Empathy and Bedside Manner

I still want to write about hoops and chemistry, but I’m not sure how soon I will get to this… The last couple of weeks have been an exhausting roller coaster. More about that later! In the meantime, please consider checking out our new podcast! It is about 7 minutes long and is about empathy and bedside manner.

One of the exciting things about where we are at with the Procovery program, to date, is that we will soon be resuming training! For several years now the lion’s share of our work has been final stage testing of systemic implementation of the Procovery program. We have now completed this process (hubba hubba ding ding!) and we can return to many of the other important aspects of Procovery, including training!

“You Gotta Live Your Program”

May 31, 2008, we waited as patiently as we could to hear from Randy’s surgical team at UCLA that he had successfully made it out of emergency brain surgery and that we could go and see him.

Any surgery carries risks and brain surgery certainly scared us. Different doctors had come up with different suggestions as to what might be going on, and we were anxious to hear that Randy was in the recovery room.
Randy went in to surgery very early in the AM and by early afternoon I was growing over-the-top anxious. Randy went in to this emergency surgery with his characteristic strength, focus, determination and gentleness. I couldn’t wait to get back in the same room with him, and hold his hand, and tell him I love him.

Mid afternoon the surgeon came to see us in the waiting area at UCLA. Randy and I had shared some Procovery program materials with him the prior evening. We had explained that Randy had always found it amazing that there is an entire industy devoted to improving outcomes of our educational system, and Randy always reasoned that there should be a comparable industry devoted to improving outcomes in our much more complex healthcare system. (That is one of the things the Procovery program was created to do.) When the surgeon came to see us I wasn’t prepared, and really couldn’t have been, for what he said. He said that Randy had a brain tumor in the left parietal region of his brain and that they had sent part of the tumor to the lab, and that Randy had a glioblastoma multiforme (grade 4 brain tumor). That it was incurable, highly deadly, and that there were no statistics to support his healing. Additionally, he said that Randy was experiencing a “bleed” and would need to go back in for emergency surgery, immediately. His second brain surgery that day. 

I remember standing there in the waiting area, and a stream of thoughts began to run through my mind, The loudest thoughts were admittedly selfish ones, initially. I remember standing there thinking I might never hear Randy tell me that he loves me again and I might never feel him hold my hand again………I remember feeling that I might melt to the floor, and I remember this tremendous feeling of “I don’t know how to do this.” I remember thinking that when I wake up, Randy is the first person I see, and when I go to sleep Randy is the last person I see. I remember thinking that we spend all of our time together, and have for years. And when people inevitably ask us how we can spend so much time together, we both always said that, in truth, we never felt it was enough. We have always just wanted MORE time together. And I just remember thinking, very clearly, “I don’t know how to do this………….”

Which is just what I said to the surgeon as he was heading back to surgery. And I remember as he continued walking quickly away, he turned his head back in my direction, and he matter-of-factly said, “Sure you do, you gotta live your program.”

I remember thinking, What the f#&# does that mean?

Later that night  I remember his words coming back to me, “You gotta live your program.” And I remember  pulling out a Procovery primer and my eyes skimmed the principles. And I remember thinking just pick a principle, just pick one. And I chose hope. 

I remember all of the things we have long shared in trainings, that there is always reason to hope, that there is a difference between hoping and wishing, that hope is active and it is always present, even if you can’t see it, hear it or feel it. I remember sharing in trainings that in the same way that a plant reaches for the light, people reach for hope. Not because hope is passive or fluffy but because it is a life force, hope is a fuel. Hope is different than wishing and hope can translate in to action. I remember I chose hope.

What I didn’t know at the time, was that Randy, who was unable to speak as a result of the surgery, and unable to move the right side of his body, had not only chosen a principle, he chose 2. He chose Focus on Strengths and Just Start Anywhere. He later said that all he kept hearing was what he couldn’t do, and would never be able to do again. That he would likely be paralyzed on his right side for life, that he had likely lost his ability to both comprehend and to speak. As he laid there, unable to move his right side, unable to speak, unable to get across to hospital staff that YES he was comprehending………….He focused on his strengths and just starting anywhere.
And what neither of us knew at the time was that we were, in fact, living the program.

Initally, when this happened, very early on, I was “mad” at Procovery. I resented all of the years, and all of the money and all of the time that we had spent on Procovery. I wanted our time back, I wanted our life savings and all of our retirement back, I wanted to take Procovery, and bury it at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. I blamed Procovery.

