Last Monday a very dear friend of mine for more than 40 years died of a brain tumor. He was a special person and a real life example of how a life should be lived.
He was also a successful self made businessman who achieved what he did with total honesty and caring for everyone he came into contact with. His staff loved him, and his wife of 40 years adored him as did his family…and with good reason. His life was full, but balanced. I’m still learning how to achieve the sort of balance that Russell achieved.
Russell was diagnosed with a highly aggressive brain tumor almost two years ago. He was 3 days younger than me and although he was very fit and active (still running half marathons at 61 years) he had never been a believer in natural or alternative medicine. Within 3 days of the initial diagnosis he was operated on, followed by chemo and radiation.
I floated the idea past him that he only agree to the radiation and consider alternatives to the chemo…but, as expected he followed the oncologist’s advice and had the full treatment. He felt he should do the course of this new chemo treatment and then after that he would work on building up his immune system to offset the effects of the chemo.
Fortunately the type of chemo had relatively few side effects so he was able to still go regularly to his holiday home in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand and indulge in his passion of fishing.
The chemo treatment was almost continuous and up until the beginning of this year he seemed to be doing quite well. I went fishing with him earlier this year.
Not long after he went for a checkup and found that the tumor had grown back and was as big as it was previously. They immediately operated again and put him on another course of chemo and radiation.
The operation was considered a success.
Six weeks later he went back for another check up, and then the ‘bombshell’. It had grown back to even larger than before. The Doctors gave him 2 months to live and said there was nothing more they could do for him.
I was in Thailand at the time. I contacted a friend of mine of mine Dr Ali Mohamed who was also in Bangkok at the time. Dr Ali is a well known and respected Harvard trained physician and a specialist in bio-identical hormones who lectures to Doctors around the world. I asked if he had any ideas that could help Russell. He said he had a friend of his who was expert on brain tumors and had had remarkable successes in helping patients with brain tumors. His name is Dr. Stan Burzynski and is based on Houston Texas.
Ali, contacted Stan who was in Tokyo at the time where he expressed his willingness to help Russell in any way he could. Normally the patient has to travel to Houston for treatment, but Russell was in no condition to travel so Stan said he was prepared to help with an initial protocol to see if he could respond before undertaking on the journey to Houston. It would require him to arrange blood samples and various other tests which he could do in New Zealand.
I called Russell and outlined what we had arranged. He was exceedingly grateful for the effort that Ali had gone to in order to arrange this. He said he would think it over and we would talk the next day.
When we did he said…”Warren, I really appreciate what you have done…but, I think that I should now just let nature take its course”.
Russell was certainly not one to give up, but obviously the chemo and radiation had really sapped his energy…but, not his spirit. Not once did his terrific attitude change. Never, did he say…’why me’. There was no self pity, but a calm acceptance with no change to his good humor right up to the last moment.
Would the situation have been different if Dr Burzynski had been able to apply his protocols to Russell? I honestly don’t know. Dr Bursynski is certainly a controversial figure.
Irrespective, Russell made his decision and focused on spending his last weeks at home nursed by his wife Allison and surrounded by family and friends. He helped plan his own funeral which was the most wonderful I have ever experienced. It truly was a celebration of his life and a mixture of tears and laughter.
This is where the ‘joy’ referred to in the heading of this blog entry came from. The joy of remembering 40 years of marvelous experiences and times spent together.
The reflection part comes from realizing that we are all mortal and illness can strike the most unlikely people…but…are these illnesses preventable? What would have happened If 10 years ago when we developed our first generation of Total Balance, Russell had embraced the concept of prevention of degenerative disease by embarking on a sensible supplementation program?
This is an answer that no one can give with certainty. What I do know though, is that we all have cancer in our bodies…throughout our lives there is a constant battle going on every day between pro-cancer and anti-cancer factions within our bodies. So long as they are kept in balance then cancer is kept at bay.
There is every reason to believe that there are many nutrients that can help prevent cancer from getting out of control. However, as we get older our bodies become less efficient and it becomes harder and harder to get these nutrients into our systems (particularly from food) to combat the pro-cancer influences in our bodies. Most types of cancer can take decades to become detectable. Once they are detected it is very difficult to beat it…either with conventional or alternative medicine.
There are success stories out there, for both methods. But, because of the enormous variances of types of cancers, what may work for one person may not work for another.
I very much doubt that there will ever be a cure for cancer, other than the mild non aggressive type. I am not afraid of cancer as I doubt I will ever get it due to my supplement program…but, only time will tell if I am right.
I have to admit that if I had known 10 years ago what I know now, I would have really ‘ear bashed’ Russell until he conceded and started taking our supplements. Would he still have been with us if I had? As I said, I don’t know, but I can’t help reflecting on it. I am writing this blog entry at home overlooking the ocean on a beautiful day and feeling sad that Russell will no longer be able to enjoy the smell of sea air and the spray of sea water on his face.
Last bit of reflection for today…live for today as tomorrow never comes. And, during the course of living remember that the most valuable thing in life is your relationships…family, friends and everyone you touch. Consider how you would feel if you knew you were on your last days? Inner peace and an acceptance of death when it comes from knowing that everyone you have touched during your lifetime have been enriched as a result of your time on earth. Material possessions will not give that inner peace and acceptance.
I know that Russell departed experiencing inner peace and acceptance.