What is the true nature of healing? That question has been on my mind a lot lately. This October marks the 6th anniversary of the passing of my mother from a combination of cancer and Wegener’s Granulomatosis. As this anniversary crawls closer and closer, I find myself being ever more sensitive to news articles and punditry that expounds on how we get sick and how we get well.
Most of it is alarmingly wrong. And most of that comes from the medical profession itself.
You’ve likely heard of the so-called “snake oil salesmen” who travelled from town to town espousing the benefits of their wares. Somebody from the audience would usually yell from the background that his niece or wife had been sick and on the very urge of leaving this mortal coil, yet the power of Dr. Strangelove’s Magic Potion was the cure-all that got them back in the pink. It’s a metaphor for healing that we cling to till this very day.
Most of us were raised to go to the doctor when we were ill. The doctor would give us a quick once-over and scribble out a secret cipher on a piece of paper you would then take to the pharmacy to get your magic pills or potions that would cure you from your ailment. Over some period of time, we got better and our belief in the magic cure-all of allopathic medicine was enforced. If you feel lousy, take a pill. If you want to avoid getting sick, get vaccinated. If you want to live longer, drink this tonic. If you want better sexual relations, the blue pill fits the bill.
The reality is that healing isn’t about pills. It isn’t about potions. It isn’t about anybody but yourself. When it comes to cancer, chemotherapy doesn’t cure you. The trick to chemo is the (dark) art of the oncologist having a knack for almost, but not quite, killing you with some of the most toxic substances known to man and, in doing so, killing the cancer first. It’s a tricky task and a lot of people die from their treatments along the way.
It bears repeating: Healing isn’t about anybody but yourself. Nobody can cure you. Doctors might like to take the credit, but all the good ones are doing is tripping up the balance within your body such that a pathogen is inconvenienced to the point that your body can heal itself and rid itself of the problem. If you don’t get that, read the sentence again. This is the most important truth with regard to physical well-being: All healing is self-healing.
Because all healing takes place within the body, driven 100% by the body’s inner mechanisms, it’s important for us to participate in our healing journey by making choices that assist our body’s ability to do what’s necessary to repair itself. If you’re recovering from a chemo series and sitting down to a jumbo bag of gummy bears while eyeballing American Idol, I can assure you that you’re NOT helping your body to heal. What you’re doing is helping your cancer to maintain its foothold despite the chemo’s potential to set the cancer on the run.
It is this self-healing paradigm that this web site advises you to “Take responsibility for your well-being and master your life!” By taking ownership and responsibility for healing yourself, it leaves it up to you to make the right decisions to assist and augment your healing journey. By taking responsibility, you empower yourself. You might want to passively go along with everything your doctor prescribes for you, but those (in my experience) generally amount to drugs, drugs and more drugs. Your body does not need drugs. It needs its building blocks to effect repairs in the form of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It needs a diurnal clock along with correct day/night exposure to trigger the proper serotonin and melatonin cycle (essential for healing). And it needs you to sleep 7-8 hours/day.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that you don’t work with your doctors or take their advice. By all means, get assessed and assisted by qualified medical professionals! The point is to not leave it only and all up to them to make you well. Your well-being, despite the convenience of so thinking, is not their responsibility. Your well-being is your responsibility. All the doctors in the world could ever do is help your body heal itself. Since it’s your body, I’d say that you’ve got the biggest role in helping your body to heal.
My mother smoked well into her WG, which she fought for at least 8 years. Her unwillingness to give up that vice helped keep her body inflamed and off balance such that cancer eventually set in. Despite heroic efforts by her oncologists and WG specialists, it was just too late. Her demise was the truth for countless people around the world these days. Don’t be one of them.
If you’re dealing with an illness of some sort, don’t be a passenger on your journey. When you’re a passenger, you’re powerless over which direction your journey takes. It is only in being in full control of your journey can you determine exactly where you end up. It’s an important aspect of becoming well, just as it is an important element in becoming the best you can be in any area of life.
Life is not a spectator sport. Neither is healing. So, stand up and take on the task of driving your healing forward instead of sitting back and waiting for somebody else to either make you well or let you die.