Myers Family Adventure Update

P1020183The school year has started and our summer adventures are in the rearview window.   I thought an update would be good to close the summer chapter.

The first and most important update is about Alan’s wonderful health report.  Alan had an MRI and PET scan since we returned and the results were completely clean.  The oncologist said that since he has not had a reoccurrence in two years, the odds of having the melanoma return are only 5%!  The other wonderful part of the results is that the small, dead lesion in his brain has dissolved!  The neurosurgeon said this is very unusual – most people have the dead tissue sitting in their bodies after the radiation treatment.   We give the credit to the Indian cleanse plus the focused meditation Alan did for many days, where he saw the lesion leaving his brain.  It worked!

Returning to our life back in the US has been slow for me.  My hormones have been challenged and it has taken me weeks to feel energetic.  They say that it takes the body a few months to process the cleanse because it is so intense.  It has been fascinating; I felt so much better in India.  Of course there is no stress there – no work or kids to manage, healthy meals are prepared and the only thing you need to pay attention to is when you have to see the doctor and get to the treatment center.  I admit that I think longingly of my restful days in India now that my schedule is once again busy and constant.

The kids had great adventures at camp and are now back in the full swing of school.  So far, they have been in school one week but both are very pleased with their schools, teachers and being back with their pals.  I am thrilled to have my work day back without kid management interruptions.

The next adventure chapter on the home front is about rowing.  The boat on the carJacob is rowing with a gym team and doing lots of early morning and weekend workouts in the gym and on the water.  Plus the boys are enjoying the two man scull (row boat) that Alan bought.  We  visited Alan’s mother for Labor Day weekend with the boat and dog, Ricki in tow.   Jacob has named the boat, White Lightening.  They flipped over in the lake from all the motor boat waves.  They were full of laughter in the telling of the tale.

Here are some photos from fun on the lakefront.  Grandma Rose Mary is a great sport and of course, tried the new row boat as well!  Seems I took all the photos, so I no shots of me.

P1020195row boat in front of houseAlan-Jacob working on the boatJacob on tubeSarah on jetskiAlan, Jacob and SarahP1020197

Sarah’s big adventure this year includes getting ready for her Bat Mitzvah this coming spring.  She will soon start studying weekly; wedged in between her many dance classes!

We are thankful that everyone had a wonderful summer full of adventures.  Alan and I love the opportunity to go to India and have time off the grid.  We realize what a gift the time away has been for our relationship, as well as our physical and mental health.  We appreciate all the support and comments from our wonderful friends and family! We are planning to return to India again next year and would welcome anyone who wants to join us!

This week we are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.  We always like the pattern of looking back with gratitude and thinking about our goals and intentions for the coming year.

We wish everyone a healthy, happy New Year!

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Being Present AND Looking Forward – Alan

LookingI am in a bit of a struggle this week. I leave India in less than 3 days and want to savor the relaxation, the healing energy, and friends here. Yet, I am pulled towards looking forward to my departure and what awaits back in America.  My thought for this post is to state “out-loud” those things I am looking forward to, so that I can focus and maximize the benefits of being here at the clinic in the present moment.

  • Family – Jacob and Sarah left for camp the middle of June. Susan left India for Chicago on August 1st. When I arrive in Chicago on the 11th everyone will be back together and I am looking forward to being with them! I will see my mother and go to a family reunion later in August. Sarah has her Bat-Mitzvah in April so there will need to be plenty of preparation and planning for that.
  • Our Home – Having been either in a hotel, on the trail, or here at the clinic for the last month, I miss the comfort of our home.
  • My Work – My focus at work needs to shift more towards our historical products. We are preparing to reengineer our update processes in this area and I need to help drive that project. In the interim, we need to boost the performance of that team with training and engaging them in how we can make the existing processes better. This will be a good challenge for the coming year.
  • Exercise – While I was certainly exercising during the trek, these last few weeks at the clinic have been focused on the treatments with the extent of exercise being the 3 block walk back and forth to the treatment center! Before leaving for India I was rowing with our club and working out in the mornings. I look forward to getting back to that. Also, Sarah needs a new bicycle and she had the experience of a 3 day bicycle trip while at camp. So….perhaps there are a few family bike rides in our future!
  • Friends – I want to reconnect with friends and see what they have been up to over the summer.
  • Learning – With the importance of the projects at work I am thinking I would like to take a couple of courses this year either at UC or maybe IIT.  I want something that will relate to the current technologies for the type of systems we will be developing . It has been quite a while since I have taken any courses and the technologies have taken quantum leaps. I need to catch up!
  • Living In the Present –  During the last year I have gradually stopped looking over my shoulder at that major bump in the road I experienced called melanoma. I am in better shape both physically and mentally.  With all of the things I have outlined above I will need to be grounded and present!

