There are three approaches to what is really one domain:
Friday, December 15 .~ Countdown to 2012 ~. - Celebrating the Life and Logos of - Terence McKenna featuring >> .~ Lost at Last ~. w/Very Special Guest Appearance By PHIL LESH See http://www.philzone.com/ for details.
Terence McKenna relinquished his body at 2:15 a.m. Pacific time today, April 3, 2000. He died at peace and with people whom he loved and who loved him. There will be memorial events in a few cities over the coming months, and information about them will be available as plans are made. Dan Levy
An Update from Christy Silness on March 28, 2000 To Our Dear Friends and Family, On behalf of my partner Terence and myself, I want to express to you our deepest thank you for your support during these challenging times. Your letters of kindness and best wishes, beautiful artwork, and financial support are a continual source of inspiration to keep living and staying positive. We feel very protected and are so very grateful for the love that surrounds us. Terence's energy is quite low these days, but his eyes are brighter than ever. His spirit is strong! Please know how fortunate Terence and I feel to have such an extended family. All our Love and the very Best, Christy and Terence
An Update from Dan Levy on February 20, 2000 Greetings, As you may already know, Terence McKenna has been battling brain cancer since last May. He has had the gamma knife procedure, radiation, a successful craniotomy, and gene therapy. He had two MRI exams that were free of tumor evidence. The most recent one, however, suggested that he still has a battle ahead. This long and arduous process of treatment has left him very weak and unable to work. Terence is currently on the mainland receiving medical and aternative treatments such as massages, acupuncture, and vitamin therapy. His medical insurance does not cover alternative care nor does it cover car rental, housing, travel, phone bills, or organic food. He needs our help. Please take this opportunity to support him with this greatest of life challenges. We would greatly appreciate your donation sent to: Terence McKenna PMB 238 369-B Third Street San Rafael, CA. 94901-3581 Please forward this message to anyone you think might want to support Terence.
An Update from Dennis McKenna on December 12, 1999 "Here's what we know now: Terence had his month after checkup just before Thanksgiving. A good report. The tumor is gone, and there's no sign of regrowth so far. The brain is normalizing; swelling has gone down, the midline is where it should be, ventricles no longer compressed, etc. So its as good as we could hope, but its also only a month after the surgery. A clearer picture of what is really happening should come with the next MRI and checkup scheduled for late January. If there is going to be regrowth, it *may* show up by then. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hoping the gene therapy will be the ace in the hole. They are not very clear about how they determines if the gene therapy has worked or not. I guess if you don't die, that means it worked. "Terry is doing fairly well, but the big problem now seems to be he is experience some serious side-effects from the long-term use of the steroids (anti-inflammatories). He's having "steroid myopathy", basically a deterioration of muscles and of strength in his legs, especially on the left side. Makes it difficult to walk any distance and to climb stairs. Its also painful, he says, especially at night. "He's doing what can be done for symptom relief. He is now off the steroids (you have to taper off slowly) and, they tell us, this condition should start to reverse, slowly. Terry feels that it is slowly getting better. Still, its a bummer. Its really unfortunate that he has to go through all this. I feel for him and feel helpless to "do" much. "Hope all is well with you and your family. All best for Christmas and the coming "end of civilization" (yeah, right). Best Dennis"
An Update on October 12, 1999 This is a further update to Terence's family, friends and many well-wishers throughout the world, from Terence, Dennis, and Christy. Terence successfully completed the second phase of his treatment at UCSF today. He had a craniotomy, followed by additional gene therapy. The surgery was a success by all measures. According to the surgeon, Dr. Berger, all visible traces of the tumor have been removed. It will take some more time to assess whether the gene therapy has been effective, but even if it has not, Terence has benefitted from the surgery. He is now recovering on the Neuro ICU unit at the hospital. As far as anyone can tell, he is the same old Terence; sense of humor fully intact, bemused perspective fully functional, and no obvious impairments of speech, cognition or movement. So, for now, it seems that an important phase of Terence's treatment has been completed. With a bit of luck, the gene therapy will prove effective and may actually amount to a cure, although that is a word we do not use lightly around here. What is important, for now, is that these procedures have bought more time--possibly much more time--while not diminishing quality of life. Terence will remain in hospital until the end of the week, and then will stay in the SF area for about another week. Then, if all goes well he can return to Hawaii and try to rediscover what normal life is like. No words can adequately express the appreciation we all feel for the love and support we have received from family and friends; we could not have done it without you! And, please, keep sending it. We are not out of the woods yet, and although we have turned a corner, or perhaps started a new chapter in Terence's fight for life, we still need your love and support. And for our part, we send our love and humble thanks to one and all.
