Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Feeling Better

I figured out why I was experiencing this "new pain" I mentioned in my August 27th entry. I had been soaking in a hot tub every day for about the last week. Two days ago, I stopped the hot baths to see if it would make a difference. Well, it did. It seems the added heat to my body was affecting the area where the tumor was found [I'm no longer going to refer to the said tumor in present tense, since for all I know, it's packed its bags and sailed to China and I'm just dealing with the after effects].

While at the clinic, I learned that hot baths are used to increase the temperature of the blood. This will expand the blood vessels, which in my case, is a bad idea because what ever is happening in my rectum then becomes less protected since expanded blood vessels can rupture when irritated [pass!]. So, no more baths for me unless I can handle a cool bath which almost seems like a good idea...almost. And in the mean time, my pain has nearly vanished.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I've been feeling a lot of discomfort lately: my legs have ached every day for the last week or so from the hips down - muscles & joints (oddly enough). Right now the bottoms of my feet hurt along with minor leg aches; I am having a lot of discomfort where the cancer was located last Spring - soreness and pretty consistent aching; my sacrum stings every morning when I wake up (then I ice it and the pain subsides...usually).

So, naturally, I have been getting a little curious about these aches and pains, and sometimes a little concerned. And then...I spoke to the husband of my friend who started Gerson Therapy the same time I did - the one I mentioned in my August 24, 2007 entry, whose cancer is going away. He told me that his wife was in a lot of pain prior to finding out that the cancer was going away. She was in enough pain consistently that she began to question the therapy (sounds familiar), only to remember what they teach us at the clinic: Gerson Therapy is not comfortable. Gerson Therapy can hurt. It's all a part of the detox/healing process. So, what I am experiencing is very likely my body healing. It feels like it is and that means a lot.

I currently have a sigmoidoscopy, CAT scan & PET scan being scheduled for mid-September to find out how my healing process is going. I am very much looking forward to these tests, especially after hearing about how well my friend is doing.

Friday, August 24, 2007

IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's part of an email I received this evening from a friend who I met at the the Baja Nutricare Clinic in Mexico. It's an email about this wife's current status.

"First, a little history. As you might remember she has a reoccurrence of breast cancer. This time they found several lymph nodes deep in her chest that had started to flare up and also they found several hot spots in many areas of the bone structure."

After three months of Gerson Therapy:

"The scans showed that a lot of these lymph nodes were either resolved (free of cancer) or they can barely see them in the scan (reduced in size considerably). The bone scan showed areas where the disease no longer existed and other areas where it was considerably minimized. And get this, just like we had read on the book and like Doctor Cervantes had indicated; her tumor markers went up for three months in a row at an incredible rate (not good if you believe in modern medicine) and then this month all of the sudden the markers started to go down. The Oncologist has not said anything, but I know he can not explain it. I clearly remember him telling us before we decided to go to Tijuana, that all he could do was try to stop the disease from progressing but whatever damage was already done it could not be reversed."

"Boy was he wrong. IT WORKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What an incredible email to receive. I am SO happy for them!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

On a Positive Note

I thought I might give ya'll an idea of one of the things I like to do when I'm not healing myself of cancer. Route 5 is a band of mine that's had many incarnations. Currently I only play my guitar here at the house (not to mention the fact that the other two members of our acoustic trio no longer live anywhere near by!). I love to write songs, play guitar and sing as much as I can.

If you care to have listen, I can't promise you Grade A recording quality - three of the four recordings are live - but you can get an earful of some fun stuff that we performed not too long ago by clicking on the Route 5 logo (right there at the top of this entry) which will take you to my very plain and unevolved Myspace page. Our CD was in the process of being mixed, but that got put on pause until I am on the other side of this little distraction.


Today, (emotionally) I feel great. Relaxed. Safe. It seems my fear was being kept alive by my need to suppress it. So it seems. For all I know...well, I'll see. And I'll let you know. In the mean time, I feel great today. However, physically I am uncomfortable. My sacrum muscles ache and the pain is directly related to the three coffee breaks (enemas) I do each day.

