Consider These Possible Truths

Extract from Anita Moorjani’s book, “What if this is heaven?”
If “the health-care system takes care of our health” is a myth, then what could be the truth?

  1. Doctors and other health-care professionals can give us information about our physical condition and what our options are, but we are responsible for accessing our guidance and deciding on the best course of action.
  2. Poor health is not only a medical issue; the causes can also be rooted in our mental, emotional, or spiritual state-as well as in our environment.
  3. We are not victims of illness and disease do not happen in a vacuum; we can do much to improve our health on many levels.
  4. Illness is a teacher- and often a wake-up call-that shows us a better path. It’s not an evil that must be destroyed, the consequence of bad karma, or the result of negative thinking. Even death itself is not our enemy.
  5. Choosing to see the gifts or messages in illness instead of viewing illness as a curse empowers us (and may very well improve the outcome of an illness).

Considering Possible Truth #1:

Doctors and other health-care professionals can give us information about our physical condition and what our options are, but we are responsible for accessing our guidance on the best course of action.

My Experience and Insights:

Considering an appropriate treatment plan for cancer is complicated, to say the least!! Sound decision-making presupposes the availability of all the relevant facts. However, in the case of cancer, there are many relevant facts that cannot be put on the table timeously, or are simply not known.
To mention but a few;

  • What exactly causes cancer?

Despite all the research, it seems that there is still much to be understood. Is the disease caused by genetic, hereditary, diet, environment, lifestyle, personality factors, or all of the above?   If the latter is the case, what is the weighting? For example, does lifestyle contribute to 5% or 60% of the problem?

  • What is the nature or personality of the individual’s tumour?
  • How is the individual’s body going to respond to the various approaches of treatment, and to what extent are the side effects going to impact the immune system?
  • To what extent do factors like love, mind-set, and other psychological factors which cannot be measured empirically, play in the healing of cancer?

Even with years of dedicated study and experience, with collaboration and the sharing of knowledge, is it possible for any team of doctors or health-care professionals to know, without a doubt, what option is best for the individual?

It seems that there are still too many “unknowns” to have that kind of confidence, with the result that “statistics” are often used to sway the treatment plan decision.   However, who knows what side of the equation the individual falls.

What if you could trust your inner guidance of what treatment plan was best for you?   What if you could tap into your own body’s wisdom?   Would you want to be a member of that multi-disciplinary team making one of the most significant decisions of your life?

For me, it would be an emphatic “yes”! I would want to be the chairman, the one to make the defining treatment plan decision, and the one to take responsibility for my choice. How would I know that I had made the best decision for my treatment plan? I wouldn’t, but the same would apply to anyone’s recommendations.

In my case, I was well aware that I was making the best decision I could with the limited knowledge at my disposal, but I chose to trust the decision, to have faith in my team of both biomedical and complementary healers, and most of all, to trust the amazing resilience of my body.

Tips I found useful in settling on a treatment plan:
  • Take your time to make decisions. One cannot concentrate nor reason effectively when in a state of shock.
  • When evaluating literature, pay attention to what lens the author is looking through, and remember the Camry effect where the researcher unconsciously looks for evidence to support the hypothesis.
  • Take one step at a time. Focus on the treatment decision at hand, and make decisions about future steps along the way.   Changing circumstances may change the decision making.
  • Once you have made your treatment plan decision, ask your loved ones, supporters and professionals to respect it. The placebo effect is powerful, and it is not helpful to have one’s decisions and beliefs questioned at that stage.
  • Trust your inner guidance. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your beliefs, after all, it is your body, your life, your uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion – it is your right!
  • Prioritise. One has limited resources regarding time, energy and finances. Take care to choose treatment and support that meets your unique needs.
  • Find practitioners that you resonate with, and that are open to your input, and mindful of your particular needs.
  • Identify which areas of your situation you have control over and address those aspects. However, for those areas out of your control, surrender to “what is”, to a journey of living with “unknowns”, to being present, to being patient, to celebrating the “little wins”, to being mindful of your needs holistically, to gratitude, mindful of the gifts afforded through the journey, to love, to hope, to joy, to life.