What are you looking forward to over the next year?

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“I’m leaving on a jet plane” – Susan

images[3]Sing along if you know the words! I left the clinic late Wednesday night and have two flights to  Chicago with a short stopover in Abu Dhabi, arriving home on Thursday afternoon. After 4 weeks, I am amazed to say I am a bit sad to leave. I will be leaving Alan behind for another week, as well as some really fun friends we met. And at the same time, I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed and take a bath!

We had such a laugh this morning when the neighborhood cow wandered into the clinic. cow at the clinicIt was raining and he wanted to get out of the wet. He also seemed to want some TLC, as he gently nudged into anyone who got close, which included me.  It was a little scary, between his size, and he was oozing snot from his nostrils, which went right on my pants. It took several people to get him to leave, as he really didn’t want to be outside!

We did experience real monsoon rains this summer. It rained non-stop for two weeks during the stay. I don’t usually let the weather bother my mood, but this got to be quite a drag. It probably had something to do with the constant, unfixable drip in my room, the corner walls that were “perspiring” rain water and the fact that everyone takes off their sandals upon entering a building and it was quite a wet mess.

I am sitting in the airport lounge in Hyderabad, waiting for my very early morning flight. I am ready to be back in the United States.  These trips to India have been a wonderful adventure and have given us the opportunity to experience a very different way of life.  Also it has been a powerful reminder of what a wonderful life we take for granted in America.  I intend to be more conscious about our world.

HEALTH UPDATE

I am returning once again taking half the thyroid medication I was taking upon arrival.  Doing the thyroid treatment just before departure has been a bit of challenge, as the body needs time to adjust to the lower dose.  I ate my first real meal at dinner before departure, after the week of rice.  I will have to eat very carefully as I travel and return home.  I have three days of home rest before I start working on Monday and am looking forward to some quiet before the kids return in a week.

I have lost at least ten pounds, if not more.  Between an old scale in the clinic, the kilo conversion and my eyesight, it is not clear.  No matter what the number is, it feels good and I hope the extra weight stays in India!

CAMP UPDATE

Sarah is having a really good summer and reports she can now windsurf across the entire lake and is teaching other kids to windsurf.  She reports she will be doing a three day biking trip and we await details on that adventure.  Boys camp has emailed twice to let us know that Jacob’s counselors have called using a satellite telephone to report that trip is going really well and they are having terrific weather!  He returns to camp on Friday, August 2nd  and will have a week to enjoy being back in camp before returning home.

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Preparing to Go – Susan

Today is my 28th day of treatment, I will have the final treatment tomorrow morning, which involves a deep steam and nasal drops from the doctor.  I am on the 6th day of the thyroid treatment and have had many meals of rice with various spices. Today’s meals are best; the rice is topped with cumin seed sautéed in ghee.  I will have my last of the 18 rice meal in the airport lounge!

The trip has been a delight on so many levels.  I am so pleased to have given myself the time to:

  1. Focus on my well-being
  2. Move my attention from an external to internal orientation
  3. Be without constantly “doing”
  4. Treat the thyroid
  5. Balance the female hormones
  6. Clean out bodily toxins
  7. Release fears
  8. Hang with Alan outside of our fast paced life
  9. Ponder what is important to me
  10. Connect emotionally and spiritually often during treatments

P1020161I have so much respect and admiration for the Raju family and their ayurvedic approach to healing.  I am so pleased that Alan and I happened onto their Panchakarma cleansing treatment, it seems to work wonders on both of us.  Alan looks fresher and calmer than I have seen in a long time.  All the treatments have been easier for me than last year.  I am a bit off at the moment, as I go through the thyroid treatment, yet so much stronger than when I arrived a month ago.  Amazingly, I would say it would be great to stay for another week!

I have not come to love India.  I am probably more accepting of how different it is than my last visit.  Just yesterday, I said to Alan, “wouldn’t it be ideal if this clinic was in Italy, Spain or France”.  Bottom-line, it is worth the challenge of the overwhelming traffic, the Indian time (slow or never) and the very different level of cleanliness.  I wish the clinic was managed more like we do things at home, but I find if I am very proactive on what I need, things do get done.

Yesterday, Murity took Alan and me to the mall to shop for gifts.  We drove over an hour each way in excessive heat, pollution and masses of cars, motor scooters and endless humanity.  I sat with my camera on my lap with the intention of capturing the fascinating surroundings and decided an aerial photo from the web would do a better job than a single shot could replicate.

