Dear friends, thank you for being there for me. It gives me strength and makes a difference.
I thought it would be right to update you on the developments of the journey from time to time. So here is the first update. It is relatively long, The following ones will be much shorter.
On 20th of January 2014 I posted on Facebook the fact that I had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and that I decided not to accept the verdict that states it is an incurable disease and chose to embark on a journey of healing and recovery. I received dozens of touching comments that filled my heart with joy. They gave me strength as well as dozens of suggestions and interesting courses of action that can help me recover.
My journey began last July with a trip to California where I met “by chance” an extraordinary doctor who had developed a food supplement that was designed to cure Parkinson’s. From then on I have taken daily this supplement and others that he recommended (including 2400 mg. Omega 3). Since I have been taking them there has been a clear reduction in frequency & strength of the shaking in my hands. On the other hand, in the last two months, the stiffness in my back and hands has increased and also the slowness of my movements. If at the beginning the most disturbing symptom that I experienced was the trembling in my right hand, recently it is the stiffness and the slowness that disturb me more.
The biggest challenge that I have faced since the beginning of my journey is the mental challenge. The knowledge that all the medical world is convinced that there is no way to cure Parkinson’s and the fact that all my internet searches did not produce anyone who even claimed that he healed himself or others, gave me many moments of doubt and lack of confidence – would I really be able to find a cure, or perhaps I delude myself and actually worsen my situation?
I chose not to listen to the doubts and I invented a new diagnosis for myself, – TPS, meaning – Temporary Parkinson’s Symptoms. This diagnosis is different from what I call PPPS, meaning Permanent & Progressive Parkinson’s Symptoms. I have no proof that my diagnosis is correct and that my symptoms are temporary. This is only a belief and a decision. My journey is in fact a journey in search of people / practices / methods / tools to help me prove that my symptoms are indeed temporary.
Significant things have happened since the posting on Facebook, largely as a result of the recommendations and the help I received from different people, following it.
First – I was released in one go from the fear of people knowing that I have Parkinson’s disease and the fear of people knowing that I decided to heal myself from it. This release lightened me in an amazing way – I became able to talk to people about my situation, share with them what was happening to me, joke with them, shake in front of them, get emotional around them – it’s a tremendous freedom. After I shared this with one of my clients, he said to me that I had lost the panic in my eyes. The panic has disappeared not only from my eyes but from all my body. The panic that people will know about my situation aggravated my state and since it has gone my condition has improved.
The second thing that happened – a friend, Limor Barak, told me about Mannitol, a natural sugar substitute Tel Aviv University researchers recently discovered, that can break through the blood brain barrier – one of the major barriers to the drug treatment of Parkinson’s. The researchers found in experiments on mice with Parkinson’s, that Manitol brings about a dramatic improvement in their condition. This information gave me great hope. A friend brought me Manitol from the U.S. but in the meantime I decided to keep it as an option for the future, for reasons to be specified.
The third thing that happened, and most important – is that Ran Horodi, Osnat Yadgar and other friends advised me to meet Alex Kerten. Alex, who developed a method called Gyro-Kinetics, nursed my back nearly twenty years ago and I knew he specialized for the last fifteen years in working with people with Parkinson’s disease. I had refrained from turning to him so far on the assumption that he specializes only in relieving symptoms and not curing them. But Moshe Greenberg, a dear friend, insisted I made an appointment with Alex, I did this and I was very surprised. Alex did not promise to cure me from Parkinson’s but opened a whole new way of relating to Parkinson’s, to my body and to my situation. I meet Alex twice a week for enthralling lessons that include dance, listening to the body, breathing, boxing, and profound emotional conversations. In every encounter with him I get to know myself and my body, my possibilities and limitations and the ways I can break my own limits. And I actually break them. My body, hands and legs achieve a range of motion which I thought I would not get to anymore. My back is less stuck, my range of facial expressions have increased, the joy and vitality are coming back to me and my body, and my walking is more energetic and light. What I learn from Alex is contributing a lot to my work with my clients – both in one on one sessions and especially when I facilitate groups and workshops. As homework, I dance every morning for half an hour and I feel much, much better.
In the first diagnostic meeting with Alex he said, “What I see in you, Shmulik, is eighty percent panic and anxiety and twenty percent Parkinson’s disease. You are not breathing because of the panic, it causes your diaphragm to be stuck, and all the muscles in your back, shoulders and arms adapt themselves to your locked diaphragm. We will begin to release your body from the panic and anxiety and only then we will deal with the Parkinson’s disease.” Alex said it was not anxiety resulting from the Parkinson’s disease, but an old anxiety that have been with me for years, and the Parkinson’s attaches itself to it. I understood well what he was talking about. I know this anxiety that has accompanied me for a long time. I told him, “If by working with you I can succeed to free myself of this anxiety – I will thank God for Parkinson’s.” And this is what is happening. Working with Alex frees me from the panic and anxiety.
