Harold “Gene” Adoline was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in 2006.  He was given the same grim prognosis that nearly all mesothelioma victims are given.  He was also offered chemo and surgery, but told that they would do little to impact his prognosis and his so-called terminal condition.  Instead he decided to focus on mind-body medicine.  Today, he continues to do well and enjoy a good quality of life.  According to his frequent CT scans, he has had no noticeable growth of the mesothelioma.  Here is an interview we recently conducted with this remarkable man.

Gene, how were you diagnosed with mesothelioma?

I received the diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma, epithelial type from my pulmonary doctor a week or so after I had a lung biopsy to find the cause of my underlying chest pain.  He called the house, I answered, and he told me I had mesothelioma.   He explained that the piece of lung that was removed was sent to a pathology lab and that was their finding.  This specimen was also sent to The Mayo Clinic for confirmation and the same diagnosis was given.

I understand you went for a second opinion for your treatment.  Can you explain why and what happened?

The first oncologist that I went to was very clinical with no bedside manners.   He just recited the diagnosis and prognosis along with there being no absolute cure.  In so many words, it was terminal.  He offered no resources and certainly no hope. My oldest daughter Patty asked about a 2nd opinion and specifically about the oncology department at the University of Michigan. He was familiar with the Dr. Gregory Kalemkerian who is the Director of the Multidisciplinary Lung Cancer Clinic there and agreed that I could meet with him.

Patty quickly set up with an appointment with Dr. Kalemkerian, in Ann Arbor.  He was extremely informative with exceptional bedside manners. His nurse assistant was on top of everything and was caring and helpful as well. He also had my specimen analyzed at the U of M pathology labs and concurred with the same diagnosis.

What was your treatment course you selected?

My treatment course was monitoring only – to have CT scans and look for negative changes in the cancer’s progress every three months.  While various treatment options were presented none were strongly recommended because Dr. Kalemkerian was not convinced they would make much of a difference in my case.  Therefore, I decided on no treatment at the current time.

So you did not do any chemo, radiation or surgery?  Why?

My doctor felt this was the best course to take.  He agreed that none of these treatments would or could stop the progress of my disease or cure the cancer.  He commented that I looked pretty good and I seemed to have a good quality of life and that was the goal after all.

Are you using any alternative modalities?

My wife was extremely disturbed over my health and was starting to show frustration in regards to the whole matter. She had worked in a hospital for 23 years, was familiar with mesothelioma and many other cancers, and was just down in the mouth, to use a known terminology.  I found that it was up to me to do whatever was needed to keep my wife from worrying. As I pondered what to do, I just thought that I had had a lot of things happen to me in my life time and I corrected them with positive thinking. Now I know that this is just “so so” to some, but to my way of thinking, it had performed well for me in the past and I decided to use it now.  After all, what did I have to lose?

Can you explain a little more about the positive thinking that you use?

I had learned some years back that your body could take care of itself if you gave it a Yeoman’s chance.  That is, if you were to utilize the forces inside your body and direct them as needed. This gets a little complicated to most people yet it is simple.

First, I consider that within my body there is a vast army that works at my command.  Next, I consider the fact that this army is spread out doing little known chores that can be left alone for a time without any harm being caused.

Now, I sit or lay down in a comfortable position until I feel very relaxed.  When relaxed, I picture as best I can, a large table with Generals lined up all around it.   These Generals are in charge of all of the Army’s and until you order them to do your bidding in exacting orders, they will just go along with business as usual – defending the perimeters looking for invaders. Instead, I order them to make the mesothelioma their war and to use all available forces that they have been given command over for that purpose. That’s it.

However, I let the generals do their thing.  I don’t call upon them every time I think something else comes up.  It is like being a pitcher on a baseball team. Once you have thrown the ball, actions can progress.  But, if you keep balking, nothing will happen, everyone will just stand around waiting for the Ump and the game will be called.

Do you have any other words to share with others diagnosed with mesothelioma?

The approaches I have described have worked for me as there has been no noticeable growth of the mesothelioma for years. “The proof of the pudding is the eating,” and the proof of my means of coping shows up each day that I continue to live. We all have the power within us to handle problems that medical science has not been able to duplicate. Knowing that and Believing that is one giant step to conviction that you are on the right road and in the winning lane of the race for life. You have to take your health in your own hands or let someone be proactive for you. Don’t sit back and do nothing!  There is always a reason to keep on living when you have dreams and goals!

Finally, I am not advocating that people shouldn’t listen to their doctor or shouldn’t do treatment.  Everyone should do what is best for them and make an informed decision based on all available information, especially what your trusted doctor tells you.  All I am doing is telling you what I did and why and what happened to me.