Twice a week for the months leading up to Jacob’s surgery, a dozen or so of us met on Zoom. I spoke about energy, frequency, vibration, cellular biology, blood chemistry, and Einstein’s theory of relativity, among other things. Mostly though, I talked about love.

Photo by Piron Guillaume / Unsplash

In late 2016, I began discussions to make a series of film projects related to the opioid crisis in Toledo, Ohio. Over the next three years, I wrote, directed and/or produced three films: Chasing Hope, DART: Community Policing, and One.

Jacob was one of the people I interviewed for the documentary. He was in his mid-20s, tall, blond, blue-eyed, and with a boyish innocence that betrayed his backstory. He introduced himself by saying, “I come from five generations of incarceration, mental illness and substance abuse.” Physically and sexually abused as a child, Jacob began acting out, getting suspended and expelled from school. By the time he was 11, he was becoming familiar with the criminal justice system. He wanted to play sports, he wanted to be accepted, he wanted to be a good student, but his undiagnosed dyslexia, ADHD and bipolar disease pushed him further away from everything and everyone he coveted. The more he got into trouble, the more drugs came with it. At 16, he was homeless, living in parks and abandoned buildings, and the only thing he could do to survive was sell drugs. Soon enough, he was a heroin addict on a crime spree, and upon becoming a legal adult, he was facing 10 years in prison.

Then, he caught a break with a diligent court-appointed attorney and a compassionate judge who sent him to a correctional treatment facility. As Jacob likes to say, “by the grace of resources,” he earned his way to freedom, graduated from the University of Toledo, went on to get a Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan, married his childhood sweetheart and began giving back to the underserved in meaningful and impactful ways.

Like so many others, I, too, became inspired by Jacob, and we stayed in touch. He had two children with a third on the way when, in late 2020, he was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a cancer mostly affecting the cartilage in the joints of much older people. Jacob’s cancer, though, was in a dangerous and unlikely location: his sinus cavity. It had grown so large it was affecting his vision, his breathing and his concentration, and a team of nine surgeons was assigned to its removal. The surgery would consist of removing a portion of his skull in the hope they would be able to successfully disentangle the mass.

In January 2021, the Jacob healing circle began. This time, most of the group was comprised of people I didn’t know, and because I was nervous about how crazy this journey might be for them, I felt the need to do a lot of explaining up front.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Tess, and I’ll be leading a few of these healing circles as we take this journey with Jacob and his family. What we do here is create energy together, positive, loving energy, and that energy gets amplified by each person here. So thank you for being here today.
Here’s what I think I know about this process. The body takes direction from the mind. Our thoughts create energy and that energy has power. As we go through this, I’m going to filter in some science about the mind/body connection. For today, briefly, I want to tell you about a study done recently at Ohio University. They took a group of people and put a cast on each person’s hand and arm so they couldn’t move it for a couple months. They split the group in half. The first half did nothing. The second half did a series of very specific visualizations, mental exercises, every day, twice a day, imagining moving their joints and strengthening their muscles. Then they took the casts off and measured muscle atrophy and movement and strength. And the people who did the visualizations had twice as much strength and movement, and half the atrophy as those who didn’t. Which is one way of demonstrating that the body takes direction from the mind. 
I want to say one last thing before we start. I believe that when a group of people have the same thought at the same time, we bring that thought into reality. Also know that in order for this to work, you don’t have to believe it; you just have to imagine it. We’re all going to go on a powerful healing journey with Jacob. And all you have to do is imagine it.

I went on to say that, according to science, 90% of imbalance and dis-ease in our bodies is stress related. “Jacob, what if this tumor is everything bad that’s ever happened to you? Every time you were frightened as a child, or abused. Every time you were homeless and hungry and scared. Every time you felt angry, and held it in. Every unexpressed sadness. What if this mass has collected all your past pain into one place, and it’s done that now, not to punish you or take your life, what if it’s here asking to be seen and heard and loved and finally, released? What if this journey is your greatest unburdening? What if, through this process, you are on your soul’s journey, you are being led to a higher calling, and you will be changed in ways you can’t yet imagine?”

Twice a week for the months leading up to Jacob’s surgery, a dozen or so of us met on Zoom. I spoke about energy, frequency, vibration, cellular biology, blood chemistry, and Einstein’s theory of relativity, among other things. Mostly though, I talked about love, about loving Jacob’s tumor, because hating it and fighting it would set up a battle we didn’t want to have. Telling his body to fight the cancer would mean that we were telling the cancer to create a fight. Instead, I likened Jacob's tumor to who he was as a boy. He was frightened, and alone, and misguided, and angry, and acting out. He was a boy in a community acting out, acting in disharmony with the rest of his community. Very much like the tumor in him that was acting out in disharmony and creating havoc in the rest of his body, in the rest of the community of cells in his body. I reminded him that when he was that boy, his greatest chance of healing wasn’t aggression, it wasn’t punishment, it wasn’t imprisonment; it was love. It was people in his community who took a stand for him, showed him compassion and changed the course of his life. So I proposed a program of nonaggression and nonviolence with his cancer in an effort to bring the tumor back into harmony with his body.

We imagined putting our hands around his tumor, encapsulating it, wedging our fingers in between the edges of the tumor and the edges of Jacob’s sinuses and nasal bones and eye socket. We Imagined carving your hands around it and holding it, pouring love into it so that Jacob’s tumor would release itself from him. We imagined changing his blood chemistry, allowing all the cells in his body to be in harmony. We imagined him releasing his past and any sense of guilt and shame he had ever felt and held onto, and forgiving himself for any wrongdoing he had ever done. When Jacob was present on the calls, I had him silently repeat affirmations. “The light within me is shining brightly on any unhealed places in me. And it is healing me. I am healing. I am healing. I am healing. I am removing any blockage I have to loving myself and healing myself.”

In the week leading up to Jacob’s surgery, we spent more and more time imagining the tumor softening and preparing itself to be gently released, completely and forever.

We call in your medical team: more than a dozen doctors, nurses and students. Your neurologist, throat doctor, eye doctor, pathologist, anesthesiologist, and the entire Tumor Board led by Doctor Sindwani. All of these people will touch you with their energy, with their love, with their expertise, with their gifts. They will open you up and fill you with a piece of themselves. And it will change you, strengthen you, and prepare you for what’s next.
We see all of these people holding you, caring for you; and we hold all of these people in our circle in gratitude. We watch Dr. Sindwani move toward your head and sit down. He places your head in his lap. He places his hands on your face: his palms on your forehead, his fingers draped down over your eyes. The tumor inside of you feels his energy. The tumor feels his love. The tumor understands that these loving hands will come and remove it. We watch the tumor begin to prepare for this. The cancer that has been in your body as your teacher understands that it’s job is coming to an end. This cancer is preparing to be released from your body. And so it’s softening. It’s beginning to pull away, to release itself and its hold on you. We have been showering this cancer with love, and it’s ready now to let go of you, completely, all of it. We watch an agreement being made between the cancer and your surgeons: the cancer is agreeing to release itself, it is agreeing to release all of itself, into the hands of Dr. Sindwani and your medical team. It will go peacefully and gently.

As Jacob and his wife Nicole prepared themselves for surgery, nine surgeons arrived at the Cleveland Clinic preparing to cut his skull open. But they didn’t have to because astonishingly, the tumor slid out of his nose like jelly! His journey wasn’t quite over, though, as he proceeded to have two more surgeries and 37 rounds of radiation, but in July of 2021, Jacob was declared free of cancer.

Jacob and his wife Nicole at Vital Health, the healthcare center they founded.