In October 1993 when I was 50 years old, I went t seen my internist, Dr. Leland Teng of Medalia Healthcare in Bellevue, WA., because I was suffering from indigestion. Dr. Teng checked me thoroughly, and because he was alarmed by what he found, he referred me the same day to the renowned gastroenterologist, Dr. Robert M. Gannan of Northwest Gastroenterolgy Associates. After conducting an endoscopy of my stomach and a biopsy, Dr. Gannan very gently told me and my wife, Vilma, that I had a malignant tumor in my small stomach and recommended immediate surgery. Both my wife and I were in a state of shock. What could we do but accept the fact and face the truth?
Dr. Gannan referred me to surgeon, Dr. Eiji Minami, who scheduled surgery for me the very next day. After 2-1/2 hours of surgery and when I was fully awake, Dr. Minami told me that he had taken out ¾ of my stomach and some lymph nodes, but that he suspected the cancer had spread to some more lymph nodes. He recommended I see the oncologist, Dr. Kathryn D. Crossland of Overlake Internal Medicine Associates and the radiologist,
I immediately began a treatment of chemotherapy under Dr. Crossland’s supervision and a treatment of radiation under Dr. Pelton’s supervision. Not one month into my treatments, I had lost a lot of weight and was feeling very weak. Food tasted like sand and I was vomiting frequently. Chumps of hair were falling from my head and I could barely stand up straight. As a matter of fact, I was very depressed and felt sure that if I remained this way, I would certainly die.
It was then that my wife and I decided to get away from it all and leave this depressing environment. Against all my doctors’, family and friends advice, we decided to go immediately on a two-month trip to Asia to visit old close friends and our old haunts.
When we left Seattle International Airport, I was in a wheelchair. As soon as we got on the plane, I felt very relieved to be leaving Seattle. I had a hearty meal and even drank some wine. But half way through the trip I got very nauseous and sick, and the stewardesses helped me lay down. When I awoke I was in Hong Kong. Throughout the rest of our trip I never once got sick. I ate well, met old friends, visited old haunts and even went disco dancing. I felt better and stronger each day and I was putting on weight. In two months time, we visited Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand and India, and I returned to Seattle without the aid of a wheelchair.
I also meditated during my trip. I would empty out all thoughts from my mind and take deep breathes in. while inhaling, I would imagine pure healthy air going into my stomach and purifying my stomach. As a exhaled, I would imagine all my illnesses and impurities leaving my stomach. I would do this exercise twice a day, every day, for 10 minutes each time.
When we returned to Bellevue, WA., I had medical check-ups with all my specialist doctors. They couldn’t believe what they saw! They couldn’t find a trace of cancer in my body and asked me if I had taken Tibetan medicine, which I had not. After several weeks and months of thorough check-ups, they gave me a clean bill of health.
On the morning of January 29, 1999, as I got up from bed to go to the bathroom, I found I couldn’t walk straight. I was walking like a drunken man and I couldn’t figure it out. I walked down the steps to the kitchen for my morning coffee and still I couldn’t walk straight. I immediately shouted for my wife and she called 911. The ambulance came within 5 minutes and they told me that I had had a mild stroke. They took me right away to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.
At the hospital, the doctors confirmed I had had a mild stroke and recommended I stay in the hospital for a few days for a thorough check-up. On the third day, I was scheduled for an MRI. At the MRI clinic, they made me wait for a very long time. Also during the MRI., I was made very uncomfortable. All said, it was a pretty nerve-wrecking experience and I was very upset. A couple of hours later as I lay on my hospital bed answering some questions of some medical students, I suddenly suffered a major stroke and immediately lost my speaking abilities. From then on, for two whole months I couldn’t talk, eat or walk, and I couldn’t move the left side of my body. While in the hospital, my sister and two children came to visit me and that gave me tremendous encouragement.
When I got out of the hospital I began a regiment of meditation and exercises. My wife took charge of all medication and meals and my daughter, Pema, who came out to help me, took charge of all my exercises. Thanks to them and the encouragement of the rest of my family and friends, I recovered well enough to depart Seattle for good.
We sold our Bellevue house and moved to Southern California where I continue to do my exercises and write poetry. Since I cam to California I have written and gotten published two books of poems entitled, RECORDS D’UN TIBETA and RECOLLECTIONS OF A TIBETAN, and now this auth-biography.
I am most thankful to God for giving me so many chances to live a fruitful life, and I sincerely appreciate the enormous help and encouragement of my dear family and friends. But in the end, I know everything is upto me, and toward that I continue to live a forward-looking life.
Apart from the attention of good doctors and use of modern medicine, I can give one advice to people suffering from cancer and stroke. Get away tempo-rarily or permanently from the place of your illness. Change your environment completely, and MEDITATE.
Back of the Book
Tsoltim Ngima Shakabpa was born in Lhasa, Tibet on September 7, 1943. he was educated in Tibet, India and the United States. He had worked for the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in India and was a senior international banker in the United States until he was diagnosed with stomach cancer in October 1993. he battled his way to good health through western medicine and meditation but was struck down again with a debilitating stroke in January 1999. Despite these setbacks, in 2002 Mr. Shakabpa wrote a magnificent book of poems entitled, RECORDS D’UN TIBETA, which was translated and published in the Catalan language by the prestigious Spanish publishing firm, Pages Editors. In April 2002, he received the.
EDITOR’S CHOICE AWARD for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry from the International Library of Poetry. Later, in 2003, he was selected as ONE OF THE BEST POETS OF 2003 and was featured in an international WHO’S WHO IN POETRY book. In early June 2003, Mr. Shakabpa’s inspiring new book of poems reputable United States publishing firm, Publish America. Now he has written this touching and revealing autobiography, WINDS OF CHANGE - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A TIBETAN, which is probably the first ever autobiography written in poetical form. This autobiography should be an inspiration to all immigrants and to al those afflicted with debilitating illnesses.
He continues to write and fight for the independence of Tibet, and maintains a healthy attitude toward life.
Mr. Shakabpa is the Executive Director of his late father’s memorial foundation, TSEPON WANGCHUK DEDEN SHAKABPA MEMORIAL FOUNDATION, and like his famous father, the Tibetan historian and patriot, has been a strong advocate for the independence of Tibet.
His poetries and autobiography are marked with philosophical inspiration, romanticism, patriotism and a fighting spirit - all expressed with a touch of Tibetan charm and American candor.
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