No Pot stickers for my Chop Sticks

Today I’m back to healing. I went to see Gail Teehan this morning and spent about an hour teaching her how to do a mind story. Then I thought I was scheduled in for a Feldenkrais Functional Integration lesson, but it turned out to be an hour and a half massage, and was it wonderful. It took me a little by surprise to have the massage, but she did such a good job, I didn’t mind! I remember crying several times, as she was working on my shoulders, and she said that she felt that all of the poisons are out of my system at last. We then had lunch together in the shopping center at a Chinese restaurant.

Next, I went to see Leslie Davenport. While I was waiting to see her, I managed to get a little work done. The session with her was so fine! I seem to come out of there with profound insights and a lot of wisdom. She really validated my use of mindfulness in my healing process. I am really fortunate to have three such remarkable healers in my life who I love very much. Of course I’m referring to Gail, Leslie, and Anna Halprin, who is getting a life-time achievement award for choreography at Duke University as I write. I’m grateful for my physicians, Drs. Neuwirth, Gullion, and Halberg, and I feel that they were wonderful technicians who implemented a protocol that I found in my own research. But I really feel that a lot of my physical healing and all of my mental and emotional healing  has come through the hands of Gail, Leslie, and Anna.


Don Alejandro

This week and next week will determine the future course of my treatment. The Shipley protocol calls for another TUR around May 6, to determine if there is any cancer in my bladder. The question for Dr. Neuwirth is, “Is my bladder free of cancer?” If the answer is no, then I am to proceed with more chemotherapy and radiation. This phase is known as “consolidation CFI,” where CFI stands for cis-platin, 5FU, and irradiation. If the answer is not no, then Dr. Neuwirth will probably recommend “radical cystectomy,” which I want to avoid.

To help me cope with such a decision, I went to see a Peruvian shaman by the name of Don Alejandro this morning. The session took place in Sebastopol, about 50 miles north of Sausalito. I had in interpreter who translated Don Alejandro’s Spanish into English for me on the fly – as he was speaking. This was a little confusing at first, but I eventually got used to it. I asked him the question on the list in appendix 4.

In the session, Don Alejandro told me that my disease was hereditary. Then I explained to him how my sister died of Leukemia, my mother of an osteosarcoma, my dad of bladder cancer, and how my son survived kidney cancer. Don Alejandro recommended that I continue with the chemotherapy and radiation, if that was required. He felt for sure that I would be cured of cancer, but that it may be a slow process. He said that there would probably be more than one looking into my bladder for cancer. He gave me advice on what to eat: no cold drinks, no red meat, fish in small quantities, and no sea food (my favorite). I should eat steamed or raw vegetables to make up the calories that I need to take in. Cold drinks cause the digestive system to clam up and can cause inflammation in the bladder. I don’t quite understand this, but maybe Michael Broffman can explain it to me. He suggested I take cat’s claw, which I already knew about. I’ll also check this out with Michael Broffman.

He said that I should maintain peace of mind and let all of my problems go. He asked me if I followed any religion, and I naturally told him that I followed Buddhism. He didn’t make a comment about this, but I’m sure it figured into the psychic equation.

Prior to doing his psychic healing, Don Alejandro had me drink a herbal beverage that was quite bitter. I was expecting apple juice! Then I laid down on the bed and he proceeded to heal me according to his methods. He first explored my bladder with his hands and then began a chant in a strange language that could have been mistaken for Hebrew. The chant lasted about five minutes and was very soothing. I noticed that he was sitting with his hands in the prayer position while chanting.

The next thing I knew was that he was laying his hands on my bladder area. After a while, I got the idea to open psychically to him, and I felt him penetrate my defenses. I found myself smiling during the process, and furthermore, I maintained a focus on my breathing with “healthy… free…” Some of his manipulations of my bladder area began to hurt, and I tightened up a bit. Then I realized that this was part of the healing process and I relaxed into it. His work proceeded without further hindrance from me, and soon it was over. He pronounced the healing complete, and, at the same time, ended the session.

