Back in Singapore! The flight was a doddle, a good sleeping pill saw me right for the longest bit; a speedy wheelchair transit through a thronged KL airport, where they waived me through passport control without asking to see either passport or boarding pass. ‘Excuse me, don’t you think you should look at these after all the problems you’ve had?’, brandishing my documents. Embarrassed smiles.
Singapore: whisked off plane in true Singapore efficiency, which is too much for Ross, who has not yet arrived. He says his taxi failed to turn up. More like someone nicked it as it waited for him, they never fail to appear. But it is good to be back here.
* * *
London: Have been anticipating the visit to the healer for some time. 11 am last Friday finds me ringing the bell of an imposing house in Notting Hill. Her flat on the first floor smells of incense and I am shown into a small room with pictures of garlanded gurus and yogis on the wall. D is an attractive woman, petite with an open, kind face. We sit and chat about my family history, health and current condition for over an hour.
She tells me that she started as a spiritualist by being asked to go and exorcise houses for a friend who developed properties; once she discovered her gift, she followed her spirit guides who advised her that simply being was enough to help people and so she changed her methods; she is also a trained homeopath. She heals through meditation. She believes in re-incarnation and is, I assume, a Hindu. She also tells me that she can see the souls of the dead; the problem with bereavement is that quite often the souls are stuck; she can release them, I assume, from the grieving/alive person, and let them go. She asks specifically where I feel Louise is; I gesture to my head. I say she appears to me from time to time, in my dreams, and to her friends via hoola hoops randomly found in the street, in their dreams, giving advice and help to those in need. She is concerned that Louise may be stuck, but she says she will discover if she is.
Then I lie on the bed and she gently lays her fingertips on the top of my cranium for a few minutes. She removes them, and for an hour plus – no idea how to judge the time – I slip into a semi-conscious meditative state, just allowing thoughts to come and go, interspersed with extraordinary dreams – one minute I am flying in the air, the next encountering strange people, then back to some more prosaic thought that wings its way in. The room is not darkened, and I can hear the birds, the sound of builders and cars, and D’s breathing. My body feels light and glowing, my abdomen and my chest are tingling and warm; this feeling comes and goes, but it’s as if I am floating. It is a strange sensation, which I am not imagining.
After a long time she quietly moves to the end of my bed and touches my toes, then to my side, and I half open my eyes to check what is happening – her arms are stretched out over my body. Then I am woken up.
She tells me I am one of the most empowered cancer patients she has met, and fully endorses my current journey into TCM, acupuncture, yoga and mediation; I am doing all the right things to heal myself. Her healing is an added dimension, and it chimes completely with my current path.
She says we all have three chakras: mental, physical, spiritual. I am, she senses, a deeply spiritual person, so much so that I could be psychic (my mother and grandmother both saw ghosts, and I often have a sort of sixth sense, I think of someone and they call, for instance). However, my unhappy childhood and all the ensuing traumas have meant that all my life I have controlled my emotions and feelings and shut out the spiritual and physical chakras. The kidney is weak (where have I heard that before!); it controls the ears, lungs and limbs: she is not surprised that my cancer has come out in my leg; nor that the potential secondary site is in the lung. Her healing will help to restore the balance of my chakras, along with all the steps I taking myself. Cancer can be a life-enriching journey, she says, one where we find a new self, which replaces the old one, which is tired and ill. We should look on it with positivity and take full advantage of the opportunities for renewal.
As I am preparing to leave she says she saw Louise; she is in a tunnel of light – in a sort of school, where she is learning all sorts of new things, all very practical, and is at peace and happy. It was strange, because as I was in my own little trance the words of my favourite Incredible String Band Song (A Very Cellular Song) were reverberating in my mind
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide you all the way on.
So could D see inside my head, or is the tunnel of light just a coincidence?
She is not stuck, as D feared; and will not visit much, just from time to time. I had told D about burying all the ashes together on Manda this summer; she loved the idea, but she said Louise, Mum and Dad would be on different planes and they would not necessarily be together. I felt tearful; I had not cried so far…the mind was in charge!
Now it’s easy to laugh and scoff at all this, and of course she may just be telling me what I want to hear, but I think she genuinely believes in her own powers and therefore who am I to doubt. She gives comfort and if spreads her healing over me and helps me I will welcome it.
As I leave she gives me some little pills to help with the radiation; I am booked in to see her when I come back in June. The healing is not immediate, it takes time to unfold and blossom. I feel very calm.
* * *
As I walk down the steps on the tube, it is very windy and my eyes are watering. I suppose I am wavering about a bit. A bearded, elderly man, who looks just like Bilbo Baggins, asks me if I am alright, offers to help me down and starts to chat. Skiing accident he asks? No, cancer, I say. Oh, sorry, sorry, I am so sorry. Don’t be, its fine, I’ve just been to a healer and I feel marvellous. He accompanies me on to the tube, we are going the same way. He has had a melanoma and helps out at the Marsden, used to live in Hampstead. We chat and chat…
It is such a strange meeting so soon after my session; these things just don’t happen in London so perhaps my karma is a beacon and my new-found spiritualism is glowing for all to see.
Later: acupuncture surprisingly painless today; probably because the radiation effects are lessening, my kidney is stronger and my pulse is good. Heart not so good, but less needles all round. She says I am very calm: I tell her about the healer and about the same observations concerning the kidney. ‘Ah yes, kidney most important organ in whole body.’ The radiation has made a big difference to my body’s sensitivity.
I tell her I have lost 2 kgs since she has been treating me: she pulls back the towel and pats my bum and thighs. ‘No problem, you still got round behind, not too thin!’
I leave, loaded down with caterpillar fungus capsules – ‘take for long time’; a month’s supply of the lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) powders, costing over £100 (it’s good business this TCM); two bags of witches brew, aka tea, one to show the Prof, and some special herbs just to take for the radiation.
I am delighted, despite the expense, with my forays into alternative medicine. I feel energised, strong, empowered and ready for stage two of my journey: building the immunity and the body as we go towards the scan. After that, we can re-assess the rigidity of the diet. I don’t think it’s a question of ‘if you believe it, it works’; arts as old as TCM and Ayurveda must be more than just a capacity to hoodwink you, or they wouldn’t have survived.