Last night I woke up sometime after 3 AM due to the pain. I woke up a second time at 5:45 AM and was up for the day - icing then heating the sore area. I also had an acupuncture treatment this afternoon which has made a difference. This evening I will receive an oil free massage. Massage is not recommended when healing with Gerson Therapy; it releases proteins from the muscles that can then feed the cancer. However, if the sacral pain continues, I will have to go to two coffee breaks instead of three and when it comes to coffee breaks, more is better. So, I will receive the massage for pain reduction so I can continue my prescribed therapy. Oil of course is prohibited in Gerson Therapy because oils feed cancer. So, as I said, I will have an oil free massage. And I am very much looking forward to it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


This afternoon, as I prayed for healing - for my body to heal fully and completely - I began to cry. And quickly my praying led to begging. It totally caught me by surprise. I got so scared that this cancer is not going to slow down.

Fear has continued to show up throughout this whole experience. I express it and share it - whatever feels right - so it doesn't just sit inside me. But lately, I have been resisting it - not wanting to acknowledge my fear - in hopes that it would disappear. I thought if I felt afraid, it would mean I had been beaten, so I replaced my fear with positive thoughts. This afternoon with the help of a new friend, Megan, I remembered something I learned quite a while ago: Courage is not fearlessness. Courage is being afraid and taking action anyway.

On my Saturday August 11th entry, I mentioned the heartbreak I felt about cancer and for those who are diagnosed. Today I realized it's more personal than that for me. Before I was diagnosed, it never dawned on me that I could get cancer. I believed that because I was in great shape, ate well, worked hard, "did the right thing" in the world and for my family (and occasionally drank a little more than necessary), that I would live a long healthy life, uninterrupted by such things. Once I was diagnosed and got present to how real this is, I was heartbroken - I just didn't know it. It broke my heart that the "world" I lived in, or my reality, was not the real world. In the world I lived in, healthy, 36-year old men did not get cancer. In the real world, "healthy" 36-year old men do get cancer. And when I came to terms with that - that the real world was not as safe as I thought - it broke my heart. And to tell you the truth - right now - I still don't particularly care for it. But don't worry. That doesn't include you. I like you just fine.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Little Something on Max Gerson

Here's a short article I found on Max Gerson. I like it. It's clear and concise. Here's the link to the article on LifeSaving Health if you would like to read it along with additional information.

Max Gerson, the originator of the holistic nutritional therapy now known as The Gerson Therapy, was born in Wongrowitz, Posen, Germany (now Poland) in 1881. Throughout his German university and medical education, he suffered terribly from migraine headaches, which neither her nor any of his professors could alleviate.

Assigning himself the project of curing his own debilitating headaches, Gerson eventually discovered that by varying his diet, he could prevent the problem. When he discovered that his "migraine diet" would also cure cases of tuberculosis, his otherwise fine medical career became highly controversial.

Gerson persevered, however, always searching for the underlying cause of disease. When a patient with cancer came to see him for treatment, he was able to cure her with his therapy, contrary to his own expectations.

Gerson's blossoming career was interrupted in 1933 when he and his family had to flee Nazi Germany. They fled to the United States and settled in New York City, where, intrigued by his early success, Gerson took up the problem of cancer, achieving a reputation among patients, if not among his jealous colleagues, of being able to cure many of the most advanced degenerative cases.

Shortly before his death in 1959, Gerson wrote his towering book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases, detailing his 30 years of clinical experience and research with disease.

In the more than 60 years that have elapsed since Gerson dedicated his life to solving the problem of cancer, tens of thousands of grateful patients have successfully used his therapy to either cure or prevent degenerative diseases of all types. His book, translated into five languages, has sold nearly half a million copies worldwide and has been the basis on which a dozen clinics in the United States and Mexico have been founded.

