micki portrait Micki's March 19 Update

Mom's new Bo Derek look.

Mom with horse, Parkhursts, family, live oaks, spanish moss.

Mom's braids courtesy of Claudia P.

Jody and Jeff.

Dad/Erik and Blake.

  by Micki - March 19, 1999

I can hardly believe that almost a month has gone by since I last wrote to you. I continue to visualize your love and prayers healing my brain.

Although my brain, my memory, my vision, and my balance have been affected by the forty radiation treatments focused on three locations on my head, I somewhere found the wisdom to sign up for a five-and-a-half day workshop with Dr. Carl Simonton and his cancer counseling staff in Santa Barbara, California. Sixteen of us-- eight cancer patients and our support persons--were given tools for dealing with the fears and hopes around a catastrophic illness. Erik and I learned to identify unhealthy beliefs that can drag us into discouragement and then to replace them with healthy beliefs.

Changing beliefs sounds simple, and it is. It's also hard work to admit one's darkest fears, such as "I can't get well." Opening then to the opposite, countering, healthy belief, "I can get well," is also an emotional challenge and is vastly different from "I will get well."

Carl Simonton explained thoroughly how our beliefs can affect our bodies, for the better and for the worse. Twenty-three years ago, after a grim cancer diagnosis, Erik was led to the Simonton Cancer Center, which was then in Texas, and the approach, which includes visualization, life style changes, goal-setting, and healthy beliefs.

When Carl saw Erik in Santa Barbara, looking healthy, bright-eyed, and high-spirited, Carl's smile filled his face and lit up his eyes. Needless to say, Carl was quick to introduce Erik to the group of us, who delighted in a living, thriving example of how the Simonton technique can work.

Back in Gainesville, Erik and I have been blessed to find what we are calling a "coach" oncologist, a cancer specialist who is user-friendly, respectful of quality-of-life issues and who recognizes alternative, supplemental ways of healing. As a physician, he acknowledges the prognosis statistics, but he has seen patients live beyond the one year expected. He is not a radiologist, or a doctor whose main approach to cancer is chemotherapy. At the end of our last visit, he said, "let's wait and see, let's get a new MRI done in a couple weeks and evaluate what's happened since the end of your radiation on February 15."

I'm comfortable with the wait-and-see, since I am also using the visualization and positive belief approach of Carl Simonton, who has worked successfully with other glioblastoma patients.

Erik and I are in the process of establishing a support group which will help us move through the dark times, and celebrate with us in the bright. They'll encourage me to play, to sing, and to bring more joy and meaning into my life, all of which will help me back on the path to wellness.

Both Blake, who has been here since February 1st, and Jody and Jeff, who are spending part of their two-week spring break here, have been helping enormously with shopping, driving, cooking, renovations, phone calls, and making me laugh. I am reminded again of how much cancer impacts a whole family. I thank you for your prayers for each one of us.


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