Incurable, what does it mean? Who determines when something is incurable, doctors, scientists, patients, lots and lots of dead bodies? When the medical odds are stacked against a patient with a particular condition, the knee jerk use of the word “incurable” inevitably arises. Bart’s condition was considered “incurable” by his doctor and well, that was an inaccuracy on the grandest scale. Today, I saw a headline about Oliver Sacks announcing that he has, wait for it, incurable cancer. The man just basically announced his plan to die soon and also the thing he’s planning will finally kill him. He has decided his own death. What do I mean by that? Bare with me.
Most everyone has heard of the placebo effect.
From How Stuff Works.com Placebos have been shown to work in about 30 percent of patients, and they’ve been used by doctors for ages. In fact, they were often the only thing that a doctor could offer to relieve suffering, other than his or her attention and support. Some researchers believe that placebos simply evoke a psychological response. The act of taking them gives you an improved sense of well-being. However, recent research indicates that placebos may also bring about a physical response. In light of this, some people don’t see anything wrong with a doctor prescribing a placebo.After all, he or she is doing it to help the patient. But others see the practice not only as harmful, but unethical, deceptive and possibly even illegal.
Although we’ve long known that placebos can work, we’ve only recently started to figure out how and why.
I have many ideas about why the placebo effect works. Let’s start with quantum physics. Scientists have been discovering in labs for decades now that the observer effects the outcome of the experiment and sways the results based on his or her expectations. This discovery has thus been dubbed, “the observer effect.” Quantum physicists have also moved from the Newtonian atomic physics that we were taught in school that explains atoms make up the universe, and now talk of waves and particles as actual building blocks or rather a sort of quantum mechanical ever-shifting, never-static, universal fabric. In a nutshell, the unobserved world around us exists in a wave formation, meaning it has potential to be however an observer decides to focus it into reality, and at the point of being looked upon by a conscious observer who has preconceived notions, the surrounding world coagulates into a seemingly stable particle formation. Life comes into focus based on the type of vision with which we choose to look upon it. It’s like the whole world is waiting for us to tell it what we want to see and then in a literal blink of an eye, it takes shape based on our biases, prejudices, hopes, expectations and fears. The placebo effect is nothing more than the universe following the command of a patient’s belief in a desired outcome. The placebo effect is a neat package of quantum physics made visible and understandable for the layman. In other words, our expectations shape our reality. The world is nothing but a tapestry of opinions, hopes and fears.
As I said before, most of us have heard of the placebo effect, but there is another term that most aren’t as familiar with and that is the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect is the opposite of the placebo and happens when a medical professional or other person of authority makes a statement such as warning of possible pain and unpleasant side effects, even impending death, increasing the likelihood that the patient will then experience any or all of these suggestions.
I can’t say for sure if what happened with Bart could be considered a placebo, in fact it is my belief that cancer is largely a condition linked to nutritional deficiencies, or it can be considered a nutritional malady of sorts. And of course not all cancers are nutritional illnesses, but it’s likely that many if not most of them are. But that conversation aside, what if placebo and nocebo effects are the same for our pets as they are for people? What if my hopefulness and belief in his ability to heal through diet was a powerful placebo that Bart zeroed in on and responded to physically? Who can say for sure? The point I’m making here is you are your dog’s entire world just as I am Bart’s world, and the way we behave around them is strongly received by these intensely perceptive creatures. Not only is their hearing and smell and night vision superior to ours, so is their intuition and empathy. They see through us with lazer sharpness.
I’m not asking anyone to lie to their best friend, but rather to work towards turning on your own optimism for their sake, instead of bracing yourselves for the worst possible scenario all the time. We as humans have been conditioned to expect the worst so that when things go better than planned we are mildly pleased. Living life like that is defeatist and it doesn’t serve you and it certainly isn’t going to serve your pet with a medical condition. Everything, and every behavior boils down to one thing, choice. We all always have a choice in every situation. They might not always be the greatest of choices to select from, but life really is about choosing how you respond to every single moment that shows up for you. So why not try choosing to think thoughts that make you feel better, especially when your with your pet? You could be the medicine that helps him or her respond favorably to a particular treatment.
I’ll admit, I may not be the most traditional of thinkers, in fact I’m so nontraditional in my thinking that I had the gall to forego any medical procedures after Bart’s emergency surgery and simply pumped him full of nutritionally sound meals and cancer fighting herbs and supplements in response to the diagnosis of incurable cancer. And if you’re reading this blog and considering or maybe you are treating your dog’s cancer with nutrition, you’re a lot like me in the way of nontraditional thinking. And about Bart’s cancer treatment, it actually worked, and three years later we’re still hanging out at night in the living room as if none of this cancer business ever reared it’s ugly head in the past. We’re not alone, I just discovered a guy named Chris today, who also has overcome the medical community’s “odds” and has been in remission from colon cancer for over a decade with nothing but nutrition and natural therapies. Check him out at http://www.chrisbeatcancer.com/
So what if 9 times out of 10 the word incurable actually means curable with the right mindset and approach? What if that number was 10 times out of 10? Who knows for sure, but I personally believe it’s an effort worth giving if this is any life worth living.
Enjoy the joke and please comment your thoughts!