The most advanced cancer research is only now catching up with principles Gerson so clearly articulated over half a century ago.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cosmic Joke?

Today Daniela stubbed her toe on the stroller while on an afternoon walk with Beau. The result was a hairline fracture of her right middle toe; she's unable to put any weight on the foot.

Can you believe it? I can't hold Beau for more than a few minutes without discomfort and she can only hold him if she's sitting down. Without Jackie, we would be a sinking ship.

I can't stand seeing my wife in pain. My heart was aching for her as she was making her way up the stairs and I couldn't help her. And then I thought about my diagnosis and I was amazed at how irrelevant everything can be when someone I love is in pain. She's an incredible mom and this the last thing she needs.

So, I this some kind of cosmic joke or life's perfect design? Hmm...maybe both.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stayin' Alive

I have been feeling great since my last entry. I'll admit that gratitude seems a little far off right now. The therapy can get a little tiresome, but I just I pop in a funny DVD or I crack open a book and spend the afternoon somewhere far away inside some author's head [sounds a little creepy, huh?]. Then I glance over and see baby Beau smiling at me and I just melt. And then I think of my family and realize how grateful I am for them, and that I am...

Right now I'm listening to the Bee Gees Stayin' Alive - my theme song. Yeah, I've got it cranked - whoops - now Jackie's asking me to turn it down. Amazing how so much can change and at the same time, some things never change. Stayin' Alive has been one of my favorite songs for as long as I can remember...ever since I first placed the needle of my mom's record player on that magical piece of vinyl and suddenly found my little self dancing like nobody was watching. Yeah, I love disco! That'll have to be our little secret... I can even remember doing my best to walk like John Travolta when I was in the 4th grade! I wish I could go back in time and see my little 10-year old self strutting down the hall trying to be cool. Hilarious.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

A Little Help From My Friends

Yesterday I made a new friend, named Charles, from New Jersey. A different friend introduced me to him. Charles used Gerson Therapy when cured himself of prostate cancer. Today I found out that a friend, who used to be my supervisor, was diagnosed with cancer in the last week.


Man. I'm barely getting my head around my own diagnosis. And now she and her family are dealing with this. It's not my intention to minimize their situation and, this cancer just sticks its head into everything. I'm clear the second half of this statement is still considered theory, but I believe it: cancer is a result of bodies being toxic. I work very hard to keep my politics out of this because it's not what this blog is about, but cancer didn't show up like this years ago. I read that cancer shows up in one out of every three people and it's climbing to one out of two.

There. Now you've read my dooms day report. I'm frustrated with this stuff. I will never forget the day I was diagnosed. After I heard those words, I felt such a deep and empty pain. I don't ever want to feel that again. And guess what. About a month-and-a-half ago, I had a dream that I was healthy, or so I believed, and then in that same dream, I went to my doctor and I was diagnosed with rectal cancer. And I felt the same exact pain that I felt when it really happened. I woke up from that dream so grateful to be awake - knowing I actually did have cancer. But why I was happy was because I didn't have to feel that unforgettable pain that showed up the first time I heard my diagnosis.

It breaks my heart that we must feel such things. Yes, life is suffering...and sometimes it breaks my heart.

And you want to know what? I heard that my friend was in great spirits today and I was so inspired by her. It reminded me that my feelings and my circumstances don't have to define who I am in the world. I can live like that if I choose to, and I do not choose to. Who I choose to be in the face of my circumstances (and my feelings which zoom around like a landscape from a fast moving train) is playful and full of joy. I slipped and fell for a minute, but now I'm back up thanks to the generosity of one man and the incredible spirit of an amazing woman.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

What keeps me up at night?

Yesterday and this morning when I woke up, I felt a lot of fear. Fear of what could be. Specifically...a permanent colostomy. It's makes me nearly sick to even type the words on this page. That is what scares me about my diagnosis and that is what keeps me up at night worried or scared. I don't even want that possibility to exist in your head when you think of me. It is a privilege to have a fully in-tact body and I have gotten really present to gratitude for such privilege. And let's be honest, if I'm going to rely on medical technology to stay alive, can it not be a permanent colostomy? I am SO not okay with the idea of a colostomy.

