WORK IN PROGRESS ARCHIVE
from "HEALTH AND THE ART OF CHANGING YOUR MIND."©
This is a work in progress, follow-up to my book on self-healing, Faith and the Placebo Effect.
From the Introduction: Consciousness and Health
I discovered mental healing, that is, self-healing, in 1982, when I was diagnosed with
breast cancer. I felt an urgent need to inform others--everyone--of what I learned--to write it
or preach it-to do something to transmit the reality of the "miracle" I was experiencing. For
years I felt inadequate to communicate the truth of self-
healing, since my own ability to self-
heal was imperfect. I said to myself, "I'll teach when I get there". But the word came back to
me, "No. Teach while you get there." It took years for me to realize that you never get "there."
There is always a higher place to get to, a greater perfection, a greater truth. As you move
along, you can look back and see how far you have come, but you can't look forward and see
how far you have to go. Finally, eight years after the cancer diagnosis, eight years of wonderful
health with no cancer treatment whatsoever, I found the key with which people could
understand mental healing and give it credence. The key was the placebo effect--the most
powerful of all medicines.
Many people believe in self-healing, as a concept. But it's a long, long way from a
belief to a practice. To traverse that long way, it helps to realize that all your life you have
healed yourself of all but a tiny fraction of ailments. How did you heal yourself? The same way
you keep your heart beating and your stomach digesting. Self-healing comes with the territory.
Yet we are trained by all the forces of convention to give over our natural ability to others, to
not reflect on and take credit for our own continuous healing. This book fights those
conventions and teaches you what you already know and constantly do.
Like most authors, I worry about the import and value of my book. I subdue that worry
with this thought: If there is something a person authentically needs to say, there is someone
who authentically needs to hear it.
From Introduction to Part I: The Politics of Health
The crash of an enormous meteor into earth, the sudden devastation of a tornado, a crazy person torching your house, the explosive malfunction of an oil rig: These catastrophes, one can justifiably be afraid of. But since we (as individuals) cannot prevent such disasters, most of us don't waste time worrying about meteors raining down on our heads. We worry about losing our job or our home or our spouse, about loneliness, unfamiliar situations, or giving a speech. In other words we worry about those things that largely are under our own control. Most persistently we worry about our own body--that biological entity that, unlike a job or a house or a spouse or a child-is absolutely under our own control. Or should be. And can be. The enormous problem, the tragedy, really, is that although our body is ours alone, we do not feel we are its master. We feel that a virus or bacteria or our parents' DNA, or a recalcitrant organ, or a cell that begins to grow with malignant intent can take command: At any moment we expect our body to behave very badly and harm us or even kill us. And so the thing that is most under our control and should therefore be the least cause of anxiety becomes our most fearsome threat.
This unreasonable fear leads to a course of action about which we really should be afraid. We turn to doctors, hospitals, and drugs, for the very good reason that they have convinced us that when our body threatens illness or death, they are the ones who can protect us and cure us. Ironically, the sources that claim they will cure us feed our fears. They say, "When your body attacks you, as it inevitably will, "Turn to Us. Come to Us. You Can Do Nothing by Yourself." So we transport it to doctors at its least quiver, to be poked and prodded, subject it to radiating machinery to find what is wrong with it, then "cure" the wrong with myriad poisons that mask the original problem and initiate five others.
From Chapter One: The World on Drugs
Parents teach their children, starting from infancy, that the contents of a bottle will alleviate their symptoms. Is it any wonder that their children later seek drugs to alleviate "symptoms" of shyness or loneliness or lack of self-esteem, of the burden of too much
homework, or the disappointment of low grades or the myriad unpleasant conditions that teen-
agers are prone to? With the assistance of the pharmaceutical companies, we teach our children well that answers lie in the pill, the needle, the bottle. If prescription drugs cured illness, or prevented illness, or curbed illness, we could justify our drug culture. But drugs do not prevent and do not cure. And they curb only by masking symptoms, while initiating physiological processes that cause new illnesses.
