imagery session with Leslie Davenport at Marin General. I began talking about my fears of the upcoming chemotherapy and radiation and traced the fears down many, many levels to my fears of abandonment and treatment with indifference that experienced as a child. While there wasn’t time for a complete resolution of the situation, I think that there is much more work to do in this area. I feel rather pressured to perform because I have expectations of completing the Shipley protocol with a complete response and not have remaining cancer at the end of April or the beginning of May when my next TURBT will be.
After this session, I took a thirty minute walk on the pathway near the hospital to absorb what I had learned from my meditation and to allow the images to integrate into my life. As I was walking back to my car, I had this wonderful feeling of making myself lovable, not only to myself, but to everyone I saw and came in contact with. I took this feeling into Anna Halprin’s group and it turned into one of the most healing events of my life. I was open to receiving and giving love and there was plenty to go around! We had a large discussion on alternative healing prior to our movement program.
The movement program focused on prayer, and I don’t know if Anna picked up this idea from me, or I got it several minutes before she said anything, but it was the exact word I would have chosen! This intuitive flash led to an immensely moving dance, which brought the whole group together in one circle, filled with healing energy and love.
I drew a picture of myself kneeling in the prayer position with my hands drawn together in the traditional prayer position. The hands were way out of proportion, but as the drawing developed, I began to realize that I was also drawing the healing space around my hand and the healing energy radiating from them. I wrote,
a Buddha is a rose is a giver of qi
a 1000 petal lotus
Something remarkable is taking place as I focus on healing my cancer. I find that I can’t but help heal my whole self. Without healing my whole self, there can be no healing of my cancer. They are strongly interconnected as all phenomena of the universe are. And, I believe, this is the essence of holistic health – healing the body and healing the mind. This is what I’m striving for and what I want to achieve.
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.
February 7, 1997 – I Don’t Want Abominable Surgery!
Friday morning, I had to have a sonogram for my gall stone. Aside from the long wait, it went fairly smoothly. When I finished, my friend, T. R. was waiting for me. We had breakfast together and talked about my options.
After T. left for work, I joined a cancer support group at Marin General led by Leslie Davenport. She had worked with my wife the previous year doing guided imagery for her hip problem that was caused by an automobile accident in 1992. I was the only man, but this didn’t stop me from trying to find out what was the best course of action. One of the women said that she had no side effects from the chemotherapy whatever!
In the early afternoon, I had another session with Yokey Kim. Once again, I had a wonderful treatment.
Then came the long-awaited appointment with Michael Broffman, a Chinese herbalist and acupuncturist, who runs the Pine Street Clinic. He has a fabulous reputation for knowing a lot about cancer, and my wife and I were blown away by his knowledge of bladder cancer. We talked at great length about alternatives to radical cystectomy. One surprising note was something that no other physician mentioned. Michael said that after seven or more years, they may have to go in for another operation for the urinary diversion. After this statement, decision was really moving rapidly towards the Shipley approach! Michael proceeded to tell us that there is a lot of bladder cancer in China and that a combination of traditional Chinese medicine and chemotherapy, with or without radiation, is the primary means of dealing with the disease.
By the time we left Michael’s office, we felt comfortable that the Shipley method combined with the protocol Michael was going to send us would offer me a better chance than just the Shipley method alone.