Saturday, November 29, 2014

Finding Meaning in Dis-ease

A couple months ago I consulted a dermatologist for a minor scar issue that I wanted his opinion about.  I had seen him 4 years prior to remove a mole and he noticed that a tiny bump on the left side of my nose had grown since then.  When he suggested to remove it, I wasn't so interested.  It was tiny, skin colored, and no one even noticed it.  It didn't bother me and I could live with it and it didn't have the ABC danger signs of cancer:

Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half.
Border irregularity: The edges of the mole are irregular, ragged, blurred, or notched.
Color: The color over the mole is not the same all over. There may be shades of tan, brown, or black.
Diameter: The mole is larger than about ¼ inch – about the size of a pencil eraser; although, doctors are now finding more melanomas that are smaller.

He convinced me to remove it because skin cancer is very common in South Florida.  I was sure that skin cancer was usually something that people with fair skin got, and that someone with olive-skin tone like myself, was at a much lower risk.

Well, the day his assistant called to tell me the pathology report of the biopsy, I was on the other line but he was so chipper that I was sure it was going to be good news: benign like the mole was 4 years ago.  When I called him back, however, I was surprised by what he told me: I had basal cell carcinoma!  Skin Cancer.  Me?  No way!

The treatment options I was given were surgery or radiation and neither of those appealed to me.  I went to my acupuncturist colleague and he told me about this device called a wartabater that he used successfully on himself and his family for removing all kinds of skin lesions (skin tags, moles, warts, etc.)  Although I did not have a wart, the device could essentially be used to kill the unhealthy (cancerous) skin cells and stimulate regrowth of healthy cells without scarring.  That seemed cool to me.  I bought it and used it and it seems to have worked.  It was not even as uncomfortable as I thought it might be but I did use the low setting.

At the same time, I consulted with another naturopathic friend and colleague and she told me about BEC5 (Curaderm).  It is an eggplant extract with anti-cancerous properties.  I liked that it didn't have the toxic side effects of the conventional topical ointments for skin cancer treatment.  I ordered the cream online and applied it for 7 days in a row.  It caused a great irritation and redness but I preferred that over a surgeon making a gash in my nostril or having radiation treatments so close to my brain!

So during Jewish high holidays there was a time when the cantor asked for names of people who needed healing and I gave my name for a blessing.  A concerned friend asked what happened.  I told her about the skin cancer on my nose and being the spiritual person that she is, she wondered out loud why it happened specifically there and not somewhere else on my body.  What message was there in that for me?

The truth is that I wonder the same kinds of things.  With my background in holistic healing, I know that the mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected and there is no such thing as a coincidence.  What was I supposed to learn from this?

At one point during the service, I saw a book by the Chofetz Chaim and it was sort of calling to me.  I picked it up and started reading the headers for the main lessons in the book.  Then I stumbled across something that I knew from the Bible but forgot about.  Whenever G-d is "mad" in the Torah, it uses the anthropomorphic language that He "flared His nostrils."  The nostrils seemed to have something to do with anger!  Bingo!

The truth is that life hadn't exactly turned out as I had wanted it to and instead of accepting that with grace and trusting that it was for my greatest good, instead of being truly grateful for my blessings, I was a bit resentful-- like a child not getting what she wanted.  I was not in a state of gratitude and appreciation for all of the gifts that I have received.  And I do have so much to be grateful for.  Really.

When children misbehave because they didn't get something that they wanted, the parents often give them a time out to collect themselves and calm down and regroup.  Dis-ease is like the Creator giving us thinking time:  Time to look inside and see what's not right and make it right again.

So my anger had become a toxin in my body and had to be removed with a scalpel and then the surrounding area had to be treated to eradicate the plague of ungratefulness completely.  And the work is not over.  I still have to do positive affirmations to make sure that I do not slip into the vibration of anger again.  It is a destructive state of mind and I am very lucky (and grateful) that the type of cancer that I had was one of the most benign forms and that it was detected when it was because I didn't even want to have it examined.

My purpose in sharing this story is that illness is a wake up call.  We all have things that we need to work on in our spiritual and emotional lives.  I hope that we can learn to examine ourselves (taking mental inventory) on a regular basis so that there is no need to manifest any ailments or discord in our lives to wake us up and bring our attention to the work that we need to do on ourselves.  I hope that we find and work on our issues before they create havoc in our bodies and in our relationships.

If you notice that anger, depression, anxiety, bitterness, resentment, jealousy, stress or any other toxic emotion is becoming a regular habit of yours, make sure to get professional help and do what needs to be done to clear those negative feelings so that they don't become chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches, cancer, MS, allergies, or any other dis-ease.

