Saturday, February 27, 2010

Dead man walking???

Got the results of my scans on Thursday and the cancer is back. Three nodules in the intestines. My oncologist made it official. My cancer is now considered incurable. She gives me 4-6 months without treatment. 6-12 with chemo. You might think I'm depressed and anxious but I'm not. In fact my spirits remain strong. After meeting with the folks at MDA, I called Bill, my homeopathic consultant, who has a completely different script for me to follow. Bill's prediction is, that if I follow the regimen he's given me, within 4 months I'll see a reversal of the cancer growth and within another 4-5 months it will disappear. I already have one month completed. Bill tells me he has worked with over a hundred people in the last 17 years and every one of them has gotten healthy. All kinds of reasons for skepticism here. I get that. He could be a complete fraud. I don't think so and neither does Paula but the possibility exists. Either way though his script is a lot better than the one from MDA. His story has a happier ending :-)

So we are going to move to Asheville, NC to be close to family and to practice at the Wind Horse Zen Center. The next six months, I suppose, will write another chapter in this tale. Perhaps the last chapter, perhaps not. Either way is okay.

Meanwhile I'd like to share with you a quote from Zen teacher John Tarrant that I recently read on the Austin Zen Center discussion listserv. It struck me as particularly salient considering the certainty with which MDA predicts my imminent demise and the certainty with which Bill predicts my full recovery.

"Zen people talk about emptiness because when you awaken, the maps that hold your beliefs are suddenly gone. You also notice that new maps appear in the mind, even without encouragement from you. And as new maps appear, you can take them as provisional.

The Zen task is to open to the gates of the world beyond our prejudices. Like the Buddha, we can step away from everything we are certain about. I think this possibility is the best contribution we can make to healing the flaws in consciousness and helping the world.
Unkindness comes out of certainty; when we throw out certainty, we have the bare reality of consciousness, and another name for that is love."

I love you all,


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Three kisses for Opa

For the past three weeks Paula and I have been traveling. First to attend an ILP graduation in Dallas. Then weather finally permitting, to Asheville NC to visit my children and grandchild as well as to introduce ourselves to the teachers at the Wind Horse Zendo in Asheville.

In September when I saw my Grandson, Mac, he was a baby. Suddenly, at 20 months, he's become a little boy. It took only a few minutes for him to start calling me Opa. One evening as his bed time approached, his mom and dad invited him to say goodnight to the people in the room with a kiss. When it was my turn, he looked at me with a beaming face, said "Opa!" and toddled over as fast as he could to plant one on my cheek.

The room erupted with laughter, applause and the requisite "oohs." Mac then made his way back across the room where his parents stood waiting to take him to his crib. As his Dad reached down for him, Mac suddenly did an about face and ran back to kiss me on the cheek again. More laughter and approval encouraged Mac to do it a third time, giggling all the way as he managed to milk a few more minutes before having to go to bed.

Mac is my my first grandchild, and I have been exploring this new role of Opa. It is completely uncharted territory for me and I've been proceeding cautiously. Until now. Now Mac has shown me how to do it. Complete spontaneity in the moment. Let the trickster loose.

On the health front: I have scans this weds at MDA. Review them with my doctor on Thurs. I'll let you all know the results. Meanwhile each day of the trip I seemed to get a little stronger. But I was a little disappointed to discover that I still can't do a single regular push-up. However, Paula noticed that when I engage in Zen activities as I did at Wind Horse, it seems to lift my spirits and energy. The alkaline diet is going splendidly. I'm eating healthier than I ever have and have a new sense of well-being.

I love you all,