This is an excerpt from my book, A Personal Guide to Self-Healing, Cancer and Love (read Part I here). This book is an energy healing guide for families who are dealing with cancer. It looks at healing as a complementary therapy which can be used to help the whole family cope.
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My parents went back to the hospital for a scan the first week of October. They expected to go back together for the results three days later. But the surgeon rang my mother the next morning and told her to come around by herself. It was dreadful news. Though the surgery had removed the tumor completely, there was a new one in a different part of his brain. It was too soon after the surgery to operate again and even if it were possible, we could expect more to come. There was nothing he could do about it. Dad’s case was terminal. My mom called that evening to soften the blow before giving us the full news a few days later. It was a real shock. After four years and nine months we had reached the end of the line. We were in a state of disbelief and my dad, for one, never acknowledged the prognosis. This made the next few months even harder, though we had to respect his wishes. I can only imagine how he must have felt when he heard the news.
My brother and I flew home immediately. We did not know how long he had. Maybe three months, maybe a year. Dad’s health deteriorated rapidly. My sister came home Dec. 15 and Dad slipped into a coma the next day. Mom had a grief counselor come to see us that week. That was a conversation I never expected to have. The counselor told us what to expect in the last few weeks. For example, we might feel relief when it was finally over. She told us it was normal to wish the end would come sooner. That was hard to hear, but she was right. In those last days we also worried about practical considerations. For example, pain medication was in short supply in pharmacies. We were constantly on the phone to local drugstores and wound up buying the medication straight from a wholesaler.
Our expectations for Christmas were low that year but we managed to have a pleasant time. My aunts, uncles and cousins came over for dinner. It was a welcome break from the steady stream of nurses and others who added to the emotional overload in the house. Dad passed away a few days later – five years to the day of his initial diagnosis in the ER. The irony was not lost on us; we saw it as an extension on his life. My feelings were a mix of relief, sadness and disbelief at his passing, as well as gratitude for five years that were, for the most part, happy.
We also were relieved that it was quick and relatively painless. Cancer can be a harsh disease and we wanted him at peace more than anything else. When my brother and I walked past a pharmacy the following week we both remarked that our first thought was whether they had painkillers in stock. I could not help smiling. It finally dawned on me that we did not have to worry anymore and a huge weight came off my shoulders.
Looking back on it, I have learned a lot from the experience.
I have deep respect for the medical profession and I am grateful to the wonderful doctors, nurses and technicians who treated my dad. Their dedication, skill and expertise gave him the best chance of survival. That said, for nearly four years, he was their miracle case. At one point, the radiotherapy team greeted him with tears in their eyes. They never expected him to make it for so long. The fact that he outlived their expectations by four years, and then passed on the same calendar day of his initial diagnosis tells me someone upstairs is in charge.
One of the theories of Energy Healing states that illness often follows a strong emotional upset in a person’s life. It might be the loss of a job, a divorce or in my dad’s case, a massive falling out in the family. I have always had the intuitive knowledge that my dad’s cancer was connected to the fight with Abuelo. I just did not know how. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the brain tumor represented his inability to see past the fight with Abuelo. Holding a grudge will eat away at a person from the inside, much like a cancer. How does this relate to his tumor? Is it possible that forgiving my grandfather would have helped?
The illness put an enormous strain on the family but in retrospect, we gained a lot from it. Dad’s job required lots of travel and we were starting to drift apart. After the surgery he had to cut back on his work hours and this gave us time with him. The five years were a blessing, especially for my sisters who were eight and ten when he first got sick. They got to spend quality time with him before he passed away. Those years were a gift for everyone but especially for my sisters.