I have heard people say they will “fight” their cancer. I have heard medical institutions brag about “fighting” cancer.
In that vein, I have also heard people say they will make that autistic child behave.
I have heard them say they will control whatever . . .
Issues that we don’t want in our person and in our lives, bring out the fight in us.
But when is it that the fight is not appropriate?
How often do we end up realizing that the thing we are fighting is ourselves?
And even more often, that is who we end up defeating – ourselves.
We must ask ourselves, does all this resistance work?
Can we clear a problem by offering a strong resistance?
For example, can I get my brain working better by resisting the brain fog that I get from my ADHD?
Or does “resisting” brain fog bring on even more brain fog?
Can I fight my cancer and win?
The truth is that what we resist persists.
What the Torah Shows us about Resisting:
We learn the futility of Resistance first in the Torah, the source of the vastest and greatest wisdom.
In the book of Exodus, we read about the plague of frogs.
First God says:
“Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs.
The Nile will teem with frogs.
They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs.
The frogs will go up on you and your people and all your officials.” — Exodus 8:1–4
Does this sound awful or what?
What would you do if you had been there?
Would you try to kill the frogs?
Would you fight them?
What if there were only one frog?
(or one tumor?)
One Gigantic Frog
The plague of frogs in Egypt began with one gigantic frog.
How much damage would you think that one frog could do to a whole people?
What made it possible for that frog to be so powerful?
Rashi says “There was one frog, and when they would hit it, it would spew out bands and bands of little frogs.”
(Rashi on Exodus 8:2; Midrash Tanchuma Shemos, chapter 14; Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 67b
God caused one gigantic frog to emerge from the Nile.
When the terrified Egyptians hit it, it spewed out smaller frogs.
The more they struck it, the more frogs would come out.
The more frogs came out, the more they would strike them.
Doesn’t this sound like what we do with various challenges, like cancer, like misbehaving children? Like brain fog??
We fight it.
We hit it.
We go to destroy it, or him, or her, or them.
And in the process we destroy ourselves.
The frog was the darkness.
The Egyptians resisted the frog.
The more they resisted, the bigger and more numerous the frogs became.
Eventually, the entire land of Egypt (except for the Jewish neighborhood of Goshen) was covered with frogs.
The more they resisted, the worse the situation became.
We can’t resist the darkness.
When we try it only gets darker.
So what to do when things get awful?
We need to be with it.
Grow in it.
I was so weak. I couldn’t keep my head up.
I wasn’t able to eat, or to talk or to function.
Waiting in a Dr. Salant’s office for the first time, I kept my head in my lap for I was too weak to hold it up.
Dr. Salant sent me for a CAT Scan which located an intestinal tumor.
Eventually, after a CAT scan, a PET scan, and blood studies, several doctors informed me that I have cancer.
The PET scan and blood studies located the ovarian cancer.
I went to the John Theur
er Cancer Center in Hackensack Medical Center after I left Beth Israel Hospital.
I spoke to doctors.
I listened carefully to their message and their words.
I had tumors in my small intestine that originated from the tumors in my ovaries.
When I got home, I looked up each chemo drug they would offer.
Each drug had the same side effect.
Each chemo drug promised to cause Leukemia within five years of taking it, no matter what kind of cancer the chemo was treating.
The oncologists had not shared this with me.
I found the information online as I looked up each chemo drug.
My Take on Cancer
(Hindsight as a Recovered Cancer Survivor)
“Fighting” the cancer, which my body created, and permitted to reside in my body, is really fighting my own body.
My body created the cancer.
My body created the cancer as a way to absorb and to localize what could have occurred throughout my whole body.
It was like the first tumor was taking the rap for the rest of my body.
I believe the cancer was my body’s way of dealing with my negative emotions.
It was my body’s way of localizing the shock and the bad feelings that had been plaguing me into one spot.
The cancer took that harmful energy that could have easily affected my whole body. Instead, that energy became localized into a cancerous tumor.