Both of the doctors I saw told me, "Oh, you'll be fine. You'll get used to it and before you know it, it will be "old hat." Lots of people have them. Professional athletes, actors, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah..." Oh Yeah? That's nice, Doc. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to go scream my brains out now, okay? Yeah. Have a nice day.

I would imagine there is probably one or more people reading this that has a colostomy. I hear it's more common then we think. And that doesn't make it any less scary. Of course this is all fear of the unknown, which if I wanted to give it even more energy, could easily consume my thoughts and my life with or without a diagnosis. So, I am clear that fearing the unknown is about as beneficial as chewing rocks. And, right now, that's what's in my space.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


This morning, I took Max outside and we walked to a couple of Sycamore trees, about 40 feet from the house. As we got up the trees, the sun was warming my face and it felt like so many mornings that I had walked with Leo & Max.

Going for a walk every morning - just the dogs and me - nice and quiet with the sun welcoming us to the day. Had we not had dogs, my lazy butt would have never even left the house, until it was time to get into the car and get to work.

I am very much looking forward to going for a nice walk with Max, even a short one, once it's safe for me to do so.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Being home on bed rest isn't exactly cocktails and late nights out on the town, but it has given me an amazing opportunity to fall in love with Daniela all over again. I absolutely love spending my days with her. I am with her from when I awake until she or I go to sleep and it is absolutely wonderful. Sure I may get a little cranky now and again, but she and I are committed to leaving nothing unsaid and having nothing between us.

To quote Larry Pearson, a Landmark Forum Leader for Landmark Education, we are committed to No distance. No doubt. And what I get out of that is the same love for her today that I had on the day we were married. To be honest, I wondered if this bed rest might get a little rocky, spending all day every day with one another. And like I said, I have my moments, but what I didn't expect is that each day, if there is something between us that causes distance or if there is any doubt of the other's intentions, we get it complete that day because we can. We're not flying out the door to get to work and then completing part the conversation on the way, some more of it on a lunch break, plus another conversation at home once we get the kids to bed, hoping we can find our way through it before we get to sleep. We've got all the time we need, so we use it.

And since we're on the topic, I can not imagine a better person to partner with in this therapy and to partner with in life. Daniela is the greatest thing that ever happened to me (even if she is currently spraying a rather healthy serving of whipped cream on what looks to be a rather delicious desert...)


Two times Saturday and once on Sunday, I noticed a passing thought that hadn't been around in a while: "This cancer is a bunch of $#*%." At first I was a bit surprised at a clear and direct negative thought in my mind and then I realized...of course it is.

The #1 thing right now is what a difference it has made for me to slow down and listen to my body and to do what works for me. As long as I can remember, I have always pushed myself beyond what feels right so I can have my life go the way I want it to, regardless of what might be the healthy choice. My health has almost always come second to anything I want. Recently, I have taken on listening to my body; when it's time to rest, I rest. When it's time to eat, I eat.

Now for some people, this "new way of being" of mine seem blatantly obvious, like, "Why wouldn't you do what you need to do???" Well, I just didn't. That was how I lived and it worked relatively well. However, with my current choice of therapy, it's REST YOUR BODY OR YOU DON'T HEAL. And being forced to do what's best for my health has gotten me to actually the difference it makes to do what serves me best. Granted I've got a little something at stake at the moment...and I've begun to start a very old habit of my health being my #1 PRIORITY. Oh and by the way, this cancer is still a bunch of $#*%.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I've been avoiding this entry for quite some time. I've attempted to type it once or twice, and then deleted the entry after deciding I hadn't found the right words. So, with that in mind, the intention of this entry is to provide an opportunity for a little freedom or at least the space for who ever it applies to, to be perfectly okay right where you are; at least when it comes to your relationship with me and this cancer I was diagnosed with.