Lucky for me, our little team at Procovery, and my amazing family, wouldn’t allow me to stay in that place for long. And without any idea Randy was living the program, I was too. And now, ten months later, here we are again, with Randy working so hard to heal from his third brain surgery, with most of the medical community never, ever, ever letting us forget the statistics that are not in our favor. Never letting us forget how bleak the outcomes usually are and how hard this path is and how complicated. As though we don’t know that. As though this amazing, brilliant man in the hospital bed, with stitches from the front of his head to the back, unable to speak, unable to move the right side of his body, needs a clear understanding of how grave the situation is. We do get it. We really do. But what we also get is that there is always reason to hope, that love heals and that miracles happen every day. And in the area of medicine, a miracle is often simply a healing that takes place, that cannot be replicated or understood or explained. Something that cannot be backed by science, YET. But aren’t the most beautiful things in life often those that cannot be easily replicated, understood or explained?

So, here we are “living our program,” with more commitment, belief, passion and awe for Procovery than we ever had in the first place. And for anyone who knows us or Procovery, we already were pretty over-the-top in that department. 

Next… I want to talk about hoops and chemistry.


Moving Forward – One Week Since Randy’s Surgery

Randy was moved out of the ICU late in the day on Sunday. It has been a very hard week, all around. The surgery and swelling left Randy mostly unable to speak or move the right side of his body. Anyone who knows Randy can only imagine how challenging this is for him but anyone who knows Randy will also know that he is one of the most determined, hard working and inspiring people any of us have ever met.He is finding many ways to communicate his feelings and things he would like to say and we are all in awe.

He will be moved to an acute rehabilitation unit soon, maybe even later today.

We listened to the new Procovery podcast (number 2!) and we loved it.  It made us cry, but happy tears. Together we communicated a little bit about how beautiful it is that Procovery will now be able to travel, even lighter and easier,  in to dark, dreary, sad places and spread some light. We know this, because the podcast did this for us. If you haven’t heard it, and you are interested, check out the podcast section of the website. And please stay tuned for more…

Strange Wilderness film

More updates will follow, more blogs and podcasts will be posted, more thoughts will be shared… Next I want to tell you about “You gotta live your program.”


A Quote to Share

Hi Everyone,
I came across a quote that I wanted to share–
 There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward.
-Kahlil Gabran

I think it’s wonderful, I hope you do too!
P.S. Is there a quote that resonates with you? Would you like to share it with Procovery Institute? Please submit it to us on our Contact Us page. We’d love to hear from you!

Update on Randy

Tomorrow, March 3, Randy will check into UCLA for “awake” brain surgery, scheduled for 7:30 AM (PST). Click on this link for an article about the brain and this specific type of brain surgery:

He (and we) has been personally living the absolute Power of Procovery over the last ten months, after Randy’s two successive, unexpected, emergency brain surgeries last May 31. We have found ourselves living both the complex and difficult healing path AND deriving strength from a small healing community and the reciprocity of the healing process (more about this in a future blog!). It has been truly hellish, exhausting, and mind-numbing and at the same time simply amazing, beautiful and a tremendous source of personal transformation.

If you find a quiet moment, and would like to send a ripple of positive energy or a blessing or prayer out to the universe on Randy’s behalf, please know that he, and we, would both welcome and very much appreciate it.

Until the End of the World rip

So many of you have asked (and keep asking…) about Randy over these last ten months, and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate your ongoing thoughtfulness, caring and consideration.  He has appreciated, with all of his heart, every single caring expression.

Randy is the father of Procovery. He not only hugely financially funded the Procovery program from day one, but he developed the program from day one (while working long, long hours in “big business” SO that he could hugely fund the program), he co-created the extensive materials and was at every training, in every location, doing absolutely anything that needed to be done, to get the job done, right!

Procovery is what it is, because Randy is who he is. And because of who he is, down to his core, he has continued to teach us and inspire us and keep us focused and lead us forward, even during this challenging time. Randy has, in many ways, been living a sheer hell for much of the last ten months.  But even in the midst of this, he has been ………. Randy. Gentle, focused, creative, brilliant, and moving forward, always, moving forward, both himself and Procovery. He has, daily, continued to inspired us with how much more he has learned about the healing process, how much more he has to share, and along the way he has been very clear that he feels truly blessed to have had Procovery to accompany him through this process.

So many of these things he, and we, will be talking about in blogs to come. In the meantime we hope that you might join us, if you so choose, and be inspired to begin your own Procovery path forward. And that you might consider, if you want to, that you can begin, right now, here, today, at this moment, to move forward, in the direction of your dreams. You can start right now.  You can start by taking a seemingly small step, or you can start big, and take a giant leap.  You can………… Just Start Anywhere. Today.