In health & gratitude,
Dr Gamliel, ND, AP

The BROWN words are my HYPERLINKS, not the blue!  Google!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Let's Talk About Rape

Here's the problem:

I have read that 1 in 4 women (worldwide) have been raped and 1 in 3 have been sexually abused.
This number is way too high.  How can we prevent it?

1. By giving child molesters, sexual abusers, and rapists much harsher penalties.
2. By educating boys not to rape and by educating women how to prevent getting into a potentially dangerous situation.
3. By educating the victim (male or female) what to do afterwards if it happens.
4. By supporting the victim and facilitating healing so that the shame, guilt, embarrassment and other negative effects of the trauma do not become an obstacle and burden for a lifetime.

So why do I care?

As a health care provider, we are taught about the mental/emotional effects of trauma as well as methods for healing them.  Unfortunately my education came after the incident.  This information should have been taught in sex ed in high school, which in my school only taught about abstinence and contraception.

Here is what I wish I knew and what I wish was available SOONER!:

A company in Boston recently invented 2 items which will hopefully be on the market very soon:
If you go to a party where you are going to drink a beverage (alcoholic or not), soon you will hopefully be able to bring your own date rape drug detecting cup!  If someone slips a tasteless, odorless, colorless, "roofie" in your drink, your cup will warn you by changing colors. Ideally these items would also be available at bars and wherever alcohol is sold (for an extra charge).

Another option is a special glow straw or swirl stick which also notifies the potential rape victim of potential hazard by changing colors if it detects a date rape drug in the drink.

Finally, I wish I was educated on the fact that most victims of rape know their rapist.  That it is common, and prevalent and that if it happens, or you suspect it happened while you were sleeping and unconscious, that it is a capital offense and you should go to the police and report it right away to prevent the rapists from raping others.  I wish I had known my rights and that they would one day expire.  I wish I knew that there is a statute of limitations that would one day prevent me from being able to seek justice because I didn't act fast enough!  I wish I knew to ask for a rape test kit in order to collect evidence.  I wish I reported the crime and took my rapists to court.  I wish they were convicted of this crime and were appropriately sentenced.  I wish this incident would forever follow them as it has followed me.  I wish I had the courage to face it earlier and possibly prevent them from doing this to another person.  I wish anyone who googled their names would find their mug shots!  I wish I knew all of those things and more and I am writing about it now in hopes that I could help prevent even one soul from going through what happened to me.

When I was ready to face the fact that I was drugged and raped by a "friend," it was already too late.  I called the police but they said that even if the rapists confessed and turned themselves in, that the case would be dropped because the statute of limitations had passed.  

So I wrote an article about it and published it anonymously.  I didn't want that G-d forbid a patient or potential patient of mine would google my name and come across that article.  I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me.  I don't need anyone's sympathy or pity.  Besides, it is too much information.  A patient shouldn't know that much detail about their doctor!

But now I am coming out of the closet as a person who has been raped because I want my friends and family who have also been raped to know that they are not alone.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, a person with thoughts, feelings, dreams, and aspirations, just like you.  And it happened to me too.  I didn't ask for it.  I wasn't walking around in sexy clothes, I wasn't drunk, I wasn't at a night club, I wasn't at the wrong place at the wrong time, I wasn't walking in a dangerous neighborhood at night by myself.  I wasn't in any of those stereotypical rape scenarios that might have been avoided.  It wasn't a stranger who raped me.  It was a former co-worker who I knew for years and trusted.  He drugged me and then raped me when I was unconscious and sleeping.

After publishing the article in this hyperlink I decided to write my rapists a letter.  I found their addresses online and wrote them each similar letters telling them that I knew what they had done to me.  The ex-girlfriend of one of them, who was my friend, informed me that he is now a father of a girl.  So I asked him how he would feel if what he had done to me were to happen to his daughter.  I did not include my return address because I didn't want to hear from him but I did ask both of them to make amends by volunteering to teach rape prevention classes.

I don't recall if it was my idea or the publisher's idea to change the names of the people in the story that I published (I only used first names anyway).  Looking back I think it's rather unfortunate.  Not only did the rapists get to avoid any legal action but they also got to avoid the embarrassment for their actions.  Why do we as a society protect rapists?  I consulted once with an attorney friend of mine regarding publishing a negative review of a company online and he informed me that if the information is true, that the other person or company has no grounds for suing (for libel, slander, or defamation).  I am just telling my story or stating my opinion for the sake of warning others.