I left Sebastopol almost immediately, as I felt that I needed time to integrate what he said and what he did. We came straight home and I did a “mind story” about the healing. My feeling now is that he did major good and I would definitely see him again. By the way, the tape recorder was on “pause,” so I didn’t get any of the conversation. However, the essence of the treatment was the healing, not the words.

In a way, I am now better prepared for a bad answer from Dr. Neuwirth, because Don Alejandro had said that I may have to have my bladder looked into more than once. I’m not sure if he was seeing the follow-up cystoscopic exams, or another TURBT.

In the afternoon, I went to see Dr. Neuwirth, who was quite pleased with how I looked. However, he did not examine me and his scheduler made a point of my having a physical exam with Dr. Belknap before the surgery next week on May 8. He did say that he was willing to have Julie Motz in the operating room with him. He even mentioned that she was in the operating room with a friend of his last week.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Julie Motz, I’ll give you a little run down of what I know from reading the Pacific Sun article from April 23, to April 29, 1997. The article basically states that Julie enters the operating room with the surgeon and does laying on of the hands healing during the surgery. She is the first to use energy healing in the operating room. She works primarily with cancer and heart disease patients. She is giving a lecture at Marin General Hospital on May 8 at 7:00 P. M. I’m trying to use my connection with Leslie Davenport to get to speak with Julie Motz about visiting me during my surgery next week.

Julie Motz called me a little later and said that she would love to work with me, but she can’t do it on May 8. I’m now trying to reschedule my surgery for May 9 to have her there and participate in my healing experience. Maybe I can even get her to write a preface to Yellow Stream!

In the evening, I attended Anna Halprin‘s class. As Anna was receiving an award from her piers, the class was taught by Jordy. She taught a class before, and this one was quite good. The theme of the evening was getting in touch with parts of our bodies that were free and not so free. I identified my knees as being not so free and my buttocks as free. We expressed these parts through writing, movement, working in pairs, and drawing. I drew the above picture. Click on the picture to get a full size version. Then click here to get a rotated version. Quite by accident, the picture works from both orientations. In the first, we see two people lying in the grass with a blue sky above them. In the second, the people are still lying in the grass, but now they are by a lake and the sun is reflecting in the lake. On the back of the picture I wrote,

“Life is made up of free and non-free elements. Aren’t we lucky that there is no permanent self to carry foreword after this life is over? We are free to live our life as we want and discover how to integrate free and non-free elements.”


The First Night of Passover

April 21, 1997 – The First Night of Passover

I was able to play three sets of tennis this morning, but I was so exhausted that it took me more than two hours to recover. I took a long bath and the got into bed for a long “mind story.” Both of these were very relaxing and I found myself quite able to concentrate on my breathing and visualizing healing in my bladder. My poem became:

Lying still,
Breathing in, Breathing out,
Healthy cells grow all by themselves.
I am free of cancer.

The meditation became “healthy cells grow all by themselves” on the in breath and “I’m free of cancer” on the out breath, or simply, “healthy… free.”

In the evening, we went over to A. and S. M.’s house for a lovely sader I was able to participate fully, and even had a few cups of wine. It was a very enjoyable evening.

I’m still having sleep problems, however.


Birthday Greetings

April 19, 1997 – Birthday Greetings

Today was my wife’s birthday and S. G.’s Bat Mitzvah. The Bat Mitzvah was a joyous occasion and many people wished me well. They were happy that I appeared to look so well and continue to visualize my complete recovery.

When I got home, I felt quite exhausted. I proceeded to do a “mind story” using Leslie Davenport’s tape. Not too much else is happening on the healing front today!


Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work I Go

April 16, 1997 – Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off to Work I Go

R. T., my boss, and I are met to discuss my raise and bonus, so I went to Menlo Park for the day. Marty Rossman was traveling to some Alternative Medicine conference in Orlando, so I drove him to the airport, which is on my way. This gave me a chance to chat with Marty about my life and ask him about his. The main point of our discussion was the effectiveness of guided imagery in my cure. Of course, he’s the master! When I asked him about Yellow Stream, he said that he was very impressed with the resources section.

