What you have read in this book is probably different from anything you have
ever believed about your body and its functions. My hope is that, on some
level at least, parts of it make some sense to you. I can assure you
everything in this book has been suggested by some test or research somewhere.
See if you can't say to yourself that you are willing to try each suggestion,
if for no other reason than you don't see how it can do any harm. Then try,
try the whole thing by trying every little detail. Only after you have tried
something, do you have the right to say with authority that it is not
Sometimes 2 plus 2 equals 5 or 6 or 7. Take a tiny acorn, some dirt, water and
sunshine. Each of these is an innocuous little thing on its own, but add them
all together and give them some time and you have a magnificent gigantic oak
Maybe some ideas don't work too well on their own, but when done in conjunction
with something else, you have a winner. And isn't that what it is all about -
having a winner? Does it really make that much difference how you get there?
If you do everything and you get well, then and only then can you afford the
luxury of looking back and trying to decide which factors were influential in
This book would not be complete without at least a mention of luck. It is one
of the five factors to which I attribute my cure. The fact that my tumor
formed around a nerve in my shoulder and hurt so much, forcing me back to
physicians repeatedly, in spite of assurances that it was not cancer, was luck,
pure and simple. Of course, I could look at the negative side of things and
say that finding the first two doctors who wrongly diagnosed it was "bad luck"
because it stole precious time. What would that get me? It would make me
nervous and upset, wasting valuable energy thinking negative thoughts.
Concentrate on the positive and get on in your fight against cancer.
If the grass is greener on the other side of the street, is that truly luck?
Or did our neighbor do all those little things that we thought were too
unpleasant or didn't matter that much. The harder you work, the luckier you
get. If you want to have good luck in getting rid of your cancer, apply
yourself and work for it. Nothing worthwhile comes easily.
A young woman called, telling me her mother was dying of cancer, refusing all
medical treatments and even denying that she had cancer. Her father would not
discuss it with anyone. But this young woman said she knew her mother would
make it because she believed a miracle would happen. It was my opinion that
miracles or luck don't just happen, you have to make them happen. It is hard
work that will give her mother a chance. She must find competent psychological
assistance to convince her mother of the problem and to do everything in her
power to overcome it, and then maybe a miracle is possible.
The purpose of this is not to instill guilt in anyone. Everyone cannot beat
cancer, no matter how hard they try. In trying to bring about your own luck,
you are kept busy working which, in itself, provides you a better quality of
life, and maybe you can succeed.
Harold Benjamin, founder of the Wellness Community stated in the Los Angeles
Times, "Listen, when I first started the Wellness group, everybody said, 'Don't
give them false hope,' and for a while I really gave that some credence. But
you know what? There's no such thing as false hope. If we told them, 'If you
do certain things, you'll get better, guaranteed,' that would be either
stupidity or fraud. But if 1 out of 500 people get well, is it unreasonable to
hope you'll be that one person? Not to me it isn't."
"Hope is an essential part of the will to live," states Dr. Ernest Rosenbaum in
his book, "Living with Cancer". "Hope can be maintained as long as there is
even a remote chance for survival. It is kindled and nurtured by even minor
improvements and is maintained when crises or reversals persist by the positive
attitudes of family, friends, and the health support team. Primarily, though,
hope will come from within you, if you are willing to do everything you can do
to improve your health and if you are willing to fight for your life."
Dr. Lewis Thomas, chancelor of Memorial Sloan-Kettering states, "From time to
time patients turn up with advanced cancer, beyond possibility of cure...the
patient is sent home to die, only to turn up again ten years later free of
disease and in good health. There are now several hundred such cases in world
scientific literature, and no one doubts the validity of the observations."
At the dedication of the R.A. Bloch International Cancer Information Center in
Bethesda, Md. in 1983, I stated, "Having been told I was terminal from lung
cancer and subsequently cured by top physicians, I as much as anyone appreciate
the fact that it is doctors and knowledge that cure cancer, not brick and
mortar. Over one half of the cases of cancer that were untreatable when a
young doctor completed medical school only 10 years ago are today curable to
some degree. Tremendous strides are being made continuously in the treatment
of various types of cancer. It is obvious that some people are dying, not
because there is no treatment for their cancer, but because their doctor is
unaware of the latest and best treatments. It is Annette's and my hope that
this building will be the catalyst to disseminating state-of-the-art
information to the physicians of the world to enable them to improve the
quality and quantity of life for every cancer patient."
