Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Self Induced Healing and Remarkable Recoveries

by Dr. Bernie Siegel
(I give Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos permission to use and post my blog on her sites. Dr. Bernie Siegel.) 

 Dr, Bernie Siegel, Bernie by preference,  is my guest blogger today for October's Breast Caner Awareness Month, which has been received so well, that we are extending it into November. His words of wisdom concerning healing and medical prognosis, are profound. Read, remember and live a fulfilled life....

In his latest book, his 12th, published in September 2011, entitled A BOOK OF MIRACLES—Inspiring True Stories of Healing, Gratitude, and Love, Bernie is described in the Foreword written by Deepak Chopra who tells us, “Bernie Siegel began his writing career twenty-five years ago, and from the outset he didn’t shy away from miracles. The title of his first book—LOVE, MEDICINE & MIRACLES (1986)—flaunted his disagreement with mainstream medicine. An MD who advised more love as a path to healing would have been in enough trouble. Opening the possibility of miracles was grounds for dismissal. In his new book, Bernie reaffirms his original beliefs, and with a lifetime’s wisdom and experience, he trusts in miracles more than ever.”

The reason that medicine has not explored the issue of self-healing and patients who exceed survival expectations is that we either give the treatment the credit or refer to them as miracles or spontaneous remissions. Medicine does not study success because one cannot learn from spontaneous events but when one thinks of these cases as unique to the patient and self-induced you are more likely to ask the patient for their story and learn about survival behavior.

Psychologist Bruno Klopfer, back in the 1940’s, was given 24 personality profiles of cancer patients and correctly predicted 19 times who would have a fast or slow growing cancer. In one case he couldn’t decide and his predictions were wrong four times. Yet when a patient enters a doctor’s office and is given a diagnosis they are not handed a list which tells them how to behave and act like a survivor or a list of questions to determine their personality profile and find who is more likely to become a long term survivor and who needs psychotherapy. Doctors are not trained to communicate with patients and so our words can kill or cure. I have found that “wordswordswords” can literally become swords.

Let me share two cases of remarkable recoveries in which I was personally involved. One was a woman who lived in North Carolina and was told by her doctor that going to Duke for chemotherapy was a waste of time and energy as she was going to die anyway of cancer. Her niece was caring for my father-in-law at the time and without asking me told her aunt, “Doctor Siegel helps people to get well all the time, come up here to Connecticut.”

When she arrived and I was called, I admitted her to the hospital and found she had leukemia. As a surgeon I had nothing to offer her, so I called an oncologist to see her. He basically said what her doctor had said but started chemotherapy to give her some hope. She responded dramatically and went into complete remission. His last letter to me, with a smile said, “Isn’t chemotherapy wonderful.” Her niece later told me she went home and was driving her doctor crazy and that she knew she would get well when I sat on her bed and hugged her.

Another case involved Jordan Fieldman, a Harvard medical student who developed visual problems many years ago and was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. He underwent surgery and woke up blind and was told he would be blind for the few months he has left to live. A week later his sight returned and he went to the medical library to research his disease. Every book he read said recurrence is invariable and death occurs within a year. Now a good student would have gone home and died, but Jordan was not a good student. He said, “How dare they say invariable!”

Jordan also suffered from ulcerative colitis and noticed that when he decided to change his life style and not die of a brain tumor that his colitis also responded. He combined traditional medical therapy with other modalities and his tumor never recurred.


The essence of the story behind remarkable recoveries can be symbolized by the image of a rainbow colored butterfly. It is the symbol of transformation and every color symbolizes an emotion; when your life is in order you are transformed and heal. It is about being born again; religions and myths show us the benefit of that act. Picking a new name for yourself and changing who you are by giving up the untrue self-imposed upon us by others is life-saving. He who seeks to save his life will lose it, while he who is willing to lose his life will save it.

As a three time breast cancer survivor whose dreams found  cancer my doctors and the tests on which they relied missed, Bernie’s words ring true on so many levels. My recurrent cancer was stage 4. In order to ensure I lived, I had to embrace death as a friend who would one day come for all of us. This gave me the peace of mind to live my life to the fullest, and I am still here to encourage others to do the same. We all have an expiration date stamped on our body by our Higher Power, and only she can read it. Thank you Bernie for being my guest blogger today.

Guest Bio: About Dr. Bernie Siegel: Bernie, as he prefers to be called, was born in Brooklyn, NY, and attended Colgate University and Cornell University Medical College. He graduated with honors and holds membership in two scholastic honor societies, Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. He trained to become a surgeon at Yale New Haven Hospital, West Haven Veteran’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. In 1989, Bernie retired from Yale as an Assistant Clinical Professor of General and Pediatric Surgery to speak to patients, their families and caregivers.

Bio: Kathleen O’Keefe-Kanavos, Intuitive Life Coach, survived three breast cancers missed by the medical community, wrote SURVIVING CANCERLAND: Intuitive Aspects of Healing (Cypress House, Jan 2014) websites: Surviving Cancerland & Access Your Inner Guide, Hosts Living Well Talk Radio , Cancer Q&A columnist CapeWomenOnlineMagazine, Dream Queen columnist- Wellness Woman 40 & Beyond, Your Dream Interpretation