Home > breakthroughs, empowerment > Should I humour this tumour?

Should I humour this tumour?

Not many of my friends (and none of my clients) know this… but I have a brain tumour. I say that in the same way that I’d say I’ve got a house guest—and I think of it like that too. It has taken up temporary residence inside my brain while I figure out the purpose of its visit.

I know it’s a messenger, and if I don’t figure out the message within the next 3 months, it will either get evicted by surgery or nuked out of existence. But if it’s a diligent messenger with a mission of guaranteed delivery—a bit like FedEx—then it may well pay me another visit to make sure I get the message. And if my own stubbornness is anything to go by, it probably won’t quit till its job is done.

So I’m looking at the options: with surgery, I’d be left with a trapdoor in my skull after the surgeon saws through my tough noggin to reach the intruder—with unknowable consequences; with radiation, I’d be left with a crusty ‘raisin’ that may or may not re-inflate itself to the size of a grape—or maybe even a plum—and possibly in a more aggressive, attention-seeking form.

With those images in mind, I’m quite motivated to crack this on my own and to find a natural solution. It won’t be the first time I’ve had insights from illness, so I recognize the value of digging deeper. And this tumour is prompting me to go deeper than ever before. With my focus on empowerment, I’m also committed to resolving conundrums—and I’ve had many in my own life, pushing me to look at the underlying dynamics. Yet when I started my online research, I was amazed to discover that there were no online stories of anyone curing this kind of tumour (a benign acoustic neuroma) in a natural way. Think about that. There are hundreds of cases of people successfully curing all forms of malignant cancer through natural means—but not one single online report of a natural cure for a benign acoustic neuroma (none that I could find, at least).

Obviously, I’ll have to find my own way. Like many, I explored the conventional approach first and was presented with the limited, invasive options: surgery or radiation. As I sat there, listening to the neurosurgeon explain the pros and cons of either option, I was aware of my growing frustration. The hearing loss on the right side is permanent and irreversible. You may end up with facial paralysis and you may lose movement on the right side of your face. You may not be able to close your eye—but we’ll give you some special weights to put in the eyelid to help with that. With radiation, the tumour may come back and it could be cancerous. With surgery, we can’t say what may be affected but, for sure, your hearing will go and there’s the risk of death. But if you don’t get either surgery or radiation, you’ll die anyway, if the tumour keeps growing at the current rate…   

It wasn’t just his lack of compassion that bothered me; after all, it’s probably a good thing for a surgeon to be able to operate fairly robotically, without getting all worked up and emotional (I wouldn’t want him snivelling or sobbing uncontrollably while wielding a scalpel inside my brain). It was the fact that there was absolutely no enquiry into the underlying reason for the tumour occurring in the first place—plus he didn’t listen to what I had to say. He had his spiel, and that was it; the readings from his high-tech equipment overrode what I was feeling. So when I told him that I was starting to experience the same symptoms on the other side of my head, he said the MRI showed nothing on the left side and that I was imagining it.

That prompted me to tell him a little story. For years, I had a stabbing pain in my right eye. I consulted eye specialists in Switzerland and in Canada but they all said the same thing: there’s nothing there. Finally, in desperation, I went to Emergency and was referred to another specialist—a young Asian woman who… wait for it… pulled a piece of metal out of my eye. For seven years, I walked around with that piece of metal in my eye because… well, there was nothing there. (I think all those other ophthalmologists needed to get their eyes tested.)

But I knew where this indifference was designed to take me—and it worked. When I left the neurosurgeon’s office, a healthy dose of self-responsibility had reasserted itself and I was on a mission. I was going to fix this myself, if it was the last thing I did (and, yes, I did see the irony in that).

This got me thinking about my rights—not just as the host of this unwelcome guest in my headspace, but also as a person who’s supposedly in charge of her own circumstances. That is, after all, what I teach others and what I strive to practise in my own life. So I asked myself what I was entitled to that I wasn’t giving myself. What was I not doing? And it occurred to me that maybe what I was not doing was… not doing. Rather than doing more, I needed to not do certain things. (I needed to cut things out of my life—before the surgeon needed to cut things out of my skull.) I needed more head space. Things were getting too crowded in there. I needed to download some data rather than uploading even more.

So I started doing less, thinking less and just letting things be. I could feel that the tumour was agitated by too much mental activity and I realized it was pushing me to be still. My brain wanted peace. Reflecting on my daily routine, I saw that there was precious little stillness—in body or mind. Yes, I meditated and did some yoga; otherwise, though, I was constantly doing, thinking, moving, analysing, talking, planning, creating and working my mind. With all our techno-gadgets, our brains are constantly over-stimulated. We’re bombarded with e-mails, texts, commercials, traffic and hordes of other equally hyperactive bods; our sensitive electrical systems are constantly assaulted by mobile phones, cordless phones, TV screens in every café, ipods, ipads and wireless networks 24/7. And we wonder why we’re sick or why we can’t sleep, focus, concentrate or keep going for 15 hours every day.

So stillness, ease and peace have become my focus, and things have started to flow. I’ve received gifts of bodywork, hands-on healing, laughter, emotional support, and a session with an amazing alternative healthcare practitioner who has actually cured someone of an acoustic neuroma, using natural means. I’ve started his programme, while maintaining my own regimen of yoga, chi gung, relaxation, sitting in nature and being more creative with food.

The mind still wants to be in charge, of course, and I resisted sharing this information, for fear of being seen as weak or of not practising what I preach in my work. But the wiser part of me knows that most of my wisdom and expertise has come from addressing challenges like this, rather than trying to deny or suppress them.

So watch this space… while I monitor the space inside my head—and hopefully both will soon get filled up with some really good stuff.

