I had my three-monthly phone chat with Liz the haematologist today. I have a blood cancer, Myeloma or bone marrow cancer, so the specialist who’s running me is a haematologist, a blood expert.
I seem to be doing well. The critical measure of myeloma is paraproteins, and they are found with a blood test done by the nurse who comes round monthly to administer my cancer drugs. My paraproteins have been on 5 since March, and Liz is happy with that. In early 2021 I got down to 2, but my illness of late 2021 and early 2022 took it up to 5 and it has stayed there. I can’t remember what it was when I was diagnosed three years ago, but it was in the hundreds or the thousands. I wasn’t far from popping my clogs.
But I got a reprieve. Well, you never get rid of myeloma – you just keep it within safe bounds. But the chemo worked – they had planned up to eight cycles of treatment and I was complete in five. As a blood cancer with the effect of hollowing your bones and making them eventually break and collapse, there are no tumours to be removed – though I have had Zolodronic Acid to strengthen my bones and stop their deterioration. I seem to be doing well, staying within safe bounds.
She also asked me about my covid and flu jabs. I told her I had had none and wasn’t interested – I hadn’t had covid and I tend not to get flu, and I have my ways of keeping my immunity high. “I won’t ask you about those, Mr Jenkins. I’m sure you know what you’re doing, and you seem to get good results, so just carry on”. She has got to know me by now.
I’m not ideological about medicine and healing. When I started on this journey three years ago I plumped for following my intuitions in all medical decisions, finding some sort of balance between allopathic and holistic methods, and trusting in the capacity of my bodymind to modulate things so that side-effects and harm are minimised. So I don’t have the jabs because intuitively I feel they aren’t a net gain or needed, in my case, and that is my choice. Not because of politics or conspiratorial suspicions. Just following my intuition.
There’s a hidden Factor X too: inner doctors. I’m mentioning this because, if you have a serious illness, you might try this. Go into yourself and ask for help, for the attention of a set of inner doctors/healers. Your soul and your inner teacher will help with this. Train yourself to let them in – to open yourself up, give permission to be examined, follow the process, point out areas and issues that concern you, and allow them to do things. Let them look inside you, including at your psychology, your fears, concerns and guilty bits. You might or might not experience being showered with light, or infused with rays or instruments of light, or ‘etheric wires and rods’ are inserted, or you might feel warmth or colour in parts of you – be open to whatever happens, even if it is simply a feeling of relaxation.
There was one time when I had a worrying appointment the next day – I was anxious about what would happen. I asked my inner doctors for attention. It seemed they ummed and aahhed, but I didn’t get the feeling anything was happening. Oh well. Next day I went to hospital and the staff I met were fantastic, the doctor found an unexpected solution, the treatment was simple and easy and the prognosis was a relief. Ding. My inner doctors had clearly delegated the matter to the outer doctors (one Irish and one from Belarus, with a Nigerian radiologist) and guided their thoughts and hands. It is through this combination of metaphysical and physical medicine and healing that, at least for me, the staying-alive process works best.
I take well-chosen supplements and helpers too. Forget cure-all wonder drugs and regimes, but a selection of helpers, each making a 5% difference, can add up to 40% and make a critical difference. Number one is vitamin C (I take 1.5g per day, quite a lot). Then I take selenium, zinc and a really good multivitamin, colloidal silver in my water, Turkey Tail tincture, blueberry powder, a green algae mix, homegrown beansprouts, tahini and ground up nuts (for oils), probiotics, flower remedies… it goes on. I’m not fanatical about it. But it does make a positive difference to my underlying condition, immunity and cancer.
As do the various treatments I’ve had over time. It’s important to do just one at a time and leave them space to sink in – don’t get neurotic about it. I’ve had homoeopathy, radionics from Canada, chiropractic, naturopathy, e-Lybra machines, herbs, CBD oil, a variant of Alexander Technique, an energy treatment from Czechia that I can’t remember the name of (by a Swedish friend in USA), and crystal healings, laying-on of hands, remote healing, prayers – the only thing missing has been massages. I’ve been fortunate to have good friends and contacts, and I’m grateful for all the healing and support I’ve been given. It does work.
