Welcome to the Space that always is…

The other day I had my first sneeze of Spring. I mean a real one. A waft of grass ‘pollen’, must have done it, I concluded while passing a freshly mowed lawn. And then it dawned on me: maybe it wasn’t the pollen. Maybe the grass wasn’t to blame. Maybe all the spring allergies people complain about weren’t related to the vegetation at all. Maybe, just maybe, it was the stuff they sprayed on the grass. You know, the Round-up and all the rest of the diabolical chemicals. Or possibly it was bread product containing our hybrid wheat, which isn’t wheat at all; the plant itself has been completely altered and spliced with mutations, now looking like an unrelated, sickly cousin. Today gluten is the only agreed upon cause of so-called auto-immune diseases. Sure, there are other compounding factors but gluten is the only one that is undeniably linked to the growing list of auto-immune labels. It seems the list is growing because each person reacts differently to the gluten and their unique constitution throws out a distress (dis-ease) response. When that particular response pattern has been seen enough times, voila, a new disease label is born. 

As my father prepares to take his internal chemical bath, I ponder such things.  Why are we being sprayed with chemicals? Why are so many chemicals put in so-called foods? Why do we go to the doctor to save our bodies with chemicals? Something doesn’t seem quite sane here but maybe it’s just me?!

Beloved Dad…

Dad and mom have been trying so hard to spin every detail as a positive. It is an admirable and understandable stance. My folks are deeply conditioned to deny illness. I know all about this having gone through a chronic illness for several years. It was one of those illnesses of grace, where you burn through deep wounds to find the eternal, pristine presence waiting like an old friend. 

I went over today to see dad and he jumped in the shower right when I arrived. As he emerged, I saw him carrying a deeper level of humility and intuition about his condition. The plan is that dad must get the daily amount of CC drainage down to 15 cc’s for 3 straight days in order to be considered ‘infection free and fit for double chemo’.  So that is the mark. First day 90, second day 50 and today was 40. So it is going down and part of me is hoping it will stay at 20 for a long time and perhaps permanently bypassing the chemo. Wishful thinking, I know, certain to get me into trouble if I really believe in it, that is- expect it to happen. 

Now I have been practicing acupuncture since 1997, 17 years and been giving dad treatments for the entire time. Dad has always responded well to acupuncture, whether it be for back pain, rib pain, or emotional pain. Nearly every treatment is a powerful rebalancing for him. Today was no exception. I treated him for the pain over the drain tube surgical site which cut through the intercostal muscles  and upper abdominal area on the right side near the site of the, previously removed, gall bladder.

Also the treatment was for constipation with the ascending colon on the right side being blocked by scar tissue, inflammation and fluid build up. To accomplish both of those needs, I needled contralateral along the upper left forearm on the San Jiao or Triple Burner channel on ah shi points, areas where their was sensitivity but not directly on a known acupoint. This mirrors both the rib pain which is on the spleen channel (180 degree polarity). Next, I used the points (Stomach) ST-36 and ST-37-which are powerful points for balancing the Kidney yang (which was low and corresponds with dad always feeling cold) and Pericardium (heart protector) channel. ST-36 is one of the most potent points in acupuncture, while ST-37 is called the influential point of the large intestine. I always start by taking the pulse. The Chinese method of pulse diagnosis is quite different than the Western. The art is very subtle. And in all the years I have treated my father, never had I heard an irregular pulse, where there was a skipped beat. Theoretically, a new occurrence like this could be just an indicator of a high ‘pain pulse’-where the qi becomes erratic because of clenching pain happening at regular intervals, as dad has been enduring. I felt it was important to tell him and my mom, so that they would check with his doctor at the next visit.

“Make sure he uses a stethoscope and checks dad’s heart rhythm.” I said. From an eastern energetic medicine perspective, once the gallbladder is removed, you have created an imbalance in the polar opposite channel, in this case the heart channel. This puts extra pressure on the heart energy channel and the organ system, including the actual physical heart. In cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal surgery), one of side effects is an increased risk of heart issues. This is often not disclosed to patients.

The best part of giving a treatment to dad is touching him. Pulse diagnosis is such a beautiful way to connect with someone. It is a nice, safe touch that allows someone the ability to feel your energy, before you become more intimate with your touch. It has been almost exactly 6 months since dad first started this journey. He has been taking blow after blow and continuing to forge ahead. Mom is relentless on her push to keep him going. She is juicing daily and dad always tries to take at least a few minute walk or ride the exercise bike as well. Of course now, he is not able to do that quite yet. Maybe in a day or two. It is taking everything he has to keep going now. I see the strain in his eyes, feel it in his qi. Today, besides giving the treatment I was able to take out the garbage and recycle, mow the tiny lawn and help move a generator back into place. This is a big concession for my parents and it shows the strain my mom has been under too. She has aged a lot in the last months. You can see how she is holding it together by a kite string. One extra burst of wind (intense event) and mom may well fall apart. It will be good. It is her greatest fear- besides getting dementia.

