Welcome to the Blog put together by friends of Swami Bruce. If you know Bruce at all, you know how special he is and may have heard of his condition. This Blog is dedicated to generating support for Bruce and showing him how much we all care. Bruce will be posting his story and giving us updates so we can follow and support him in his journey. Please take the time to leave a comment for him and if you can, make a donation. Thank you.
Friday, March 23, 2012
One Year Anniversary
Greetings everyone.I hope this post finds you all well and happy. Today is an anniversary of sorts.It was one year ago today, March 23, that I had surgery, 4 ½ hours worth, that probably saved my life.A kind and sweet text from my dear sister Sarah last night brought the point home.What a year it’s been.I shudder to remember how sick I was before the surgery, and how weak I was afterword.The week in the hospital may have been the hardest thing I have ever been through.Being so completely helpless and reliant on the help of everyone around me opened my heart in unforeseen ways. When I was diagnosed, I had no real clear prognosis; only that it was grave.The survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 23%.That was the reality I was up against.It wasn’t so much that I feared dying, it was that whatever time I had left might be spent in pain and illness.That is what I really feared.
amazing care of the nurses in the hospital made me cry. It is noted in the medical literature that
the Whipple procedure leaves one very emotional. When I came home with surgical
drains and a feeding tube, my dear Amy was the best nurse ever, gently starting
my digestion up again, and encouraging me to eat when it was the last thing I
wanted to do. I weaned from the painkillers while still in the hospital, so it
was a painful month or so of recovery at home.
I became far too intimate with the living room couch, and it was such a
joy when I could finally lie on my side.
There is a stand of giant Torrey Pines about 4 blocks away and I remember it took me three
tries to finally reach them, and it seem like such a victory that I could walk
that far. But little by little, some of
my strength returned, and I started to feel better.
Better enough, that is, for the
horrible experience of chemotherapy.
Never have I felt so awful. It
turns out I had a sort of allergic reaction to the chemo drug and it made me
very, very sick, in fact my reaction was so intense that for the second time in
the year I was near death. We must find
a better way to treat this terrible disease.
On top of all this, and around
the same time was the passing of my dear father. He was a giant among men, and
Amy and I still feel his loss most every day.
What can I say, it was a tough year. But here I am, still alive and kicking!
As I look back over this year, I
am compelled to share what I have learned.
I have learned that sugar is
evil. At least in the quantities that
most Americans eat it. It leads to
inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and is a contributing factor to all the
degenerative diseases, including cancer.
People, do yourselves a favor and embrace a diet that is “low
glycemic”. Avoid foods with added sugar
at all costs. Trust me on this.
I now know that skilled surgeons
are modern day heroes. The talent and
care of my surgeon, Dr. Sunil Bhoyrul is a very big part of why I am here
I have learned that there are two
kinds of dietary fats- the kinds that decrease inflammation and the kinds that
increase it. Indulge in the former and
avoid the latter. Trust me on this.
I have learned that naps
rock. Anywhere, anytime, but especially
in the afternoon. Trust me on this.
I now wash my hands and floss my
teeth more and wash my hair and jeans less. Go figure.
I have learned that green tea is
a very healthful beverage, and should not
be brewed with boiling water. Trust me on this.
I have learned that life’s little
pleasures can loom large when they are taken away from you. Trust me on this.
I have learned that a good
acupuncturist is worth his weight in gold.
Many thanks to Mr. Alan Toyofuku, L.Ac, who has helped me get through this year. I
encourage you all to try Traditional Chinese Medicine. Trust me on this.
And I again found that poets are awesome! My first venture out (excepting doctor appointments)
was to the Poetry Ruckus at Ducky Waddle’s Emporium. My poetry tribe was so warm and supportive,
but they really just wanted me to read some poems! It was so very healing.
I have learned that if you work to heal the planet,
the planet will work to heal you. When I
was recovering, the only thing that made sense, and the one thing that really made me want to get up off that couch was to tend to the garden and
compost. It helped me and healed me and continues to
do so. Trust me on this.
I have learned to speak the
truths that are in my heart, not holding it in or waiting for some imaginary “perfect”
time in the future to bring them forth. There
is no such time; in fact the very idea that we have time is an illusion. Some things come into sharp focus when we confront mortal realities. Clarity is a great gift to try to share among us humans. Interestingly, this has brought me closer to
some and estranged me from others. Go figure.
My kids are wonderfully
amazing. And amazingly wonderful. Go figure.
I have learned that the value of
human relationships is bigger than the value of anything else in this
world. To all my kin, colleagues,
friends and clients who have been so incredibly generous and supportive over
this ordeal, I humbly offer my deepest gratitude. Couldn’t have done it without you. I will never be able to repay the debt of
love and caring that came my way. But lets hope I can try for many years to come.
I get the results of the latest blood tests on Monday. Fingers crossed. I have learned that every day is
a gift. Trust me on this.