I met my son for lunch at the Uptime Cafe at NGC. I had lunch cards from when I taught a class at NGC, so we got to pig out on cafeteria food! He was fairly talkative about his life, but we didn’t discuss my illness at length. He is going to sing for Gail Teehan’s mother on Friday night.

So, the day turned out to be kind of a normal work day, as my life is becoming more and more normal and my symptoms are affecting my daily activities less and less. For example, I didn’t have time for a mind story today, but I compensated by going to bed by 8:30.


Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

April 15, 1997 – Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

My wife and I met Sylvia Boorstein at the Good Earth at 9:00 in the morning. We had such a delightful time speaking with her about everything from dharma to family drama. She is obviously a wonderful and caring person who is enjoying a happy life between Buddhism and Judaism. We talked about our favorite prayers in the synagogue and it turns out that the service for replacing the torah is both of our favorites. It talks about the torah being, “a tree of life and everyone that upholds it is happy!”

I spoke to her about my practice and she thought that it was wonderful to have “healing… free” as a meta-program throughout my breathing. I wanted to speak more to her about my practice, but the time seemed to fly by. At one point, she said, “We must learn to cultivate boundless love rather than just adhere to a structure.” We were talking about the practices of the orthodox who seem to follow the structure more than their hearts. Later, she said, “It’s not in the liturgy, it’s in the heart!” She told me about Elat Chayyim in upstate New York, which is supposed to be like a Jewish Eselan. It’s funny, but I don’t have any desire to go there. I’m sure I’ll see her again quite soon.

My massage was cancelled, so I worked in Leslie Davenport’s office until our appointment at 1:00. We worked on the financial issues in my life, which was very appropriate for what had been happening over the week end. I had images of my grandfather on my mother’s side, who seemed to be the most generous person in the family. After all, he was in his eighties and well taken care of by my mother and my uncle, Sam Sandmel, the Reformed Rabbi and publisher of many books on Jews and Jesus. But my money problems seem to go deeper into my childhood and relate to matters about feeling unworthy and rejected. There is still a lot of work to do about this area, and I plan to continue until it is resolved. One thing that Leslie said at the end of the session was that I should really focus on things that I can change in my life and let go of things that I have no control over. I thought this was appropriate advice at the time, and I’ve heard it many times before.

The most significant thing that happened in the session was just before the end. I could feel the waves of sadness starting to overcome me, even though I was still focused on my breathing, doing, “healing… free”. The feelings came, got very intense, and then started to melt away, all under the eyes of mindfulness. I experienced the impermanence of the rise and fall of the sad feelings in a way that had never touched me so deeply before. This is, according to my understanding, the text book practice of vipassana meditation.

My session with Gail Teehan was wonderful once again. We worked on my back and pelvis, and I could feel the energy shifting, as she would go through the various steps of the lesson. We are developing a wonderful connection of mutual love and support as we continue to work together. Since she’s so fond of dance and art, I invited her to Anna’s class on April 28 to come as one of my support persons.

I came home thoroughly and totally exhausted, so I headed straight for a “mind story.” This time I settled into my breathing and was able put my worries out of my mind to get a clear picture of my bladder’s “healthy cells growing all by themselves!” I felt rested and much, much better at the end of the “mind story!”

At night, we went to a dinner party at S. and C.’s just two houses away. Ten of our best neighbors were gathered together for a very nice time.


Guided Imagery Transcript

Marcy 21, 1997 – Guided Imagery Transcript

The following guided imagery session1 was recorded on March 21, 1997 between Leslie Davenport and myself. I have skipped over the portion of the session that induced me into a deep state of relaxation. For an example script of a deep relaxation session, please consult the “mind story” page. If you decide to try this on your own, please be aware that this is a record of my experience, and you may not necessarily experience the same effects. I believe that it is worth trying! Also, please see the notes that follow the transcript. Please note that I have omitted some “yea’s” and “uh huh’s” from the transcript. My comments about the session are found in brackets in italics.


