Out on a limb – the importance of re-examining the cause of Ian Gawler’s ‘remission’ – Grace Gawler comments

Visit:  https://theconversation.edu.au/coffee-enemas-dont-cure-cancer-reviewing-the-remarkable-claims-of-ian-gawler-5242

Hopefully this series of blogs will answer the many questions that cancer patients and the public are asking about how Ian Gawler might have been misdiagnosed?

After Meares and Gerson diet: Mid March 1976 – Ian Gawler

 After all, we would normally think of TB being associated with a ‘shadow’ on the lung, not large calcified lumps such as the those photographed on July 7 1977 – Ian’s chest wall…(below left).
In my next blog we will look at how misdiagnosis can happen and how TB can mimic even bone cancer. The following will form a background and framework for what has happened and make sense of this complex story.

Famous photos:July 1977 Advanced TB or cancer?

 I was once quoted as saying “I would rather be married to a live anecdote than a dead statistic.” At that stage I had no idea that our story would become so famous and that people would try to emulate what we did throughout the course of Ian’s illness. I had neither the maturity nor expertise to tease apart various medical incidents that had always left me wondering.

Now in 2012, having walked in the world of cancer medicine for 38 years; by logic, you would have to think that I have seen a thing or two! Add to that my experience as sole caregiver/partner for Ian Gawler throughout his illness; first in 1974 as girlfriend when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma; then supporting him throughout his assumed recurrence; marrying him when he’d been given a few weeks to live, and following through with support until he returned to full health. Given that background, you would have to think that I know a thing or two!

Coming back to current time, Ian Gawler and supporters mistakenly believe they are at war with the medical profession who are simply out to discredit because he recovered from secondary bone cancer despite them. This debate has reached the heights of blind emotionalism fanned by Gawler’s blogs calling it the Spanish Inquisition! Rather than welcoming enquiry, the Gawler Foundation has published links to these emotive blogs on their front page! Has anyone from this group stopped for moment to consider why, as an ex wife I would expose myself to public and medical scrutiny by correcting errors of fact about Ian Gawler’s ‘remission’ in a medical journal? We separated long ago – so although it makes for exciting press, there are no duelling Mrs Gawler’s as has been implied. I have been preoccupied since 1997 with a medical condition myself and family responsibilities, so could well do without the hassle. We should also ask why two eminent professors of oncology would risk their reputations publically and medically by investigating Ian Gawler’s recovery 30 years on? Bringing a tone of logic to the matter, it is recommended that Ian Gawler’s supporters read the evidence as written in the IMJ report before making assumptions about wars and conspiracies. Haines and Lowenthal’s report is well written and scientifically intelligent and for me who was intimately involved in Ian Gawler’s recovery; in 2012 ‘science-speak’ – it sure makes a lot of sense!

We must remember that medicine was a very different entity in the 1970’s. Sophisticated scanning wasn’t around and diagnostics were perhaps more dependent on the patient’s reporting of symptoms. There were very few medical practitioners involved in Ian Gawler’s case; they were not of long duration and, as well, we had much geographical relocation during his illness. No one picked up the symptoms of TB, no one knew of the BCG vaccines he had used as immune stimulants and no one knew of the tuberculin he used for TB testing cows in veterinary practice in those days. No one asked if indeed there had been a biopsy performed 11 months after amputation when a bony lump appeared in his groin. No one asked about biopsies for the duration of his illness; it was presumed they had been done. Maybe this assumption was due to the fact that Ian Gawler was a Veterinarian who would know these things. In a nutshell, this is how much of his story/history, simply passed under the medical radar without questions and eventually became a well reported ‘anecdotal cure.’

When Ainslie Meares reported Ian’s story in 1978 in the MJA – there was one missing piece to the puzzle – Meares did not know Ian had been diagnosed with advanced TB in June 1978. Meares had written and submitted the abstract when the calcifications on Ian’s Chest disappeared – he too presumed the growths had been metastatic cancer – in the absence of knowledge about Ian’s TB. He also inverted Ian’s medical timeline which has helped fuel the current confusion in terms of what happened when?

