Permanentity


Relationships are dynamic, they are always changing form, and sometimes in order to be happy, two people have to go their separate ways – which has nothing to do with love. Relationships end not because the love dies, but because the intimacy, trust, respect or connection fades, because the contract with each other completes, or because you each want and need different things from life. Not all relationships are meant to ‘be forever;’ if they were, you’d never meet anyone new.

— Christine Arylo

24 October 2012, 16:47

Your Turn [656]

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Columbus Day

8 October 2012, 23:30

Your Turn [1]

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Situation Gigi


Photograph by Carla Borel.

I met Gigi Giannuzzi in 2008, at a slideshow/party at David Alan Harvey’s loft in Williamsburg. We spoke only briefly, but I very well remember feeling his heart and enthusiasm for the arts. His company, Trolley Books, is renowned for their edgy, noncommercial approach to publishing, and the animating spirit has always been Gigi: he’s been in service to the arts, and in his own way, for a good long time.

And now Gigi is fighting cancer. His family of friends and supporters have rallied to his side: conventional cancer treatment is hideously expensive, and the “alternative” treatments that Gigi is exploring do not deviate from a central aspect of the status quo: each session is £25,000.

Support for Gigi manifested as an auction this September, and the outcome looks positive – though Gigi isn’t yet healed, a mass of support this true has its consequences, and my hope is for the half-life of the rebalancing to be quick.

While looking at the Situation Gigi site this afternoon, I was moved by Gigi’s open letter presented there, and I’m republishing it here in the hopes of assisting in Gigi’s journey back to wellness. His thoughts are clear and resonant, and the idiosyncrasy of his perspective is, to me, refreshing. Much of what he says my soul agrees with, and as for the rest, I’m privileged to remain blissfully ignorant… For now, at least. Cancer touches everyone eventually, and that basic fact is the perfect ground for a clear-eyed examination of the way we live, and why.

Best wishes for a full recovery, Gigi: there’s so much more to be done.

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Dear Friends,

Since mid June, when I was diagnosed with type IV cancer to the bottom tip of my pancreas with metastases on the liver and around the peritoneal cavity, I have suddenly found myself immersed in a new world that had seemed could never touch me.

Apart from one minor cold in 2004 I had never been sick in my life, and had no need of a regular doctor. I little understood the disease even when my father died of cancer to the colon in 1999. I watched powerlessly as he passed away in just six months and came to think that cancer could be only explained as a psychosomatic reaction, a sort of suicide of the cells. The depth of the knowledge about cancer at the time and the scarce availability of serious information made it really difficult to understand what one was fighting against.

And here I found myself having to cope with my new situation, and three things became very clear very quickly.

Firstly, there was a heartfelt movement of love and attention from a large number of very good friends and people who just respected my achievements. The support from each of you and the extreme sacrifice, fierce spirit and heroism of Masumi and Hannah have helped and continue to help me to face this experience every day.

Secondly, times have changed a lot since 1999 when my father died. Now it is even more difficult to select and absorb the vast quantity of information available through the net, manuals and books. The saturation is such that it feels everybody is trying to sell you something, and taking decisions became difficult.

Thirdly, the amazing blindness of the official orthodox approach to cancer is mind blowing. Far from understanding that cancer concerns all aspects of a human life, that what we eat, drink and breath is suddenly so important, you will never find a classic oncologist suggesting a diet or a behaviour to embrace.

I faced the first inevitable passage through the hospitals and the “best oncologists”. I saw four and talked to many more. The first two in Italy did not manage to explain what chemo really was, nor to talk about cancer. They could only tell me in various degrees of humanity and kindness that my life would change and I could not expect to survive more than a year. The Germans were no different: “The patient receives palliative chemotherapy, the protocol seems to be FOLFOXIRI. If this information is correct, this cancer cannot be cured. An operation does not make sense. The patient should receive palliative chemotherapy.”

The official panorama did not offer any way out of this, nor the slightest hope. In every single case the only solution offered was chemo and, although it became clear how this “palliative” care was not going to sort out my problems, and was just another way to delay the use of morphine in the later stages, I was convinced to start regardless, and implanted a “port” into my chest to receive my first lethal dose, destined to kill the tumour cells but also everything in between.

They tell you the harshness of the side effects are much reduced with the new chemo drugs, yet my quality of life hit rock bottom. Why should anybody waste the last months of their life in such pain when no curative option is given, only palliative?

At this point I became convinced that I should find an alternative to the usual system. My search led me to Munich, where I heard about a clinic which would use insulin before infusing chemo to patients, so that only a quarter of the chemo was used than in normal treatments, and so targeting more precisely the cancer cells.