The cancer that my body created was really my body’s way of trying to help me to survive.
Localizing my shock and other painful emotions into one place likely saved the rest of my body.
I decided to decline the chemo and radiation that the doctors were pushing.
I explained to the doctor that I do not want to wonder (while being treated with chemo) whether it is my body being so ill, or if it is a reaction to the poisons in the chemo.
I felt that I needed to deal with this illness in my body without adding the effects of the drugs that they wanted me to receive.
I didn’t fight with them.
I just stated my feelings, what I wanted and what I did not want.
Then I went home to die.
I figured that at least I may die with dignity and without the devastating side effects of the chemo.
I figured that if I were to die, it would be of my own body’s illness rather than the medical treatment that “fights” a cancer with poisons and radiation.
While home, I was not well enough to do any chores.
I got around on my knees, and had to keep my head down in order to prevent the blood from leaving my head, causing me to pass out.
Speaking caused me to feel like I was passing out. I had to save my words and be extremely succinct.
I worked at getting my affairs in order.
I threw out anything that might hurt the feelings of my now ex-husband.
I figured, let him remember our marriage as happy.
Why should he know my unhappiness?
Let him have just happy memories and feel good about himself, I figured.
I was greatly comforted knowing he would give me a Jewish burial and say Kaddish for me.
Having already lost my vitals three times that month, and also having a visit to the next world, I was resigned to dying.
My son, Brett, knowing the situation, kept visiting and spending time with me each day.
But as time went on, I felt stronger.
I began to realize that I was no longer dying;
and that I am no longer feeling like each breath is my last.
I had no appetite.
I believe that the loss of appetite is Heaven’s way of healing us when we are ill enough to not be able to eat.
Digesting food takes away from the body’s energy to heal.
I experienced how illness removes our appetite to leave us the energy for the body’s inherent healing power to work.
After some months, my appetite did return, somewhat.
I went to an integrative nutritionist and began to learn, finally, how to eat to be healthy.
At this time, I realize it is not what I eat that is important, but rather what I don’t eat that matters.
Today, still . . . I do not eat, ever, gluten, cow’s milk products, sugar, alcohol, canola oil and other bad oils, carbonated drinks, or soy.
Really, I don’t eat anything that has more than one ingredient when I buy it and don’t eat anything processed or that comes in a package or a can.
Before the PET Scan that I had at Beth Israel Hospital, they injected something into my body. I asked what they were injecting. The hospital person told me it is a radioactive sugar, called fluorodeoxyglucose.
I had to wait an hour for the injected liquid to reach my cancer cells. He explained that the sugar in the injected substance goes directly to the cancer and highlights the location of the cancer. Anywhere the sugar accumulates (i.e. cancerous tumors) shows up like a light bulb on the scan.
In other words, Cancer loves sugar.
Sugar feeds the cancer. That is what I heard.
So, the first food I gave up was processed sugar.
Because I had no appetite to begin with, it was not difficult to give up any food.
When I returned to eating, I always kept the image in my mind of how the cancer feeds on sugar.
With that in mind, and the memory of how sick the cancer caused me to be, it is not difficult to steer clear of sugar.
I continued to go to Pilates sessions and to do the techniques I have learned in my Energy trainings, Guided Imagery training, Chinese Medicine training, etc.
I did not “fight” my illness.
I just went on living.
If I was unable to keep my head up or to speak, then I did what I could do.
Sometimes, all I could do was to lie in bed and watch a DVD.
After a few months passed, I had watched all the documentary DVD’s in the Teaneck library.
Then I began watching movies.
I did not resist my cancer in any way.
I was even resolved to it taking my life.
But my not resisting, it seems to me, made the cancer not resist me.
I never again went for another test.
At this writing, it’s 9 years later and I just feel great, full of energy, clarity, and full of life.
What we resist persists.
What we are okay with becomes okay.
What we focus on grows.
I focus on my life,
on what I am doing today,
on what I am really feeling now,
on what I have,
on whom I love
and I am okay.