Welcome to the Space that always is…

The Chemotherapy Study…

Some people have questioned the accuracy of my recent blog regarding statements made about chemotherapy efficacy.

This is the irrefutable 15-year study—1988-2003). 

The summary of the study is below: (You can easily find the entire study results online using this as a search guideline.

The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies
Graeme Morgan*, Robyn Wardy, Michael Bartonz

*Department of Radiation Oncology, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, Royal North Shore
Hospital, Sydney, NSW; yDepartment of Medical Oncology,
St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, NSW; zCollaboration for Cancer
Outcomes Research and Evaluation, Liverpool Health Service, Sydney, NSW, Australia

ABSTRACT:
Aims: The debate on the funding and availability of cytotoxic drugs raises questions  about the contribution of curative or adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to survival in adult cancer patients.

Materials and methods: We undertook a literature search for randomised clinical trials reporting a 5-year survival benefit attributable solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy in adult malignancies. The total number of newly diagnosed cancer patients for 22 major adult
malignancies was determined from cancer registry data in Australia and from the Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results data in the USA for 1998.

For each malignancy, the absolute number to benefit was the product of (a) the total number of persons with that malignancy; (b) the proportion or subgroup(s) of that malignancy showing a benefit; and (c) the percentage increase in 5-year survival due
solely to cytotoxic chemotherapy. The overall contribution was the sum total of the absolute numbers showing a 5-year survival benefit expressed as a percentage of the total number for the 22 malignancies.

Results: The overall contribution of curative and adjuvant cytotoxic chemotherapy to 5-year survival in adults was estimated to be 2.3% in Australia and 2.1% in the USA.

Conclusion: As the 5-year relative survival rate for cancer in Australia is now over 60%, it is clear that cytotoxic chemotherapy only makes a minor contribution to cancer survival. To justify the continued funding and availability of drugs used in cytotoxic  chemotherapy, a rigorous evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and impact on quality of life is urgently required.
Received: 18 August 2003 Revised: 20 April 2004 Accepted: 3 June 2004

The Chemo Cauldron…

My dear friend R. was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer some 6 years ago. She had two thirds of her liver removed (the liver is one of the organs that can, but not always, regenerate itself when up to 70 percent is removed.

I have no idea on the details of her case, other than her recent oncology test showed a return of the cancer with a 3-15 months to live diagnosis placed on her.

R. is considering chemotherapy. And this is always a tricky subject. I hesitated just a bit in my response but than had to speak. Her text clearly said, she was ‘considering chemo’ but had not actually started. So I had to share my wisdom and I would debate any oncologist, any time–while holding in my hand- the landmark study which completely debunks chemotherapy.

Why should the doctors, the so-called experts, be the only ones to give an opinion. When, in most cases, that opinion is not based on solid science and deeply influenced by pharmaceutical-based education. How can drug companies who sell the poisonous chemo agents be qualified as a reliable source for accurate information?

They are not.

In truth, most of the oncologists and doctors involved in cancer care via mainstream Western Medicine are wonderful, caring people who want you to get well. (Though some are individuals with zero integrity who completely understand that chemotherapy is killing people while making them and the drug companies loads of money; that in fact people are being fed a poisonous cocktail that has little or no chance of actually resolving their cancer–but that is another blog.)

Over a decade ago my uncle was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The survival or life-expectancy medium average is 8 months–that is 50 percent of patients are alive and 50 percent have passed on at 8 months! As of 2015 the 5 year life expectancy percentage is  at 4% for stage 4 lung cancer (many factors are involved in why some survive, particularly genes).

My uncle lives on.

And for the most part that ‘living on’ has been of the high quality version: annual ski trips where he pushes it hard for an entire month, carving up the slopes, long backpacking trips, half marathons and the like. He underwent chemotherapy too, but I believe only once of the liquid IV variety. Mostly he has relied on oral tablet, a low dose non-standard form of chemo. Of course, he has done radiation, juicing and everything in between. I call his treatment plan:

THE KITCHEN SINK PROTOCOL.

He has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the cancer.

Most people who experiment with chemotherapy are not as fortunate. I use the word experiment because we are talking about a poison (the original chemo was a mustard gas derivative). And with a 2% success rate exposed in the landmark study, who would choose this method? Yet, day in an day out, year after year, people who find out about the dreaded cancer diagnosis, full of fear and vulnerability, are given three choices by mainstream Western Medicine: Chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.