At one point there were 5 huge water buffalos lying in two lanes of busy road, happily having a snooze.  The scene came and went before I could snap the photo. Here is a web shot of water buffalos strolling down a street to give you a sense of the size of these animals.  Try to imagine five of them lying down in the road, while the traffic slowed to pass them.  One even had his head on the another’s back for his snooze!imagesCA5FS006

My good pal, Kim left yesterday and the clinic is considerably quieter without her presence.  This visit we continued our unending conversations about healing insights and P1020160sharing our client tools.  Her friendship has been a lovely gift.  Here she is dressed in her travel clothes, looking very western for the first time in a month.  Alan is helpfully weighing her suitcase in the background.  Pal Andrew will be here through the end of Alan’s trip and is wonderful company.  Andrew does traditional Chinese medicine and is a professional chef, so he has lots of interesting insights about the food and healing approach.

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A Visit to the Yadagirigutta Temple

Last Wednesday evening Andrew (a friend here at the clinic) and I left with our driver/guide Murty for the Temple of Narasimha Swamy.  Narasimha is known as a healing deity and Dr. Raju often recommends a visit to this temple.

They also do head shaving at this temple. Having your head shaved at a temple is a way to put the past behind you and signify a fresh start. Given my health challenges a couple of  years ago, I am more than ready for a fresh start! So….off with the hair.

Another advantage of having my head shaved is that I started the Shiro Basti on Thursday. This is a treatment where the technicians use a rectangular sheet of plastic to create a cylinder around my head. They then use a dough to create a seal on the inside of the Imagecylinder and fill it with enough warm oil to cover my scalp.  They leave the oil on the top of my head for about 40 minutes. It is very soothing and according to Dr. Raju it calms the mind and makes it so that it can more readily absorb other medicines. I am hoping that it will help shrink that dead lesion on my brain. Which at 3 millimeters is half the size as it was two years but I am looking for more progress on that front.

After the head shaving we go to our hotel and settle in. Andrew and I go out for a walk around the village and then head back for dinner and some sleep. We have to be up at 3:00 am to get ready for a puja at 4:00am and then a second one at 5:30am.  The puja takes place inside the temple and Narasimha is offered water, milk, dressed in flowers and offered incense in return for his blessing. After the puja we head back to the clinic and are there for breakfast!

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Last Two Days of Trekking

Yikes it was cold last night! Must have been near 32 degrees F and my sleeping bag was just not up to it. I ended up putting on a couple more layers on top and some socks and made it through the night. Next time I need a new sleeping bag!

The wakeup is again at about 5:45 am. Kamal has cooked us a big breakfast because we have a long day on the trail and being in the kitchen tent feels great because of the smells and the heat generated by the cooking. Today we have a fairly abrupt climb of about 1000 ft (from 16,ooo to 17,000 ft) and then a very long decent back down to 13,500. All told we be on the trail about 9 hours today, starting at 7:00 and finishing up around 4:00.

The climb up takes about 2 hours and the views from the pass are amazing. On one side I am looking down at the high plains where we camped last night and on the other side is a beautiful view down into the valley we will be descending. We rest for a while at the top. Wong starts her descent as she likes to go slower on the downhill portions and I hang back with Sonam as he tries to make a few phone calls and this is the only place he will get any cell signal until the end of the day.

We start down the narrow path that zigzags down the steeper part of our decent and I am amazed that the horses can manage along the trail! The steep part of our descent is behind us by the time we meet up with Wong for lunch. We start off again about 1:30 and follow a river down to a village where are campsite will be tonight. Walking into the village we see large fields of a brilliant yellow. Sonam tells us that it is mustard and that people grow it for the oil in the seeds. Sonam has a farm as well as being a guide and told us that he grows enough to make cooking oil for his family for the entire year.

Tonight is the last night of the trip. I am sad that the trip is over but so thankful that I was able to finish. Tomorrow we are trying to figure out how to avoid a 2 1/2 hour walk down a dirt road used by cars. Sonam had asked his boss about sending a car but that would have been expensive. We decide that we will take the local bus instead and get ready for dinner. Today is Wong’s birthday and Kamal has made a cake in the pressure cooker. This guy is very creative on a camp stove! We all sit down together and have a great meal.

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Sun Setting The Last Night of Trek

We sleep-in a bit on the last day of the trek. We wake up about 7:00, go through our usual breakfast routine and catch the bus about 8:30. The bus is crowded and the driver looks like he is about 15 but he handles the bus well as we bump our way the 8km to our drop off point. Today we are visiting the Hemis Monastery and what looks like just a small walk up the hill turns into a 1.5 hour walk with a fairly steep incline!

This monastery is big and with over 200 smaller satellite monasteries they have over 1,000 monks in their care. We see a small museum in the monastery, look at two of the main meeting halls,  and their large statue of the Buddha.