To be honest, although I wouldn’t rate cannabis specifically as a cancer drug, it’s a definite helper – it helps deal with a surfeit of time, a degree of pain, and it encourages a certain creativity, self-enquiry and understanding that itself can be a healer. It can help you change your attitude. (I do meditation and other things too.)
I don’t do all of these tharapies and supplements all of the time. It has rolled incrementally over the last few years. I follow what feels right at the time. When I was on my initial chemo treatment in the four months after diagnosis in late 2019, I had to take between 12 and 35 pills each day – and that drove me off getting neurotic about taking too many pills, supplements and treatments. Why? Because there is one medicine that tops all others.
Happiness. Yes. Happiness. I have really found this definitely to be true. Stay happy and, whatever happens, you’ll be alright, even when life isn’t alright. Go down, and you descend into a loop that’s hard to rise out of again. So, above all things, stay happy. Make that a top-priority rule, not just a hope.
This means a few things. Happiness is about attitude: it doesn’t just happen at you when the circumstances are right – it is created, a decision of the heart. You can either give yourself a hard time over life, or you can make it easier by seeking the silver lining – what’s right about life and what’s being given. It’s also about being happy with whatever life throws at us. Stop moaning – or at least, feel it and then let it go. Just going for a walk in nature can work wonders.
This is not necessarily easy, but the price of not doing so is higher, so it’s worth it. Thank your adversaries, enjoy your illness, appreciate the virtues of being short of money, and enjoy the wind and rain. There’s good to be had from that kind of approach, and when you’re facing the handicap and the uphill grind of longterm illness it becomes a central issue. Above all else, do whatever it takes to get happy and be happy, whatever is going on in life.
If it lifts you up, do it, and if it weighs you down, don’t. This statement is much more of a practical proposition than you would think.
In the last year I’ve had quite a bit of adversity, pain, sorrow and challenges. I’m certainly not happy all the time, and at times I’ve been grinding my stuff, suffering over things and falling into states I’d prefer not to be in. This isn’t about pretending to be happy, like Christmas, or escapism, or taking a hyper-positive attitude that seeks to override real life.
It’s about returning. Returning to centre. To a place inside us where things are alright. Remembering to pull ourselves out of our morasses and scrapes, to see things from a wider perspective. The world isn’t ending. Change is constant. There’s joy and relief in truth. And pain and joy are contrasting poles of the same spectrum.
It’s a matter of coming back and habituating ourselves to doing so. Coming back to ourselves, to something bigger, wider, deeper and more enduring than our own little lives. The more we make a habit of this, the more it works, and after a time we start doing it more automatically. Sometimes, if I’m in a mood or a state, I give myself an hour to be angry, grouchy, down, fucked off and had enough, and then I drop it and come back to look at it from the other side.
In the last year, I’ve gone through a lot of pain over the loss of my partner. At times I got really lost in it – though it truth, in the end it was good, actually, as a way of grinding through the feelings to come out the other side. I started coming through and realising what a gift she had given me – a gift of pain that opened me up and kept me bleeding (metaphorically), which in itself has been a great gift. I cried and wobbled for months. It helped me dig out deep truths about my mother and my experiences as a young, estranged Aspie, in the early 1950s when I was 3-5 years old, and wondering why I was here, what this place was and who these people were.
So, bizarrely, that gift of pain was a gift of love. She reached parts others haven’t reached. And the present and future have now taken over from rueing the past. I’m not quite finished yet but I’ve come a long way. I feel it was the last really close relationship of my life, and from now on I’ll do things differently. For a modern woman, it’s not fair taking on an awkward customer and partially-disabled cancer patient like me – it’s too much to ask. So I must spread it around so that it’s more fun and less of a burden for anyone. I’m not talking about sex here, but about the various virtues of relationship that, in my current state, I miss. I’m managing, but I’m not doing that well as a single man with cancer.
Such as someone to talk to, who knows me well and accepts me as I am, and acts as a ‘second brain’. And I need three occasional minders, for adventures and trips, so that it doesn’t weigh too heavily on any one of them. I need different things with different people, since my intention for the rest of my days is to be more public, more open to larger numbers of, well… you lot. I’m a hermit too, but that part of me gets well serviced down’ere on the farm in Cornwall. Even though I’m quite a loving soul, it’s tricky for a woman to be close to a hermit who spends long hours and days writing books rather than paying attention to servicing loving relationships or stopping work when dinner is ready.