These three are often called, in alternative and natural healing circles: poison, slash and burn.

So I reminded R. of this.

She said, “they know it can’t cure the cancer but this is for palliative care’.

I had to write to her.

Palliative care?! Just so you are doing something supportive and active to treat the cancer… Palliative care is defined as: to relieve suffering and improve quality of life for people with serious illnesses. 

Chemo does not relieve suffering, it increases it! Improving the quality of life, not a chance! The poisonous cocktails they use make one wish they were dead already, causing pain, nausea and immense physical suffering.

And chemo does not extend life. What it does do is lessen the quality of life that one has left. I would love to see a study with people who are in the last weeks of life, after stopping month long barrages of chemo, whether they would do it again. Most would tell you that the chemo actually accelerated their dying processes while diminishing their quality of life.

And is it okay to not treat the cancer at all, to forego chemotherapy and the other toxic interventions?

Is it okay to try natural and non-toxic remedies and not be shamed for it?

Or is it okay to simply let nature take its course and not ‘treat’ the cancer at all?! To be fearless and realize that death comes to all bodies but it will not touch your Essential Nature one iota!

Usually none of these alternative choices are okay. Doctors, family, friends (and even our own selves), all with what they believe to be educated and well-intentioned opinions, throw guilt on to one who does not actively treat with a mainstream cancer treatment.

It all stems from conditioned patterns of media and society, which are egoic mechanisms with no reality.

Conditioning, like TV advertisements and the like, create a deep matrix of faith and belief in things like chemo and make it palatable, homey and nice for you:

“With Neulasta® Onpro®, you can spend the day after strong chemo at home or other appropriate setting. Relaxing on the couch. If you feel up to it, taking a walk. Enjoying your family. The innovative delivery system is designed to automatically deliver Neulasta® the next day–so you don’t have to go back to the doctor….

“Neulasta® is a prescription medication used to help reduce the chance of infection due to a low white blood cell count, in people with certain types of
cancer (non-myeloid), who receive anti-cancer medicines (chemotherapy) that can cause fever and low blood cell count.”

Bottom line, unless you have testicular cancer, lymphoma or a few other rare types of cancer, do not even consider chemotherapy at all.

If anyone wants the study, please contact me and I will send it to you.  After seeing this study, no one in their right mind would use chemotherapy or urge a friend or family member to get it.

NOTE about blog title: A cauldron is a vessel for boiling over an open fire. So a chemo cauldron is where the human body is the vessel being used for a test boil when the results of the test are already in.

Born Again Christian…

I was in my late teens when I first heard the term, ‘born again Christian’. Not involved in mainstream religion, but certainly full of obnoxious self-interest, I laughed. My acquaintance was belittling these ‘religious psychos’, as he referred to them. When I asked him what the phrase ‘born again Christian’ meant, he responded:

“Oh, it’s someone who has found Jesusssss!” My condescending response followed.

“I didn’t know he was lost!” We howled in frivolous, egoic delight.

Later in my 20’s, I met several sweet Christians, who claimed to be ‘born again’. With a large coat of superiority conditioning, I barely heard their words, for the emotional and spiritual emptiness I was covering up certainly did not need Jesus to save me.

I thought: “You’ve  been saved by the savior, huh.” Yet, their energy and aliveness touched something within.

Years later in my 30’s, during a deeper and more sincere reflection, I remembered that energy and aliveness, spoken by those born again Christians awakened by the living truth of Christ:

“Jesus entered my heart… He spoke to me…He healed me of addiction…”  I began to see, after much humbling, that the born again Christians I met, most likely were more alive inside, more attuned and astutely aware spiritually, than I was. Whatever had happened to them was transformative and they attributed it to Jesus Christ.

During this time, I read a beautiful book which acted as a bridge for Eastern spirituality and Western Christianity. The term ‘Christ Consciousness’ was seen for the first time. The description never left me:

“…As Truth peeps through the window of thoughts and words, so God manifests through Christ Intelligence and vibratory creation. When the beads of nations are not held together by the thread of universal perception of Christ Consciousness, of Christ Peace, they fall apart, knocking and scattering on the rocks of selfishness. The Christ of Christmas must be celebrated in the hearts’ love of all races for one another.

I pray Christ be born in the cradle of a new international understanding; that out of the dark night of war, the star of Christ Love may illumine a new United World. I pray Christ be born in all nations as love of unity…”

I came to see and feel deeply that Christ Jesus was not some former overly-glorified, religious figure from 2000 years ago but the living embodiment of Christ Consciousness, the animating spirit inside all beings. The direct experience of this truth continues to deepen as Christ comes ever more alive inside me.

