Art Krumsee had been "loosely interested" in meditation for a long time, but he developed a laser focus on it five or six years ago after being diagnosed with cancer.

Art Krumsee had been "loosely interested" in meditation for a long time, but he developed a laser focus on it five or six years ago after being diagnosed with cancer.

"I had to deal with the fears that are associated with a serious diagnosis," the 65-year-old Powell resident said last week.

Krumsee began to practice meditation consistently and with a purpose.

"The more that I did that, the more it helped me to understand how to deal with something you can't change," Krumsee said.

"Some problems in our lives have a solution where you take action and it is solved," he said.

"In those situations where you can't, you have a different problem. I couldn't trade in the body that I have for one that doesn't have cancer.

"Thanks to the good people at The James (Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute), I'm still here."

Last week, Krumsee led two introductory sessions on Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the Cancer Support Community Central Ohio on the Northwest Side.

The goal of the two gatherings, one during the day and the other in the evening, was to determine if there is enough interest to offer a full eight-week intensive training class.

"I wouldn't be shocked if we do end up holding this class," said Rob Alexander, director of development and marketing at the Cancer Support Community, headquartered on Old Henderson Road.

"I guess I would say there was a mixture, which is what I expected," Krumsee said.

"Some people are looking for a quick introduction to how to meditate, and the MBSR program is more structured than that," he said.

"We'll see what the level of interest is."

"It's a pretty intense class," Alexander said. "There's a time commitment involved in it."

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction was developed more than 35 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical School by Jon Kabat-Zinn, now a professor emeritus.

The program brings together mindfulness meditation and yoga, according to the university's website. "Although MBSR is a training with potential benefits for all types of participants, historically, students have suffered from a wide range of chronic disorders and diseases," according to the university's website.

"MBSR is an 8-week intensive training in mindfulness meditation, based on ancient healing practices, which meets on a weekly basis.

The website says the mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively affect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure.

"There are so many devastating mental health effects that come with cancer," Alexander said.

"A person's mental health has a profound effect on the physical manifestations."

Krumsee became aware of the existence of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction after he retired two years ago and began "shopping around" for a meditation program that could help others get through what he faced when his cancer was discovered.

"It was something that helped people deal with emotional difficulty ... and at the same time it was scientifically based and had been researched," Krumsee said.

"The third thing is there was a path I could follow to become a teacher of MBSR that seemed doable for me."

Krumsee underwent training in the program at the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness, a multi-faceted program of clinical care, professional training, education, research and outreach intended to further the practice and integration of mindfulness into all aspects of society, according to the center's website.

Alexander said the decision whether or not to offer the full eight-week program at the Cancer Support Community should be made soon.