Cocktail Hour Awaits…

Stanford never ceases to amaze me. It is an institution which plays out the mythic delights of Western Medicine with such pride. Dad survived yet another procedure today. A surgical assistant RN even said: “I love that name Delbert.” Dad had never heard that in all his life, replying:

“My parent’s didn’t like me much that is why they named me Delbert.” Such was his lifelong disdain for his own name! He has always preferred Del, which often gets mistaken for Dale when people first talk to him. His favorite nickname is “Lefty” which all his old high school chums call him as dad was a star pitcher on the baseball team in the mid to late 50′s.

So after the procedure, a painful one which required no general anesthetic, only a ‘twilight’ drug, which gets its name from the TV series because it puts you ‘way out there’ and yet one remains conscious. Once said drug wore off, post drain tube installation procedure, dad started to really feel the discomfort, so they gave him a vicodeine. It did nothing to ease his pain. I suggested acupuncture but knew it would not be possible given the legality issue and my folk’s penchant for staying within such socially acceptable limits. Dad will accept a treatment this weekend at home.

While dad was unwinding from his toxicity deluge of 160 cc’s of noxious poisons, the infamous Dr. P (his prestigious and glorified surgeon) arrived with full entourage of fellows in toe. I could barely stomach the spectacle. Dr. P barely looked at the incision sight, charmed my parents with his well-schooled and formal bedside manner. I could not help but watch the fellows (two young men and one lady —doctors already MD’s but wannabe surgeons) who were swayed by his every gesture. They were taking notes and it seemed jotting done his every move and nuance. It was like Doc P was a superstar come in for an autograph session after a game that he didn’t even pitch at. Like Michael Jordan being interviewed courtside while Lebron James had just had a 50 point night.  I eventually grew so disgusted when Dr. P and his colleagues covertly and condescendingly made fun of my mom who was diligently trying to jot down his email address (to update him with how many CC’s dad is discharging daily from his new bag). His email address ended .edu and mom thought he said W. The laughter seemed appropriate if you missed the subtle gestures and eye contact between Doc P and the fellows. I turned to step out else I might say something snotty and mean. I stood in the hall seething, knowing that to say anything at all would not help the situation. This is the Surgeon who had just waited 6 weeks to start dad on an antibiotic for a long running infection from one of his own surgeries. This guy had waltzed in like a rock star who could walk on water. It was a little much for me.

He gave my parents the thumbs up to be discharged; only, now, they had to wait until he finished his rounds and told one of his fellows to email the nurse the information—which could take hours. I went to the nurses station and said:

 

“Dr. P was here and he has discharged my father.”

“He was, that is news to me.” She replied. I continued.

“When can we get that IV removed from his arm, so they can go home.” She abruptly turned and walked away, without a word. Twenty minutes later I went to the nurses station again and asked another nurse. This time she came to the room and gave us the, “well, it could be a while” speech.  I told my folks I would be leaving and would see them soon.

Before Doc P left, he said that they wanted to start chemo as soon as possible to get that cancer before it can come back. So, they are planning on getting dad into the cocktail hour next week. No delays in the chemo game. Poison out, poison in, Poison in, More poison in, until one is filled with lots of poison I guess.

Once You’re In…

If only one person avoids the Western Medical System after reading this blog which has sequenced the sinister underpinnings of the System, it will be worth it.  The latest turn in this continuing saga happened two days ago. Dad has had a post-surgery infection basically since the surgery. They have done nothing. Nothing. For six weeks the thinking has gone “Let’s get him ready for double dose chemo” and “the infection will take care of itself”.

Finally, with infection still raging, dad goes in Wednesday for first phase of scheduled chemo. He has been severely fatigued, with nausea, chills, fever and the local Santa Cruz oncologist finally decided to do a CT scan to see what was going on. They found a large sections of ascites (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen) which is of course infection and who knows what else. Mercilessly they decided against starting dad on chemo. Instead, they decided that a drain tube should be reinserted and antibiotics finally started?! This is surely malpractice but of course nothing will come of it. My folks are just going along with the game. What else can they do? Once you get in the System, you rarely ever get out. Iatrogenic Illness or Disease is the 3rd leading cause of death in this country. It encompasses a wide range of doctor era, procedure mistakes, etc. Dad was then sent to emergency in attempt to, not wait a week for the procedure. Yesterday he was on the waiting list and most likely will get in today to have the procedure, which was first considered surgery and the Big doc would do it, then it was downgraded to a radiologist doing the procedure, making it sound quite basic. Next, while the nurse tried several times and finally got a vein to put antibiotics into, a call came in to advise my father that the procedure was considerably more risky since the fluid was higher up in the abdominal region than they thought. It would now require them to go through a rib with the drain tube. So, off to the hospital today to see dad and offer loving support.

He was in good spirits, laughing and joking with nurses and aids. All the while with a fever, nausea and the rest. I was in awe of the man my uncle calls: “The Champ”. (

Chemo Week…

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If you have just wandered into this blog, realize that most of the entries these last months have been regarding my father’s cancer diagnosis. The blog title: Chemo week, it sounds like Speed Week at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. You can almost hear the announcer at the Salt Flats:

“They’ve come from all over the world for Chemo Week. Some from as far as 12,000 miles and for what, a tube filled with a lethal liquid, a solution that has been tested on a billion people or more over the last 60 years. This is killer stuff, George. It is designed to do real damage, not just cancer cells but to each and every cell in your body. They’ve come for the cure even though only 2 % survive the course. At Chemo Week, you open your vein to a rich and sordid IV cocktail that you won’t soon forget…”.

