I came to myself within a dark wood,
Where the straight way was lost. – Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
“It’s a bellyache,” the pediatrician said. “A bug going around. It’ll run its course. In five to ten days, Mark will be fine.” But my twelve-year-old son remained feverish, lethargic, and nauseous. After repeated visits to the physician, Mark asked, “What about this lump in my belly?”
The doctor paled and sent Mark to a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Within two days he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, an aggressive lymphatic cancer which doubles every twenty-four hours. Mark was in renal failure, and the prognosis was grave.
Like any parent, I knew I would not only be his advocate to the medical community, but I would help him live. I wanted to take his disease away. But I coveted something far deeper: I wanted his body, mind and spirit in a state of health. I wanted disease not to be an option!
I assembled massage therapists and spiritual healers. Friends and colleagues taught him to meditate and use hypnosis to endure the excruciating pain from the chemotherapeutic protocol. From music, crystals and prayer to touch, nutrients and chemicals, Mark got it all!
We added acupuncture to our regimen to address his unexplained and unrelenting abdominal pains. For his first visit, I carried Mark into the treatment room because he was in too much pain to walk. One hour later, at the conclusion of his treatment, he easily jumped off the exam table with the energy of a healthy teenager. As we walked from the office, he said, “I’m going to be an acupuncturist.”
Supporting my son through the most dramatic period of his life became a powerful emotional and spiritual awakening for me. I watched Mark transition from a robust infant to a dynamic adolescent stricken with a near fatal disease, then, saw him recuperate and flourish into manhood.
Through those turbulent years health and wellness became my primary focus, for it is painful and costly to wait until disease ravages the body, diminishes the mind, and crushes the spirit before intervening on our own behalf. I have learned wherever we are in our healing journey, we can shift our attention from fighting disease to encouraging health by making simple yet profound changes.
As a Five Element acupuncturist, it is my privilege and honor to support each of you along your healing path, for it is when we travel through the dark wood and the way is lost that we discover our destiny.