These intense religious and spiritual experiences are happening to many people:

Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists, along with those without any religious affiliation.  Some of these people are profoundly touched so deeply that they feel as if they have gone mad (when referenced against the rest of the world).

From my perspective, many of these born again Christians have been blown open by what they call in Japanese Buddhism (satori)- a term that means ‘seeing into one’s true nature’.

Some of these awakening Christians have no one that can relate to their experience within the church congregation and hierarchy. Often they leave the church and their regular social clichés as well. Others stay within the church system and become magnets and iconic figures within their congregation, as they are now living like Christ and not simply following the basic doctrinal pathway.  The born again Christians truly put the highest spiritual teachings to the living test while remaining engaged in regular non-secular activities.

In many of the Eastern-based spiritual pathways, much has been written about and shared amongst those that have had awakening experiences. This creates  a series of guideposts so one can see a beautiful reflection of their own experience.

In the Western-based Christian churches, without this rich reference point, the awakening ‘born again Christians’ often miss the deeper truth:

Jesus Christ was not a person but an awakened being that resides in all hearts as the living Christ Consciousness. And all that one needs do is turn within, be patient, immensely sincere and let God’s grace enter. Then God’s grace showers forth the awakening of the Christ Consciousness within. Then life is never the same.

In the last few years, an increasing amount of people have fallen into near homelessness or alternative fringe living situations. Let’s face it, as George Carlin use to say and I paraphrase here: “These people are not homeless, they need something more tangible, a house”.

In the bay area, here are just two examples of hundreds:

I can tell you, that the new tent city at SLV park in Santa Cruz is a great attempt at doing something constructive by the new police chief.

Palo Alto also has a big issues, with a growing group of ‘new working homeless’ who make 30,000 per year (2400 month) but still cannot afford the ridiculously, greedy rent prices. Of course, Airbnb vacation rentals and university students looking for housing add to this mess, along with many other issues. Palo Alto has a growing group of working people who have been living in RV’s which are parked on local streets. Now the city has come in and just swept them away, using the hygiene card – related to illegal sewage dumping.

I see homeless people all the time living during the day at their storage units, like a camp out, just to have a space to call their own for a few hours.

California leads the way with the highest rate of unsheltered homeless and the state has nearly one quarter of the nation’s total homeless.  What can you do? Something, anything.

Follow your heart and open your wallet to help lighten the load just a little. If you have more energy and drive, do more.

 

 

Large Intestinal Adventures…

Paying close attention to the colon has been an intrical part of health for many cultures over the centuries.

The Japanese, perhaps the most astutely-attuned to necessity of proper bowel care, were known to say:

“How are your bowels?” instead of “how are you doing?”–for they knew if the colon was blocked (constipation), overactive (diarrhea) or in some kind of distress, you were not of your right mind, and overall bodily health was greatly affected, creating a disharmonious state. The Japanese call it unko when the poop is hard, unchi when of the mushier, softer variety.

In many cultures constipation is a critical issue that must be rectified in order for one to recover full health. The Japanese called constipation, kanji: ‘secret poo, or hidden poo’.

Constipation is much more serious than diarrhea. For one can go months and perhaps years with diarrhea but if one is constipated for weeks, it can turn into a life threatening issue with myriad complications. Fecal impaction or full blockage can trigger strokes, heart attack and many other acute emergency situations.

We have many names for intestinal related problems: Inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, colorectal cancer, the list goes on and on in modern medical terminology…and most of these conditions are only a byproduct of an underlying and even more serious condition.

In our Western culture many doctors, still!, consider that as long as you are going every 3-5 days, the constipation is not that bad. It is absurd and ignorant. For optimal health one must go at least once a day, a full movement, better 2-3 times a day.

 

I have never had constipation issues until the last decade when a chronic illness arrived. Sometimes I wonder if some kind of incredible and final piece of toxic debris will dislodge and release into the ToiletSphere (trademarked and patented new term) and I’ll be free of all that ails me. Like, the innocuous amalgam-filling lodged for decades in the colon lining has freed itself and been flushed out, never to cause me problems again.

I occasionally have one of them magnanimous, fecal dislodging episodes and feel great, at least for 5 minutes. Recently, a post-dislodging high lasted for nearly an hour. I began to giggle and sing hallelujahs. It was the Poop from God! Truly a dump to remember.