Dad goes for a double chemo, full liquid chemo of one drug on Wednesday each week and another chemo drug (liquid) on Thursday. Every other day the last two weeks he has not been doing at all well, physically, with chills, nausea, low basal temp, and severe fatigue. This is how he will enter this next chemo round.

On a new topic, last night I went to a Threshold Café meeting. Threshold Café is a new group that has diverged from the Death Café Model, which provides a much needed, introductory and superficial foray into the realms of death and dying. The Threshold Café which starts next month, on the other hand, will include a much deeper look at the death and dying phenomena. Next month’s group will include a discussion on: ‘Fearlessness at life’s great transition’ (often mistakenly called death).

At the preparatory meeting which I attended with four women in their 60’s, deeply tuned towards consciousness and seeing ‘death as a portal of spiritual awakening and liberation from seeking. It seems with my 12 years experience in all things ‘death and dying’ I am ready made for such events. I help the guy who thinks he is dying: the one who feels trapped in some cavernous chamber of the mind. I am the little spirit that is the muse in the corner. Yep, I’m like the tiny man on their shoulder who keeps whispering:

“You are Eternal Spirit everlasting, tis nothing to fear.” Some how the charade we call death has never been fully bought on my part. So I can sit next to a petrified soul who has been mixed up in the delusion of separate existence and see the formless in their form. I can listen to the fears they never expressed, witness the beliefs and conditioning patterns with no answer except: “I Am and You are beyond space and time.” The dream plays itself out in presence.

Nothing to Know…

A couple of days ago on my way out of the CVS store in downtown Santa Cruz, a man said; 

     “Do you have some change for coffee?” He did not appear to be the stereotypical, homeless prototype since they don’t exist anymore. The initial response that came out of my mouth was:

     “No, sorry man.” I glanced at him and turned, while the body was walking away. Suddenly, the body spun around and I found myself saying: “I do have some…” I fiddled through my wallet, remembering two scrunched up one dollars bills inside. I reached in and handed the bills to him. I could see that he was angry and already in the “what an asshole” response-story because I did not give him any money right away. He seemed completely jarred, as if he couldn’t speak, a baffling mix of incongruent energies wafting through his energy body.

Of course, that story is a conclusion too. I have no idea what was going on with him, or me. All I can report is that the body turned and the wallet emptied, money appeared to shift address to a new location. I was just as surprised to witness the show as he was.

You could just as easily make up a story that ‘I’ projected the whole thing. Everything is just happening, appearing to transpire. The real ‘I’ is the absolute consciousness, devoid of identity. All is unknown, unknowable and who is there to know it? Each of the forms is just Universal Consciousness playing out through the different appearances. So no conclusion is ever accurate or can clearly depict reality–for reality just is.

A Meltdown…

Guys don’t usually talk about meltdowns but we have them too. It happens when the existential intensities reach a fever pitch and identification with cellular memories begin to impinge quickly from many directions at once. We call it overwhelm but what is happening: repressed energies are coming forth. They can no longer be bypassed- can no longer go without conscious awareness.

Meltdown, the word itself points to a crumbling, a disintegration of things that no longer serve. And what is funny is how resistance comes up in an attempt to preserve this dissolution. Sometimes one can naturally disidentify with thoughts, feelings, beliefs, sensations–that is: see that they are not ‘me’ or ‘mine’; on other occasions you must own, acknowledge and reveal before the space of awareness, before presence. Call it part of being human.

Today, while at the Ananda Community in Mountain View, checking out a catsitting gig, I was mostly through the barrel of the meltdown. The woman asked me to follow her upstairs. On the wall was a picture of Yogananda, the famous Indian Yogi of high repute. He was looking at something on the opposite wall. I turned to see a Snowy Owl portrait. I had seen it before and looked down at the artist’s name. It was none other than my former partner Evelyn. I walked to my car and called her. Besides being an amazing artist, Evelyn is also an astrologer. I mentioned to her the fact that Jupiter was still wreaking havoc in my 4th house…and that I had been jumping from one flood to another related to ‘family situations.’

“Look”, I said, “Is Jupiter leaving my 4th house anytime soon?” She laughed and I continued. “The Divine handed me the wrong set of papers.” We both started giggling. The meltdown had now turned full circle.

It’s like sometimes we say to the Divine: “Nice work old chap, my ancient friend, the One the only, this can’t be right. I, I , I (always ‘I’-ha!) I’ve read over your Divine Orders and read it over again and after watching a few of your finer points play out…well trust me, you must have given me the wrong paperwork!” This, of course, is the voice of resistance, the voice of the mind. It is insidious, tricky and completely unreliable.

Why am I even talking about it! It deserves no such attention and yet if we give full attention, sincere and earnest awareness to the apparatus we call ‘mind’–we find it does not exist at all. Laughter naturally follows.

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