A Testimonial from Jim E. - A Cancer Patient and Tai Chi Student of Dr. Wu’s.
I am writing this testimonial to share the benefits I have experienced from Dr. Wu’s Tai Chi classes and to promote an upcoming Tai Chi workshop whose donations will support the cancer wellness program that has helped me and others so much.
I have multiple recurrent, metastatic, stage IV cancer. The Western medical doctors say they have no cure for my disease. My first cancer surgery almost nine years ago was a success in that the tumor was resectable with good margins. I must say that my world class surgeon is very skilled and it is still amazing to me how they were able to resect such a large and invasive tumor. I remember they said that between the 19 cm tumor and the other parts they had to take out; they removed something the size of my head out of my abdomen. The cancer came back a year and a half later however, followed by another surgery and then another recurrence and so on seven times now. Unfortunately Western medicine doesn’t have a cure for my disease. The repeated surgeries have only been able to treat my disease like a chronic disease, taking out the tumor each time but not able to cure or solve the underlying problem. No matter how successful each surgery has been with good margins, a tumor has grown back again somewhere in my abdomen each time.
A problem I am now faced with is after all the surgeries I am running out of intestines and organs to allow many more surgeries, if any. That is, with each recurrence and eventual surgery I lose a combination of intestines, organs, and parts of organs or other soft tissue as collateral damage to the cancer. All of the surgeries have left me with chronic digestive problems and significant fatigue. All of these surgeries have really taken a toll on me. There is no chemotherapy available that cures my disease. The best chemotherapy they have to offer for my type of cancer only provides “positive” results for a small subset of people and in those cases typically only stops or slows down the cancer for a matter of months, if that. Of course everyone who undergoes the chemotherapy be it “beneficial” or not for them, suffers the negative and often permanent side effects. I feel fortunate I have never taken chemotherapy as I fear doing so would have only weakened me and further advanced my disease. As it is, all of the repeated surgeries have further weakened me with the recovery now being worse and longer each time.
In searching for a cure or for at least some relief from my disease, I first met Dr. Wu while attending my first Tong Ren class at his Wu Healing Center in Maynard MA. At that class I learned from other students about Dr. Wu’s Tai Chi and Qigong classes at Emerson Hospital's Health and Wellness Center in Concord MA and about so many of the benefits his other students have experienced from doing Tai Chi and Qigong with Dr. Wu. I enrolled soon after but at first I had trouble attending classes regularly, due to being out for periods of time while recovering from one surgery after another. As a result I did not notice much of an immediate benefit. But a funny thing did happen after a while of regularly participating in group Tai Chi, Qigong and Tong Ren classes – my cancer which was getting worse did start to settle down and the interval between recurrences has started to become longer rather than continue to shorten. I have since learned from Dr. Wu that the benefit from Tai Chi is cumulative, that you need to do Tai Chi regularly and that you need to participate in a group session to feel and benefit from the group energy. Once I attended these group classes regularly, I did notice an improvement in the way I felt and my cancer has at least appeared to have slowed down.
Tai Chi isn’t the only part of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) that I have done but I feel that Tai Chi is one of the best places to start and that Tai Chi gives you a significant and rewarding benefit. I feel that Tai Chi takes your mind to a quite place – to enable you to recognize yourself. I feel that Tai Chi helps you find out who you are, what you need, to find your core values. I believe that the energy field is important, that you need to come to group classes and feel the group energy, that you benefit from the group energy. I believe that “mind, body, spirit” is only talk if you don’t know how to make it happen. By participating in the group and learning from Dr. Wu and from others in his community I feel I have benefited in all of these areas and that I have gained invaluable insight and experience. I feel like I am part of a community and I have met and learned from so many people. That is, you can do it on your own but without the group and community you are definitely missing out on something bigger, something more beneficial.
I view the slow subtle movements of Tai Chi as a moving meditation and as a way to empty and quite my mind. I look at Tai Chi as coming from Daoism philosophy, not as a religion. I have learned the Tai Chi moves and practiced them in group classes and I practice them on my own. I have felt and benefited from the energy. I did not have to give up my religion or learn another religion to learn Tai Chi and benefit from it. Daoism philosophy talks about where they believe the energy comes from but you do not need to study Daoism philosophy to do and benefit from Tai Chi. Dr. Wu teaches the way he practices, by showing you the postures and movements. He doesn’t try to teach you every aspect of Daoism philosophy and he doesn’t say that much at all. Dr. Wu does say to do nothing, to become the white paper, to be empty. With my being an American, living in the North East of the United States my whole life, having an advanced science college degree – this was all new and foreign to me. It took me a while but I eventually settled down into doing the Tai Chi moves and learned how to quite my mind and not have thoughts racing around in my mind, not having what is called “Monkey Mind.” (Think about a monkey jumping around and not being able to settle down or think about not being able to sleep at night because you can’t settle your mind down). Think about an actor, musician or athlete trying to perform. If they were to try to hard they would likely mess up and end up not performing well at all. If they were to just do what they do naturally, without over trying or even trying at all - they will likely perform really well. First I learned to follow Dr. Wu performing the Tai Chi moves, then I settled my mind and now I feel the energy flow and I feel the benefits. It really is “simple, easy and do nothing.”
I must say feeling the energy is quite an amazing feeling. As far as the energy and group energy goes – I can definitely feel it. Some people think that this stuff is made up or not real. I can tell you that the energy is real and the benefit you get from it is real. Furthermore, I believe that for a healing modality to have lasted for hundreds of years if not thousands of years – there must be something to it, to have stood the test of time. Regardless of what anyone says, this is the type of thing you have to come and try for yourself. That you have to give it a chance to work and not just come for a few classes and give up. I have found all of this to be very rewarding and I have found that regardless of how convincing people try to be to get others to believe in it or understand it, you really have to just try it on your own, you have to give it a chance and then you will feel the energy, experience the benefits and understand.
As I generally understand it, many aspects of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is based on the belief that disease is related to in-balances in the body (Ying/Yang), low levels of Chi, or even interruptions/blockages in the body's natural flow of Chi, neural bioelectricity, blood or hormones. I know that TCM seeks to balance the body, restore the Chi, and remove these blockages, restoring the body's natural ability to heal itself, even when illnesses are chronic, debilitating, or otherwise untreatable by modern Western Medicine. Basically correct the environment in the body, restore the Chi and open the blockages and the disease will fade away. In addition to Tai Chi and Qigong classes I have since practiced and benefited from many aspects of TCM such as Tong Ren, Chinese herbs, Acupuncture, Tui Na massage, Cupping’s, Guasha and Moxa.
Tai Chi is one of those things were you can spend a little but it helps a lot. In the United States insurance typically covers 100% of surgery and chemo which cost thousands of dollars if not tens of thousands of dollars. Many insurance plans and Medicare do not cover Tai Chi or typically at most cover $100 per year. Emerson Hospital's Health and Wellness Center Tai Chi classes cost $112 for an eight week series. So figure a little more than $650 per person per year – to try to save a life.
I hope you or someone you know can read this testimonial and be encouraged to participate in and experience Tai Chi classes, feel and realize their benefits. I hope you can support the US-China Chan Cultural Exchange Association (Chan Association) in their support of Emerson Hospital's Health and Wellness program for low income cancer patients. I hope you can attend the upcoming Tai Chi workshop benefiting the cancer wellness program and that you can learn about how to best practice and benefit from Tai Chi.
Jim E, 2/27/2016