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This book may prevent you from dying of cancer.

September 9th, 2013 · No Comments

I wanted this book to be worthy of my mom.  That’s why I have taken 14 years to start.  I’ve written the first page 4 or 5 times.  Different every time.  But when I get to the meat — the body — the real content, I start procrastinating.  Basically, I don’t think I’m good enough.  Basically — my son uses that word a lot.  I’m guessing he heard it from me because I rarely hear his mom use it.  My kids only know their grandma Lynnette through me.  Sometimes I remember the way she would talk or one of her favorite sayings.  And I try to describe their heritage to them.  Their eyes glow and all three of them pull in close.  I tell about her sewing on the treadle machine late into the night.  And the way she couldn’t light the propane lights.  And coming home from school and seeing her sitting crosslegged in front of a cold stove — packed with wood with paper  on top and matches everywhere.  For such a creative, loving, giving, intuitive, woman, she had some almost psychotic hangups.  She was a polymath:  musical, artistic, multilingual, fiber artist, cook, teacher.  But she was afraid.  Afraid that her children would be seduced by loose-moralled people.  Afraid of us running with sticks or poisoning our minds with the wrong literature.  She did not like public speaking — or showing off her talents.  And she was hurt and angry because of thing people did to her.  I suspect other polymaths like Leonardo DaVinci, Goethe, and Tesla had quirks too.Her lungs quit working  a few hours after my dad lovingly fed her her last bites of yogurt under her oxygen mask.  My grandma and aunts flew in from New England and greeted her a few hours before.  I arrived a few hours later with my bride.  Cancer is a nasty disease.It started with a lump in her belly.  I remember how stunned I felt when she called to tell me about it.  I was in Alaska planning my wedding — actually to be truthful — my bride-to-be was trying to get my input on the wedding and I was pretending to be interested  in all the details.  My mom’s voice shook a little over the phone when she explained  that the doctor found a mass in her abdomen about the size of a cantaloupe and they hoped it was a fibrous cyst  — but they wanted to operate, remove it, and make sure it wasn’t cancer.  She assured me that this sort of thing happened all the time to women her age and it was nothing to be worried about — but she just wanted to let us know what was happening.  I was shaken.  I had grown up in a Christian community where two people had died of cancer.  One was an elderly nurse and the other was a woodworker who mentored me.  I remember praying for them at every meal and at every church service.  And then the feeling of betrayal and futility when their bodies rotted out from underneath their spirits.   One of the axioms of the community (many would call it a cult or a commune, but I still call it a Christian community out of respect for some of my dear friends who still live there.) is that if people could attain to sinless perfection, they would never die.  So, having people die in spite of fervent prayers, loud prophecies, and intense soul-searching — called in question the basis of our religion.  For me at least.  I’ve always had a practical bent.  I figured when the Bible talks about “Vain repetition” it is referring to something like pulling on the rope of a lawnmower with an empty tank of gas.  I pull on the rope a few times.  Try with and without the choke.  And then check for fuel, water in the fuel, spark, etc.   As far as our prayers against cancer were concerned, it felt to me as futile as trying to start a lawnmower without gas.  So when I found out that the mass in my mom’s stomach was ovarian cancer, and it was malignant and had spread to her bowel — I determined to find the cause of the problem.    I prayed too — but most of my efforts went to research because I hadn’t seen prayer do much good for any of the of the other victims of cancer I had known.  The only cancer survivor I knew of was a girl my age who had done the Gerson therapy.  Unfortunately, my mom was not open to natural treatment — she instead chose to trust herself to the medical doctors.  I think this could be for several reasons:  Money may have been one:  BC medical took care of the cost of her treatment except for the anti-nausea pills she needed during chemo.  Another reason was probably her view of authority.  My mom preferred older, fatherly doctors.  She had a very strange relationship with her Dad,  She loved her dad dearly but somehow she could not tell him that her college music teacher was trying to molest her.  She told him she didn’t want to go back to college, but he was determined that his kids were going to have the opportunity to get the education they needed to succeed in life.    She gritted her teeth and went stiff and frigid when the professor petted and fondled through the tutoring.  When her roommate got pregnant by the same teacher that was trying to seduce her,  my mom saw eloping with my dad as the only opportunity to escape.   She was also determined not to be married in her parents church because she did not trust the minister — years later — after it became socially acceptable, he admitted that he was a homosexual.  This confirmed her suspicions of his hypocrisy.  So I think she had a view of authority figures that they were either good or evil.  Black or white.  The good guys might  be misinformed here or there (like her dad) but they could be counted on to tell the truth.  The bad guys might look virtually identical to the good guys but she could ”feel” something not right.   She thought chiropractors were quacks (she strongly discouraged me from pursuing that field of study).  She despised naturopaths — associating them with witch doctors.  This hatred was strengthened because of a recent incident at a neighboring Christian community where an amateur naturopath had diagnosed a woman with a strength test (pressing down on her arms while holding vials and chunks of various substances) and then prescribed a diet based on the diagnosis.  The diet sent the woman into a healing crisis that left her so weak she couldn’t leave bed for several years.  (Ironically, the woman recovered her strength and is now the picture of health).

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