The main culprit of all my ‘whoa me’ finally gone. Thank you beloved Maker!

I know it sounds like I should check into the mental health clinic but I figure the local KPIG radio station is the best bet. This is a missed opportunity, a real entrepreneurially moment!  My own radio show.

Here’s the lead in:

“Well, it’s that time again.Yep, 5AM Bowel Talk Radio, with your host Michael Stool Harrington. (The chinese say it is the time of the large intestine at 5 am to 7 am), so here we talk shit, nothing but poop, crap –great gusts of excrement and other fecal contaminants, just like the rest of the shows, only better…

And then the hour of ecstasy wears off and I put my KPIG business plan in the trash can and lie back down. Time for another nap.

Ramakrishna Paramahansa, whose name means: ‘great swan of God’ -had a human life span 1836-1886) and Jesus the Christ -human life span 4 BC-33 AD -appx – are celebrated in India and America (and of course the world over).  Both were fully abiding in the realization of their True Self, or Holy Spirit or what in the East they refer to as ‘Christ Consciousness’. This is a state of being that has no veils of mind/thought left to create any sense of separation, that is: no ego, no individuality or persona.  God is then known through direct perception, not as abstract thing but a living presence that animates all Life.

Ramakrishna as the Patron Saint of India, kept India’s spirituality vibrantly alive during the time of 19th century British colonialism/materialism and destruction. The Brits were infiltrating and attempting to devalue and degrade the eternal and ancient spirituality that formed the true heart of India.

Jesus  had to deal with the fact that most within his faith of origin, Judaism, did not accept him as a true leader or savior along with the Roman oppression of all non-Romans.

Both light-bearing beings came from humble beginnings. Jesus the shepherd’s son born in a manger; Ramakrishna, born in a rural village outside of Calcutta. Each of them spoke while in communion with God, through direct experience of Reality.

Both were saviors, in that they show man the way to live in Eternal Spirit. Each had only a small group of young men as intimate disciples and devotees who eventually spread the gospel of enlightenment, that is: the truth teachings throughout the world. The truth teachings continue to spread since Ramakrishna and Christ’s body’s perished, but their essential nature as the Holy Spirit lives on eternally.

The greatest insight I’ve read, which points to the deeper spiritual truth of so-called physical chronic illness, for one who is on the conscious spiritual path, comes from Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna embodied all the religious paths, fully living them, and said:

“I have found that it is the same God that all are directing their steps, though along different paths. Wherever I look I see men quarreling in the name of religion…but they never stop to reflect that He who is called Krishna, Shiva, Jesus and Allah are all One. Like water, where one man calls it Pani, another Jal and the 3rd man calls it water…”

The words below, carefully translated by a devotee that was present on this particular occasion in the 1880’s, feels much like what Christ would have said if we were fortunate enough to have his living words captured directly from one of those present.

Ramakrishna was visiting a dying devotee named Keshab at his house:

He was received by Keshab’s relatives, who led him and the few devotees accompanying him, upstairs. The Master seated himself on a couch.

After a long wait Ramakrishna said:

“Look here, what need is there of his coming to me? Why can’t I go in and see him?”

A relative replied: “Sir, he will come in a few minutes…

At this moment Keshab entered the room.  Those present who remembered the man were shocked to see this skeleton covered with skin.  He could hardly stand.  He walked holding to the wall for support.  With great difficulty he sat down in front of the couch.  In the mean time Ramakrishna had got down from the couch and was sitting on the floor.  Keshab bowed low and remained in that position a long time, touching Ramakrishna’s feet with his forehead.  Then he sat up.

Keshab said: “I am here, sir.  I am here.” He took Sri Ramakrishna’s left hand and stroked it gently.

Ramakrishna, finally spoke:

“As long as a man associates himself with limitations, so long he sees the manifold world of people but on attaining God, he sees only the ONE Consciousness everywhere.  God,  undoubtedly, has become everything…after the realization of God, God is seen in all beings.  But His greater manifestation is in man.  Again, among men, God manifests Himself more clearly in those devotees who are peace-filled and humble, in those that have no greed or lust.

“You understand this, don’t you?”

KESHAB: “Yes, sir.  I do.”

(To Keshab, with a smile) “Why is it that you are ill? There is a reason for it.  Many spiritual feelings have passed through your body; therefore it has fallen ill.  At the time an emotion is aroused, one understands very little about it.  The blow that it delivers to the body is felt only after a long while.  I have seen big steamers going by on the Ganges river, at the time hardly noticing their passing.   But oh, my! What a terrific noise is heard after a while, when the waves splash against the banks! Perhaps a piece of the bank breaks loose and falls into the water.

