Thursday, February 6, 2014

book excerpt...

i got some good advice last week about my plans to enter the CBC CanadaWrites contest... it would be bordering on foolish to submit an account of my experiences with managing cancer via natural methods until i'm further down the road and genuinely in the all-clear for at least a calendar year, otherwise i risk being pilloried for leading vulnerable people down a garden path. my account, i had to beg to differ, does nothing of the kind, but i don't have the $25 bucks to spare in any event, and its ultimately sound counsel for the time being. its preferable that i continue writing in preparation for a long format book instead, where my latitudes can be my own and i can draw more liberally on my desire to combine creative non-fiction with technical and academic components suited to both lay people like me but also those working in the field of healing and wellness.

here's a taste of this work in progress... all rights reserved please.

In their defense, doctors have been trained to view disease as catastrophe, not an opportunity our bodies ingeniously gift us. To me, illness and misfortune are clear invitations to reckon with the balance and authenticity lacking in our living, a chance to exercise resistance to not just the masoch whip of self-blame and hopelessness that has gutted society, but the dogmatism of passive expectations of cure that has made perpetual children of us all. Disease, like all challenges, tenderizes best under the salt of taking complete responsibility with an intensely kind and loving attitude. 

"Yes, I understand..." I was quick to reassure him. "I mean, I figured as much when the aspirate was all blood. And listen, I should tell you, I'm intent on doing my own thing with this. I will go down a certain garden path with you to get the information I need, but I will never take chemo or radiation... I'm hoping you can meet me all the way on this."

I could detect the slightest tightening in his voicebox, as if he changed his opinion of me and not much in my favour. Did I want to die? Surely I must if I'm refusing treatment. Was it a case of internet knowledge gone awry in this irrational bravado or was it simple arrogance masking fear and confusion? 

"Michelle, I'm going to arrange for you to be seen at Princess Margaret, they have a fast-track clinic there, I hope you'll consider carefully the treatment options available, a lumpectomy might be all that's required."

The lump in question first presented as a simple cyst, something I'd encountered in my twenties a few times but never again since... soft margins, moveable, sensitive to my menstrual cycle. I wasn't worried enough to have it looked at, it was the need to establish a local GP after a recent move that led me to book a physical in the first. Bringing it up was an afterthought, a diversion to remedy the anticlimax of my visit, not something borne of alarm or the need for drama or negative attention. When he concurred with my self-diagnosis and offered to aspirate, a standard discomfort-relieving procedure where a syringe is used to draw out a cyst's fluid contents, I was almost relieved to give him something to do. I was otherwise in very good health according to my narration and his cursory exam. The truth was a cyst was the least of my worries. I was, literally as it turned out, morbidly unhappy and hiding this from myself and others in a deluge of intoxicants and general lawlessness, frittering away my life force and talents with aimless and harmful excursions away from source and its unblinking call to truth. 

Instead I kept things jocular. I knew from experience that this white coat medical theater was no place to bring forward exquisite report of human stain. This was mechanistic diagnosis at its most impinged, and while my doctor was attentive and textbook conciliatory, I could already sense the gulf that would widen, a gulf that he, more than me, would come to struggle with.  

i'm hoping to have the book completed and self-published by the end of the calendar year. it will detail the perfect storm in my life that produced the cancer call to wakefullness, my hit and miss experiences with managing my own treatment, the body of evidence and research that continues to point away from suppressive and destructive maintstays of conventional cancer care and the exciting successes achieved with total mind body alignment and observance of natural law represented by the holistic approach, as well as the political and social implications of the booming percentage of people like me who have opted out of conventional medicine and who face many penalties for doing so, even while demonstrating the rhyme, reason and sense of their choices by the fact of their recovery and vibrant persistence.

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