Our fast track to becoming the most drugged society in the world probably began in the 1950s with anti-anxiety drugs. Suddenly everyone with a problem looked for a quick fix, not to solve the problem, but to feel better about it. Leading up to today's pills for shyness, daydreaming, the blues, disappointment, sadness, and a host of other normal human states of mind and emotion, were Miltown, Equanil, Librium and Valium. In the 1960s, a host of illegal drugs like hashish, LSD, and cocaine entered a field that had been well plowed. An unexpected consequence of these psychiatric drugs was to undercut the entire field of psychiatry. In order to save their profession, psychiatrists simply added pills to the couch, and now hardly a physician practices psychiatry without also prescribing drugs, sometimes eliminating the "talking cure," the deep exploration of mind and memory, almost completely.
( . . . . . . . . . . . . . )
Continued From Chapter One
The war on cancer began in earnest in the 60s. However, the medical industry being one of the most retarded institutions in its ability and willingness to change its mind about anything, armed for the war, not with new thinking about the etiology of the disease and new approaches to healing, but with the same two tools it had been using for years, namely, poisons injected into the body and nuclear radiation applied to areas believed to be the site of the cancer. Both chemo and radiation have increased exponentially, while research on alternative treatments remained relatively miniscule.
Chemotherapy Drugs. Before the 1980s, most of the new cancer drugs were extremely toxic. Platinol, which was used to treat testicular cancer, caused intense nausea and projectile vomiting that could last for days. In some patients, the retching was so severe that it tore the esophagus. Other chemotherapy drugs, like Adriamycin, destroyed so many white blood cells that the patient died of fatal infection, not cancer.
By the 1980's, the American Society of Clinical Oncology had grown from several hundred members to nearly ten thousand. Cancer treatment is expensive: Glivec, used for myeloid leukemia, costs $2,400 a month, no one knows for how long, possibly for the life of the patient, and the side effects are nausea and severe anemia. Campath is used for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, three times a week for 12 weeks for an as yet indeterminate period of time and has side effects of severe anemia and in rare cases, fatal allergic reactions. Rituxan, used for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at a cost of $10,00 for a four-week treatment, has side effects of fever, chills, low blood pressure and potentially fatal allergic reactions. Herceptin, used for breast cancer for an average 36-week course costs $25,000, with side affects of fever and chills, in rare cases heart problems and potentially fatal allergic reactions.
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For those who can afford it, continued life is worth any amount--although some chemotherapy patients say they would prefer death to another course of chemotherapy--but it has not been shown that these treatments save lives. If they did we would expect the rate of cancer deaths to decrease. They have not. (5). The heartbreaking fact is that there has been a six-percent increase in age-adjusted mortality due to cancer since Congress first enacted "The War On Cancer," (6).
Oncologists abound, and experiments that yield one more drug proliferate. Sloan Kettering's colorectal oncologist, Dr. Leonard Saltz, describes the science as "brilliant," that resulted in antianglogenesis drugs--drugs that inhibit tumors from growing their own blood supplies. Now there are more than 50 angiogenesis inhibitors being studied. But a 2001 study says that only a tiny number of human patients treated with these compounds have seen their tumors shrink, (7). How many patients is a tiny number, one? two? And how can a science be "brilliant" that continues to come up with the wrong answers?
Cancer treatment had become one of the cash cows of academic and community hospitals, which compete fiercely for patient referrals. According to an article by John C. Bailar III and Elaine Smith, which appeared in The New England Journal of Medicine in 1986, in spite of (or maybe because of) the monumental increase in cancer treatment, there had actually been "'a slow and steady increase in cancer deaths over several decades'." (8) Is not this fact mind blowing: the more cancer treatment there is, the more cancer deaths there are.
Among the continuing bad news related to cancer disease and cancer deaths, there are two pieces of good news, both of which imply that the orthodox treatment is wrong: The National Cancer Institute reported that "Rates of the most common form of breast cancer dropped a startling 15 percent from August, 2002 to December 2003." It was the first time that breast cancer rates had fallen significantly, something experts said was especially remarkable because rates had slowly inched up, year-by-year, since 1945.
However the decline is not attributable to treatment! Instead it is the result of millions of women abandoning hormone replacement therapy after a large national study concluded that the hormones slightly increased breast cancer risk, (9).
In fact all hopeful signs for reducing breast cancer deaths, turn toward lifestyle changes, not drugs. Studies have shown, for example, that exercise for as little as two and a half hours a week reduced the incidence of breast cancer by 18 percent, (10). And studies on the connection between diet and cancer have shown the effect to be indisputable.
I must mention that the truly new thinking that is stem cell research, might produce victory in the war on all disease, not only cancer.