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Susan Estrich
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Peter Michael Ulikhanov


It is a strange experience to go to your healer's funeral, and it is especially strange when he was only 58 and died from a disease that might well have been cured by Western medicine.

I consider myself a very rational person, not the sort to believe in "healers." Some years ago, I got a call inquiring whether I would be willing to host some television show featuring tales of the occult — because I could bring such credibility to the topic. I laughed and said my credibility would be gone if I did.

But I am also a very anxious person, a worrier, but not about the mundane stuff — and when you think of it, so much is mundane. I worry about what matters: that the people I love will be healthy and safe. I have tried the conventional stuff, pills and therapy, read all the books about "learned optimism" and what a counterproductive waste most of my worrying is, but I still worry. Before she died, my mother's first words to me, and mine to her, were always: "What's wrong?"

Peter helped me. My old and dear friend Pat, who saw tragedy too young, is my soul mate when it comes to anxiety. When she found Peter, she told me he was the real thing. I figured I'd try — once. I went every Saturday for years, until he decided to refuse conventional treatment for his cancer.

The living room in his house in Glendale, where he was booked every hour of the day, six days a week, displayed an array of diplomas. I'm not sure from where or whom. He would look at me, run his hands in the air and have me repeat simple statements ("I am safe." "I am strong."). Then I would lie down on the big chair, and he would begin the healing. His hands were unnaturally hot. My kids called him "Peter the Feeler," but it wasn't that at all.

I don't believe in X-ray vision. I don't believe that you can "see" the future, as opposed to just seeing clearly and rationally.

I don't really believe in "hot hands."

But this much I know: I always left Peter's house feeling better than when I came. His telling me that whatever it was would be OK, that whoever it was would be safe, would recover, gave me comfort. My stomachaches got better. If he didn't have X-ray vision, he had an intuitive gift that was almost as miraculous. If there is a mind-body connection, and I certainly believe in that, his ability to put my mind on my side, to turn it from a negative force to a positive one, was a saving grace.

His "insights" were not always proved right: My friend Kath did have cancer, terminal cancer, and even though he saw her, he didn't see that. He once told me to take an earlier flight to New York, and I did, on virtually no sleep, and ended up collapsing on a street corner from exhaustion and dehydration and who knows what else. But he was "right" more often than not, and his generosity, compassion and understanding were gifts on their own.

And then he got sick. Blood in the urine. He delayed seeing a physician. When he finally went, to a good doctor, he agreed to the biopsy, but refused to have his bladder removed. He would not even consider chemotherapy. He admitted that he could not heal himself, he knew that, but he could not abandon his faith in the powers of nontraditional healing, his faith (and he was a deeply religious man) in the power of prayer. Was he afraid? I don't know.

He needed the surgery. He had a real chance of a cure. He refused. I told him I could not watch him die without a fight. I had been to that movie before. If he would fight, I would fight with him. I stopped going. It was the strongest message I could send.

Sometimes I hate being right. Shortly before he died, predictably, he agreed to the surgery. Of course, it was too late. And it broke my heart to think he died believing he had been wrong. So I went to his funeral angry. And as always, when I saw Peter, I left holding on to the other part, to the love he showered upon me, the endless compassion. To the end, he was a healer.