What inspired me to write this entry was a conversation I had with a very close friend today. She called while I was sitting on the deck and reading and listening to the creek. I hadn't heard from her since the benefit (in May) and she acknowledged that she had been putting off calling me because she hadn't come to terms with my having cancer (or something to that effect); she didn't feel comfortable making the phone call. After she finished telling why she hadn't called and apologized for it, I let her know her how amazing she is and how happy I am for her to have made the call. It was great to hear her voice.

I'm very familiar with what she was experiencing. A couple of years ago, my friend Mary, who I love and respect (in fact she's a huge inspiration) was diagnosed with cancer. Mary was my coach in a rigorous 6 1/2 month leadership program (or at least it was rigorous in my world). After a few calls to her, so I could check in and see how she was doing, I stopped calling. My first calls to her were easy because I was already in communication with her two to three times a week. Then, I stopped calling.

At first I didn't call her because I just didn't want to be a bother. I wanted to give Mary and her husband the space to deal with the diagnosis and everything that came with it. Then after some time passed, I didn't call because I wasn't sure if it would be a good time and I definitely didn't want to interfere, not to mention I knew it had to be an emotional time for the both of them. After I hadn't called for many months, I began to have feelings of guilt. I started to think, "Oh man. I really should call her. But it's been so long now. It will be weird if I call her now. So much time has passed."

I began to judge myself for not calling and conveniently put off calling her until I received a call from a friend who said Mary hadn't been hearing from a lot of us in the program and she was wondering why. I eventually called her and explained what was going on for me. She was great - happy to hear from me and more than happy to accept my apology.

When I was diagnosed and got through the initial shock and horror of it all, I started to get calls from friends and family. I didn't hear from some people I thought I would hear from and I did hear from some folks who I never imagined I'd hear from. What I knew right from the beginning was each person deals with cancer exactly how they deal with cancer and no other way. And that's just how it is.

When my father was dying and my sister and brother and I were making logistical phone calls and figuring out how soon we could get to Boston to be with my step-mom and him, I made sure to let both of them know that I had no expectation of how they should deal with Dad's death and dying. Few things in life impact us as powerfully as death and I was committed to giving both of them whatever space they needed to be with it - however they needed to be. I"ll admit I was a bit surprised once or twice by some of the reactions or choices that were made, but each of us was going to deal with Dad's death in the way that seemed right to us whether or not it seemed "acceptable" to each other. Who was I to tell anyone how to deal with the loss of their own father.

Prior to my diagnosis, I equated cancer to death. I saw very little difference between what I believed to be a certain path to death (cancer) and death itself. When I heard that someone had cancer, all I imagined was immense suffering and the strong possibility of death. When I spoke to someone with cancer, I had the same feelings that I'd felt at a wake, even though the person was still alive (some of who still are). I mostly feared saying the wrong thing or not saying the right thing. What do you say to someone who has been diagnosed with a life threatening disease, I would ask myself. Now I know. "How are you feeling?" is a pretty good start.

What I can tell you now is that, just like when I lost my father and just like when my friend was diagnosed, I am clear that each of you will deal with and interpret my cancer diagnosis in what ever way you deal with it. For some, it is what it is and you are okay with it. For others, it may bring up some things that you aren't ready to deal with or don't care to deal with right now.

What I want you to know is that I am really okay with it if you're not up for a call or an email. Like I stated earlier, I wasn't able to be with people's cancer before I was diagnosed. I loved them from afar and that was all I had to offer and today I'm okay with that. Cancer is a big deal. It ain't no broken leg. So, if you're in that category of people, I know you're thinking of me, and I'm totally getting the support I need. However, if you're judging yourself, consider yourself forgiven. Or if you feel the need to be punished for it, do the following: hold your left hand out in front of you, palm down, and slap the top of it once with your right hand. There. You have been sufficiently punished. Now go enjoy your day. For the rest of you, thanks for checking in.