SUMMER / 2008


Letters to the Editor


Cured Versus Healed

Debu Tripathy’s editorial about the concepts of “cure” and “heal” (“Defining Perceptions,” Spring 2008) resonated deeply with me. For eight years I have watched and waited as my chronic lymphocytic leukemia progresses. Early on I became an oncology massage therapist and I spend my days bringing relaxation and peace to others whose cancer journey is more arduous than mine. (One client describes it as a “vacation from cancer.”)

My clients have taught me that “cure” and “heal” are independent notions. Dr. Tripathy defines “cure” as a medical concept — to cure is to minimize or eliminate the likelihood of recurrence through appropriate medical treatment. I would define “heal” as an
existential concept — to heal is to bring together your physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual selves into a peaceful, loving and accepting whole. 

Religion, psychology and philosophy all teach that the process of healing is simple, but it is not easy. For those of us struggling with cancer, it is both liberating and energizing to know that we can heal ourselves and that we can be healed without
being cured. 

Bruce Hopkins, LMT | Portland, Maine