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Fighting Cancer with BELIEF and BodyWHealth (Q&A)

Fighting Cancer with BELIEF and BodyWHealth (Q&A) 1024 531 BodyWHealth

This may be the most important letter I ever answer; to a BodyWHealth supporter who is bravely and successfully fighting cancer.

Dear Dr. Carter,

I read your BodyWHealth gems daily, and I fully subscribe to your 5 important points…10,000 steps, calorie counting, no excuses, and Whealthy habits. It’s the “belief” thing that trips me up. How do you counteract a medical world that is telling you that your future does not necessarily include health or youth…in essence BodyWHealth? These “experts” in the field of the human body communicate, without hesitation and often without sensitivity, frightening statistics and genetic inevitability. They instill fear where they should be planting hope. They instill negativity where they should be advocating a path to positivity. Your doctrine covers the general population nicely, but then there are those who have had to face some serious physical curve balls. Do we just “stick our heads in the sand”? Or is the full contentment of body and mind (mainly the latter) that you describe simply going to elude us? I feel very healthy now. But the medical world often makes me feel like a time bomb.

You suggested yesterday that love conquers fear, so maybe that’s part of the answer. Love embraces the privilege of human touch and affection, of giving and receiving, of going out into the world with passion and excitement. All true, until you lie in bed in the dark of night and remember the words of the people in white coats.

I have withheld the reader’s name and initials to ensure her privacy.

Dear Friend of BodyWHealth,

Thank you for sharing your story with us. Know that you are not alone, either in your fight against cancer, or in your striving for WHealth in the face of considerable physical challenge. We are a growing community of caring human beings united in our determination to achieve personal WHealth.

Fear is the voice of your primitive reptilian brain trying to protect you from a number of scary scenarios. The problem is that this loud voice can sometimes derail your prevailing mindset from the important work you must do.

Here are a few insights for you to consider on your journey:

First, science can prognosticate only at the group level. We can tell you with some accuracy from our statistical analysis of disease patterns what should happen to a cohort of people in the same medical circumstances. What we absolutely cannot forecast with any degree of confidence is what your future holds! There are many stories of patients achieving better than expected outcomes, sometimes exceptional outcomes, beating diseases that appeared overwhelming. Your job is to do everything in your power to be one of these!

Each day we understand more about the critical role the immune system plays in fighting cancer. Today we are exploring drugs that boost your body’s specific anti-cancer activity. We also know that stress impairs immune function, and so you must make every effort to contain your stress. We know that many of the BodyWHealth habits, such as exercise and sleep, strengthen the immune system directly, over-and-above their value in reducing stress. Congratulations on your following the 5 Golden Rules. This is an excellent way to fight your way to WHealth. Please keep it up!

I firmly believe that emotional WHealth is attainable even in the presence of massive health challenges. Exercise, sleep and relaxation all elevate serotonin, the feel-good hormone in both sickness and in health. Endorphins released during exercise also elevate mood. And, as you rightly point out, under all circumstances, giving, loving and caring drives emotional benefits at the chemical level. There is a lot you can do to build your emotional WHealth!

Finally, you mention that BELIEF is hard. The truth is that this is the most difficult of all the Golden Rules to apply, for everybody. It’s probably also the most powerful! People have achieved superhuman feats in the presence of BELIEF. Fear is the most basic human emotion and undermines BELIEF. It is the voice of your primitive reptilian brain trying to protect you from a number of scary scenarios. The problem is that this loud voice can sometimes derail your prevailing mindset from the important work you must do.

Luckily, you’re hard-wired in a way that you can override fear by engaging your emotional and cognitive brain centers. We know that sustained positive thought (from the cognitive brain) in the presence of intense desire (from the emotional brain) results in BELIEF which suppresses fear.

It is clear that you have the desire to achieve WHealth. So, the part of the equation you must work on to overcome that nasty reptilian voice is the positive thoughts. Social and medical scientists have demonstrated repeatedly that there are impactful ways to harness powerful cognitive forces, creating sustained positive thoughts that materially affect our lives. There are ways to train positive thinking. Also, explore the power of music and postural training to amplify the benefit of your positive thinking.

Please stay strong in thought and heart. There is every reason to believe that you will attain BodyWHealth!

Have fun,


(And to my physician colleagues, please read this letter closely and appreciate the enormous role you play in harnessing the considerable power of our patients’ cerebral cortices and limbic systems in their fight against diseases that threaten not only their lives but, more importantly, their WHealth.)

If you have a question, please submit it via the connect tab. I try to answer all questions, either by direct email response, or by posting for all to see. I will not publish your name in public responses. Remember, there is no stupid question!!