My Story (Part 2)

[Welcome to Part 2 of my story…]

Agnosticism took hold as I made new discoveries about things that sounded like voodoo, but worked nonetheless. Disparaging remarks from both skeptics and die-hard believers alike regarding the “energy medicine” I was now undertaking only made it stronger. I wasn’t about to discriminate against what was working, and I learned to hold no beliefs one way or the other unless I’d actually tried something and experienced the results.

Over the course of many months, I had hundreds of NAET treatments, with one Dr. Goldstein telling me I was one of the five worst cases she’d seen walk into her office (nope, never did do anything half-assed!). Along with some timely liver cleanses, these got me 85% of the way back to being able to tolerate most of the foods I’d lost in the years before, far better than the mainstream pharma-based medical system, which by this time I’d started calling US Sick’n’Pay (it made me sick, and I got to pay). Along the way, I heard that I might have a predisposition toward mercury and heavy metals toxicity in general, which would play out soon enough.

Thinking I was good to go, I moved to Australia for a while to explore some opps in the music industry that seemed promising. Did I ever need to do something that was outside the 9-to-5 world of single-client J.O.B.s and no guarantees! Passive income from songwriting and other intellectual property beckoned, if I could pull it off.

Oz brought some real adventures, including a romance with one very interesting former dancer from what was the Soviet Republic of Georgia. He waltzed into my life just before my cancer diagnosis and stuck around until well after it, almost as if to bookend a set of volumes I needed so very badly to read. He was pure medicine just when it mattered the most – he didn’t care that I felt lousy sometimes, or even that I’d been involved (and living) with someone else when we’d met – he knew exactly who he wanted, and wasn’t just after a warm body for a warm body’s sake. Love on ‘im, because I really felt like a human being again when this man stepped in and calmly but decisively made his intentions crystal clear.

Bringing with him warmth and good feelings interspersed with ventures out to the Blue Mountains and various places around Sydney, he revealed to me his own history, filling my ears with things about Georgian longevity and how doctors there told him to do the simple things first – “go and swim in Black Sea” (for the mineral exchange), and on through to the political: “you know those big missiles you saw on TV in the Red Square? Big, empty tubes with paint on them. This what Reagan used to bankrupt your country,” and to me, the most telling of all: “Soviet Union was poor and people got free healthcare. We did not have money for all these pills.”

Soviet Union was poor and people got free healthcare. Well, well. I’d always known there was some funky capitalistic math going on in the ol’ US of A!

I was learning, and he really drove home once again the importance of seeking the small pleasures in life. I felt relieved, being able to fall apart for a time, letting the pieces come back together on better terms. He drew me in like a magnet and returned my feelings in kind, even following me back to the States for a while.

Back in LA, I profited a bit by selling a load of Cuban Cohibas and Montecristos procured in Oz to some friends and local smoke shops while I pondered staying on the Left Coast. I’d had a good meeting with an audio engineer who’d worked with U2 and others regarding a potential new project, but circumstances found me flying to New York for another studio venture, then going home to Pennsylvania where I took refuge in going to shows and socializing as much as I possibly could.

One night, I found myself at a Ween show at the Tohickon Tavern on Route 611 just north of Doylestown, dressed in a long Hawaiian mumu my father had jet-setted home with. As I pushed my way up to the stage to hear local-band-gone-big Ween’s expletives loud and clear (and there is nothing more humbling in the world than standing in front of a stack of speakers and hearing a huge, amplified FUUUUCK YOUUUUU reverberating through your bones), I felt on top of the moon, landing some acoustic songwriter shows by reconnecting with old friends, one of whom thanked me for kicking his ass to go overseas around the same time I had. Soon, the street outside became a parking lot, the cops showed up and closed the whole place down. Fun, fun!

In the next weeks, I entered some songs into the Billboard and John Lennon songwriting competitions from the lot of tunes I’d compiled, also scheduling a visit to my dermatologist’s office in Doylestown, noting some moles that hadn’t been there before along with a greater degree of fatigue than I’d felt while in Oz. One I called Roundy Brownie – large, round and just one color. The other I nicknamed Half’n’Half, for the strange way it was divided in a completely straight line, pink on one side, brown on the other, with a large black dot in the middle, almost as if Matisse and Picasso had had a love child.

Waiting in the exam room, my doctor walked in and told me I had nothing to worry about. But to me, the lesions did look a bit odd, and given all the immune damage I’d had courtesy of Big Pharma, my concern persisted. I told him I’d stay until he took out at least one of the moles, call it a gut feeling. He said I’d have to wait until after he and his staff ate lunch if I really wanted a biopsy. So be it.

Three celebrity rags later, he reappeared with needles, scalpels and bee-pollination grace, taking out Roundy Brownie. “This was nothing to worry about,” he said again as I left with a set of stitches on my left leg. Jump ahead one week later, me back in the exam room, waiting. The doctor walks in, paces a few times and finally says “it’s a good thing we had that taken out.”

We, Kimosabe? The diagnosis this time was melanoma. Unlike environmental illness, it was something which I could check off a little box on a doctor’s form. Thoughts of Oz swirled in my head, having overheard too many conversations ending with “so-and-so found one of those things and ended up in the ground a month later.” Grrrrrr.

A short time later, I landed at a second opinion doctor’s office where it was verified. Not something I wanted to be right about, but there it was. And I was to quit the birth control pills I’d been on, immediately – yesterday, if at all possible – because everyone but me knew they were rocket fuel for a cancer like melanoma.

So. The dreaded Big C. Of all skin cancers, I’d gone and gotten the deadly one (again, I never do anything half-assed!). And genetic, yes, but genetics didn’t have to be prophetic. I was invited back for more surgery. I didn’t go. I was told by some well-intended people to please go and “be responsible.” Again, I didn’t go. I’d seen what “being responsible” got me.

Months later, I got a CYA letter from the doc’s, saying I was not welcome back, listing several appointments I’d supposedly made but never kept. Quite the set up, but it was over for me. All Big Pharma-based medicine and their insurance-racketed doctors had done was make me sicker and sicker, more financially indentured with each pass, and now I even had a cancer diagnosis to deal with.

I had made up my mind – I would not go back to US Sick’n’Pay. It was not there to make me well – it was totally fear-based, competition-averse, rigged beyond all recognition and I was done bleeding money in that direction.

And oh, what a transfer of wealth it has been – time, money, careers, relationships and all.

Back to Part 1On to Part 3…