George’s Journal

Thanks for visiting the site. I will tell you about my “secret weapon;” but first, a look back on a year ago. On March 12, 2010, Cheryl and I were told I had two months to live. On April 1, 2010, Cheryl and I entered Oasis of Hope Hospital (OOH) in Tijuana – right across the street from the Bull Fighting Ring – to begin my 12-days of “alternative cancer treatments.” Our visit there week before, and other due diligence, gave us hope that OOH offered me a legitimate opportunity to reverse the growth of the non-hodgkin lymphoma in my body, and qualify me for a life-saving bone marrow transplant.

My first day at OOH was a bit confusing, and frustrating. The accommodations were comfortable, and staff friendly; but I couldn’t understand why the oncology team was interviewing me as if they knew nothing about my condition. Surely they remembered what we discussed on my visit, read the medical report from Dr. Chen, and studied the scan images on the DVDs provided by City of Hope. After consultations with Dr. Cecena, their methodology became clear: Assess my condition starting with a blank sheet of paper, in order to arrive at their own diagnosis and craft a customized plan.

HITTING THE STREETS OF NORTHWEST TIAJUANA

My first few days at Oasis weren’t too rigorous, i.e., adjusting to the diet and nutraceuticals, as well as thee more relaxed Latin culture, i.e., a 2:00 PM treatment means sometime between 2:00 and 3:00. I was pleased to discover I could leave the hospital to go for a walk. I left for an hour or two every day, armed with my cane, to walk “the streets” of northwest Tijuana; usually, stopping at the nearby Starbucks. The sidewalks were uneven and crumbling. I searched for the local Catholic Church, which I found in time for Easter mass, April 4th.  The Pacific Ocean was a half mile away. I spent a relaxing, peaceful Saturday afternoon sitting on the beach, listening to soothing sounds of the ocean.

MORE THAN THE MEDICINE

When Dr. Robert Chen, at City of Hope, advised of us the “reality of your situation,” i.e., the radiation treatment’s effectiveness must dramatically improve, or I only had 2 months to live, we were somewhat desperate.

I was extremely fortunate to have two of my very best buddies (25+ years), Tim Blett and Chris Copps, call a meeting at Tim and Kelly’s home to inform Cheryl and I they were funding my initial OOH treatments. My brother John developed this site, and so many of you contributed. It’s overwhelming how your timely support came together. I’m forever grateful to you all!

Many of you have asked what the OOH did to help reverse the cancer. Only God knows HOW MUCH it helped…but I KNOW it did; perhaps a lot, perhaps a little. Even a modest contribution can make the difference battling cancer. OOH’s protocol features what they label, “Integrative Regulatory Therapy (IRT)….designed to shrink primary tumors, slow tumor growth, and eliminate cancer cells that have spread (metastasized) to other parts of your body…protect normal healthy cells, boost your immune system….”  It was all good, administered in a most caring, professional manner.

My journal has highlighted dietary insights and takeaways gained from OOH, but it was the “can do,” positive attitude and spirituality permeating the staff and environment that made the biggest impact. Yes, you must have the science and medicine, best practice techniques, but, you must also have hope and faith, and visualize yourself getting better!

I’ve been a believer and practitioner of visualization “to influence your future reality” since my high school days (yes, quite a long time!). There is also some Greek philosophy in my beliefs, something called The Pygmalion Theory – named after an ancient Greek legend. Pygmalion was a sculptor who was also a prince of Cyprus.

The “Pygmalion effect motivational theory” refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform. The Pygmalion effect is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy, and in this respect, people with poor expectations internalize their negative label, and those with positive labels succeed accordingly.

Ultimately, the above beliefs influence my mindset, behavior and how I pray. Like everyone, I have those days where I’m really tested…but I seem to somehow get back on track.

LOOKING BACK….GOOD STRATEGY, LOVE, PRAYERS AND GOD’S WILL

April 9, 2010, was one of the best days of my life. Here’s what I reported:  “Labels: journal The past week has been a whirlwind of activity….Cheryl and I drove home from Tijuana, late Wednesday, the 7th, and then got up early and headed to City of Hope, Thursday, for my PET-CT scan. On Friday the 9th, we met with my physician, Dr. Robert Chen to discuss the scan results….the BIG appointment. We were extremely relieved when Dr. Chen delivered the news we’ve all been praying for: the tumor is shrinking, the cancer cells appear “dead” or in remission, and the Bone Marrow Transplant is on! The news is nothing short of miraculous. Praise the Lord!

“It was a good strategy to leverage the OOH protocol with the lasting effects of the radiation sessions at City of Hope to achieve our result. Even now, the radiation is still percolating in and around the tumor….My support network (you!) has enabled me to keep the faith and belief in my treatments, therapeutic choices, remission, recovery, and being cured.”

SECRET WEAPON:  DR. BORIS DEL CID

Dr. Del Cid married Jill, who I’ve known since our days at Western Michigan University. They’re great friends of Cheryl and mine, and our kids. Boris is a UCLA grad, and went on to become a Chiropractor. Boris knows as much about the human body and good nutrition as anyone. He has been a wonderful “optimum health advisor,” but his friendship, encouragement and spiritual counsel trump everything. Since my November ‘01 diagnosis, his optimism and positive re-enforcement have been inspiring and comforting.  He wrote this to me, January 7, 2002:

“I am sending with these short lines, powerful, definite, and very real positive energy.  Think and believe and it will be given to you. Think and believe, and it will be with you. Think and believe, and God within will provide you what you most earnestly desire…God is with you and He wants you to be well, but you must have faith!!…I am in your corner, and will be there for you always…I love you man!”

Boris was in a small circle that knew of my illness, which I kept private for 7+ years.  Any times, I’d be lying in bed at City of Hope, concerned about ineffective chemo treatments, and Boris would say to me, “Can you visualize yourself well? If you see yourself healthy, doing the things you most enjoy, with God’s will, it WILL happen.”  I’m an optimist, but in my most trying time, Boris was my “secret weapon!” He practices what he preaches. Several years ago, Boris – a physical specimen – was in a horrific motorcycle accident. He clung to life through a 20-hour operation! It was touch and go. Finally, he emerged, without use of his legs (for now…), adjusting to his new life in the most amazing way. What an example of mental toughness and fortitude – Jill too!

LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY (LLS)

Our friends at LLS have been extremely supportive. It’s a classy organization that provides hope, answers and comfort to millions of blood cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.  Check out www.lls.org. My plan is to participate in LLS fund-raising in 2012 via Team in Training events. As always, Cheryl and I thank you so much for your support, and keep you in our prayers.

Happy Easter,

George

“…With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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