Time passed. Bruises appeared, disappeared and reappeared on my limbs. I shrunk some more. Most days my clothes covered the shrinkage and distracted from the exhaustion. I saw other doctors: two surgeons, three oncologists, an integrative medicine physician, a reiki expert.

Finally, in a move my former self would have called crazy, I enlisted the help of a sound healer. She was slight and lively, a 70-year-old in a child’s body. In her office on the day we met, she jumped from her chair and asked me to stand and extend my right arm.

“I’m going to press down on you,” she said, “and I want you to resist me with equal pressure, OK?”

She pushed me down, and I pushed back. My arm bounced at her sudden release.

She shook her head and scowled, then grabbed a bottle of hemp oil. “Hold this!” she said, shoving the bottle into my hand and pressing down on my arm again.

This time I was in sync with her, more agile, adjusting to her pressure.

“Yes,” she said. “Your body likes this product. You can buy it on my website.”

It was all make-believe, but I was desperate. Desperate, I told myself, but not insane — desperation and insanity were two distinct, if bordering, states. But this is where desperation takes us — the sick, the chronic, the dying, the grieving. We’re forced to find hope in what we used to mock: God, the afterlife, miracles, hemp oil. Healing, by any means. Healing, against all odds.