The ‘Dragon’s Blessing’, Ian’s biography was published October 2008. Dr Alistair Robertson is quoted in the book. He had reviewed Ian Gawler’s case in 1978 and made the diagnosis of TB.  This was the first time Ian had consulted him, so he had little or no background about the case. He looked at x-rays from previous years; back to 1976 and compared them with the current-time June 1978 films.  Robertson said: “TB had been evident for at least two years” however, the lung ‘shadow’ was evident early in 1976 on x-ray. I remember asking Ian’s radiation oncologist about it in February 1976 but I had never seen TB; as a veterinary nurse in wasn’t in my repertoire. Continue reading “Out on a limb – the importance of re-examining the cause of Ian Gawler’s ‘remission’ – Grace Gawler comments”

Out on a limb – the importance of re-examining the cause of Ian Gawler's 'remission' – Grace Gawler comments

Visit:  https://theconversation.edu.au/coffee-enemas-dont-cure-cancer-reviewing-the-remarkable-claims-of-ian-gawler-5242

Hopefully this series of blogs will answer the many questions that cancer patients and the public are asking about how Ian Gawler might have been misdiagnosed?

After Meares and Gerson diet: Mid March 1976 – Ian Gawler

 After all, we would normally think of TB being associated with a ‘shadow’ on the lung, not large calcified lumps such as the those photographed on July 7 1977 – Ian’s chest wall…(below left).
In my next blog we will look at how misdiagnosis can happen and how TB can mimic even bone cancer. The following will form a background and framework for what has happened and make sense of this complex story.

Famous photos:July 1977 Advanced TB or cancer?

 I was once quoted as saying “I would rather be married to a live anecdote than a dead statistic.” At that stage I had no idea that our story would become so famous and that people would try to emulate what we did throughout the course of Ian’s illness. I had neither the maturity nor expertise to tease apart various medical incidents that had always left me wondering.

Now in 2012, having walked in the world of cancer medicine for 38 years; by logic, you would have to think that I have seen a thing or two! Add to that my experience as sole caregiver/partner for Ian Gawler throughout his illness; first in 1974 as girlfriend when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma; then supporting him throughout his assumed recurrence; marrying him when he’d been given a few weeks to live, and following through with support until he returned to full health. Given that background, you would have to think that I know a thing or two!

Coming back to current time, Ian Gawler and supporters mistakenly believe they are at war with the medical profession who are simply out to discredit because he recovered from secondary bone cancer despite them. This debate has reached the heights of blind emotionalism fanned by Gawler’s blogs calling it the Spanish Inquisition! Rather than welcoming enquiry, the Gawler Foundation has published links to these emotive blogs on their front page! Has anyone from this group stopped for moment to consider why, as an ex wife I would expose myself to public and medical scrutiny by correcting errors of fact about Ian Gawler’s ‘remission’ in a medical journal? We separated long ago – so although it makes for exciting press, there are no duelling Mrs Gawler’s as has been implied. I have been preoccupied since 1997 with a medical condition myself and family responsibilities, so could well do without the hassle. We should also ask why two eminent professors of oncology would risk their reputations publically and medically by investigating Ian Gawler’s recovery 30 years on? Bringing a tone of logic to the matter, it is recommended that Ian Gawler’s supporters read the evidence as written in the IMJ report before making assumptions about wars and conspiracies. Haines and Lowenthal’s report is well written and scientifically intelligent and for me who was intimately involved in Ian Gawler’s recovery; in 2012 ‘science-speak’ – it sure makes a lot of sense!