An Update on October 8, 1999 This is a brief update on Terence from Dennis. Please feel free to forward to anyone who needs to know; if I've missed anyone on this list, well, hopefully you will see this and then get on the next one. Terence has decided to proceed with the p53 gene therapy protocol, which is an experimental protocol in Phase I clinical trials here at the UCSF Med Center. It involves using a genetically engineered adenovirus to deliver a gene, p53, to the tumor, which codes for a tumor suppressor protein. P53 is mutated or damaged in cancerous cells, which is one reason they are cancerous in the first place. The virus is usedto replace the defective gene with an active, wild-type gene; if the cells take it up, and the gene is functional, it should program the cells to stop growing, and to die. Its a great idea, and the closest thing to a magic bullet that high-tech medicine has come up with so far. Its also highly experimental and unproven; Terence is the fourth, or fifth person in the world to ever receive this therapy. The other patients were all treated recently so there is no data on whether it has worked for them or not. It *has* worked rather spectacularly in animal models, which is one reason we felt it was worth a shot. He's now in recovery, having completed the first and easiest step of what is a two stage process. First, he was given a biopsy to determine that the tumor was still alive, and active, and to collect tissue for later uses. Then, a catheter was implanted into the tumor bed, and the virus cocktail was administered over about 10 minutes. Now he has to remain in the hospital for three days, with the catheter implanted. He can get up and move around, and does not seem to be set back much from this first procedure (he was conscious and under very light anesthesia during this phase). So he is staying in the hospital over the next few days so they can monitor him and also to minimize the risk of infections. On Monday, he will receive the "big op," which is a craniotomy in which they will remove the bulk of the tumor, and will administer additional adenovirus/p53 to the tissue that remains following surgery. This first procedure, other than getting a biopsy, is not therapeutic, it is part of the protocol, to determine if the cells do in fact take up the gene and express it. It's important for the research that this be known, but does not directly benefit Terence (but it will afford an idea if the therapy is likely to work). The second part of the operation, in which he will get the craniotomy and more adenovirus, is designed to be therapeutic. He will in any case get the craniotomy, which is being done by one of the world's best neurosurgeons, Dr. Mitch Berger. He will also get an additional dose of the p53 gene, which, if it is taken up into the tumor cells and expressed, will definitely be therapeutic if it works. If it does not work, Terence will still benefit from the craniotomy; and, the gene therapy does not preclude him from receiving additional treatments down the line, which was one reason we decided to go for it; it did not require that we "burn any bridges," as the doctor put it. So far, so good. We are keeping our fingers crossed and hopes up for a similarly successful outcome on Monday. Keep your good vibrations coming our way, and look for an additional update to come your way by the middle of next week. You may also find additional bulletins, etc. including this one if Dan posts it, at http://www.levity.com/eschaton This is Dennis, sending love to all
An update as of August 22, 1999 on Terence's medical condition: Terence is continuing his fight against brain cancer and has now completed his radiation treatments and returned to his honme on the Big Island of Hawaii. there he is living quietly with his partner Christy and they are trying to return to the routines and projects that characterized their life before the brain seizures that began his health crises on May 22. In addition Terence is helping to plan the AllChemical Arts conference, that will happen in Kona in September. He has scheduled no other events at the moment and so hopes that all old friends will take advantage of the conference to make the journey to Kona. His progonosis remains for six to nine months more of life and he is planning to use that time to order his affairs and examine a number of alternative protocols for cancers that might extend his life. His attitude remains positive and philosophical and he wishes to thank profoundly all those friends and fans who have written and sent e-mail with good wishes and various sugggestions as to how to meet this crises. It will be some time until the impact of the radiation treatments will be known and until then the attitude of Terence and the people around him is simply to take each day as it comes. Thanks for your good wishes, Dan Levy
A 6/25/99 posting by Terence McKenna to the NOVELTY list:
