The Milkweed Cure For My Skin Cancer

Since I had cancer in 1997, I’ve learned that healthy cells grow all by themselves if we let them. We can help them by being mindful of our breathing and being mindful of our body.

Mindfulness in healing, along with exercise, proper nutrition, and sound sleep are splendid ways to keep your body in top shape. It also helps to tune our intuition as to what might be healing for us.

Just like the grass in the following verse, healthy cells grow all by themselves:

Sitting quietly,
Doing nothing
Spring comes
And the grass grows all by itself.

What do you have to do to get the grass to grow? Not much, really.

The same is true for healing. When we breathe mindfully, when we walk mindfully, when we live mindfully, we help our body to heal.

Euphorbia peplusMany people would be frightened by the diagnosis of a squamous cell carcinoma on their forehead. When this happened to me on March 13, I wasn’t too concerned.

I visited Dr. Megin Scully a board-certified dermatologist in San Francisco. I can’t remember the first time I consulted her. It has probably been about 20 years. Her friendliness and bedside manner are some of the best I have ever experienced.

On the occasion of March 13, she biopsied a small growth just above my right temple. She had previously removed what was there in the summer of 2010 and it was a superficial squamous cell carcinoma that had been completely excised during the biopsy. Since it was so small, I put off doing anything about it.

The biopsy from March 13 was not so pleasing. It was a recurrence of the squamous cell carcinoma. I was scheduled for a Mohs procedure to remove the skin cancer on April 3.

As the wound from the biopsy was healing, I covered it with the cream Dr. Scully had previously given me and a bandage. I incorporated the wound in my daily meditation practices without too much effort.

Then, one day, about a week before the scheduled surgery, I was sitting in meditation and spontaneously fell into a practice from Tibetan Buddhism called tonglen, or giving and receiving. As I breathed in, I felt my pain and the pain of everyone experiencing a skin cancer. As I breathed out, I sent out my love and compassion for all of us who were suffering.

This was the first time that tonglen practice had actually worked for me. It was a wonderful experience.

Just last Friday (March 29), I was in a meeting with my friend KK. I told him about my upcoming surgery and he told me about a plant that had been used to treat skin lesions for three thousand years in Europe and Australia. It turned out to be the milkweed cure for skin cancer.

The plant is euphorbia peplus, also know as petty spurge, radium weed, cancer weed, or milkweed, according to Wikipedia. The active ingredient is a diterpene ester called ingenol mebutate, which is concentrated in the sap.

KK said that he had a bunch of it growing in his back yard and I could come by and get some anytime.

So, after tennis last Friday, I went into KK’s back yard and picked some milkweed. I broke open a small stalk and put the sap on my wound.

There was almost an immediate reaction. I had placed a small amount on the upper part of my right cheek and felt the toxic effects of the sap. Then I dabbed the healed biopsy site with a tiny bit of the sap and felt it sting. I was not intimidated by the pain and put another dab on later that evening.

The next morning, I need a bandage over the area again and didn’t think about it too much until Monday afternoon, when I noticed that the new scab was gone and the whole lesion seemed smaller.

On Tuesday evening, I discovered that the lesion had practically disappeared. From its beginning almost three years ago, it appeared as a round growth with activity in the middle – something like a crater on a tiny scale. That night, all that was left was the tiny center.

To clarify, the outer rim may have had a diameter of about 4 mm. The inner crater had a diameter of about 1.5 mm. Now the outer rim is gone and the crater is flattened, slightly red, and no bigger than a millimeter.

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