Monday, August 24, 2009

Buying the Pharm

It’s the middle of the night and I’m up and writing because I can’t sleep with the pain, also, my mind has been churning with new realizations; maybe I will get some peace if I write it all down or maybe it will just be a better way to spend my time.
After 18 months of doing amazingly well with brain cancer (glioma multiforme blastoma), the tumor is back; same tumor, same place. Well it’s probably the same tumor and it’s certainly in the same place. I’m on-call for neurosurgery; could get called into the hospital tomorrow morning or it might be any time over the next two weeks.
I’ve had four seizures in the past three weeks and they have been no fun at all. They leave me feeling physically and mentally depleted and the pain has been hard to handle, also, it’s shaken-up my family and nobody feels confident leaving me by myself.
I’m on Epilim as an anti-seizure medication, dexamethasone to reduce the swelling in my brain and a cocktail of other medications that are leaving me with a woozy ringing in my mind-- and to top it all off, I’ve got a snotty cold.

Anyway, my intention in this essay isn’t just to moan but to give you the benefit of my observations and further realizations about beliefs and health. If you are familiar with my writings you will know that I promote the idea that we are each personally responsible for our experiences; that we attract or create experiences through our knowing or unknowing adoption of beliefs. So by now you will probably be wondering how, or why, I’ve attracted another round of this experience called ‘brain cancer’— well I sure am wondering.
I was kind of hoping that I had learned all I needed to know from the previous manifestation of the brain cancer experience and that my life held some new, possibly more pleasant, experiences. No, it’s got a different version of the same experience, only this time I will have to do it without chemotherapy or radiotherapy (no funding in NZ for chemotherapy and I’ve had my lifetime safe amount of radiotherapy—whatever that is).

One thing that I have noticed that is quite interesting is that the more I am affected by symptoms, the more I am interested in a physical cure. Now this might seem too obvious to mention but I feel there is a truth being expressed here: physical suffering draws our attention to physical solutions.
I have been wondering why my book hasn’t been selling very well—it’s available in many places and is getting good reviews but sales have been pathetic. I also notice that most of my customers aren’t actual cancer patients but are much more likely to be friends or relatives of cancer patients or therapists purchasing books for their cancer patients. When I started to get sick again, I began to look around for answers (i.e. cures.) and Stephanie (my wife) said to me, ‘Why are you suddenly looking outward for cures? Why not just read your own book, it’s got all you need?’
As usual, she is right. My book ‘You Don’t Have to Die When Your Doctor Says’ does have all that I need to explore my way through this illness experience. The problem is that what I need and what I want aren’t the same thing. What I want is an easy answer and to be able to hand over the responsibility for my healing to someone who has that answer. This explains both why I’ve been searching the highways and byways of the internet cancer market and why my book hasn’t been selling like hotcakes.
One of the cancer cure stories that has caught my eye over the past weeks is that of Dr. W. D. Kelly, a Texan dentist who cured himself of pancreatic cancer and then went on to advise 33,000 other cancer sufferers over a 30 year period with a reported success rate of 86%. This is a staggering achievement. Just surviving pancreatic cancer is a staggering achievement, never-mind coming up with a treatment regime that was (is?) effective for curing many other types of cancer.
Dr. Kelley’s story is freely available on the www (here) and makes very compelling reading, especially if one is looking for the miracle cancer cure that will make all the difference.
On a personal level I downloaded the protocol and associated materials, printed them out, read them avidly and then set out to find a supply of pancreatic enzyme, the main ingredient of this miracle cure. I also read Dr Kelley’s personal writings and couldn’t help but notice that, although brilliant, he is obviously of a paranoid disposition, is totally against all manifestations of medical authority and is deeply suspicious of everyone’s motivations except his own.
If one wants to follow the Kelley protocol with any chance of success, Kelley says, one has to follow it to the letter. This includes, amongst other things, a change to a low-protein vegetarian diet (with raw eggs, liver and pancreas the only meats allowed) daily coffee enemas and mega-doses of pancreatic enzyme – which really should be manufactured by Dr Kelley himself – for the rest of one’s life.
OK, I admit that I have allowed some space in my mind that this regime could be a path to a cure, I’m on the diet and am taking the enzymes and enemas – just in the spirit of exploration, mind you.
Something about this protocol made sense to me, and I reasoned ‘How can you ignore 33,000 cancer patients?’ However, Kelley’s obvious paranoia is equally off-putting and I am wary of taking on a belief structure that requires me to be suspicious of all medical authorities, so I am proceeding with caution.
Dr. Kelley raises the over aired (and somewhat threadbare) specter of the huge profits to be made in the cancer market and, as many alternative practitioners do, accuses the drug companies and medical authorities of having more intention to treat cancer than to cure it. I find this attitude of blame very short-sighted. Yes there is many billions of dollars to be made in the cancer market and that profit motive does have a consequence, but I don’t believe profit is the driving force of this market; the driving force is our fear and our desire for someone else to take responsibility for our health.
Dr. Kelley found a way to cure himself; he had pancreatic cancer and his cure was centered on the pancreas and its function. Once he cured himself people came to him because they where looking for hope, any hope when medical science could offer them none. They came in their thousands for 30 years and he advised them how to cure themselves using his method. He was not a doctor but a dentist so he got in trouble with the medical authorities for practicing medicine without a license, trouble that probably eroded his sanity, and his work has been marginalized.
I’m not sure that I believe in Dr. Kelley’s cancer cure as a cure-all, but I am certainly interested in the fact that so many people did believe and that their belief brought them to experience cures for such a huge range of cancers.

Today, many of us are still facing the uncertainty and the burden of incurable cancers. Our fears and hopes still exist as the driving force in the billion dollar cancer market; every new email sales-pitch that repackages an old cancer cure, each research fundraiser that promises to bring an end to cancer and every chemotherapy drug brought to market is aiming to get a piece of this pie.
If we point finger at the drug companies we are just attempting to point attention away from our own hopelessness. If we blame our governments we are looking for surrogate parents and if we accuse medical authorities of suppressing cures we are heading for the comforting shallows of self-delusion.
The solution is to realize that our sickness is part of our live. It may become our deaths but it is currently our life and we need to take responsibility for it. I am sick and I am scared and I am in pain. I am frightened and don’t know what the future will bring but it will be my future and I take responsibility for it.
I realize I don’t need to find someone else’s cure and slavishly do what they did; give them all my money or take on all their beliefs. I can listen to my body (as Dr. Kelley listened to his) and find my own path to healing.
There is a big cancer marketplace out there my friends, with many people selling many solutions. My advice is just to be cautious and read the fine print. Just what are you expected to pay, what are you expected to believe and is it a price worth paying?
The minimum price for accepting anothers' answer to cancer is a devaluation of faith in the value of your own healing ability.
If I take on belief in Dr. Kelley’s cancer protocol (without question) I am saying that I believe that the answer he received through listening to his body deal with his cancer is vastly superior to any answer I can achieve by listening to my own body, in present time. And that is obviously silly.
I believe we can all find our way to health and I am happy to believe that you and I will prevail.

With Love