When I saw someone close to me afraid to disclose what had happened to her, I realized that even the "victims" of rape have shame and guilt.  Why?  We didn't do anything wrong.  It's the rapist who committed a crime, not us.  And when we keep their dirty little secret, we become an accomplice in helping them to get away with it.  Well, I hope that by my coming out, that it gives others the courage to do the same.  It's not right that rapists are walking around free while the victims carry the burden and the emotional baggage for years.  If we want to change this, we need to change the way we respond to rape.  We need to stop sweeping it under the rug.  We need to stop pretending like it didn't happen.  We need to make the rapists take responsibility for their bad choices.  We need to do this for the sake of our children and future generations.  We need to tell the truth and not be afraid.  We need to be brave and strong, and honest.  We need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  We need to heal as a society.  We need to expose our raw wounds so that they can be healed.

At this time that I am writing this blog I am in my thirties.  The incident that I published a few years ago happened when I was about 25 years old.  I never even told my parents about it.  I didn't want them to have grief over something that already happened and could not be changed.  I wanted to protect them from the potential pain that something very bad happened to me, their loved one.

So what changed?

Well, the more and more news I watch and the more people I talk to, I realize something very wrong. Society protects, hides, and excuses rapists.  I see it all around me in every community.  My neighbors, friends, family and many others who I know who haven't revealed this secret to me have also been affected by this plague and they may take this dark secret to the grave.  Instead of outing their rapists, they keep it a secret because it's too painful to address and easier to deny, bury, or excuse.  If it is a family member they may feel obligated to keep the family secret.  They were taught to respect their elders and that embarrassing someone is wrong.  Well, there is an exception to every rule and rapists do not deserve to be treated with the same respect that we treat others.  Someone who violates another does not deserve to be protected or respected.  The future potential victims deserve to be protected!

Not coming forward is a mistake.  Because by not coming forward we allow the rapists to have more victims, we allow them to get away with ruining more lives.  We need to do the opposite and send them a loud and clear message that their behavior is completely unacceptable.  We need them to know that this behavior merits jail time and perhaps they can serve as an example to others and prevent other potential rapists from raping.

So to my rapists, I know what you did to me.  You escaped the law and judgment of man, but you will not escape the law and judgment of G-d.  I don't know what kind of break from reality caused you to think that what you did to me was okay, but it was not okay.  It was a physical, emotional, and personal assault and violation that left wounds and scars that are very deep.  How would you feel towards a person who did what you did to me, to your mother?  Take a look in the mirror.  That's you!

I wish I met this guy instead of Tom and Don.

As a naturopathic doctor, my intention and goal is to 
educate, prevent, support and heal.

Because music has the power to reach the masses and create social change and peaceful evolution, I wrote a song about it which I hope to produce (with permission)!

Thanks to Salt n' Pepa for the platform!

Let's Talk About Rape

Let's talk about r.a.p.e.
Let's talk about you and me
Let's talk about education and prevention
that can be
Let's talk about rape
Let's talk about rape
Let's talk about rape
Let's talk about rape

Let's talk about rape for now, to the people at home or in the crowd
It keeps coming up anyhow
Don't decoy, avoid, or make void the topic
Cuz that ain't gonna stop it
Now we talk about rape on the news and internet
But the statistics surely ain't showing it
Let's eradicate this plague, and stop blaming the victim,
Lock up the rapists and convict 'em!
Those who can't handle the topic have a choice
Pick up the needle, press pause, or turn the radio off
Will that stop me? Yo, I doubt it
All right then, come on, ya'll...


Hot or not anyone can be a victim. 
 Many times she knew her rapist so she dismissed 'im.
Fellas acting like fools, behaving worse than animals, and not human.
Instead of the numbers going down, campus rapes are boomin'!
Wild parties, alcohol, drugs, and even roofies,
She was violated by men she knew, even her roomies!
The rapists become heads of state, men of taste,
Lawyers, doctors, no one is too great-
To be a rapist or have been raped!
And believe me, you, it's as good as true
We have to teach our boys respect, morals, and values.
Violating another human being, is simply obscene.
We should be mad and sad and feelin' bad,
Thinkin' about how to eliminate this crazy fad.
No rape, just love, followed next with a hug and a kiss-
That would never be forced like this.

Let's talk about r.a.p.e. (sing it)
Let's talk about you and me (sing it, sing it)
Let's talk about education and prevention
  that may be
Let's talk about rape (come on)
Let's talk about rape (say it)
Let's talk about rape (uh-huh)
Let's talk about rape

Ladies, all the ladies, louder now, help me out
Come on, all the ladies - let's talk about rape, all right.

(Yo, I don't think they're gonna play this on the radio.
And why not? Everybody knows someone whose been raped.
I mean, this stuff shouldn't be happening no more!
Come on, how else are we gonna stop it?)