Kamal and Gimmoy hop out of the van when we arrive.  I hadn’t expect to see them after this morning so it was good to share one last meal together in the restaurant at the monastery and then we got in the van and returned to Leh.  We all say our goodbyes and I head to my room for a long shower and to check my email. The shower is not really working so I take a “bucket bath” and then go to check the internet. Alas, it is down for most of the day but Susan calls and we have a couple scratchy phone conversations so she knows that I am OK and headed to Hyderabad tomorrow. It is good to hear her voice and I look forward to seeing her soon!

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Practically New When I Started….Now Very Well Broken-In!

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Clinic Update

P1020094I am beginning my 4th and final week at the clinic.  The days have melted into a haze and we have slowed down considerably.  Dr. Krishna has asked both of us to stay longer and we have been able to extend our plans, Alan by a full week and me by three days.

This is a photo of the building in which we are staying, the dining room is on the first floor and there are sleeping rooms on the next three floors.  P1020119Alan and I have separate bedrooms on the second floor next to each other, which works really well.  Alan has internet access in his room, so we end up hanging in there in the afternoons.  This is a photo of my room.

Girls with candyThere are several neat women guests and we call ourselves an Indian sorority.  This photo was taken early in the trip in the dining room.  We are having a big time enjoying some candy from Pulla Reddy, a shop in town where they make amazing candy out of ghee, clarified butter.  It sounds strange, but they are delicious and I hope to get there to buy some gifts to take home.  And of course, the candy is not on the food plan, which made it all the more fun!

MORE ABOUT THE STREET ANIMALS

Many of the street dogs bark throughout the night and are a noisy pain.  Kim’s room is on the front of the dining building.  The other night when the dogs were quite loud at 3AM, in a fit of anger she ran down the stairs and into the street to tell them to be quiet!  Not sure it did the trick.

Then the next night just before dinner, she was walking the eight blocks back to the building after getting the banana treatment from the doctor’s house, two dogs attacked her in the street.  And just as fast as the dogs attacked, a man flew out of one of the buildings with a plastic chair to attack the dogs in defense of her.  Then he began throwing rocks at the dogs.  She said it was frightening. When she reported the incidents to the Dr. K in the morning, he said, “Do you think the ones you yelled at, got you back!” with a twinkle in his eye?  The next day she thought she spotted the attacking dog with a muzzle on his snout!

Today when I was walked the couple of blocks to the center for my treatment; a cow was sitting quite comfortably in a small street, while a taxis driver tried to get it to move.  I was so bummed I didn’t have a camera on me, it was quite a sight.  Then when I was returning from the treatment, the cow had moved a few streets and was contently eating garbage with a stray dog on the road.  Another photo op missed!

There is a dog curled up in the business center where we get the treatments day after day. P1020150I have assumed the dog is sick and dying, it seems so sad and not well.  I look for it every day, concerned it has passed, but there it is in a new spot each day.  Sometimes another dog visits with a questioning look on its face.   Today I thought hopefully, maybe it is pregnant and is just hanging.  Need our good friend, Jamie Roth, who breeds dogs to make the call.  I am tempted to feed it, but we have been told explicitly not to feed the dogs.

TREATMENT UPDATE

Alan went to a temple tonight for an overnight with Andrew, as recommended by the doctor.  The purpose of the trip is to have his head shaved and to attend a couple of early morning pujas (spiritual service).  P1020153The shaved head will be better for upcoming treatments which involve wrapping his head with dough and a cylinder and then filling the cylinder with warm oil.  Here is a “before” photo.  Alan has promised photos and a blog update on the trip.

I have completed the week of bastis (enemas) and I sure feel lighter in many ways.  Here is a photo of Sunitha (left) and Vasumathi (right) in my room to deliver what they call the big basti.  You can see it if a lot of liquid.  Luckily the big one is only given three times and there are two smaller ones given the day before and after!P1020149

I have also completed three days of the banana treatment.  The treatment balances your hormones and made me quite emotional and teary.  As I laid on the table this morning, having hot water with medicine poured all over me by two techs, I felt a profound sense of the deep love my parents felt for me and tears leaked from my eyes.  And just at the moment, Sunthia came to wipe the oils from my face to apply the daily “face pack” P1020120for ladies skin.  She was tender and sweet, it was quite lovely.  Here is a photo my face after a morning of oily treatments including the lovely “face pack”.

Tomorrow I start a week of the thyroid treatment, where I will eat only rice with some rotating herbs for 18 meals.  I will not take my thyroid med for the first two days and then potentially go to lower dose with the goal of jumpstarting my gland.  I know it will not be easy and pray it will have a positive impact!

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