Being told you have cancer is like being hit by a truck. In a few seconds, the
course of your life is altered. Shock! Fear! Guilt! Anger! Bewilderment! These
are reactions of many cancer patients when told they have cancer. You should
do everything possible to maximize your chances of beating cancer. Following
are a few suggestions:
- The fact that you have cancer cannot be changed. Right now is the most
important time in decision-making - at the very beginning - when numerous
alternatives may be open to you.
- As a cancer patient, you must be an activist. You must become a partner with
your doctor. Understand everything that is being suggested and why. Ask
questions. Educate yourself on your specific type of cancer. Get all the
information you can from the Cancer Information Service and visit a medical
library. So much successful research is being accomplished daily that you may
find a clue to a potential treatment.
- Demand to know all the alternatives. If you make a decision to go ahead
with a treatment without sufficient testing or a qualified second opinion, you
may be limiting the possibility of other therapies right from the start.
Often, unless you remain calm and in control, a decision is made for you by
circumstances that will take it out of your control. Learning all you can
about your case and the alternatives means you can control the way your illness
- For all serious cancers, a second opinion from a board certified oncologist
is an absolute must before submitting to any treatment of any kind. Requesting
a second opinion does not mean the diagnosis you were given is not correct or
that the suggested treatment is not the best. It is only to say that you
deserve the right to have the doctor's diagnosis confirmed and optional
treatments explored and explained to you. At least, it will afford you peace
of mind in knowing that everything your original doctor told you is
- Death and cancer are no longer synonymous. Most people can be successfully
treated by established medical treatments. Ignore unproven "easy" methods
which promise cures by people who purport to be supressed by the medical
profession. Rely on established medical treatments plus supplemental
suggestions as outlined in this book and stay far away from alternative
therapies in lieu of orthodox medicine.
- Most people want to know their odds of cure. Remember, you are not a
statistic, you are a single human being. You may have better family support;
you may have better medical attention; you may have a stronger desire to live;
you may have a more positive outlook; you may be willing to become more
involved, etc., etc. etc. Statistics can be fun to play with, but they are no
more than averages. If you recover, your chances are 100%. If you don't, they
are zero. There is no type of cancer from which some people have not
recovered. Make up your mind that you are going to do everything in your power
to be one of these and forget about the rest.
- You, as a cancer patient, are a consumer. As a consumer, you have the right
to ask questions and to expect answers in terms you can understand. Doctors
often seem so busy that a patient feels guilty and apologetic for taking up
their time. Keep a running list of questions for your doctor and go over each
one with him. By taking an active interest in your case, you will be showing
your doctor you have joined him in the fight against your cancer.
- Always have a family member or friend with you when discussing your case
with your doctor. This reduces the possibility of misunderstanding and
eliminated the need for repetition. There is also the therapeutic value of
treating the family as a unit.
- Be certain you differentiate between the possible and probable side effects
of your proposed treatment. Your doctors must explain all the possible side
effects to you, but request that the probable effects be enumerated. You will
find that of the many possible things that could happen, very few actually
should happen. Also, some patients mistakenly interpret these side effects as
their cancer worsening, when in reality they are the normal effects of their
treatments and their cancer is probably getting better.
- Expect some degree of depression. Cancer is a serious illness. Many of
the treatments are depressants. "Down days" will occur from time to time. Plan
on ways of coping with them. Call a friend. Take a walk. Do something you
- Throughout your cancer treatment, maintain as normal a life as possible.
Set goals and have someone or something to live for. You will feel much better
about yourself and it will help you cope with your treatment.
Not minimizing the pain, stress and fear that accompany cancer and its
treatment, it is a fact that everything does not necessarily have to be
negative. It is possible that through this illness you can learn to live a
better and fuller life.
Dr. Lewis Thomas, chancelor of Memorial Sloan-Kettering, foresees "the end of
cancer before the century is over. It could begin to fall into place at any
time, starting next year, or even next week."
I Wish You Knew
Getting through cancer treatment: tips from an oncology nurse
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