“All that is in the universe is also in man; all that isn’t in man, exists nowhere.” (from the Tantra)
“All science measured against reality is primitive and infantile, yet it is all we have.” (Albert Einstein)
Premise: these few cases, selected from among many similar cases over 45 years of practice, are reported here with the highest possible degree of precision, and are, above all, authentic. However, those who do not believe what I say might be advised not to read this blog entry. Names and places have been changed to preserve anonymity, except in the case of two personal experiences. This article presents facts, not interpretations.
Approximately twenty years ago I had a young patient (around 35) from a nearby town. She was very attractive and she was married with a man whom I never met, despite the seriousness of the case. Some years before, she had undergone surgery to remove a small breast tumour, which had resolved itself without metastasis nor any other kind of complication. It was the same old ritual: twice a year she would go for a thorough check-up by an important oncologist and then she would come to me to complete the cycle. Both appointments were always entirely satisfactory. She did not say much and she was somewhat reserved. But she would tell me about a recurring dream: “I had gone to the visit the oncologist, and I was climbing the stairs in the institute while the doctor was coming down them. Already from a distance, he was shaking his head as if to say that nothing could be done to save me. When we met, the oncologist became Death (complete with a black cape and a scythe) and embraced me. I was entirely unafraid.” As I said, the dream was always the same. Each time, I told her that I thought there was an intention to die, regardless of the results of the tests, which were of less importance, but she would simply smile mysteriously – or so it seemed to me.
Towards the end of July, the lady came to see me before I and the oncologist, whom she had just been to, left for the holidays, and, as always, everything was fine.
When I returned in September, I learned that on the day of the August holiday she had been rushed to hospital with an extremely aggressive recurrence, only to die one month later. By way of guarantee, the two people who might have contradicted the tenacious message of the dream were absent.
That Sunday at dawn, I was on my way back from Venice. It was around 4 in the morning, and I was exhausted and very sleepy. Sometimes I lost concentration, but I did not want to stop. Predictably, I fell asleep at some point, and started dreaming. I dreamed a big black curtain and Death lifting it up, inviting me to enter. Gripped with an indescribable terror, I woke up immediately, just in time to avoid colliding with the pylon of a bridge over the motorway, with a split second to spare. I stayed in a lay-by for I think half an hour: the lights high up on the bridge projected a shadow like a black curtain on the road. Thirty years on, when I drive past that place (around Boara Pisana), I become serious.
I saw her one October morning at the clinic. She was young, 24 years old, beautiful and well presented. She had undergone surgery the year before for an adenocarcinoma and there had been a metastasis in the pelvis. The slides clearly showed a number of dark spots like one hundred lire coins, which left little doubt as to what they were. The girl wanted to go to India to be healed by [omissis] and her problem was that the airline company was not allowing her to board a flight due to the possibility of fractures occurring, especially during landing or other similar situations. She was absolutely convinced. Having prescribed an immune system therapy, without much hope, I wished her a successful outcome and said goodbye. She clearly managed to get the ticket for the flight, and the trip went well. I saw her again four months later in fine form, and happy. The x-rays she took for a check-up after returning to Milan were perfect.
To say that I scarcely believed the evidence is an understatement. I managed to make contact with the radiologist who had done the initial check-ups, as well as the last one. He said, and I quote, “If I hadn’t done them myself, I would have said it was a different person.” I saw the patient one more time, in perfect health, and then lost track of her.
It was the two children of the patient, who had an adenocarcinoma that was good for a biopsy. From the slides, I saw that the tumour was the size of an orange and was located high up and in the middle of the chest, around the sternum. I asked them what they thought I could achieve: the patient was obese and eighty, and the medics had chosen to leave him in peace, prescribing only monthly x-rays. The two children wanted help to let him die in the best possible way, because they understood that it would have been absurd to ask for more. The sick old farmer turned up a few days later in a buoyant mood, because he did not know the nature of his problem. I told him that if he didn’t want to die he had to obey me with regard to the [omissis] therapy, and he requested that he should not be asked to give up his cigarettes (two packets a day). Such was our agreement. After one month, the x-ray showed that the mass had not grown, after two months there were signs of calcification and, to cut a long story short, after six months the adenocarcinoma had become a ball of chalk. My friendly patient never found out about the tumour and died as a result of a bad case of the ‘flu five years later, at the age of eighty-five.