Leslie Davenport [after basic body relaxation was complete]: … And also allow your mind to join in a similar kind of spaciousness… feeling the vastness of the mind. And allowing yourself to let go of the specific thoughts may pop into your awareness… and disengaging from that for a while. Also allowing yourself to notice your emotions wherever you may sense that part of yourself right now… again inviting a kind of settling … and becoming aware also of that deepest part of yourself … that part that’s more enduring than the rise and fall of emotions and the activity of the mind and the fluctuating sensations in the body… Allowing all the levels and dimensions of who you are to be engaged in this process… And then to just bring your intention again of healing… wholeness… into your awareness… And from that place allow an image to form that will in some way be expressive of that… And then when the image appears, I’d like you to describe aloud whatever it is that you become aware of.

Jerome Freedman: Green…

L: What shade of green?

J: Grass

L: OK – say more about it.

J: I think there’s a trail or something…

L: Does the green have a particular shape or form?

J: It seems to be rising a little… going up a hill…

L: Um.. OK… Just stay with that. Let me know anything else you notice about it.

J: A couple of travelers… They seem to be on the way down…

L: OK. What’s that like – traveling on the way down?

J: Like the end of a hike…

L: What’s that feel like?

J: Like… it’s all down hill from here!!!! [laughter from both parties]…

L: OK.

J: That’s a good one!

L: OK. And does that feel right as you say it? Does that kind of match the…

J: It matches the feeling.

L: Yeah! Great! Good! Well let yourself really feel that! Let yourself enjoy that feeling, “It’s all downhill from here!”

J: It’s a good name for the web page! [more laughter]…

L: Yeah… In the way that that brings a little bit of a smile, let that smile be everywhere in your body… You can even allow the feeling to amplify… just with your breath and with your awareness… What’s happening now?

J: I was feeling a wave of bliss as I was thinking about how… the Robert Frost poem2, two roads crossing in the wood and I took one of the paths (I don’t know the exact words) and it made all the difference in the world!!! … It really did! I’ll tell you…this is really great!! The difference is … I took my path and didn’t succumb to the “standard treatment”… and it made all of the difference in the world!!!

L: Yeah! Good! Just be with that! Kind of rejoicing in the path… the rightness of your choice… and the waves of bliss…

J: It’s that obvious!!! [laughter] It’s really nice… It’s also the first day of Spring… and every year this whole week I reminded of this Zen poem. It goes like this: “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself!” … One of the things I learned from tennis is that you stay in your body and just let the ball play by itself. Whenever I think too much I don’t make nearly as good a shot as if I’m just totally mindless… And of course that’s the spiritual practice of tennis: letting go of the mind and being in the body… and you know for a fear type3 … a mental type … that’s a real essential thing to do…

L: Where are you right now?…

J. Ready to go deeper!

L: OK! Good! Just allow yourself to then go underneath these images and awarenesses that you’ve been describing… Just go right underneath… and when you’re ready, describe whatever you become aware of…

J: … I’ve been having the momentary… experiences… of emptiness… emptiness in the sense of emptiness of self — of pure awareness… It seems to be physically more like a black hole [whole???] than anything else… and I go into that moment and I say, “Is this real?” and it pops me right back out of it….

L: Can you describe more… the experience of emptiness?

J: I think the best description is pure awareness… the awareness of being aware!… Nothing happening!… It means allowing the grass to grow all by itself!!…

L: Let’s be there a little bit… letting the grass grow all by itself!

J: It’s funny – it started with “green!” Wow! [laughter]…

L: What are you aware of now?…

J: [images of thick, healthy grass with deep seated roots]… I saw this image of grass growing by itself… and that I took that same image … just let it drop down into my bladder… and allow healthy cells to grow all by themselves!!!

L: Yeah! Great!

J: And it’s such an amazing feeling… to know that that’s happening! I can just feel it – I can just feel the energy going in there… I can just feel the healthy cells just growing by themselves with no interference from me!!!… and with no interference from cancer!!!