Dear Novelty Folk-- I am not properly set up, mentally or technologically to receive or respond to e mail while I am in Honolulu getting my cancer treatments, but my goal is to come home to my secret rebel base on the Big Island every two weekends or so. And once again I am there. Just a bit of an up date on my situation: it is now more that three weeks since I had the gamma knife surgery. The further it recedes into the past the better I feel. However I am having focused radiation treatments five days a week and the docs assure me that in a while, a couple of weeks or more I will begin to feel less well under the impact of that treatment. So this time is being presented by the allopathic guys (and gals) as a window of good feeling sure to fade. Naturally I go through all sorts of changes about my situation, and the drugs I take, seizure surpressing carbomazapine and the steroid decadron combine in different ways at different times and move me around from a kind of "whatever" euphoria to very emotional and thought provoking states. I have had all sorts of advice and well meaning suggestions and while I have tried to follow as much of this as I can I am often confused and not as sharp as I would wish but here is my sort of general position on my personal fight with brain cancer. I think that it was wise to have the gamma knife surgery, though it was radical and high tech and somewhat experimental it was important to reduce the size of the tumor. The follow on soft focus radiation is more controversial in my own mind but as an old mushroom cultivator I know how very important it is to work clean and to not assume that a little contamination is a containable thing. I have so far refused chemotherapy, both of the well tried sort and of the more experimental types, these therapies may have to be tried if things get worse further downstream. But my intuition is that the people who survive unusually long times are those who follow the surgery and radiation with extreme attention to cleaning up their diets and then supplement their diet very wisely. It is a wake up call to be very attentive to what goes into my body. You would think that an old psychonaut would have learned that long ago but what can I say? In other words attention to the details of food and nutrition will significantly prolong my life. How long? Who can say? People who are taken hostage for long periods inevitably develop accommodating relationships with their oppressors. Cancer seems to be a bit like that, at least to me now. If it insidiously undermines me I may change my tune but for the moment I accept no diagnosis, though I have deep respect for my doctors and I simply wish to believe that those who wish to live and who inform themselves concerning the details of human nutrition and metabolism have the best luck with these sorts of situations. Generally my spirits are high and my life is certainly very interesting and more emotionally rich than before. I am being taught many things and I welcome this. And I welcome the love and support of friends, this is a mad and wild adventure at the fractal edge of life and death and space and time. Just where we love to be, right, shipmates? I will send more news as I can. Sadly I cannot read all the e mail or mail but I appreciate your good thoughts. As for the fund set up to help me pay for this situation, I am grateful, it is amazingly expensive no matter how much insurance once has. Please feel free to circulate this message to interested friends. And the band played on. Love, T
6/26/99 This is a further update on Terence McKenna, written by his brother Dennis on 6/26/99. There have not been a great number of developments since the last update was posted on this website. Terence is undergoing "soft" radiation therapy at the St. Francis Medical Center in Honolulu. There is a total of about 30 treatments spread over a space of approximately six weeks, so if he undergoes the full course, these treatments will be finished close to the end of July. This current therapy is phase II of a two-stage treatment protocol. The first was completed on June 1st when Terence underwent the "gamma knife" procedure, also at St. Francis in Honolulu. This procedure, which is an outpatient procedure that can be done in less than a day, is a non-invasive way to "zap" the main mass of the tumor. It is the preferred procedure when the tumor is inoperable due to its position in the brain. The gamma knife will stun or inactivate the main tumor mass, but the border of the tumor is diffuse, and it sends articulations into the normal surrounding tissue (our doctor, tongue in cheek, calls these "mycelia" as opposed to the "fruiting body", the main tumor mass. Clearly he is on the right wavelength as far as we are concerned!). The followup radiation therapy is needed to zap this "mycelia", otherwise the tumor would begin to regenerate immediately from this mycelial residue. With the completion of this second phase, the hoped-for result is that the tumor will stabilize at it present size and not expand any further. With even better luck, it may start to shrink (regress is the technical term) as a result of this treatment. The usual course of this type of tumor, unfortunately, is that sooner or later (within a few months, or possibly within a few weeks), the tumor will start to grow again. The radiation therapy is meant to buy time, to maximize life expectancy and also maximize quality of life within that time; it is not and has never been presented as a cure. In the meantime, we are evaluating other options, so that if and more likely when the tumor starts to grow again, we will know what our strategy is going to be. There are a number of promising experimental therapies, and a number of clinical trials currently underway at various institutions. Terence may be eligible for some of these shortly after radiation therapy is completed, while others are restricted to people with recurrent tumors. We are in touch with the doctors who are in charge of these trials and, when the time is right, we will be able to enroll him. This does not mean that they will cure the cancer, in fact, the expectation is that they will not do so. What they may do, is to buy yet more time, extend life, and extend quality of life. One reason there are so many experimental therapies currently under investigation is that none of them work very well; if there was one that did, obviously, everyone would be using it. As it is, there is a limited menu of fairly promising treatments, but no guarantees. Our hope is that Terence will be one of the