Sunday, May 9, 2010

Chapter Eight – “Being Irresponsible”

    I continued my research and started to find things that I felt could make a difference in my healing. I started changing the way I ate. I was still seeing Dr. M and he had me working with a nutritionist that had started educating me on certain foods that I should stay away from. I had gotten my first thermogram and it in itself had shown me what cancer looked like. It was hot. It showed up as heat in my thermogram. To me that was an explanation of my hot flashes as well as my constant need for air conditioning. Funny, as hot as I was feeling I didn't seem to sweat much.

    By this time I had opted for the biopsy. When I made the decision to cure myself I made the decision also to have a needle biopsy performed. You can't say that you have cured yourself of cancer unless you have the proof that you had cancer in the first place. I had the biopsy on February 14th, Valentine's Day a week after my 50th birthday.

    By March 9th I was well into a month of research. I had not told anyone outside of my immediate family of my decision to heal myself. Most people did not even know about my diagnosis. I decided that this was the best way to go about it. I was a pretty private person; until I received an email.

    It was sitting in my inbox and was from someone with It was what seemed to be a courtesy response from my earlier email thanking me for my 'Letter to Oprah' about The Secret and that they would like a recent photograph of me. I figured that perhaps they wanted to use it for their website with their other 'Letters to Oprah' participants and I attached a recent headshot in the reply email and went about my day. I did mention to my sister that I had heard back from Oprah's people and that maybe it would be on the website in the future.

    It was about week later that I received a phone call from the Harpo organization inviting me to be on their upcoming 'Letters to Oprah' Show. The voice on the other end of the call was professional, friendly and I am certain not surprised when my answer was 'YES'! "Oprah loved my letter and wanted to have me on the show." How could I not say yes. This was the perfect opportunity to help others out there who were in the same predicament. Oprah Winfrey was known throughout the world. She could jumpstart the search for a real prevention or cure for cancer and I could share with her and her audience what I had found out!

    I have to tell you that I had written on my Vision List that someday I would be on the Oprah Winfrey Show for something I had written. Being a magazine publisher, I had always assumed that it would be a book. Never would I have thought that a late night email would land me on the show.

    The rest went pretty quickly. Medical records were sent, flight information was exchanged and brief phone interviews were performed. I was in Chicago with my sister Dana by my side by the next week.

    What happened before the taping of the show was pretty matter of fact. We arrived at DFW International Airport in Dallas and claimed our prepaid tickets; took the flight from Dallas and arrived in Chicago O'Hare where a chauffeur waited for us at the gate. We were then taken to the hotel, given vouchers for our meals and told what time we would be picked up in the morning. It was a nice little vacation for both my sister and me.

    That night I spoke over the phone for quite some time with one of the show's producers going over what I had been doing in the last month after I was diagnosed. No mention of what was going to be said, what order I was going to be on the show or anything else other than it was the 'Letters to Oprah' segment.

    The next morning a car came to pick us up and take us to the studio. We arrived at the studio went through security, signed releases and were escorted to the Green Room where I would have makeup applied and wait for the show to start. It was all very exciting!

    What happened next; even I could not have visualized. They sat us in the audience where we would watch other segments being taped. One of her producers came out and warmed up the audience to relax everyone and then they introduced Oprah. I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow, this is it." I could feel the butterflies start to flutter in my stomach. I wasn't nervous. Why should I be? Oprah loved my letter and we would just talk about how I believed that we are in control of our destinies. We would laugh about how we both believed that thoughts do become things. I would share with her the amazing things that I had found out during my month long search for a cure. We would hug at the end and she would wish me the best of luck.

    That's what should have happened. Instead, a completely different scenario took place.

As I was escorted to the famous couch on stage I was handed a piece of paper with an excerpt from my email letter that I had written. It wasn't until a few moments later that I would be asked to read those few sentences and hear those fateful words coming out of Oprah's mouth. In my recollection of that day I see and hear her speaking to the audience and I knew that things were going to be different as soon as she mentioned how concerned she was when her staff received my letter.

Then Oprah started speaking to the audience of her dismay that many people had taken the message of The Secret as being the answer to every problem known to man. People chanting their affirmations at home, seated on their couches and not doing anything to take action towards those goals. She was concerned that now I was here on the show thinking that I would be curing myself by just thinking good thoughts. She would do something different if she had been diagnosed. She would seek conventional medical care. And then she said those fateful words, "Don't you are being irresponsible?"

    It was at that moment that my experience with Toastmasters kicked in. This was however a 'table topic' that could kill me if I got it wrong. Oprah was looking at me with the question still hanging in the air. It was my turn to say something. In my head all I could think was, "I've been set up." But then my spirit rose up, grabbed my brain and I began to talk.

I told Oprah what I had been doing this past month, what I believed, what I knew in my soul to be true and how we could not make a decision based on fear. She asked me if it was about saving my breast. I told her "No, if it came down to my breast or my life I would choose my life, but it all boiled down to the right for me to choose when I had all my questions answered."

It was a blur. The taping of my segment ended. The audience clapped and I was led off Oprah's couch, her stage and into another dimension that was to become my new life.

    By the time we had reached the Green Room where we would wait for our ride back to the airport I realized that I had become the sacrificial lamb to appease the media gods. So much hoopla had centered around The Secret that the show had been catching a huge amount of flack for leading people down a path of inaction and irresponsibility. Oprah had to make people understand that it wasn't enough to just think good thoughts, you had to do something. She was able to get her point across but at what cost?

    By the time the show aired the following week I wasn't sure what would show and what would end up being edited out. Most of the interview remained intact. I was glad about that. I was able to get my point across.

    Then the hundreds of emails started pouring in and my life was forever changed.


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