A large Bavarian with the aura more of a guru than an actual doctor entered the room a few minutes after I moved in, with an equipe of Germans dressed in white.

They decided immediately to extract almost 7 litres of ascitic liquid from my stomach, which was something that had been ignored by the Italian hospitals I had come from. Then I went through two applications of the chemo with insulin, and also hyperthermia, in which they heat the body to 41.6 degrees, as cancer cells seemed to be more sensitive to heat than the normal ones.

I also got in touch with a fantastic doctor from Madrid who will supplement the insulin therapy with homeopathic medicines.

Obviously I am still crossing my fingers that these alternative treatments will work, but I am not regretting having embraced them and I actually feel much better after now then when I started the cures.

After all these years, it’s the first time I find people ready to explain openly what cancer is, what they are working on and obtaining results by using natural products and I am ready to trust them.

This is the main reason why this auction has been organised.

The costs of the decision to take an alternative course will not be met by national insurance in Italy or the UK and the treatment should go ahead with a second and third cycle. The first one cost £25,000. The next ones will be the same each. On top of this the cost of medicines and bio/homeopathic products will add a lot to the final bill, which I intend to foot using the money raised in the auction.

Having spent my life, and all the money I found, to publish the books that came out with Trolley, hardly commercial titles, I never thought about any kind of protection for myself. I always thought I could go on forever and I could always count on my own strengths. I was wrong, nobody is exempt from this, it could sadly happen to anyone and it happened to me.

I can only thank from the bottom of my heart the artists who have been willing to support me and my decision to try something different, the fantastic team of friends who’ve made it possible and whichever of you who will return home with a work of art you will cherish. And feel grateful for the wonderful life and wonderful people I was allowed to enjoy.

—Gigi Giannuzzi

1 October 2012, 14:15

Your Turn

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To Receiving



FOR ME IT IS NO PROBLEM TO DEPEND ON OTHERS. I am always curious to see how far people will go, how big a test one can put them to.

CERTAINLY THERE ARE HUMILIATIONS INVOLVED, but aren’t these humiliations due rather to our limitations? Isn’t it merely our pride which suffers? It’s only when we demand that we are hurt. I, who have been helped so much by others, I ought to know something of the duties of the receiver. It’s so much easier to be on the giving side. To receive is much harder — one actually has to be more delicate, if I may say so. One has to help people to be more generous. By receiving from others, by letting them help you, you really aid them to become bigger, more generous, more magnanimous.

YOU DO THEM A SERVICE.

AND THEN FINALLY, NO ONE LIKES TO DO EITHER ONE OR THE OTHER ALONE. We all try to give and take, to the best of our powers. It’s only because giving is so much associated with material things that receiving looks bad. It would be a terrible calamity for the world if we eliminated the beggar. The beggar is just as important in the scheme of things as the giver. If begging were ever eliminated God help us if there should no longer be a need to appeal to some other human being, to make him give of his riches. Of what good abundance then? Must we not become strong in order to help, rich in order to give and so on? How will these fundamental aspects of life ever change?

BY CHOOSING TO LIVE ABOVE THE ORDINARY LEVEL WE CREATE EXTRAORDINARY PROBLEMS FOR OURSELVES. The ultimate goal is to make this earth a paradise.

Henry Miller, 1891-1980

24 September 2012, 17:09

Your Turn

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[The Listserve] A Story of Understanding



+ + + From: Julia — Seattle, WA, USA + + +

WHEN I WAS 18, MY MOTHER DISCOVERED THAT MY STEPFATHER HAD INSTALLED A SMALL PINHOLE CAMERA IN MY BATHROOM.

He was given several misdemeanors but I did not press charges despite the overwhelming pressure from everyone to do so. Actually, seven years later, I’m still in contact with him.

VERY FEW PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS DECISION. They think I should have sued him for all he’s worth and destroyed his life. “Why do you still talk to that pervert?” they ask.

MY ANSWER IS THIS: BECAUSE I UNDERSTAND WHAT HATE WILL DO IF I GRAB HOLD OF IT. It will lodge itself in every corner of my mind and soul and I will go through life believing I’m a victim and that things are happening TO me. I’ll focus on what I don’t have instead of what I do.

I MUST INSTEAD FOCUS ON THE GOOD AND THE LOVE. My stepfather wasn’t abusive, verbally or physically, in any way and, in fact, he was a damn good stepfather most of the time.

We are who we are not based solely on who we decide to be in any given moment but what society, people around us, and our environment TEACH us to be. Don’t jump to conclusions about others. Rather, take the time and energy to understand why they do what they do and how they got to be who they are.

LOOK INWARD. Forgive yourself, forgive others, and put love out into the world.

Love to you all.

24 September 2012, 12:59

Your Turn

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