Life Drugs

New England summer is full of life

New England summer is full of life

I’ve been taking a lot of medicine lately. It started with the seizure and ramped up after surgery. My daily regimen isn’t too crazy now but it’s definitely a change to be ingesting pills twice a day, something I luckily never did with regularity in my life. I expect to be taking quite a bit more over the coming months as I plan to engage some of the Western treatment options for clearing the rest of this brain tumor.

Alongside all the pharmaceutical prescriptions, I’ve discovered a number of medicines that have been integral in healing my body and spirit beyond pill form. I’ve always generally been aware of these things, but it’s so important to remember them when the going gets tough.


Taking deep breaths, even when it’s difficult, is the most basic and integral reminder that our body is still functioning, we are alive. Every breath is a gift, inhale the good stuff, exhale the bad stuff, hold it at the bottom and the top if you can, it’s a great way to remember the importance and impact of each breath.


Hanging with mom and dad on the front steps, post op hair style in full effect

Hanging with mom and dad on the front steps, post op hair style in full effect


Our families may not always be by our side and every family is different but the people who raised you have a unique view into who you are. I am extremely fortunate to have a family that stepped up to support me and be with me through my diagnosis and surgery and continue to advocate for me and my best health. Learning to communicate my needs and ask for their help will continue to challenge me but I know they want to be present and engaged and I will happily accept their medicine as I heal. Our family has gotten stronger and expressed love in new ways through this experience and that love is very powerful.


Sleeping next to the lake in New Hampshire, walking by the river in Brookline, sucking on ice chips after waking up from surgery, jumping in puddles in Harvard Square, drinking deep glasses of water… Water is our conduit to nature and it is our nature itself, we are water, we need water, it soothes, it heals, it watches over us and supports us in so many ways. We must protect our water as our life force, our true energy.


Since sharing my story I’ve been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from my community of friends. I was surprised how much attention came from the people around me, especially those who I never thought would notice or care about my story. Our connections strengthen us if we let them grow and go deep. Authentic, open, vulnerable communication and expression provides a pathway to true friendship and meaningful life. I’ve heard from many friends who have been struggling with their own health challenges and others who just want to share love. It’s been powerful to experience being a mirror for others to share what they’re going through and find ways for us to support and be present for each other.


Cassandra and Ezi enjoying the flowers (Daniel Johnson Photo

Cassandra and Ezi enjoying the flowers (Daniel Johnson Photo


I am so grateful to have Cassandra by my side throughout, from finding me on the floor during the seizure to bringing me to Urgent Care and being present for my diagnosis, surgery, recovery in the hospital and time at home with family. Every moment shared has been an opportunity to deepen our connection and expand. We’ve discovered new ways and spaces to share our love and confronted real challenges and life decisions together. Tomorrow we go back to Los Angeles and will turn my house into a space for healing and treatment. I feel so prepared for what’s next and look forward to tackling a new set of challenges together.

Lil Ones

Cassandra’s 2 year old Esequiel (Ezi) and my niece Zoe and nephew Drew have been some of the most powerful medicine I’ve taken this past month. Sharing in their joy, their constant discovery and awe for life and playing with them has opened me up and kept me smiling and in a state of gratitude. This week’s song and video is a homage to that joy of being a child, the world is ours to swim in, a river of infinite love.

So as I end this time in Boston and prepare to head back to LA this week, I want to take this opportunity to honor all the medicine that has carried me through a challenging, expansive month and will continue to be available for me, and all of us to take and enjoy.


More jams at


Follow Ethan on Medium for more musings. This blog originally appeared on Medium on July 31, 2017.