  1. Andrew Evans
    27/05/2012 at 9:06 am

    Olga, I am sorry to hear this. I have had a quick tutorial from Mike Sharr, my neurosurgical colleague, as I don’t recall ever seeing an accoustic neuroma in my practice. If you would like to talk about it, get in touch. We have Skype , and now also have facetime.

  2. Dave Gribben
    29/05/2012 at 8:09 pm

    Hi Olga, I was just speaking with Lewis and he pointed me to this blog. Your perspective on your circumstance is inspiring to say the least. I am sorry to hear your story but as you say yourself it’s here to begin the next phase in your life which sounds like will be lived at an even higher level than before!!

  3. Judy Williams
    03/06/2012 at 2:18 am

    the idea of one’s mind overworking is good to hear from someone else, letting go of many unnecessary things, or people or events is rather empowering. I do not have the choice of radiation, so am gong with surgery for a “benign” tumour. Believe me these little suckers are not benign, I get king-size headaches and subsequent fatigue. I keep praying for a miracle but maybe the chance of surgery is a miracle in itself. Judy Williams

    • 10/06/2012 at 7:05 pm

      Thanks, Judy. I appreciate the feedback and hearing about your experience. I use the term ‘benign’ in the purely medical sense, since the neuroma certainly makes its presence felt and is not something I can ignore. Good luck with your operation! (Do you have a neuroma also, or something else?)

  4. Donna
    29/09/2012 at 2:55 am

    I think you must have the same neuro doc that I saw , did you have your surgery yet??I am on the wait list!

    • 30/09/2012 at 1:49 am

      Hi Donna. No surgery yet – and hope to not have any. I’m addressing this myself and aim to heal it naturally. Things are progressing well. Will let you know as soon as I’ve cracked it!

  5. 22/10/2012 at 10:08 pm

    Interesting stuff – I’m interested to see how you get on.

  6. 12/11/2012 at 8:26 am

    My husband was diagnosed earlier this year, and we’ve been fighting it naturally too. Good to meet a fellow believer 🙂

  7. 21/02/2014 at 7:13 am

    This was the first really insightful article on treating an acoustic neuroma I’ve read. I was diagnosed a year ago, and just found out last week that it had grown 1mm in the year since. I was personally expecting a remission, but like you, I will wait until next years MRI…and will spend this year…as you so aptly put it…cracking it. Emptying my mind will be a big part of that, along with chi gong, which I plan on taking up. I am also going to incorporate many of Wayne Dyer’s suggestions from his book, “wishes fulfilled.” A great read, which resonates truth for me. Of course my diagnosis is complicated by the fact that I have Meniere’s Disease in the other ear. But, neither is a “sentence,” just another opportunity to grow. I remain fully optimistic, regardless of outcome.

    Anyway, I just wanted to pass on my thanks for such a thoughtful blog post. You’re a very gifted writer. Keep up the important work. All the best, Bill

    • 22/02/2014 at 3:30 am

      Thanks, Bill. I appreciate the feedback and am glad that you found the blog helpful. Good luck on your journey!

  8. Victoria
    29/12/2014 at 9:52 pm

    So interesting. Had the same doctor’s visit. Even though there isn’t much out there as far as natural remedies that are posted – I do believe in the power of prayer and changing habits to be healthy. How is it going after 2 years? Best of wishes, Victoria

    • 30/12/2014 at 5:31 am

      Thanks, Victoria. My recovery has taken far longer than I anticipated, but I’m certainly learning a lot along the way. It has also forced me to slow down and relax more, which can sometimes be surprisingly hard to do and was no doubt part of the ‘message’ I needed to get :o).

      Did you also undergo surgery?

      I hope you’re doing well.

  9. B D
    09/01/2015 at 8:02 am

    Hi Olga,
    My story is very similar to yours. I was diagnosed in June 2014 after the symptoms that I had in January the same year. I haven’t told anyone apart from my husband and brother (hence I am not publishing my name) and have decided to try alternative treatments.
    The tumour is on the right side and I also had the symptoms on the left side too.
    I changed my diet immediately and in the first 6 months the tumour did not grow.
    Its size is 15mm.
    How large is your tumour and has it changed in size in the past 2 years?
    Pls use my email address if you would like to get in touch.

  10. 26/02/2015 at 6:07 pm

    Hi Olga,

    I dont know if you have had surgery or not,.. cannot tell by your post, it seems you have.. I could have written the original blog, truly. I am an RN/Coach/Massage Therapist. If I had not been practicing alternative medicine for years prior I may have taken to heart all of the neurosurgeons solutions.eg: 4 opinions. One actually left a very urgent and frightening message on my voicemail, that is when I decided to stop giving my healing power away. It is going on 5 years since diagnosis but I know I had it much longer than that.. I cut out much of the stress in my life and worked with a Shaman in Ecuador, in the Amazon 3 years ago, not for him to heal necessarily but to help me achieve insights into “vesty”. that is my pet name for her. I haven’t had an MRI since.. My hearing has not returned but other symptoms have dissipated, facial tingling and headaches.. I take many herbs and have worked with a doctor of oriental medicine. My ultimate goal is for vesty to decide she no longer needs to be in residence on my 8th cranial nerve I guess time will tell, fortunately she has been very quiet and who knows she may already have packed up and left..
    Thanks for sharing your story. I suppose those who decided to go the alternative route have less need or willingness to write but I know we are out here!!

    • 26/02/2015 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you, Jewell! I appreciate you taking the time to share your story. Yes, I had surgery, as the AN was growing too fast for me to heal it naturally myself, much to my chagrin. I’ve since heard from others, like you, who had some success with the alternative route as their neuromas were growing slowly enough for them to do the research. But we all have our individual path, of course, and part of mine was obviously to go this route. I look forward to reading more about you on your site. Stay well!

  1. 25/05/2012 at 4:36 pm

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