We must remember that medicine was a very different entity in the 1970’s. Sophisticated scanning wasn’t around and diagnostics were perhaps more dependent on the patient’s reporting of symptoms. There were very few medical practitioners involved in Ian Gawler’s case; they were not of long duration and, as well, we had much geographical relocation during his illness. No one picked up the symptoms of TB, no one knew of the BCG vaccines he had used as immune stimulants and no one knew of the tuberculin he used for TB testing cows in veterinary practice in those days. No one asked if indeed there had been a biopsy performed 11 months after amputation when a bony lump appeared in his groin. No one asked about biopsies for the duration of his illness; it was presumed they had been done. Maybe this assumption was due to the fact that Ian Gawler was a Veterinarian who would know these things. In a nutshell, this is how much of his story/history, simply passed under the medical radar without questions and eventually became a well reported ‘anecdotal cure.’

When Ainslie Meares reported Ian’s story in 1978 in the MJA – there was one missing piece to the puzzle – Meares did not know Ian had been diagnosed with advanced TB in June 1978. Meares had written and submitted the abstract when the calcifications on Ian’s Chest disappeared – he too presumed the growths had been metastatic cancer – in the absence of knowledge about Ian’s TB. He also inverted Ian’s medical timeline which has helped fuel the current confusion in terms of what happened when?

The ‘Dragon’s Blessing’, Ian’s biography was published October 2008. Dr Alistair Robertson is quoted in the book. He had reviewed Ian Gawler’s case in 1978 and made the diagnosis of TB.  This was the first time Ian had consulted him, so he had little or no background about the case. He looked at x-rays from previous years; back to 1976 and compared them with the current-time June 1978 films.  Robertson said: “TB had been evident for at least two years” however, the lung ‘shadow’ was evident early in 1976 on x-ray. I remember asking Ian’s radiation oncologist about it in February 1976 but I had never seen TB; as a veterinary nurse in wasn’t in my repertoire. Continue reading “Out on a limb – the importance of re-examining the cause of Ian Gawler's 'remission' – Grace Gawler comments”

Steve Jobs leaves a teaching legacy for all cancer patients says Grace Gawler

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs recent death from neuro-endocrine pancreatic cancer has once again highlighted the need for more public awareness surrounding issues of alternative medicine and the role of belief systems in cancer treatment choices i.e. alternative versus conventional medicine – when ideologies take over, negating logic and scientific evidence. Steve Jobs was not alone; our institute is very concerned at the large numbers of cancer patients trying alternative medicine as their first-line treatment option.

I say this with respect – but the question begs – what drove a man like Steve Jobs to believe he could beat operable cancer by using the same “alternative” tools he had been using for most of his life? Albert Eistein said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In my clinic I  see many patients who have been loyal to an alternative lifestyle ) including alt med, for most of their life and when they get cancer diagnosed – they simply do more of it in pursuit of a cure! Almost a pray harder mentality.

Apparently, even a close friend with prostate cancer who was in remission, advised Jobs not to take the alternative medicine path – yet at great personal risk, he refused surgery to experiment with natural therapies. Natural Health News editor – Mike Adams was quick to gain kudos and write about Job’s death on October 5 stating that he died because of conventional medicine – however information released from Apple Corporation soon revealed a very different story – Adams had incorrectly reported the story – indeed it was quite the opposite. Continue reading “Steve Jobs leaves a teaching legacy for all cancer patients says Grace Gawler”

Cancer – Grace Gawler’s interview withThe GreenplanetFM Podcast -Tim Lynch New Zealand

About Tim Lynch & GreenplanetFM radio. You can tune in online to New Zealand’s GreenPlanetFM 104.6 with Tim Lynch in Mobilising Consciousness The content of this interview touches upon many issues past and recent dicussed in this blog including emotional aspects of recovery and the power of love in healing along with placebo.
Every Thursday morning 8-9am (NZ time). Join the Blog radio for free to listen to interesting interview and to keep updated on important issues. Auckland’s one-hour environmental / health and consciousness programme, dedicated to interviewing leading edge experts, practitioners in their field, and people who are living examples of sustainability. 
9 June 2011:Tim lynch writes about and interviews Grace Gawler There are many methods to treat cancer today that cover the full spectrum, from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and drugs, to a vast array of holistic modalities and natural therapies, to visualisation and spiritual healing. 
To listen to Grace Gawler’s interview with Tim Lynch select link below:
http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/RATE+00000001
+00000149+5#00000149