Perhaps husband and wife really do exist somewhere, and perhaps they (but only they) would even recognise each other. They came to me twice a year for check-ups from a city in the North. Both had lovers, and things seemed to have been going smoothly for some time. One day, however, the husband’s “second wife”, probably the one offering the greater guarantees, suggested, quite logically, that the married couple should file for divorce. No sooner said than done, with an amicable agreement, and each went their separate ways. Three months later, however, the lady was unequivocally diagnosed with a malignant tumour in the breast. As it was the end of July, the oncologist put the operation off until September. Meanwhile, the husband, assailed by guilt, and in view of the toxicity of the situation, left his lover and returned home to his wife. September came, and the lady returned to the oncologist, who asked to review the test results before proceeding with the operation. But there was not a shadow of a tumour. Nor did it return.
It was the 18th of March, 1972. As the duty doctor, I was on call that day, which was unfortunate because the ‘flu, which strain I cannot recall at present, was doing the rounds. What is certain is that between 6 in the morning and 11 at night I made around eighty house calls, and I remember a number of occasions in which the village policeman, when he saw me coming and the traffic light was red, would stop the traffic to let me through. I had a temperature too. I woke up the following day at five o’clock in the morning with a terrible chest pain, like a knife in my heart. I couldn’t move and breathing was unbearable, so much so that I thought I was dying. Stubbornly (the pain had eased a bit), I waited from Monday to Friday before going to the hospital for an electrocardiogram: the diagnosis was endoepicardic necrosis (I still have the report), and that evening I had myself hospitalised. It was only after the third ECG that the diagnosis changed from heart attack to pericarditis, and I took one month’s sick leave. From that time on, however, I started suffering from increasingly frequent exertion-induced anginal pains. Reluctant as I was to undergo conventional treatment, by 1986, fourteen years on, I had reached an extremely dangerous point: I was travelling to Naples for my tests every Thursday, and it only took the steps leading from the underpass to the railway platform in Bologna station to bring on a coronary attack. I opted for a check-up with an eminent physician in Naples: after many years, I took an ECG exertion test, which had to be interrupted after twenty seconds due to an attack. I refused a coronarography and the bypass that would inevitably follow (I do not advise anyone to do the same). The doctor, following impeccable logic, predicted misadventure in the near future. The following Thursday I took a dream in for analysis, and it goes without saying that my condition was as bad as, if not worse than, before. In my dream I was running and taking big leaps on the sand of a tropical island I had never been to but which I hoped to visit. I ran without any pain whatsoever, and said to myself: “See? You’re fine.” My analyst and I agreed that, even though it was highly improbable, the dream represented a real fact that I had to take into consideration. It had it again twice, each time identical to the first. August came, and with it the holidays. I chose the Cook Islands, and the last attack occurred as I was flying over Hawaii, this time without exertion. I dismissed it as unavoidable. When I arrived in Avarua, I settled down between the palm trees and the sea. Unfortunately, it was raining, and the rain lasted for twelve days, an extremely rare occurrence. On the twelfth day, I was between water and sand, chatting with the Hungarian ambassador. The rain had stopped, and black rain clouds were moving towards the setting sun. I had waited long enough for a chance to go for a swim, so I went. When I came out of the water, however, there was a cold breeze, and instinctively I started to run. Apart from the picture postcard scenery of palm trees, at one point I realised that I was running without any pain in my chest and that everything was just as I had dreamed it. I ran for as long as my legs would carry me. Since that day, I have never had any kind of problem. A quarter of a century has passed, and even my latest ECG has shown no signs of coronary trouble, despite the fact that in the meantime there have been plenty reasons for dying of heart attack. It will be for another time.
“Since all is appearance
and is perfect as it is,
and has nothing to do
with good or evil,
nor with the fact that you accept or reject it,
then we can laugh about it all.”