Part 1: “You Have Cancer”

What I intend to do is start a blog or journal about my journey with cancer. I want to do this because I believe that I can learn a great deal about healing journeys by paying attention to my own. Yesterday Beth and I went to my appointment at the VA hospital. The purpose of the appointment was to discuss the findings from my recent prostate biopsy. Some background is important…

I will be 65 in July. One of the challenges of being in the last third of my life is that now what is most present is the difference between the way my body used to work and how it works now. Up until about two years ago I didn’t think a lot about relieving myself in the morning. Now I do. I wake up more frequently in the early morning with an urge to go. Then I notice it ain’t what it used to be. The old plumbing system isn’t working the way it used to. (Now there are certain number of you reading this who may be smiling or nodding your head in recognition. Or you may have a partner who is now experiencing this.) Given that something is different, it will have some sort of meaning for you, such as, “I’m getting older” or “This is different” or “Is there something wrong?” or any number of other things you might be thinking.

Well one day I picked up my phone and called my medical provider, the VA hospital. I was put through to a nurse who started asking me questions about frequency, volume, experience of pain or not, and then he looked in my records (the VA has been using computerized record-keeping for several years now) and discovered that a blood test I had taken in the past had elevated PSAs. His tone became decidedly concerned, and he asked me why I hadn’t followed up. I told him because I hadn’t known I should’ve followed up. Who knows what happened—whether had I been told and blown it off or somebody had forgotten to mention it, it doesn’t matter. What did matter is that I got it that I needed to follow up, and I did. When that blood work came back, it showed an even higher elevation of PSAs. An explanation might be helpful here: PSA, or prostate specific antigen, is a glycol protein secreted by the gland. It has a positive reproductive function, but when it becomes elevated in response to an enlarged prostate or a cancerous condition in the prostate, it indicates a problem. When there is an elevation in PSAs, many medical providers suggest a prostate biopsy. I emphasize many because I sought a second opinion from a naturopathic physician whom I have consulted with in the past. He also advised me to have the biopsy.

Well, what can I tell you about prostate biopsies? Weird would be a good word. Uncomfortable comes to mind, and suffice to say that like many invasive medical procedures, it has some risks and side effects that take some getting used to. My experience was positive overall in that the doctor who performed it did a good job of preparing me and making what is intrinsically uncomfortable doable. Which brings me to yesterday.

When I was called to meet with the doctor who was to talk to me about the biopsy findings, I went with my wife Beth and met with a surgeon and a resident. In retrospect I’m reminded of the old TV show Dragnet, from which Sgt. Friday is often quoted as saying “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” My doctor jumped in and just gave me the facts. They were delivered purely as information. He did a good job of establishing that I have a serious enough condition to warrant drastic medical intervention. What I realize when thinking about the experience is how much it was about delivering information. There was very little focus on how the information affected me or what it was even like to be told, “You have cancer.” What I realize, of course, is that I immediately began making a meaning out of what he was telling me, both consciously and unconsciously. And even when I write this I can feel the intake of my breath and the welling up of tears behind my eyes. I realize that in the environment of the urology lab I had a similar intake of breath, and I was smart enough to connect with Beth. I could feel the support emanating from her.

As I’m writing this I’m really processing what I’m going to do. I’ve already begun researching and thinking about what all this means. Those of you who know me have heard me say many times that symptoms communicate some sort of needed action. So what is my prostate telling me? What does it mean that I have prostate cancer?

The doctor who delivered the information recommended surgery. So should I cut that part of myself out, or do I respond in a different, non-medical way? I’ve already started listening to one of my own hypnotic tapes on healing, and I’m asking myself what makes the most sense. I’m already eating and living in a way that is consistent with healing, though there are a couple of things I have to do differently. I resisted giving up coffee completely, and it looks like I’m going to have to say goodbye—saying “No” to one experience so I can say “Yes” to a deeper experience.

I’m in a community that includes a number of remarkable healers, so would I be willing to go with something unconventional, or will I follow the recommendations of my VA doctor? What I am aware of when I write this is there was no discussion of nontraditional healing modalities, and I realize I could have initiated the discussion but did not. I did ask, “Does this process reverse itself? For example, is it possible to lower PSAs? Is it possible to reverse a cancer process?” I did describe my idea that cancer represents a mistake in how cells react, and the doctor acknowledged that was so, but his take was that if it were reversed, it wasn’t really a reversal but probably a bad diagnosis.

I’ll be writing more in the coming days. I want to tell you what it’s like to make decisions about the kind healing I’m going to do and what that means. I’ll be reading many books on healing—I’m going to look at NLP and healing, I’m going to read spiritual perspectives on healing, and I’m going to have more forthright conversations with my healing team. Even though surgery has been recommended, I’m not sure that’s the choice I’m going to make. For those of you who read this, I would actually appreciate your thoughts and ideas about what I’m writing because I know some of you have already been down this path, and I know that many of you will be going down it.

P.S. Do you want to share this post? Please do. Just be sure that it remains intact and includes the following bio.

About Terry: Terry Hickey, M.S., is a Certified NLP Professional Coach, Business Trainer and Consultant, a Certified Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and the co-owner of NLP Advantage Group. Originator of the Belief Breakthrough Method™, Terry specializes in teaching coaches and entrepreneurs how to rapidly resolve limiting beliefs about wealth and success. His tips and strategies can help you launch yourself into the future you want… NOW. http://terryhickey.com/

Categories : Healing


  1. Terry,
    Thank you for the courage to share this journey with us. I’m sure you’re reading Louise Hay, among your spiritual readings. I definitely see you healed and healthy…and yes it would be beneficial to add more natural and raw foods to your diet, less meat and processed foods, herbal, caffiene-free beverages.

    Most of all, trust your Inner Wisdom and allow yourself to be guided by Spirit. You know there is something for you to learn and grow through in this…and as I said, I see you whole, perfect and complete, healed and healthy.


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