To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



5 Comments | Post Comment
Dear Susan,
I recently spent nine days in the Intensive Care Unit of my local hospital due to a flare-up of my immune system disease Myasthenia Gravis. I had to have a ventilator jammed down my throat along with a feeding tube. I could not swallow the meds I need to fight off this disease. A team of doctors decided to give me three treatments known as PLASMAPHERESIS. The treatment islike kidney dialysis except that it clenses the blood of anti-bodies.
This is an incredible new way of treating many dieases that attack the body. Many cancers are cured by this treatment. It is so new that the medical profession is not even aware completely of all of the benefits of PLASMAPHERESIS. bUT ANYONE WITH ANY FORM OF CANCER OR ANYONE WITH FRIENDS WHO HAVE ANY DISEASE THAT INVOLVES THE BLOOD STREAM should try this treatment. It is a life saver.
I got three treatments. It is not painful at all They insert an exit tube into you to draw out the blood and run it through a machine which cleanses the blood of the anti-bodies and then replace the blood. After the first treatment, I felt much better. After the second treatment, I was able to have the ventilator removed. And after the third treatment, I was up and walking around. It cleared my brain of a lot of sludge and I felt like Robin Williams on a cocaine trip(no insult to Robin whose mind works a mile a minute)
I post this story as a means of telling people that their friends could possibly be saved by this procedure. Prior to this procedure, I had been slowly losing my voice and other functions because of the problems caused by the build-up of anti-bodies. Incredible as it may sound, I am now able to sing opera along with an IL VOLO cd that is one of my favorites. I ask that anyone reading this post and having friends or family INSIST that their doctor consider PLASMAPHERESIS to save their lives. It is too late for your firend, but it may not be too late for many hundreds out ther who have cancers that are eating away at their bodies. If this post saves even one life, I will have repaid the doctors who saved my life a few weeks ago.
Comment: #1
Posted by: robert lipka
Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:48 AM
Your friend Peter knew long before he saw blood in his urine that something was not right. He was problably going to the bathroom quite frequently and didn't seek an answer to THAT problem which would have saved his life with noninvasive immuntherapy treatment. I know because I've been there. Peter may have been a 'good healer' but was not very bright or feared doctors when it came to his own health.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Oldtimer
Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:53 AM
Pity he died so young. If he had lived the President would have put him in the cabinet.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Cowboy Jay
Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:24 AM
I'm sorry about the lose of your friend. It is a bit alarming that you were seeing a faith healer, but it is heartening to see that you didn't lose your faith in science based medicine. Your decision to try to encourage your friend to utilize scientific medicine for his obviously serious condition was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, he waited too long. You did about everything for him that a friend could have done. Take comfort in that.

Use his example in the future to try to encourage people to, at a minimum, utilize scientific medicine in parallel with 'alternative' medicine for life threatening conditions. If that helps save one person, this tragedy won't be completely in vane.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Old Navy
Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:23 AM
I knew Dr.Peter as we called him since the 1980s and was close to him so I know his methods of treatment.When he first detected blood in his urine he went to St.Joseph's hospital in Glendale.The attending doctor told him it was a simple"infection" and gave him an antibiotic. Dr.Peter reacted in a very negative manner to this drug causing him a lot of pain,etc.
He then had a scan done showing a tumor in his bladder. He had a top USC urologist and prof. at USC in urology perform a standard procedure and the tumor was removed. Another scan some time later showed it had grown back. Peter decided to take Protocell-23 an anti cancer alternative supplement. Within a short time the scans showed the cancer was gone.These negative tests continued until he went to a USC prof.and dentist with 30 years experience to have two root canals attended to.The dentist told him an infection was draining into his system,and was probably the original cause of the tumor.One of the root canals was 'cleaned' and Peter was yet again given an antibiotic which greatly affected him to the point of increasing the urinary tract infection symptoms as well as causing him even more pain-terrible pain upon urination.After this I saw a slow steady decline in his health.It wasn't until months later doctors decided he was very 'allergic' to antibiotics at least the ones that had been given to him.Just after this procedure the scans showed that the tumor was coming back!
there is no need to continue,but we can see the med community was certainly not free of 'guilt' (from his first encounter with that emergency Dr. to the top USC dentist who gave him Cipro!)for his declining condition and that Peter did try orthodox medicine. Many have had full med procedures and surgery having bladder cancer along with chemo only later to die from the cancer!Your chances are not good. I have researched this fact.
The main thing was that he served others with his remarkable healing ability which I tested on myself since the 80's. It was Dr.Peter who would tell from a distance by phone what was wrong with me before I told him!!! Maybe I had injured my big toe on my left foot or right hand or some thing that guessing was simply impossible.He would simply say I am correcting your left big toe,etc,etc. You could 'feel' it working and in a short time it was healed.
This went on for years and was simply amazing.He loved his church Urim and Thummim in Glendale,CA (I teach there every Sunday)his God and the Bible and taught it every Sunday. He was a born again Christian in every good sense of the word.
He mentioned Susan Estrich the author of the article in the most favorable terms and respected her background,etc. He was always concerned for her well being.
He loved all,and his favorite verse was "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish,but have everlasting life." John 3:16.
Comment: #5
Posted by: howard davis
Wed Sep 19, 2012 10:57 AM
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