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!!!