Months To Years Fall 2018 Months To Years Fall 2018 - Page 7

assistant telephoned me to say that the final results were healers: a woman from Nepal named Aama Bombo, one positive for cancer. He referred me to an oncologist for of the Thirteen Grandmothers, a group of female shamans palliative care. Palliative care, meaning comfort while from all over the world. She told me to pray to White Tara, dying. the goddess of compassion; to eat grains of rice that she    blessed; to meditate twice a day. And I did it all, with “What do you know about your condition?” Dr. Colevas, great discipline. Later, I went to a healer from Iran that I the oncologist, asked. A short, tidy man, he wore a red called Healing Man. He laid hands on me, prayed, and bow tie and had a gentle look that invited conversation. told me not to talk about the cancer, which turned out to be the best advice I got. “I’m terminal,” I said. “Talking about it just gives it energy,” he said. “It makes “I hate it when they say that,” he said. “They don’t know.” your life revolve around cancer. You don’t need to take in everyone else’s anxiety about it. Just live.” But he admitted my odds were very slim.   Yet the time came when Dr. Colevas said I should Unlike another oncologist I’d seen, who had suggested a probably consider chemo. Several tumors in my neck were rigorous bombing of chemo that would have put me near growing larger. It was horrifying to see them––ugly, oozing death, Dr. Colevas thought I should wait. red lumps––every time I looked in the mirror. “You’re not in bad shape,” he said. “Why not enjoy life now Just decline treatment and die in peace, I thought at first. and save chemo for later?” Why do chemo when you’re going to die anyway? It   seemed nuts. we’d only become “legal” the year before), with Cooper, But eventually, without getting pressure from anyone, even our just-launching, 22-year-old son who had recently Tanya, I decided to do it. I wanted to try everything. graduated from college, and our old black poodle Mollie.   So, there I was—with Tanya, my wife of 29 years (although We had a cozy house in Berkeley, a gratifying life, and a thriving mediation practice. I lost 60 pounds. My clothes hung on me; my skin sagged like I was aged. But for the first time in my life, I could eat anything I wanted without worry. Tablespoons of peanut The decision to close my business was easy. butter! Avocados! Ice cream! The hard part was walking the tightrope between I stopped trying to learn technology. Why bother?   simultaneously preparing to die and maintaining hope. But Tanya and I were people who planned a wedding and I stopped all routine health maintenance. Why fix teeth or prepared for cancer surgery at the same time. We could endure a colonoscopy? do this, I thought. It would be tricky, but possible.   Instead, I hung out with my family, my friends, my We took care of the business part of dying quickly: neighbors. I wrote a memoir. I relaxed. I read. I closed my checking our estate plans and doing a budget to be sure business. I slept. I looked at flowers, at the giant redwood Tanya would be okay without me. Then, I went about the behind our house, at the clouds skittering across the sky. I business of living and trying to heal. Since the original savored life in all its forms, especially my own. diagnosis, I’d piled on every kind of alternative treatment   that resonated: acupuncture, herbs, supplements, homeopathy, massage, spiritual work. Now I went to two “If you were in the hospital,” Dr. Colevas said after a few weeks of chemo, “I’d bring my students in to show them 7