So I’m making a change. With only a few years left, everything has come into a different focus. I can’t wait around or let things drift in the way that I once did, when death seemed much further away. This is last chance saloon, and if I don’t do it now or soon, I’m not going to do it. Quite a few things have to be accepted as non-doable or non-repairable. Some are a relief, and some are painful. But the issue here is that it’s better to process things through in life, because when I get to death, there’s quite a lot else to pay attention too – such as moving forward – and a load of encumbrances from the past is not very helpful.
I’ve been finding that life has been accelerating that last-chance clearance process. In the recent six months, my health has been stable and I feel better now than I have felt since contracting cancer. So my primary focus on handling cancer and its effects has reduced, and now I have the rest of life to deal with. What has come up instead has been a lot of social and human issues. My brains and psyche have changed as a result of cancer, chemo, ageing and a few big Neptune transits, and I’m experiencing things very differently now.
Many physical capabilities, including car driving and easy mobility, are gone. I get through life at half the speed I used to, and my capacity to multi-task, remember details, remember names and figure out problems is reduced. Getting through each day is much more difficult than before, though I’m more adapted to it now and I accept it. I’ve simplified things to a degree where I can function more easily. I do a lot of writing, podcasting and online stuff, which I’m good at – if I had been a farmer or engineer needing physical mobility, with my kind of cancer, I’d have been in much deeper doodoo than I am.
It’s almost as if this particular kind of cancer was tailor-made for me. The specific trials and tribulations it has brought – a recent one is that my left arm is slowly going numb and tingly – have offered me a focus and challenge that seems karmically right for me. I’m glad I contracted cancer at this stage of life though, in my seventies, and not earlier. I’ve done enough in life to be kinda satisfied enough with it – though I do have some reservations and regrets. But in another way it has opened up a new phase of life. By cutting down my life-possibilities, other possibilities have emerged. I’ve been given a gift of time and space – time to ruminate and pay attention to things I didn’t have time for earlier in life. Or a new aspect of them is emerging because I have time and space. This is a privilege.
If someone reacts with ‘sorry’, when I tell them I have cancer, I can’t agree. I don’t advocate getting cancer or other serious ailments but, if they come your way, do your best with them. It’s not just about staying alive, and ‘getting better’ isn’t necessarily what you always need to do. The main thing is to ‘get good’ – whatever that means. Happiness is a key ingredient. Too many old, ill and disabled people are unnecessarily unhappy.
It’s about optimising the soul-opportuinities we have been offered. It’s an opportunity to confront our fear and get to grips with things we have long feared – I had to get over an aversion to having needles stuck in me, or having x-rays. I do have, or have had, a fear of being disabled – and, bingo, I’ve been given half-disablement, specially customised for me. For me, this blood cancer is about my will to live. That’s always been a major life-issue for me too.
It’s also about my will to die. I’ve decided to take charge of my death – whatever that means. Deep in my soul, I’ve clarified and decided that I shall carry on until I don’t want to continue any more. There comes a point where there’s no more point fighting or pushing, and that’s just fine. Up to that point, it is my spirits that keep me alive, and if I keep my spirits up, I’ll be in the right state to handle whatever else comes. The main point here isn’t about staying alive as long as I can. It’s about optimising the experience of my soul, and doing the best things for its progression and for the all-round benefit of everything and everyone. I shall be where it’s most useful to be, and sometimes the opportunities can be greater on the other side.
That’s when I’ll go, and until then, there are a few things to do. Earth is a funny old place, but one thing is true. You don’t get these kinds of experiences anywhere else, so savour them while you can. The toast on Arcturus is just not as good as here, and on Alpha Centauri they’ve never even heard of ice cream or baked beans, let alone maxed-out credit cards or flat tyres. On some worlds you don’t even get the experience of being born – you just create yourself.
Lots of love from me, Palden.
PS: For those of you who have been following my recent adventures, please pray for Phyllis, three, who is struggling. We’ve identified that she has yellow fever, not cholera, and she has something more too. She is being transferred to a herbal hospital where the hope is to build up her immunity. After her experiences of the last month, she is weak. Thank you. Meanwhile her Mum, Felicia, in her thirties, is ticking over but not out of the woods yet.