A shift in perception from fear
to love, understanding and acceptance.
excerpt from “Healing is Believing” copyright ©Jeri Mills 2013 all rights reserved
It was a Saturday afternoon in late July. Contrary to the myth that summers are cool in the mountains of New Mexico, the temperature had reached ninety-five every day for the last two weeks. I was curled up in bed, trying to get what little relief the ceiling fan had to offer, lost in the pages of one of my favorite novels, when the phone rang.
“Jeri. How are you?”
The minute I recognized Jaimie’s voice, an alarm went off in my head. Jaimie is a horse trainer. That time of year she was so busy she barely had time for food and bathroom breaks let alone a chat on the phone in the middle of the afternoon.
“Jaimie, what’s wrong?”
“Rip’s in the hospital.”
My mind filled with an image of the gentle man who trimmed my horses’ hooves. I’d only known them for six months but Rip’s already weathered face appeared more drawn and his movements were slower each time I saw him. I would have sworn he was a decade older than the sixty years he claimed to be. The last time he was at my ranch, he stopped to rest an arm over the horse’s shoulder and chat for at least ten minutes after trimming each hoof.
Horse shoeing can be a dangerous business. My first thought when I heard he was in the hospital was that, no longer able to move as quickly as he used to, a thousand pound animal had knocked him down and crushed him.
“My God, what happened?”
“Rip’s been feeling awful for about ten months now. He’s been so exhausted he can barely drag himself through the days. He lost a bunch of weight and he keeps complaining about belly pain. I tried to get him to see a doctor, but you know how men are! Then, a few days ago his eyes turned yellow with jaundice and I gave him an ultimatum; go to the doctor or I’d kick him out of the house. He finally listened to me.
“They did some tests at the clinic in town and thought he might have gall stones. So they sent him to the hospital in Alamogordo. When he got there, they did a CAT scan and told him he has a huge tumor in his pancreas.”
Her voice became strained, but she managed to maintain her calm. “The doctor is almost certain it’s cancer. He says they need to biopsy it to be sure. There’s no one there who’s skilled enough to do that kind of operation so we’re waiting for a bed to be available at University Hospital in Albuquerque.” She started sobbing. “This keeps happening. I made my aunt go for tests, and two weeks later she was dead. Then the same thing happened with my brother…”
I felt sick. I’d taken care of several people with pancreatic cancer when I was in medical school and, in the last few years, six acquaintances had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Five died within three months of diagnosis. The sixth, hung on valiantly, but she too was gone before the end of a year. Rip and Jaimie were warm, wonderful people. Why would something so awful have to happen to them?
“Oh, Jaimie. I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do? Do you want me to come down and give him Reiki? Are you OK?”
“We’re OK right now. They could be ready to ship him to the other hospital any minute, so don’t drive here, just send energy.”
I immediately sent a distance healing for Rip and Jaimie. Then I went to my computer and wrote a letter to the dozen or so friends who frequently sent healing requests to extended circles of people. I asked them to send distance healing and requested that they put Rip on their healing lists and into the prayer chains at their churches. My one e-mail should have resulted in several hundred people sending energy and prayers for my friend and his wife.
Rip was admitted to the university hospital on Monday. His operation was scheduled for Wednesday. On Tuesday, I drove up to Albuquerque to visit and offer what support I could.
Rip looked small as he lay in the narrow hospital bed rhythmically gripping the edge of the cotton blanket. The white sheets set off the yellow tinge that had entered his skin since the last time I’d seen him. He smiled when I sat on the edge of the bed and took his hand.
After a brief chat, I offered to perform a healing. Though I didn’t express my fears to my friends, the doctor side of my brain was certain that Rip had an incurable disease. My only intent as I laid hands on him was that the energy work would strengthen his body and reduce the physical pain while he recovered from surgery. I also hoped it would help give him the courage to face his death more peacefully. I truly believed there was nothing that could be done to save Rip’s life.
The healer in me had the wisdom to keep her opinions to herself.
I laid my hands on his abdomen and became a clear channel of healing and light, allowing Rip to draw what energies he might need through me. When the energy ceased to flow, I lifted my hands from his body and prepared to leave. After hugs and well wishes, I headed for home promising to continue sending energy throughout the next day. Jaime said she would phone when the operation was finished.