“An elephant entering a hut creates havoc within and ultimately shakes it down.  The elephant of divine emotion enters the hut of this body and shatters it to pieces.”

“Do you know what actually happens? When a house is on fire, at first a few things inside burn.  Then comes the great commotion.  Just so, the fire of Knowledge at first destroys such enemies of spiritual life as passion, anger, and so forth.  Then it is time for the ego to burn.  And lastly a violent commotion is seen in the physical frame.

“You may think that everything is going to be over.  But God will not release you as long as the slightest trace of your illness is left.”  (the idea of separation from God).

Ramakrishna continued on a lighter note: “You simply cannot leave the hospital if your name is registered there.  As long as the illness is not perfectly cured, the doctor won’t give you a permit to go.  Why did you register your name in the hospital at all?” (All laugh.)

“All depends on God’s will.”

“In order to take full advantage of the dew, the gardener removes the soil from the Basra rose down to the very root.  The plant thrives better on account of the moisture.  Perhaps that is why you too are being shaken to the very root.  (Keshab and the Ramakrishna laugh.)

Keshab’s mother came to the door of the room.

Sri Ramakrishna smiled.  “Please bless Keshab that he may be cured of his illness.” The mother said.

MASTER (gravely): “What can I do? God alone, blesses all.  ‘Thou workest Thine own work; men only call it theirs.’

“God laughs when the physician says to the mother weeping bitterly because of her child’s desperate illness: ‘Don’t be afraid, mother.  I shall cure your child.’ The physician does not know that no one can save the child if God wills that he should die.”

(All are silent.)

Three weeks later Keshab passed on. It was said that he spoke only of God and was radiant with inner light even as his body was deteriorating.

 

Bumper Stickers…

A clever and practical display of ingenuity happened a couple of weeks ago. I have two bumper stickers -one very small. You must creep close to my bumper to read it.

In my rear view mirror at stop lights, I have often noticed people straining to get as close to my bumper as possible in order to read these little phrases.

This particular bumper sticker shows a dirt road leading through a forest of trees, and says:

“Never forget who you really are.” Of course we are Spirit Eternal!

For years, I kept seeing, bumper stickers with the “NEVER FORGET” lead in and a name inserted:  “Never forget Ted johnson, Manny Hernandez, etc. These stickers were emblems and reminders, like miniature tombstones to their beloved.

The second bumper sticker that got pasted on my car’s backside came later. It was a quote, a line my first meditation teacher Pujari use to say several times each day at hatha yoga practice – during a 20 day silent meditation retreat 15 years ago.

“Blue sky behind the clouds. You are already there.”  Pujari would utter these words with such naturalness and calm, and since they were nearly the only words one heard for 20 days, they had great power. Words of Truth always do.

Well, the ‘Y’ in ‘You’ on my bumper sticker is about faded, rained and torn off.

Suddenly, two weeks ago, a lady in the car behind me (passenger seat), pulls out binoculars at the traffic light. I watch her and notice the expression of someone who might just as well have seen a mountain lion in the wild. Blown open into the unknown moment, huge smile. I see her mouth the words to her partner, he smiles too and their faces beam.

The reactions from these bumper sticker readings are often ho-hum -especially if a worldly-centered materialistic person reads them. I might see no response at all. The mind is just like a parrot, saying: What’s next?! to keep me interested, busy and occupied in the thought realm…? Sometimes, one might shake their head with a dismissal, like: ‘whatever’ or ‘that dude is a nut’.  Occasionally, like with that couple, I see the light go off, a recognition, wonderment of a new insight, a new way of seeing. (And besides the bumper stickers are for me, so I remember the Truth, the Reality, the Almighty).

A good spiritual ‘pointer’ can turn you to Source and then you forget the pointer, like a stirring stick thrown into the fire. You are consumed but delighted.

Great pointers are phrases or words that enlighten, make us lighter, freer, attuned to joy, bliss and the beauty of being alive. They can awaken us out of the trance of ego.

Blue Sky is an analogy or metaphor to pure awareness (God), the Supreme Being. Behind the clouds indicates the veil of mind (thoughts) which only appears to cover the Blue Sky; for the Blue Sky is always residing, untouched, eternal, and waiting patiently like a Mother for her child.

 

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