Posted by: cg00n | February 15, 2010

No Kidding

All is well.  Nothing exciting to report so you can skip the rest of this if you are just (thank you) concerned for my health.

The responses I got to my previous post were interesting and not at all what I had expected.  As I said, my memory tends to imbue my childhood and my University years in particular with  a sort of golden haze.  Living was so easy then and so much fun.  Once I left all that behind and got a real job in the real world the Big Slide started.  Apparently that’s not the way many other people remember their own lives.  This is a revelation for me causing yet another shakeup in my makeup.  Two of the major effects of  all this meditation stuff are supposed to be

  1. that I live much more in the present moment
  2. that I see more clearly what is happening

Spurred on by your comments I spent a little time trying to see beyond the golden haze.  Now that I come to think (clearly) about it life wasn’t so fantastic especially when compared to the present day.  There were many good things to be said for it back then but also many disappointments and hurts that have had their effect on my development.  Right now, at this very moment, I am probably the best person I have ever been and all things considered my quality of life is as good as or better than it has ever been.  As you can tell I’m feeling pretty good about things right now.

This afternoon I had an interesting chat with a friend who has been dealing with some sort of lymphoma for the past twelve years or so.  He asked how I was doing and I responded that I really have nothing to complain about but that keeping my state of mind together was my biggest challenge.  “It’s an endless mind game”, was what he said.  Even after more than a decade of comparatively good health he can still wake up in the middle of the night wondering if a lower back ache is the harbinger of something much worse.  On the whole I think (all modesty aside) that I am managing pretty well and that the most anxious days don’t really owe a whole lot to the melanoma.  The anxiety and the poor sleep patterns have been with me for a very long time.  Now I am finally getting a handle on my problems.

With any luck, in April I will be able to participate in an eight-week workshop using meditation and cognitive behavioral therapy to help prevent lapses into anxiety and depression.  Apparently this stuff can reduce the relapse rate by more than 50%.  I’ll take it.

Speaking of meditation I have arranged to go on a one-week retreat at the beginning of March.  This ought to be interesting.  6.5 days of almost total silence, contemplating the back of the person in front of me.  Now, why can’t Bust Loose do vacations like that?  Surely there’s a demand.

Went to see the oncologist last week.  That was a non-event.  There are no new lumps or bumps (I’ve been looking and P has been checking too) and nothing at this time to cause alarm.  My next scheduled visit to one of my medical team won’t happen for another three months or so.  Having said all that wonderfully positive stuff  I am bearing in mind that it was about mid-March of last year that I first noticed the lump in my right calf that set off the second round of major surgery, so my optimism is somewhat cautious at this point.  Just living in the present moment.

Some of you may recall a longish discussion we had on these pages regarding the mind-body issue.  Part of the reason I got interested in all that was something I read, so recently I got around to emailing the author’s publisher a question:

Dr. Buckman’s book “Cancer is a Word, Not a Sentence” was the first one I picked up on the day I received my melanoma diagnosis.  It was wonderful!  However, I was somewhat puzzled by the section dealing with one’s mental state or mood.  At this point, 2 years later, I cannot quite remember the precise details but he concluded that one’s state of mind makes no difference to the progression or recurrence of cancer.  Given the amount of evidence for the placebo effect and similar things does Dr. Buckman still hold the view he expressed in his book?  It would certainly be a great comfort to think that my anxiety attacks are purely mental phenomena!

and much to my surprise Dr. Buckman himself replied:

I tackled this topic in detail in my books Cancer is a Word not a Sentence and also What You really Need to Know About Cancer – and I did a TV series Magic or Medicine? and wrote a book of that title too. There is no doubt that attitudes have no effect at all on cancers (though of course they affect the way you cope with treatments and symptoms) – so you can be absolutely certain that nay ‘bad days’ will not affect the disease at all.
(There’s a new book dealing with the down side of positive thinking too).
There are many references in Magic or Medicine (including Berne Siegel data etc).
All the best

That was very cool!  And very comforting.  Thank you, Dr. Buckman.  I will certainly be looking up some of the books you mention.

Finally, the news roundup for the last few weeks:

Until next time I wish you all for the new year of the tiger.

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Responses

  1. Good news all around.

    Me thinkest Bust Loose would more likely promote doing meditation involving the the front of someone else’s torso rather than the back of their head!

  2. The new book about the down side of positive thinking must be Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright-sided”. I saw a good review in the grauniad: “http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/jan/10/smile-or-die-barbara-ehrenreich”.

    Thanks for the update!

  3. Good to hear you are coasting on the positive side of the track. Here in Fargo, brother Ray has been struggling through post-surgery days, keeping the family alert & on support. Meanwhile, the Olympics play in the background and remind us of those halcyon days in Calgary. Good meditations to you!


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