The following day, about twelve hours after the operation had been scheduled to start, I received the long awaited—dreaded—phone call.
Jaimie sounded exhausted but there was a brightness in her voice that I hadn’t expected. “Jeri, he’s fine! I can’t believe it and neither could the doctor.”
“What exactly did he say, Jaimie?”
“He was shocked when he came out of the operating room. He told me that when he looked inside Rip’s belly, he was sure it was full of cancer. He said if it were up to him, he would have simply closed Rip up and sent him home to die in peace. But he had to follow protocols. So he took a bunch of biopsies. He couldn’t believe it when the pathologist said there was no cancer, only scar tissue. So he took some more biopsies. They were OK too. Then he just took out Rip’s gall bladder. He said he didn’t know how it was possible but apparently Rip is going to be fine.”
Surprised but elated I wished my friends well and sent hugs and energy.
A week later, Rip was still in the hospital, recovering from his extensive scar removal. I drove back to Albuquerque for another visit.
Rip was tired and pale but he had a big grin on his face when I walked into his room.
“The minute you laid your hands on me and I felt the heat coming into my body, I just knew I was going to be fine. And I am!”
I didn’t tell him, but I never thought he would be OK. I still wondered if perhaps, in her stress and her desire for her husband to be well, Jaimie had misunderstood the surgeon when he spoke to her after the operation.
While we were chatting, the surgeon walked into the room for his daily visit. I introduced myself as a family friend and fellow physician and asked him what exactly he had seen in the operating room. With Rip’s permission, the surgeon told me his story.
“When I opened him up, thirty years as a cancer surgeon told me in no uncertain terms that I was looking into a belly full of cancer. But sometimes, my job is to follow protocols. So I biopsied some of the tumor in the omentum and sent it off to pathology. While I was waiting for the results we continued to explore Rip’s abdomen. I felt masses in his pancreas and in all the surrounding lymph nodes, around the common bile duct and in the adjacent tissues. I couldn’t believe it when the pathologist phoned and said that all he saw was scar tissue. So I dissected some more and sent down some big, hard, irregular lymph nodes that felt like they were full of tumor. Twenty minutes later I received another call. Scar tissue. I knew there was cancer in that belly so I took out all the tissue that felt like tumor. The pathologist said it was all benign. Finally I got down to his gall bladder and it was full of stones. I decided this was the damndest case of gall bladder disease I’ve seen in thirty years. I plan to write it up for a journal.”
It may well be that the mass that looked and felt like metastatic cancer really was no more than the most unusual presentation of gall bladder disease that Rip’s surgeon had ever seen, but in my heart I believe there is another explanation.
Though there were no “pre-healing” biopsies to confirm or deny my own interpretation of the situation, I believe that Rip did have cancer and that the prayers and energy sent to him were able to transmute the tumor into benign scar tissue.
I was amazed and humbled by the experience. I always knew that if I believed something could be done energetically, it was possible. But in my own arrogance after years of giving Reiki to people who had never heard of it, and having their pain go away, I thought that MY belief was the deciding factor. I saw the patient as little more than a passive recipient. I have come to understand through this experience that, while intent and belief are indeed the driving force behind all healings, the intent and belief of the patient are at least as important as my own.
Clearly Rip’s intent and belief that he would be well, together with the intent and belief of the hundreds of friends and well wishers who sent prayers and energy, were infinitely more powerful than my own belief that it was not possible for him to survive his illness. My own importance in the process was demoted to its rightful place. I am merely a vehicle to concentrate healing energy from the Universe. The patient’s body, mind, spirit decide what to do with it.
Please understand, I am NOT by any means advocating that if someone believes they will be fine they should forgo medical care. What I do believe, what I have observed over many years as a physician and healer, is that regardless of whether we are talking about alternative healing or surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, the patients who truly believe the modality they have chosen will work for them have the best outcomes.
Undoubtedly, the will to live is a very powerful thing, but it is not enough to simply want to get well you must believe you are going to get well. And every once in a while, our beliefs are so strong that, like for my friend, Rip, miracles happen.