Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Cancer, No Easy Choices, Part II

by Richard Parenti © 2016

First, here is a brief summary of part I…

In 2008, I came down with tonsil cancer and was scared to death. My choices were: surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Those who have had cancer can imagine my fear and worry. I wasn’t so much afraid of dying as I was of the word cancer and of being sick and unable to function for a long period of time. I feared having to suffer and die a miserable death without the option of dying with dignity in the state of California.

I was confused as I had no idea what to expect or do. I was exasperated.

I spoke with my noble friend, Swami Veda. He told me he did not possess the healing abilities of Swami Rama, but he would pray for me and send me a special mantra to help me let go of the fear of dying and help facilitate bestowing peace of mind.

After listening to western doctors tell me my only choices were surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, I decided to do surgery, turn down radiation and chemotherapy and instead follow an ancient Ayurvedic Indian protocol called Kayakalpa. It included: cleansing of the ears with herbal oils, cleanings of the eyes with a special eastern medicine formula, cleansing of the esophagus, mineral and herbal body treatments, sauna, herbal enema and shirodhara, which is the dripping of warm oil on the forehead as I was submerged in warm water with essential oils.

Each visit took about four hours. Twelve sessions were completed over a period of twelve weeks. After each session I sat and ate a very special meal called kitchari and then went to bed and slept for a couple of hours. Afterwards, I took a walk, read, meditated, had a light evening meal and in no time back to bed and sound asleep until the next session, the next day. Sessions were every other week doing two in a row. For more information visit www.kayakalpa.com

This was my answer to radiation and chemotherapy. At the five year checkup, January 2013, my body was cancer free.

Part II begins…

In 2015 I developed a sore throat from hell, a fever, choking on food, often coughing uncontrollably, weakness and a painful jaw and headache on the right side. After five months of no response to medications, my primary care physician sent me to an ear, nose and throat doctor, who after the initial exam of my tongue and throat said I had a tumor at the root of the tongue and he diagnosed it as cancer. And for all practical purposes, he told me surgery was not a good option as it would be a massive eight to ten hour operation with the potential of several complications. Plus, I would still have to do radiation and chemotherapy. But first he wanted me to get a CT Pet Scan to see what really was going on and to get a second opinion.

The CT Pet scan revealed a second spot on my left lung. Both the tongue and lung were biopsied and showed that the cat was out the bag. It had metastasized and revealed that I had squamous cell carcinoma in the tongue and lung.

After seeing a second ear, nose and throat doctor, a radiologist at Stanford, an oncologist, dentist and oral surgeon, my future looked pretty dim. They all agreed surgery was not a wise option, and radiation was no longer an option at this point, but chemotherapy was the best option, and if that worked, than perhaps radiation. They only gave me 40% chance of success with chemotherapy because the cancer had metastasized.

The Stanford radiologist painted a very bleak picture of what I could expect from having radiation: I would have to have radiation, not only the side of neck where the cancer was detected, but to be safe, on the other side as well. My knee-jerk response was this is not going to help my quality of life but to lessen it.

I was only interested in quality of life, not quantity of life, so my internal guidance system came up with a red flag to radiation. The negative, during and after side effects, were further supported by the dentist and oral surgeon.

Then, I asked the oncologist what the short and long-term side effects of chemotherapy were and again I was not too happy with the idea of potentially getting another cancer from treatment, or getting neuropathy or having my immune system further compromised along with some other potential complications that were outlined.

I realized that at this time chemotherapy was the only option available to me in western medicine because of my condition. There was a slim chance of my doing it. But, if I felt there were minimum side effects and I would maintain my quality of life after treatment, or improve it, then I would consider it. *

I kept asking each doctor involved in the process what alternative protocols they were running in clinical trials at Stanford. All the doctors said the same thing, “Even though we are doing immunotherapy for many types of cancer, but for your type of cancer there were no clinical trials.”

Besides that the Stanford radiologist and the oncologist told me that immunotherapy was only for those who did surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, and only then would a person would be considered for immunotherapy if none of these worked. Talk about insanity!

I asked about the importance of nutrition, acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, essential oils, Reiki, hypnotherapy, Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, chiropractic work and having a positive mental attitude. The answer was always the same, “We have no clinical data to support that any of these modalities work or help.”

I felt like I was in a comic opera.

They were caught off guard when I said, “I’m good with dying and I’m good with living. Both are equally appealing to me.” I could see the consternation on their faces. They stammered, “But…but…but you’re healthy.” I responded with a smile on my face, “Best time to die for me is while I’m still functional, productive and healthy. Besides, I feel I have accomplished what I came here to do.” I got these looks like a deer when caught in the headlights.

What I found most surprising in this process I was not that afraid as I had been the last time I had cancer. I realized that now it was time to live with joy, however long I was to remain on the planet.