I feel that I have invited Parkinson’s into my life to wake me up and make me listen to my body, enjoy it and enjoy life. For decades I’ve heard many therapists who treated my back pain problem saying that I spend most of my time in my head and forget that I have a body. I do not listen to my body and have been neglecting it. I always knew they were right and I always began to listen to my body and relate to it during bouts of pain but when the pains were gone – I went back to my old ways and engaged in my thoughts, my ideas and my work. It is clear to me right now that the Parkinson’s is telling me: “If you do not start to live a full life, balanced, where your whole body participates – your Parkinson’s disease will get worse. You will be stiffer, slower, more shaking, more fixed, more dead.” Parkinson’s is the last call for me to live. To enjoy. To feel good in my body. Alex teaches me how to do it and I happily oblige. In one of the last classes I said to Alex, “You should know that if someone comes to me now and tells me he has a pill that can make Parkinson’s disappear in one go, I’ll tell him to come back to me later, after I finish the important work that I am doing with Alex and with my body.” I meant it, but I did not know how soon I would have to test that statement/
And then, Nitzan Peles, a Facebook friend, wrote me that he does not understand Parkinson’s disease but he is an excellent web searcher and that he was willing to help me in researching. I asked him to look for cases or testimonials of people who claimed to heal themselves or others from Parkinson’s. I told him I had not found any such evidence. He came back and said I did not know how to look. He referred me to two sites: one of Howard Shifke, who healed himself without drugs using medical Chi-Gong exercises based on the principles of Chinese medicine, as well as through diet, meditation and positive thinking. Today, he claims, he is completely devoid of symptoms (for several years) and teaches others how to do it by themselves. He wrote a detailed blog describing the process he went through and I was amazed that what motivated him was exactly what motivates me – the clear belief that despite what medicine says, it is possible to be cured from Parkinson’s, and not to accept that verdict. The recipe he presents for a complete cure from Parkinson’s looks real to me and I keep it as an imaginary pill, which I spoke with Alex about, until after I have completed what I will learn with him. I assume that it will take some time and I have patience and I would not be surprised if at the end of the process with Alex, I’ll find that already the vast majority of symptoms have disappeared completely.
The second site to which Nitzan referred me, amazed me even more. The site is a product of the work and research done by a group of doctors specializing in Chinese medicine, work done since 1998, with a large number of people with Parkinson’s, many of them being cured completely. The doctor leading this group, Dr. JANICE WALTON-HADLOCK, wrote and published several books containing guidance on how to heal yourself. The underlying premise of their work is that Parkinson’s is curable. Both they and the people who have used them believe in my basic belief. It is difficult to describe what a wonderful feeling it is for me to discover and understand that I am not alone. I do not walk this journey alone with this strange belief. Not only are there others who share my belief that you can heal – but others have actually recovered. More than that, anyone who wants to can learn their way.
One of the most interesting things they have written, which I suspected myself at the outset, is that anyone who recovers from Parkinson’s and returns to their neurologist to receive confirmation, will receive confirmation that they don’t have Parkinson’s but will be told that the original diagnosis was wrong and that they did not have Parkinson’s at all to start with. It means that the current paradigm regarding Parkinson’s is actually a vicious cycle – no one can be cured from Parkinson’s, and if someone recovered, it is a sign that he did not have Parkinson’s disease. A real Catch-22.
So not only I found Alex, I also found two possible “pills”, these sites. And I’m not in a hurry to use them. I am continuing my lessons with Alex and when I feel connected enough to my body and sure enough, that even after I’ll get better, I will not return to my old ways, I will choose which “pill” to use.
Last insight: the words that I choose to use in relation to Parkinson’s have great power: a few months ago I stopped saying I was ill with Parkinson’s and I started to say that I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or have Parkinson’s. Today I prefer to say that I have the symptoms of Parkinson’s. It is clear to me that I’m not sick and what I have is not an illness. From day to day, the feeling that I actually have the gift of Parkinson’s gets stronger.
This and more – some people told me I have to fight my Parkinson’s disease, and that I have to conquer it. I did not like this image. I did not like to think of Parkinson’s as an enemy. Yet when in one of the last sessions Alex told me “you will win it,” I replied without hesitation, “Of course I’ll win it.” On the way home that word bothered me – to win. But then I realized that Parkinson’s is in fact my teacher, and as such, he would love me to overcome him.
Parkinson’s, like a good karate teacher or chess teacher, will do everything so that his pupil will not overcome him easily, but will be happy and proud if the student will win in the end. So this is how I understand Parkinson’s now: A tough teacher that will do everything so that I will learn to live and enjoy my life in the fullest possible way and when that happens, he, the teacher, will go his way fulfilled and joyous.
Sorry the update is so long. I would love thoughts from you.
(Translated from Hebrew by my good friend Andy Darby)
Photo by Nili Lowicz-Darby