L: Yep! Yes! Great!…

J: [At this point, I was noticing a deep, penetrating healing energy of bliss which I was focusing on the walls of my bladder. I had transmuted the image of the grass to the image of cells on a microscopic level] … It’s like… I know you’ve experienced these waves of relaxation – these waves of bliss that come from deep meditation and insight and that you just feel that going into those cells revitalizing, harmonizing, catalyzing and … just living!! To know that… follow your bliss!!! In this case directing the bliss to where it needs to be… [long pause while allowing bliss to work in the bladder!]… It’s like with each exhalation, more and more of that healing energy is being pumped in there…

L: Hum… Great!!!

J: … Now I’m beginning to head trip about how great this is!!! [uproarious laughter]… This six mind of mine… always wants to come back into the picture…

L: How do you want to respond to that six mind?

J: By body anchoring… by reality anchoring in the body… That’s the mainstay…

L: To coming back to the body…

J: Right.

L: Is there anything else about this process … about this healing focus that’s wanting to be know or explored or does this feel fairly complete?

J: Well, there’s a few things I wanted to tell you about it…. I didn’t want to speak while it was happening… But I think this is a real teachable phenomenon that I sort of accidentally discovered through doing this process… and it feels like it’s really … to the extent that it induces healing … doesn’t have to be verified medically… but when a person… when I felt this good about the energy going in there I can’t help but believe that if someone else needed that that they could do it too…

L: So there’s something about this experience that’s not only clearly of value for you now but has the component of being of service to others…

J: Yes.

L: Good! Let yourself acknowledge all of that… the whole sphere of what this is about… for you and for others… Lots of levels… Well in a few moments we’ll begin to bring this toward a close… Is there anything else that feels like it was meant to happen before we do that?…

J: I have a sense of deep gratitude… to you… and to this work… and to all this stuff that I’ve done to prepare for this… [see below…]

L: Yes! Good! Take a moment to be with that!… and then begin to bring a closure for now knowing that you can always return again… and that you may be even able to carry the awareness and the benefits of this into different kinds of moments, into different kinds of ways… And the whenever you’re ready just find a transition that will allow you to comfortably open your eyes again…


1It is important to note that I was first exposed to meditation and guided imagery in 1968 while I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, and that I have been consistently practicing some form of these for the past thirty years. This process could be a model for what I might call bliss healing, in which somehow you get in touch with your bliss and allow that feeling to heal your body in whatever way you think is need at the time.

2The complete text of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, is:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

If you’ve been following my story up to now, you’ll know the significance of this poem. I took the road less traveled by (i. e., choosing the Shipley protocol instead of the “gold standard” of treatment – radical cystectomy), and that has made all the difference. At this point, had I chosen the other path, I would not still have a bladder!

3Another important note is in reference to the discussion about the “fear type” and mention of the “six mind”, above. These refer to my “point” on the enneagram – a nine sided diagram that represents nine personality types.

Please visit the Enneagram Instrument for more information.

I would love to hear what you think about this session. Please write to me with your questions and comments! Have any of you had a similar experience of healing?

Tennis, Cancerport, and Feldenkrais

March 20, 1997 – Tennis, Cancerport, and Feldenkrais

Today was an up and down day, with the highs being much greater than the lows. In the morning, I was experiencing some of the side effects from radiation therapy resulting in diarrhea. Even so, I managed to play two sets of tennis with some of my favorite players. Naturally, I had no symptoms while I was on the court!

Later in the morning, I took my wife to Cancerport with me. It was really nice to have her there and experience the people I have become attached to, simply because we share similar life circumstance. I mainly shared my experience of the chemotherapy and radiation, and that I was feeling well enough to play tennis. All three of the leaders commented on how therapeutic tennis could be and I agreed with them by stating that I’d prefer to play tennis than attend a support group. So it is likely that I’ll miss Leslie Davenport’s group tomorrow because I’m scheduled to play tennis at 8:30 in the morning on the first day of spring!