Of course every now and then I get down on myself or fall into fear, but when I come to my senses and remind myself death is only a transition from the physical plane to a spiritual plane, which I already had experienced, I feel some relief.

Throughout the process the question I kept asking, “Would treatment improve or at least maintain my quality of life or would it lessen it?” For radiation it was always to lessen it. As for chemotherapy there was a chance it would help and I would be able to maintain my quality of life. But was it the only option? 

Time will tell how I decide. What is helping me to consider chemotherapy is that it is only two to three sessions, five hours each session, twenty one days apart from each session and I could quit after the first session if I choose to do so. *

What I found remarkable is that all the doctors and medical professionals involved in this with me were highly intelligent, very compassionate, tactfully honest and equally ignorant of any alternative protocols that have been tested successfully in clinical medical trials and used to treat cancer, or if they knew they weren’t telling.

So, I began to research other options. I discovered the FDA had approved Turkey Tail (Coriolus) for clinical trials for cancer and that it has been used for the past thirty years in Japan in cancer treatment.
I also found that Black Cumin Seed Oil had been used in clinical medical trials for cancer and used in China and the Middle East to treat cancer, or had been an adjunct to treatment with good results.

Then, I came across an Indian M.D., A.U. Ramakrishnam, who has had over 7,000 cancer patients, who used homeopathy with no negative side effects and has had an equivalent or better success rate than radiation and chemotherapy offered by western medicine.

And I found a clinical nutritionist, Patrick Quillin, Ph.D, RD, CNS, who has worked in the field of cancer for over 20 years with documentation that nutrition did indeed reverse cancer in several cases that had been referred to him.  His book, “Beating Cancer with Nutrition” can found on Amazon.

I began to formulate a protocol of my own. It started by telling my family and close personal friends of my intentions: That I would not do radiation, but there remained an outside chance that I might do chemotherapy. I told them I would seek out alternative methods first. Their support was overwhelming incredibly loving and positive. I could feel their love and sincerity deep in my heart.

When I got home all I could think of is how wonderfully lucky I am to have the family and friends I have.

Everyone should be so fortunate.

Then, it was decided by me to invite my close friends to a family gathering for a “Celebration of Life.” I remarked to my sister, “Let’s do it while I’m alive, rather than waiting until after I am dead.” My niece stated, “That this was a first one she has ever heard of and experienced as a hospice nurse.” She commented, “It’s is always after you’re dead people celebrate, not before.”

Because of my disappointment in my options in western medicine, I formulated a plan, a direction for me using nutrition, herbs, homeopathy, acupuncture, essential oils, meditation, etc. that I could test in the fires of reality. And it was clear to me that I wanted to share with others the natural cancer protocol I was about to embark upon and in how I shifted my attitude from feeling fear to feeling good, while having cancer.

Of course, if my protocol didn’t work no one would know, but me, my family and close friends.

First part of the protocol deals with the body:

  • Juice with vegetables drinking two 8 ounce glasses daily: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, spinach, dandelion, bok choy, carrots, celery, including garlic, leeks, onion and a squeeze of lemon with a dash of turmeric
  • Daily eat a strict vegan diet of organic: Vegetables, beans, whole grains
  • Daily drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water
  • Daily take two tabs of probiotics
  • Take 20 grams of protein drink three times daily
  • Take 5 drops twice daily of liquid milk thistle in 2 oz. of water for liver or two tabs daily
  • Take 5 grams of black cumin seed oil daily1
  • Take 6 grams of turkey tail daily2
  • Homeopathy protocol: aurum mur. and cariconsin,  lycopodium, all 200c potency3
  • Connect monthly or as needed with homeopathic doctor
  • See the chiropractor weekly for balancing the body energies
  • See the acupuncturist weekly to boost the immune system
  • Get a myofascial massage weekly
  • Take walks daily
  • Spend more quality time with family and friends
  • Get out more and enjoy the fresh air
  • Continue to teach Yoga three times weekly

The second part of the protocol deals with the mind and emotions.

As for my attitude I feel mentally and emotionally better balanced every day by applying the principles that I have learned and applied in my life that came primarily from my yoga studies and my interactions with Ramamurti S. Mishra M.D., Gurudev Walt Baptiste, Abraham-Hicks and Swami Veda Bharati.

I began with adopting a new positive mental attitude towards my having cancer. How did I do this?

It all started when I had cancer the first time and I found myself spending more time in fear and worry than in feeling good about myself.

After being stuck for more than a year in fear and worry I got mad. I mean really mad until I went into rage for having cancer and I can tell you being in a rage about having cancer is better than feeling fear and worry about having cancer. That was my very first major breakthrough in beginning to shift my energy.

