By Patricia McMorrow, CaringBridge staff writer
Michael Bischoff of Minneapolis hopes for a cure from brain cancer, and for a long life. But with little ability to control his prognosis, Michael’s main focus is on finding wholeness in each moment.
Simply put: He has chosen to heal.
He said, “My understanding of the main work of healing is receiving love, and opening up to that. Medical treatments complement that, and can support that. But the essence of healing is really opening up to love in the world.”
Husband to Jenny Larson, and Dad to Isiah and Grace, no one writes more powerfully about what healing looks like than Michael. In his own words, from his CaringBridge Journal:
“Shortly after I was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most aggressive kind of brain cancer, I had the audacity to write a list of the ways I believed I would be healed.
“And today, after 23 months of living with this cancer, from which I should already be gone, I have the audacity to write a list of the ways that I believe I have been healed, and my understanding of the next steps of healing in each of those areas.
“In my current medical situation, the prognosis and average survival time are still poor. But I don’t want that to stop me from celebrating the healing that has already happened.
“Here is what I believe has healed me:
- Nature: When my health stabilized after active medical treatment, I committed to sitting next to the Mississippi River each day, and doing the Japanese practice of ‘nature bathing,’ as a part of my treatment. Herons have worked closely with the river as healers for me, starting in Florida and continuing in my regular visits to a heron rookery in Minneapolis. I’ve recently increased my commitment to the river, promising to give back to the river, in gratitude for its contributions to me.
- Creativity: I have fallen in love with storytelling, both telling my own stories and holding space for others as they tell their stories of healing.
- Community: More than ever, I feel alive because of and through my relationships with all of you. I’m alive to give everything I can to my kids, and to receive and pass on love. My strong desire now is that everyone facing a health crisis has as much community support as I have had.
- Skillful Medical Care: Masterful surgery, loving, proactive primary care, creative new treatments, and countless wonderful nurses and other caregivers have carried me through this time, providing a foundation for nature, art, and community to do their thing.
“Even if I die tomorrow, I still want to celebrate miraculous healing today. I don’t want to measure the miracle by how long I live, but by how much nature, art, and community bring us closer to living life abundantly and freely.
“I’m not done with healing. I’m just getting started, and I don’t think healing will end with death.”