Getting Back to Normal

On Tuesday, I had an excellent acupuncture session with Dr. Rossman. He said that he felt my qi starting to flow like never before. I was encouraged by his remarks.

I spent the day on Wednesday at work. I’m starting to get a lot of pressure to complete certain tasks, so I’ve been working a lot lately.

Thankfully, I had a session with Leslie Davenport today, squeezed in between my work schedule. She is truly wonderful! She always helps me return to center!



April 20, 1997 – Overprotection

When I was a boy of around twelve or thirteen, I studied and played the game of chess. I studied the masters like Lasker, Reinfeld, Alekhine, Botvinnik and Capablanca. In fact, when Reshevsky played a simultaneous exhibition at Purdue University in 1959, I played him to a tie by playing the Lasker variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. My favorite master was Aaron Nimzovich, who published My System in 1925. This was my favorite book on the subject and I studied it long and hard. One of the strategies that Nimzovich taught was called overprotection. He maintained that if you have a pawn in a strong position, especially in the center of the board, you should do everything in your power to overprotect that pawn, which, in turn would lead to a very strong position. Overprotection became my primary strategy in chess, and perhaps in life.


Overprotection is a good strategy for raising children if you consider expressing your love and affection for them consistently throughout their childhood. I’m not talking about protecting them from the outside world so much as assuring them that they are loved and cared for in a way in which they feel secure and protected. My girls and boy have been raised this way and are wonderful people.

I think that overprotection is a good strategy for healing from cancer also. What I mean here is that the more you can do for yourself, the better. For me, this means being a support group junkie, doing “mind stories,” having guided imagery sessions, doing Feldenkrais and other massage therapies, acupuncture, and all of the other activities I’m engaged in to support and overprotect my health.

I came to this realization early this morning after a very difficult night of little sleep. I was looking deeply into my feelings and remembered how I played chess and bridge as a youngster.

I studied the game so much so that I could feel like a winner. I had felt like such a looser as a child that I needed something to win at and I chose chess. Almost every time I played a good game with a good player with a chance to win, I would get heart palpitations and start to shake. I would get very nervous and feel compelled to win. I needed to win at something. This attitude and nervousness carried over into my college days at Purdue University to the game of bridge. I quickly became one of the best bridge players on campus, but winning was still an issue. When Mike Sears and I entered a tournament in Terra Haute, Indiana, I was nervous and shaking as usual, and we did not win. Mike was very disappointed in me. However, when Charles Goren visited Pudure, I was his partner in a tournament and we won.

Now my life is on the line and I’m playing for keeps. I get the same heart palpitations and shaking when I think of the possibility of actually helping someone with my ideas and guidance. I get nervous when I think about publishing this web site as a book and actually speaking to people about how they can learn to make appropriate decisions for their medical treatment. Now that the word is out, I may be able to control my nervousness and shaking enough to heal myself and realize my goal to deliver this message far and wide. This is serious stuff, and I am committed to getting well again. My girls are still young enough that they need overprotection – overprotection in the sense of feeling loved and protected.


First Hospital Stay

Barcelona Hospital

January 26, 1997 – Superbowl Sunday!

I woke up around 8:30 in the morning and called Dr. Belknap. I got his answering service and called the physician on duty, Dr. Jacoby. He set me up for an appointment at 10:45 on a Sunday morning! I then proceeded to phone Dr. Belknap at home, and he assured me that seeing Dr. Jacoby was the right thing to do.

After taking a urine sample, which, by the way, looked more like a blood sample, Dr. Jacoby examined my prostate gland and left the examination room to call the urologist on call at Marin General Hospital (the other MGH!) who happened to be Dr. Neuwirth. Dr. Jacoby strongly recommended that I head off to the hospital so that Dr. Neuwirth could run some tests to see what was causing all this blood.

Barcelona Hospital
Barcelona Hospital – Photo by Jerome Freedman, 2015

We arrived at the emergency room of MGH at around 11:30, armed with a bag containing the urine sample, in perfect time to meet Dr. Neuwirth. Can you imagine not having to wait four hours in the waiting room! He walked away with the bag and returned in less the 10 seconds. “I want to admit you and do some tests,” he said.

After that, in short fashion, I found myself in a typical hospital gown, lying in bed with an IV started in my left wrist. In less than an hour I had X-rays, a CT scan, and an intravenous pyelogram, or IVP, which is an x-ray evaluation of the urinary tract. All of these tests were expected due to the excellent coverage of the hematuria web page.

The results were not favorable. From the CT scan, it was obvious that I had some kind of tumor at the base of the bladder and therefore a cystoscopy was necessary. This was to be scheduled as soon as possible, but actually would never take place on Super bowl Sunday! What medical team would be willing to give up their Sunday evening, anyway?

So there I was, back in my bed, just in time to watch the Super bowl. By then, the phone was ringing off of the hook, and my friend, Dr. Rossman came to visit me to look into my condition. He is an outstanding physician in his own right and specializes in interactive guided imagery, and acupuncture. He brought with him a new guided imagery tape for pre-operative patients in which he collaborated with Stephen Halprin. I also had a few other visitors, including my sister and her husband, my son, and another good friend. I think the gentleman I was sharing the room with was getting fed up with all of the phone calls. I knew I had a tremendous support group behind me. This, by the way, is one of the important factors in helping yourself to a speedy recovery – having a support group of people who love you unconditionally.

After everyone left, I settled down and listened to Dr. Rossman’s tape. This helped me to relax and visualize some long range goals, such as playing tennis four days a week once again. With meditation and visualization techniques, I was able to sleep most of the night, barring interruptions from nurses who wanted to suck more of my blood.

One interesting thing that happened that night was that one of the nurses wanted me to sign my operation consent from. After reading it over, I decided that I needed to speak with an anesthesiologist first, in order to determine whether I should go with a general anesthetic or an epidural. The nurse said that he would get one up to my room, but one never came. The next nurse on duty also tried to get me to sign, but I still refused. It took them until 3:00 P. M. the next day for one to come, and I missed an opportunity for a 9:00 A. M. surgery.

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