I hope that I can really start to listen a bit better. The New Yorker in me is so strong – I find it almost impossible to just relax in spite of my best efforts and while I am feeling stronger, I have to admit that I get tired quickly – especially when I am in a stimulating environment with too many people around.
Wednesday, the best time of the day for relaxing was when Viktor, the acupuncturist, came to my apartment and put 10 needles in me. I was on the bed and then just meditated, lying on my back, listening to quiet music with candles in front of my Buddhas. That was a good hour and a half to just be.
My scar/incision continues to heal quickly and should soon be invisible or nearly so. Antonio is amazing in helping – forcing – me to relax more. On the trip home from Maryland, he ordered me to sleep and I did so for probably half the journey. In the evening, we both agreed to abandon our computers around 8 PM to have dinner (sushi ordered in) and then to watch Girls while Antonio massaged rosehip oil into my scalp and scar and then gave me a healing foot and leg massage. We were in bed by around 11 and I slept deeply until early morning.
I called to make a series of doctors’ appointments yesterday morning: Dr. Kim, my GP; Dr. Katz, my urologist and Dr. Koufman, my doctor who has helped me with my cough which returned over the past few days. I also made an appointment next week with Dr. Jonathan H Whiteson, the physiatrist, to evaluate my overall physical strength, balance and functioning to see if I could benefit physical therapy. Seems I have more doctors and appointments than brain cells right now!
I also reached out to Dr. Silverman, the radiation oncologist and asked the following:
“When I had gone earlier to a doctor of Chinese medicine and a homeopathic doctor, both talked about their thinking that my tumors arose from some traumatic incident in my childhood or adult life, saying that the tumors are a result of the strong connection between mind and body. Wonder what your thoughts are on this.”
He responded: “I disagree with their viewpoint. While there is some evidence that links severe traumatic brain injury with brain tumors, it is unlikely that a prior trauma caused your brain tumor. This is a commonly held belief that is not strongly supported by the medical literature. Any association also likely suffers from recall bias (i.e. patients with brain tumors are more likely to ‘recall’ a prior trauma versus the general population).”
Continuing to get wonderful emails from friends. Here is one from Andrea Gibbard with a suggested website that can be helpful:
“I am following your progress and the latest development requiring some more treatment. Always keeping you in prayer.
“Here is a small thing I offer – a ready-made website for cancer patients. There may be other sites that exist that you may prefer, but this is the one I am aware of. Several friends of mine used the website: https://www.caringbridge.org/
“It enables people to log on for sign-ups and for updates. It can coordinate information to friends and, more helpfully, coordinate who would be doing what task …on particular days…
“Stay strong! Beat the beast!”
And from Yvonne Jones: “I heard a lecture last week by the author of the book below. I will mail it to you tomorrow. Its one I think you will enjoy: Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts
“I read your emails. I hope that you are resting a bit. Maybe the book will give you an interesting read while sitting.
“Take good care. I think of you every day.”
My next update will include some of the financials around my brain tumors, but for now, let me end here with some photos I have received.
From Geoff Manthey: “Found a great pic of us – keep smiling – those teeth cost a lot.”
From Kathleen and Howie: “Glad to hear all the support you’re getting, Alan, and all the steps you’re taking to stay strong and positive! We’re sending sunshine from the desert, where the palo verde trees are in full bloom in the mountain preserve near us.”
This photo from Susan Locke – look closely to see Antonio!
From Sam Young: “It is wonderful to see how well you are coming along in your recovery. It also appears that you are truly taking to heart the wisdom of balance and pacing yourself during this recovery to assure your renewed strength is sustainable. My thoughts and love are with you on a daily basis as I share this gorgeous picture of the Los Angeles morning sunshine!”
From Michelle Dannemiller (We have been exchanging Rabbit! Rabbit! on the first of every month for many years – it’s a way to have good luck for the month ahead!): “ RABBIT! RABBIT! Alan, may a multitude of bunnies bring you all the luck in the world this month and in the future.”