Archive

Posts Tagged ‘tumour’

Are you having phoney phun?

14/08/2013 3 comments

evil smiley

Some day soon (very soon, I hope), there will be a designated space set aside in restaurants, airports and other public places for those who just cannot survive without their cellphone phix. It took a long time for this to happen for smokers, but it finally did, once the realities of cigarette smoking could no longer be swept under the carpet.

We’re all still having too much phun with our phones to be bothered about health issues, and it’s going to take a phundamental shift in awareness or a very nasty collective wake-up call for this to change. But it’s not just about the harmful ephects of cellphone radiation; it’s about the respect, human connection and emotional presence that are being compromised in favour of being ‘connected’ to some person, in some place, about some thing other than what’s right in front of you. It’s a contagion of phragmentation that will have many more repercussions than losing a friend, not digesting your meal or missing a beautiful sunset.

Our electronic gadgets have also swept us up into a multi-tasking phrenzy. Our brains are not designed for this degree of processing, and multi-tasking not only reduces our productivity, our phocus and our problem-solving abilities; it also permanently damages our brain and makes us less smart. (Look up multi-tasking on the Internet to see just how damaging it is, but try not to do it when you’re in the middle of doing something else.)

For now, there seems to be no escape from the cellphone inphestation. Yesterday, I saw two young people sitting on the beach on a stunning summer’s day, heads together, talking intimately. As I got closer, though, I realized that they were both on their phones, texting pheverishly, ignoring each other, the eagle flying overhead, the beautiful clear water, and the antics of the one-year-old playing in the sand. (Unbeknownst to that little fella, he only has about another year left, before being directly hooked up to the source of the pandemic, although his thin little skull is already being bombarded by harmful radio waves from all sides.)

I hardly ever use my phone, but that doesn’t make much difference if you’re still using yours—beside me on the bus, beside me in the cinema, beside me in the restaurant, and beside me in every single café in town. If I went up to you in the restaurant, pulled back my hair and said, “Look. See this scar? This is from brain surgery to remove a tumour due to electromagnetic radiation“, would it change anything? I doubt it. You’d probably be annoyed that I’d interrupted you when you were trying to send a very important text. Besides, that kind of thing only happens to other people, right? Like lung cancer. Phunny. I used to think like that too.

Advertisements

Healing gift

01/08/2012 1 comment

 

IImaget was my Dad’s birthday recently, and I wanted to get him something special. I spent weeks trying to come up with something unusual that I could mail to him in Ireland—without having to take out a loan to pay Canada Post. But when the day arrived, I still had nothing. Part of the problem (I told myself) was that my current health challenge prevented me from haring around at my usual break-neck speed, scouring the shops till I found some quirky item he might like. A brain tumour can have that kind of nasty effect, inconveniently bringing normal life to a standstill, and forcing you to cut back on all the things that seemed so urgent and important.

But then I had a ‘brainwave’, you might say. Since our challenges so often contain a hidden blessing, I reflected, perhaps the most meaningful gift was something a little less tangible. So, on 18 July 2012, I made a promise to my Dad: I committed to completely healing myself of this brain tumour before his next birthday—and to celebrating the breakthrough with him in person. Although I was technically giving this gift to myself (which felt a bit like cheating, and maybe even a bit cheap), he seemed to find it more than acceptable. (But then my Dad’s like that.)

And, today, after more than two years of steadily worsening symptoms, something happened. After making that heartfelt commitment, I felt better, with less pain and more energy than I have felt for a long time. In fact, it felt almost too good to be… untrue. And as I sat on the beach (eating a rather yummy coconut-milk, chocolate-vanilla ice cream), I realized that I felt calm, content and confident of being able to keep my promise. I also realized that I’m not actually making anything happen; I’m just allowing it to.

I attribute this amazing shift to my love for my Dad, yet I wondered why I could not have made an equally heartfelt commitment to myself, without involving anyone else in what is, after all, a very personal process. But, of course, we so often learn to love ourselves more by loving someone else. And if that’s what it takes to get there, to heal, and to be reminded of what’s important in life, it’s a gift that can be shared. After all, healing ourselves—mentally, emotionally and physically—is surely our ultimate gift to the world.

So my thanks to my Dad for allowing me to use his special day as a turning point for me. I hope I’ll stay mindful of this gift every day of the year to come, and that when (not if) I heal myself, the new-and-improved me will make up for all the other times I failed to give him, me and everyone else the kind of heartfelt presence (and presents) that we all deserve from each other.

I’ve still got a long way to go on this healing journey, and a year to complete it. But maybe it can happen in a month or even a week, if I allow it—or if I find some way to deepen and hasten the gift…

Anyone else out there with a birthday coming up soon?

Categories: empowerment Tags: , , ,

Should I humour this tumour?

24/05/2012 16 comments

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.