Update for November    Last updated 5:00pm Saturday, December 7th

Dec 7 Sat


As most of you already know, I had my follow-up MRI on Wednesday (12/4) and the results were great! It appears that the remaining tumor in my head has shrunk basically in half since surgery and this despite the prognosis and expectation that it would instead have grown because it is mainlining off an artery to my brain stem. Needless to say, my doctor was happy with the results.

 I want to thank everyone who sent their prayers, thoughts and well wishes to me that day. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I felt the MRI room was filled to capacity with angels, ancestors, spirit guides, plant and animal devas, and who knows who else. I had also loaded my pockets with several mandalas (round geometric designs) and a crystal, and had some very nice neo-flamenco music play the whole time I was in there. Believe it or not, I actually dozed off for awhile during the scans even though the machine emits quite loud bangs, clicks and whirs. Above all, I kept my positive thoughts going for the entire session.

 When I was finished, the technician let me see the films and, to be honest, I was at first discouraged to see there was still a tumor there. (Yes, I had envisioned nothing there, but I always dream big.) The techie and I tried to compare the current-sized tumor with films from an MRI taken two days after surgery, but neither one of us could determine whether it was bigger, smaller or the same. That was mostly due to the surgery films having lots of blood, fluids and swelling distorting the images, so it was hard to tell what was tumor and what wasn’t. For two hours after Wednesday’s session, I was rather despondent, thinking that my surgeon would insist on radiation treatment ASAP since there was still obviously something there to radiate. Boy was I wrong.

 I had an appointment with my Neuro-Otologist (ear specialist and surgeon) immediately following the MRI session and was surprised when he examined the films and came up smiling. He seemed rather pleased with them, so I asked why. He had taken the physical measure of the original tumor and then of this bit that was left and there was quite a difference. Instead of comparing linear measurements (length, wide, height) he said that it is the volume that mattered so he crunched some numbers and came up with comparative volumes.

 Calculating the volume, (formula on MRI images page) the original tumor occupied 42 cc and the current bit occupies only 8.2 cc  (see MRI images). In other words, what’s left is only about 20% of the original tumor. But, you say, they did after all cut out a fair chunk in surgery. Yes indeedy, they did, and by their own estimate, they got about 60% of it and left 40%. If they left 40% and now there’s only 20%, where did the other 20% go and how did it disappear from inside my head? According to my doctors, the tumor should have grown, not shrunk, since surgery. Accordingly, the surgeon said that we will use these images as a baseline, and should schedule another MRI in 9 to 12 months.

 Well folks, “where” the 20% went and “how” is what this is all about and I may have to write a book to explain it all. For now I can say that I took a rather “shotgun” approach to healing and literally threw everything I had at it on all levels: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. There are many friends and health practitioners out there who helped me with their particular intervention or treatment or remedy and I think it was everyone’s effort, combined, that did the trick. I cannot honestly point to one or two things that I would say were critical or more effective than any other treatment; I believe they all worked together to help me heal.

 Having said all that, I can say what my own take is on what has helped me with this little miracle. I suppose I can sum it up in four words: Imagination, Intention, Intuition and In community. These, for me, comprise a template if you will, for healing. Here’s a brief summary of what I mean by each:

 Imagination – I had to imagine what was possible and then believe I could get there. Every day for eight months I have dreamed, imagined and visualized my tumor shrinking and sending my mind, body and spirit that imagined goal to strive for. I made my imagination as real as possible and could see, smell, hear, breathe, touch and taste what I wanted. I had to f-e-e-e-e-l it be real, know it was possible and then expect it to happen.

 Intention – Every day since surgery I have stated, out loud, what my intention was. Again, I am/was sending a clear unequivocal message to my mind and body about what exactly I wanted. There was no doubt whatsoever what my intention was every day.

 Intuition – ah, this is perhaps the most difficult for people to do but is so key to healing. I learned to really trust my intuition to guide me in what I needed to do, take, or be at every step of the way. For example, if someone (including doctors) suggested I take a supplement or whatever and my body reaction was negative (as in “this doesn’t feel good to me”), then I wouldn’t take it. Conversely, if I found I craved something or just suddenly felt like I needed an herb or vitamin or a massage or whatever, then that’s what I trusted was needed and I did it.

 For example, one day while grocery shopping I suddenly had a craving for pistachio nuts. I have never in my life ever bought them before, but here I suddenly felt like I had to have some, so I bought a five pound bag. Then another. For about three weeks I pigged out on pistachio nuts and had no idea why. Coincidentally (yeah right) I had my annual checkup with my naturapathic doctor and lo and behold, she discovered that I was low in iron and that an excellent source was… you guessed it: pistachio nuts! My body knew what it needed and nudged me to get it; all I had to do was listen and trust. That’s what I mean by intuition. I also listened when I “felt” like it was time to start or stop any particular herb, supplement or treatment and that is what has guided me to take or do exactly what I needed in that moment to help my healing process along. Trust me, it works; all you have to do is practice listening to your body when it’s talking to you.

 In community – no one heals alone. We are born into families, communities, cultures and societies and we are interconnected in a million ways with our fellow human (and non-human) beings. We are social by nature and study after study has shown that people with a strong social support system heal quicker and with less complications than patients who have no one who cares about them. I don’t know what I would have done without Joe, my family and my friends, all of whom have given me continuous and unconditional love and support this whole journey. I have learned so much about giving and receiving, about love and commitment, about the power of collective thought and prayer, and about feeling connected to other beings (raccoons included). If you have even one person who cares enough to be by your side in a time of healing, you’re way ahead of the curve. I can never thank everyone enough for all the gifts of love they have given me in these past months. My victory is rightfully your victory, so pat yourselves on the back too!

 Anyway, that’s where I’m at today. I feel like I’ve reached a crossroads, a nexus point, a stepping off place in this journey. After this MRI, I’m confident we can shrink the remaining tumor to nothing in the coming months and my path of discovery will tell me how and where to go to do that. I have no more required doctor appointments until my next MRI in 9-12 months so from here on out it’s up to me how I go about healing myself completely. I welcome any and all of you who wish to keep in touch to tune in by phone or e-mail when you can, but I will not be updating this site after this. My heartfelt thanks to Joe for a wonderful web site and to all of you who patiently tuned in to follow this story for so many months. Know that I am doing great and will continue to explore new avenues of healing in the coming year.

 I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and a new year of health, happiness and peace. Thanks again for all you’ve done to help me in this incredible journey.

 May you walk in Love, Light and Laughter always.


A note from Joe:

This will be the last regular update of this series. We will post the images of the next MRI set here in a year, and if need be other news of unusual interest relating to Val's AN before then.  
Perhaps in the coming year, if my job slows down, I can actually post information and photos relating to raising and rehabilitating raccoons, and about the wonderful raccoon spirits who have chosen to spend time with us, as was the original intention of  this domain name and web site.

Thank you to all who have been so supportive over the last eight months, and who have  complimented me on the site and information. I would encourage others to do the same and share their own life passages. Contact me if you need assistance.