Then, I discovered being angry was better than rage, being disappointed was better than feeling angry, being hopeful was better than feeling disappointed. I kept leap frogging looking for a better feeling thought than the last one until I started to feel better about my situation. That was how I dealt with my fear the first time I had cancer.

And, over the years, I have continued to develop a positive mental attitude following the ancient yoga teachings as outlined in my own workshop based on Yoga Sutra 1.33 and especially Yoga Sutra 2.33 **

This mental-emotional part of the protocol began every day with meditation and a special mantra that Swami Veda initiated me in, a diksha-mrtyu, which he gave me in 2013 that superseded the first one he gave me in 2008.

  • Then, I started developing a stronger positive mental attitude by creating very simple statements that make sense to me and were easy to remember:
  • “Peace, love and family, all else is just noise”
  • “Smile, Breathe, Relax, Appreciate and Love God”
  • “There is nothing more important than I feel good”
  • “I’m happy with dying and I’m happy with living. Both are appealing”
  • “Live with Joy”
  • “It’s alright”
  • “I love we all get to choose what we want”
  • “Honor my condition. It shall pass or I shall pass. Either way I’m good.”
  • I decided that from now on that whenever I am in the company of a negative person I will change the subject or walk away. I have no more time for gossip, editorializing, criticizing, blaming or playing victim.
  • Whenever I find myself beginning to fall back into fear I remind myself, “It’s alright. This too shall pass.” Then, I ask, “What’s good about this?”
  • And if that doesn’t work I ask, “What are my favorite memories?” Then, I let my mind drift back to the easiest one I can recall and I continue to ask the question until I start to feel good.
  • Also, throughout the day I do what I call the A thru Z exercise, meaning for each letter of the alphabet I find a positive uplifting word to use as I go from A to Z; Example: Amazing, beautiful, cheerful, delicious, enchanting, fun, gracious, happy….etc., etc.…I do this until I get to Z. Since I knew no positive uplifting word that started with X, I chose a Greek word, Xanadu, which translates as a place of luxury.
  • If I am stuck and nothing seems to work I simply remind myself, “What is perfect for me is always unfolding. Meanwhile I am thankful for where I am and I am eager for the path that will unfold.”
  • And if that fails I ask, “What’s good about having this cancer?” Or, “What are the positive benefits of having cancer?”
  • When I find myself sometimes going round and round in my head I ask and answer, “What’s the worst that could happen? I would be sick, in pain followed by a miserable death.” And once I recognize this I let go even more of my fear about having cancer and in being sick.
  • And if I am still having a hard time I simply ask, “What’s the next best feeling thought I am capable of reaching for in this moment?”
  • And if nothing works at all I make a cup of hot chocolate, pet my neighbor’s dog, watch a funny movie, take a nap and upon awakening start all over.

So, where am I now? I still have cancer. I have seen numerous doctors, who are all in agreement that surgery is not a good option; radiation is no longer a good option because the cancer is in both the left lung and in the root of the tongue and chemotherapy is the only option available at this time. And if I did nothing I had one year to live. That was the western medical model I was presented with.

To sum up, all day, every day, as often as I remember, I thank God for the health I have, the amazing life experiences I have had and for all that I have become. And when I feel down I smile, take a deep breath, relax and set about to appreciate all that I can think of at the moment about me, life and others.

How do I feel about all this? My attitude is, “It’s alright,” as I beat the drum, “It’s o.k. with me to die while I still have quality of life and I am still functional, productive, healthy and happy. Stay or leave, I’m good either way. No matter what happens…live with joy!”


*Along with doing my natural protocol outlined in this article the outside chance of doing chemotherapy is still percolating in me

**I wrote an article, Secrets of Mental Magic. It is about mastering your emotions and directing your mind intelligently which is based on my understanding of Yoga Sutra 1.33 and Yoga Sutra 2.33. I originally taught this as a workshop at the request of Swami Veda at the Institute for Noetic Science, Petaluma, California, for students becoming yoga teachers in the Himalayan Yoga tradition. I am happy to send you a free copy.

Email me, [email protected]  and I will send you a copy.
Research References:


Editor's Note

Richard Parent is initiated into the Himalayan Yoga Tradition by Swami Veda. He is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher ERYT 500 and in 2015 guest lecturer for sociology graduate students at California State University Stanislaus, Turlock, California, on the subject of Emotional Mastery (Chitta Prasadanam). After returning from a 40-day silent retreat in India he authored Cancer, No Easy Choices; Naked before God; Who Am I; and Your True Self all which appeared in the Himalayan Path Magazine, Yes Publishers. And he wrote, Emotional Sobriety: Feel-Good Secrets for Everyone published Balboa Press 2013.  Richard teaches yoga to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and trains yoga teachers how to teach MS yoga.  Since 2000 Richard has been the spiritual director of the Yoga Health Institute in Modesto, California, USA.



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