exceptions, one of the ones who does respond positively to the therapies. Many of Terence's friends, email correspondents, etc. have promoted alternative therapies to us as the "solution" or the "cure". I want to reassure those people that we understand their concerns, we understand their horror and revulsion at the "slash and burn" approach to cancer therapy that seems to be the allopathic model. Those who favor alternative therapies to the exclusion of any conventional treatments may be disappointed in the approach we are taking; on the other hand, the "track record" in terms of actual cures for this particular type of cancer, are no better for alternative therapies than they are for conventional therapies. If anyone can point to statistically valid data that proves otherwise (as opposed to anecdotal "case histories"; there are always a few exceptional recoveries for just about any procedure, whether alternative or conventional), then we absolutely want to hear from you! In the meantime, I want to reassure our friends that while the current conventional therapy seemed, after careful evaluation, to be the best course for the present situation, we are aware that alternative therapies have a lot to offer, and we are using them, when it seems appropriate and when there appears to be a factual basis for their efficacy (or even when there isn't, and the therapy is non-invasive). So, for instance, many of you will be pleased to learn that we are working closely with a highly qualified clinical nutritionist, who specializes in brain tumors; this person is helping Terence make good decisions regarding his diet and the use of supplements, both to battle the cancer and also to minimize the side-effects of his radiation treatments. We also have had consults and enjoy the on-going advice of some excellent practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, including herbalists and acupuncturists. We are taking all of this advice very seriously and Terence is taking all of these supplements and following the dietary recommendations as closely as possible. He will continue to do so and will continue to integrate new therapies into the regimen as they come to light and to the degree that they appear to hold some promise. At the present time, we are in a waiting mode. After some consideration, Terence has decided to remain in Hawaii to complete the course of radiation therapy that he is receiving there. We have confidence in his doctors there, have good rapport with them, and after looking into several medical centers on the mainland where he might relocate, we've concluded that, at this time, he would receive nothing at any of them that he cannot get in Hawaii. So, it makes sense to stay in Hawaii for now, so that he can go home to the Big Island on weekends and be able to enjoy his new home, and be close to his books, his computers, and the things and people that he loves; in other words, so that he can live what amounts to as "normal" a life as possible. Terence's spirits are good, as are mine and that of others close to this process, which includes his children, Finn and Klea, and his lover and partner, Christy, and his many, many friends who have been so supporting and loving during this time. Our optimism and hopes remain high; we are discovering a new appreciation for each other and the precious time that we have now to be together in this time. Terence is lucid, and thanks to the medications, he is feeling good. He is thinking and writing a lot, and we are having some very interesting discussions in long telephone conversations every day, exploring not only medical issues and treatment options, etc. but also the metaphysical, cosmic, and archetypical aspects of what is happening to him and by extension to all who have been touched by Terence in some way. We ask you all to keep praying for Terence, for us, and for the process. It is very important, perhaps most important of all, to keep those "vibes" coming; they are definitely very real, we can feel them, and we need your love and good wishes right now. Some of you who have been following all this may wonder if there is more that you can "do" in some concrete material way. The last thing that we want to do is to capitalize on Terence's illness in any inappropriate manner; however, there are considerable expenses associated with Terence's care, travel expenses for family members, etc. and these are likely to continue and actually to become considerably greater if and when Terence reaches the point where he needs a more intensive level of care. Fortunately, Terence has excellent medical insurance, so the costs of basic treatment are covered; alternative and experimental therapies, costs of in-home care, nutritional supplements, etc. are not, however. With the help of friends, wiser than we are in the realm of legal affairs, we have been able to establish a trust in Terence's name under the auspices of a non-profit foundation, the COPS/Wellness Institute of Technology. Persons who wish to make monetary donations can now do so on a tax-deductible basis. Donations should be made payable to the Terence McKenna Research Foundation and sent to Patti White, c/o COPS/Wellness Institute of Technology, Box 3287 La Jolla, CA 92038. Again, we thank all of you for your support and love. We are taking each day as it comes and counting our blessings. Now that our webmaster is back in the saddle, we should be able to post messages a bit more regularly; but the process itself goes at its own stately pace and there will be periods when there is little to report beyond what is posted above. We ask every one to stay tuned and be patient, and continue to send Terence your good thoughts, love, and support. This is Dennis, sending love to all.