From Cancerport, I went to get my new racket strung and then to Gail Teehan’s for a Feldenkrais lesson. It was truly amazing! She was so attuned to my body that she discovered my traditional places of where I hold tension. Not only that, but I experienced the transmission of energy through my skeletal system as she pressed and manipulated various areas. The climax was when she rolled me up to a sitting position! This was quite remarkable, as one moment I was lying on my side and the next moment I was sitting up, and the transition was made so seamlessly that I felt totally reassured, comfortable, and relaxed. I highly recommend stopping by to have a session with Gail!

When I finally got home, I picked up the mail and became stressed out even before I opened it! I had stressful items to deal with from the IRS, the State Board of Equalization, and Cigna Health Care. The stress I felt was in addition to being exhausted from all my activities. Nevertheless, I proceeded to do a mind story, and felt a little relieved. Then I realized that the best way to deal with the stressful items was simply to tackle them one at a time.

>>> Next…

Cancer Sucks!

March 17, 1997 – Cancer Sucks!

During the past two days, I have noticed many instances of random tears. Most of the time, they seem to come from nowhere, but other times, I am aware of what triggered them. For example, we watched two pre-recorded episodes of Nova last night which dealt with cancer. Most of the people on the shows were in much worse shape than I, and I felt compassion for their suffering. I realized that it was also my suffering and I wanted my life back. Another example: today, my daughter’s best friend’s mother had a lumpectomy, and I felt badly for her. Much of the time, I simply feel the tragedy of the disease.

Other than these random acts of crying, I’ve had a pretty productive day. I did an adequate job at work, and although I felt nauseous most of the day, I managed to get by. Naturally, my afternoon “mind story” was quite helpful, both in calming my nausea and allowing me to relax and visualize the cancer shrinking.

>>> Next…

Jewish Penicillin

March 11, 1997 – Jewish Penicillin

We arrived at the Marin Oncology center at 8:10. Here it is now 9:03 and we’ve just been sitting around. Naturally, they had us down for 9:00, not 8:00. So now I’m really getting restless. I’m not comfortable starting a mind story, not knowing how far I’ll get or if I’ll be able to even begin. I tried working on Practical Intuition, but the same considerations play. The man next to me is getting his i. v. already. I guess that he’s been here before.

Last night was fairly difficult. I seemed to sleep fairly well in stages, but due to all of the hydration, I was up many times. Finally, at 3:00, I went downstairs and did a little writing. Next came a tape, and by the time it was time to wake up, I was ready to sleep.

I haven’t been that preoccupied with today’s treatment plan, but I still felt unable to concentrate on my breath. No one can tell what kind of response I’m going to have to the chemo, and I’m a little worried. To top it off, I have two rounds of radiation also today.

I had expected to be able to listen to guided imagery tapes, but with all the commotion going around here, I preferred to listen to the classical CD’s I brought. The Beethoven Choral Fantasy brought on a lot of emotion. I also listened to Dvorak’s Piano Quintet and Shubert’s Trout Quintet. These pieces of music are so calming and beautiful. I use my computer as my portable CD player.

Once the 5FU and cisplatin where into my blood stream, I felt a few minor discomforts, but all in all, it wasn’t too bad – just like Shipley predicted. I can probably have a decent afternoon. As soon as the cisplatin was finished, I got an urge for matzoth ball soup from Max’s! When I was growing up, this was called, “Jewish penicillin!”

I started having pains in my stomach and needed to pee again! The pains didn’t last long and I continued to pee frequently. At around 1:15 P. M., an hour and a half after the cisplatin was totally in, I went down for my first radiation treatment. Although I was a little nervous, I came through it OK. Within the next half-hour, we were back upstairs, getting the i. v. out and on our way home. Although I felt very tired, there were no other side effects. I was advised to take a sedative tonight to get some sleep, but now that the unknown is known, will I need it?

The second radiation treatment went really well. I was able to be relaxed and visualize the radiation helping the cancer cells to mutate back to healthy cells normal cells, or, if they choose, to self-destruct. This seemed to be really effective. The radiologist placed tattoos for the spots for focusing the beam and then explained the computerized care that I was getting.

>>> Next…

Practical Intuition

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