Home' LOTL : June 13 Contents 32 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle | Travel
We refer to our most anticipated travel destinations as places that
make our bucket list. But what if you really were given a death
sentence? Where would you go? Lesbian author Amy B. Scher
discovered her own path to healing through travel.
aAs a debut author, I’m flattered when people ask me if
my book is like Eat, Pray, Love. Perhaps it’s the colourful
narrative of my time in India, the spiritual nature of my
journey—or simply the sacred cow on the back cover. My
initial reaction is that it is not similar at all. My journey,
in fact, was never intended to be a powerful emotional
and spiritual odyssey. It was a last-ditch effort to save my
28-year-old life with an experimental stem cell treatment at
a tiny clinic in Delhi.
But I’ve realised that maybe there are some parallels
between my book, This Is How I Save My Life, and
Elizabeth Gilbert’s incredible bestselling memoir about her
journey across Italy, India and Indonesia in search of herself.
This is how i ATe
When I first heard about a possibly life-saving treatment in
India, I thought, Why oh why can’t this be in China? There
was no food on Earth I disliked more than Indian food. I
worried that my already under weight body would suffer.
The strong smell, the taste and the texture of curry were
too much for a stomach battered by long-term antibiotic
therapy. My first meals in the hospital, saucy earth-toned
globs all running together, made me long for the fettuccine
alfredo of home.
At some point in my trip though, something magical
happened. The smell that would regularly nauseate me by
permeating my hair and my clothes started to become a
comfort. Cravings for my favourite “green chicken” became
the norm, and I regularly delighted the cook by requesting
it. I started to embrace mutton and ghee and all the things I
had so valiantly resisted.
Two months after I arrived in Delhi for my first round of
stem cells, I was hooked on every spice and sauce available. I
left for home with a new favourite cuisine and an extra
10 kilograms of healthy body weight to show for it.
This is how i PrAyed
During my first few days in India, my doctor sent
a colleague from another hospital to visit me. She
arrived with little or no explanation of who she was
or what she was doing. When I reread an excerpt from
my book, it is apparent that she’s the guru I never
knew I needed:
“ She carries a huge purse, has long silky thick hair and
wears typical, intricately-patterned Indian attire. She
feels closer to a presence than a person. After 30 years
of being a physician and probably doing double that
time living her life, she strikes me as intellect and spirit
wrapped in a sari.”
As she sat with me, she began speaking of her Buddhist
practice, Daimoku—chanting specific words that reveal
one’s state of inner Buddhahood. I took an interest in Dr.
M’s practice and became her student. She invited me to her
home, and when we chanted I felt the energy shift around
me. Her gift became my own ritual, a sort of meditative
entry into my new life. I fell asleep every single night staring
at the bright blue wall in my hospital room as my repetitive
words faded away with the day.
This is how i Loved
I stared across the physiotherapy room, with its yellow
curtains and much-too-loud music, and I saw her. I didn’t
know why, or what was causing me to wonder so intently
what she was about, but I did. Charlotte, it turned out, had
come to visit her mother, Janet, who was being treated at the
hospital for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ALS, often
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