NOTE: DUE TO COMPUTER PROBLEMS AND TRAVEL PROBLEMS IT HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE TO SEND THIS BULLETIN UNTIL TODAY, SATURDAY, JUNE 6, ALTHOUGH IT WAS WRITTEN ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 3. THE REPORT IS STILL CURRENT; TERENCE IS DOING WELL AND THERE HAVE BEEN NO MAJOR DEVELOPMENTS SINCE WEDNESDAY. To All, This is a further brief update on Terence, from his brother Dennis. Terence has had the first "intervention" for his cancer, in the form of the "gamma-knife" radiation treatment, which was performed Tuesday at the St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu. We decided to proceed with this treatment after thoroughly evaluating other options. We came to the conclusion that this was the least invasive and most effective procedure in terms of the need to meet three criteria: 1. To do something *now* to begin to arrest or slow the growth of the tumor; 2. following the "first, do no harm" doctrine, this treatment will do the least harm and at the same time will not preclude Terence from further treatments of an alternative or conventional nature, including experimental treatments. 3. It "buys time" -- maximum time for Terence with maximum quality of life; and time for us to continue researching and evaluating other treatments that can be brought into play at any time, or whenever appropriate. The treatment yesterday was apparently completely successful. Terence suffered no immediate ill effects and was able to spend the night at home rather than in the hospital. Our post-op meeting with the Drs. confirmed this; they are pleased with the outcome so far. The protocol for the gamma knife treatment requires that Terence also undergo a further series of "soft" radiation treatments, basically focused x-irradiation treatments of the portions of his brain adjacent to the tumor, to kill residual cancer cells in those areas. This treatment will take about 6 weeks (30 total treatments spread over that time-frame) and although we have not made a final decision, we're leaning toward carrying out that part of the treatment here in Honolulu. Due to the kindness of friends, T and Christy have an apartment to stay in here, and can easily reach the hospital. On the Big Island, the nearest treatment center is in Hilo, and since they are daily treatments, he would have to either commute from his home on the Kona side every day (too much travel) or find an apartment in Hilo and stay there 5 days a week. Given the options it seems to make the most sense to remain in Honolulu for the treatments. He will be able to spend weekends on the Big Island if he feels up for it. Spirits are high here, as is hope and even joy. We've now entered a new phase, we have "struck a blow" against this terrible thing and now we have (hopefully) bought some time, to develop a further strategy and put a plan into action. Please keep sending all your good thoughts, good vibes and prayers coming; we need those things, they are the most important of all and believe me we do appreciate it. This may be the last, or nearly the last, of these somewhat irregular emailed bulletins. Further bulletins will continue to be generated but will be posted at www.levity.com/eschaton instead of sent in broadcast emails. Keep an eye on that site for on-going developments and fast-breaking news. There should be something posted there within the next 48 hours, and there will be regular updates after that. Also, we are trying to implement a slightly less chaotic process of gathering information and evaluating suggestions for treatments. Many of you have approached us with ideas for alternative therapies; we welcome all suggestions and dismiss none of them out of hand. However, in instances where the treatments involve experimental medications, and/or in some cases herbal therapies, and/or invasive treatments such as surgery, our consensus is that we will make decisions and choose options *only* on the basis of full information, after evaluating the information very carefully, and probably also after bringing Terence's physicians into the consultation. His physicians are completely open to alternative treatments of all sorts *if* there is evidence that 1. they will not be harmful and 2. there is some basis to think that they may help. In this connection, we must be very concerned that any alternative treatments chosen for Terence do not preclude him from eligibility for other treatments, some of which are part of experimental protocols. The qualification criteria to get a patient into certain protocols are sometimes quite strict, and depend on previous treatments, what medications they have received, etc. So we've adopted a policy that we will not precipitately rush into any treatment without investigating it thoroughly first, and making sure that it will not preclude T from other treatments down the road which may be even more promising. So, having said that, I want also re re-emphasize that we do welcome any and all suggestions, but also ask that you respect our option to evaluate them on our own terms and in some cases, choose not to implement them. This does not mean we do not value them! It does however provide a filter that friends of Terence can apply on their own to decide whether a potential treatment is worth bring to our attention. Particularly, treatments which must be done in a rush, and without full information available or on the basis of sketchy details will simply not be considered until we have the information we need to make a decision. If you have a treatment that you know about that you really feel may be promising and worth looking into, you can be most helpful to the process if you can supply enough information on it to make evaluation possible *or* supply references to publications, websites, and other information resources so we can access them and decide for ourselves whether the proposed treatment should be pursued. Its now two days since I began writing this, and events have kept me from finishing it until now. Apologize for anyhing out of date, but it looks like this bulletin is still more or less current. Stay tuned to the website at www.levity.com/eschaton for further bulletins. This is Terence's brother Dennis, sending love to all.