LINKS to resources mentioned in this interview:
1. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/     Search more than 65,000 products for yours and your family’s safety
2. http://www.ekopolitan.com/guides/guide-pesticide-residues  
AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE for discerning what to buy re vegetables and fruits
3. http://www.foodnews.org  – A great free list – SIGN UP FOR FREE pdf EWG’s shoppers guide to pesticides.
4. Educate your self and your family – Watch The Story of Cosmetics…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8

Listen to an exceptionally dedicated and connected healer who has worked with over 13,000 patients sharing her gifts and goodwill to empower them and their loved ones on this journey. Also mentioned is the impact of cosmetics, air quality, agriculture, food chain issues such as hormones, pesticides, electromagnetic influences etc.
Grace also teaches patients how to spin gold from straw and turn cancer into a transformative process and experience? By bridging all medical methods, Grace collaborates with oncologists in an endeavour to find the best outcomes for patients.
This very clear and inspiring interview, is a must for any dear family member, friend or associate who at this moment may be struggling to heal and recover and I wish to encourage you to pass this information to those whom you feel could benefit from Graces goodwill.  www.gracegawler.com/institute
Listen to the interview at:
http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/RATE+00000001
+00000149+5#00000149

Cancer – Grace Gawler's interview withThe GreenplanetFM Podcast -Tim Lynch New Zealand

About Tim Lynch & GreenplanetFM radio. You can tune in online to New Zealand’s GreenPlanetFM 104.6 with Tim Lynch in Mobilising Consciousness The content of this interview touches upon many issues past and recent dicussed in this blog including emotional aspects of recovery and the power of love in healing along with placebo.
Every Thursday morning 8-9am (NZ time). Join the Blog radio for free to listen to interesting interview and to keep updated on important issues. Auckland’s one-hour environmental / health and consciousness programme, dedicated to interviewing leading edge experts, practitioners in their field, and people who are living examples of sustainability. 
9 June 2011:Tim lynch writes about and interviews Grace Gawler There are many methods to treat cancer today that cover the full spectrum, from surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and drugs, to a vast array of holistic modalities and natural therapies, to visualisation and spiritual healing. 
To listen to Grace Gawler’s interview with Tim Lynch select link below:
http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/RATE+00000001
+00000149+5#00000149

LINKS to resources mentioned in this interview:
1. http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/     Search more than 65,000 products for yours and your family’s safety
2. http://www.ekopolitan.com/guides/guide-pesticide-residues  
AN EXCELLENT RESOURCE for discerning what to buy re vegetables and fruits
3. http://www.foodnews.org  – A great free list – SIGN UP FOR FREE pdf EWG’s shoppers guide to pesticides.
4. Educate your self and your family – Watch The Story of Cosmetics…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfq000AF1i8

Listen to an exceptionally dedicated and connected healer who has worked with over 13,000 patients sharing her gifts and goodwill to empower them and their loved ones on this journey. Also mentioned is the impact of cosmetics, air quality, agriculture, food chain issues such as hormones, pesticides, electromagnetic influences etc.
Grace also teaches patients how to spin gold from straw and turn cancer into a transformative process and experience? By bridging all medical methods, Grace collaborates with oncologists in an endeavour to find the best outcomes for patients.
This very clear and inspiring interview, is a must for any dear family member, friend or associate who at this moment may be struggling to heal and recover and I wish to encourage you to pass this information to those whom you feel could benefit from Graces goodwill.  www.gracegawler.com/institute
Listen to the interview at:
http://www.greenplanetfm.com/members/greenradio/blog/RATE+00000001
+00000149+5#00000149

Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 3

Can placebo heal? Can placebo provide a short term burst of hope based on belief?  Remember from our first post that from Latin placebo means ‘I shall please’ whereas Nocebo means ‘I shall harm’. Just how powerful are words of power, thoughts and beliefs?
With these definitions in mind, consider the  following stories. They powerfully demonstrate how belief systems can either turn on or turn off the will to live and how inexplicable healing can sometimes occur through belief.  Consider the power of Sovereigns to heal in medieval  times and the power of prayer
It is interesting to remember how the Royal Touch was believed to heal and bless.  With the spread of Christianity, monarchs were seen as religious figures with magical or curative powers. It was believed that Royal Touch, the touch of the sovereign of England or France, could cure diseases due to the devine right of sovereigns. Members of the royal courts often propagandized that those receiving the Royal Touch were miraculously healed. André du Laurens, the senior physician of Henry IV, publicized findings that at least half of those that received the Royal Touch were cured within a few days. Then we have the story of St peregrinus – the Patron Saint of Cancer. 
Near the end of the thirteenth century a zealous young priest of the order of

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients

Servites fell ill with a painful cancer of the foot. He bore his trial without a murmur and, when it was decided that amputation should be performed, he spent the night preceding the operation in prayer before his crucifix. He then sank into a light slumber from which he awoke completely cured—to the amazement of the doctors who could no longer detect any trace of the disease. The holy man lived to the age of eighty and died in sanctity. He became known as St. Peregrinus, the patron saint of cancer.

In this context – I introduce  two other sources for placebo – Both are from an indigenous source. I encourage you to consider the difference between an uneducated person who accepts their cultural beliefs and background including those in authority and our  current Western style culture where education levels are  a higher standard and where tradition and authority is often scorned or rebelled against. Did these simple beliefs and rituals have a ‘magical’ placebo effect?

The following stories  from the 1800’s were both recorded by medical physiologist Walton Cannon and concern  Australian experiences – the first one being an indigenous Australian account and the second – a Kanaka from the Polynesian Islands. From his diary he states:
“Dr. S. M. Lambert of the Western Pacific Health Service of the Rockefeller Foundation wrote to me on several occasions as he had seen evidence of death from fear. In one case there was a startling recovery. At a mission at Mona Mona in North Queensland, were many native converts, but on the outskirts of the mission was a group of non-converts, including one “Nebo”, a famous witch doctor. The chief helper of the missionary was Rob, a native who had been converted. When Dr. Lambert arrived at the Mission he learned that Rob was in distress and that the missionary wanted him examined. Dr. Lambert made the examination, and found no fever, no complaint of pain, no symptoms or signs of disease. He was impressed, however, by the obvious indications that Rob was seriously ill and extremely weak. From the missionary he learned that Rob had had a bone pointed at him by Nebo and was convinced that, in consequence, he must die. Thereupon, Dr. Lambert and the missionary went for Nebo, threatened him sharply that his supply of food would be shut off if anything happened to Rob and that he and his people would be driven away from the  mission. At once Nebo agreed to go with them to see   Rob. He leaned over Rob’s bed and told the sick man that it was all a mistake, a mere joke…indeed, that he had not pointed a bone at all.
The relief, Dr. Lambert testifies, was almost instantaneous. That evening Rob was back at work, quite happy again and in full possession of his physical strength.
A less fortunate outcome is reported in the next account.

Continue reading “Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 3”

Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 3

Can placebo heal? Can placebo provide a short term burst of hope based on belief?  Remember from our first post that from Latin placebo means ‘I shall please’ whereas Nocebo means ‘I shall harm’. Just how powerful are words of power, thoughts and beliefs?
With these definitions in mind, consider the  following stories. They powerfully demonstrate how belief systems can either turn on or turn off the will to live and how inexplicable healing can sometimes occur through belief.  Consider the power of Sovereigns to heal in medieval  times and the power of prayer
It is interesting to remember how the Royal Touch was believed to heal and bless.  With the spread of Christianity, monarchs were seen as religious figures with magical or curative powers. It was believed that Royal Touch, the touch of the sovereign of England or France, could cure diseases due to the devine right of sovereigns. Members of the royal courts often propagandized that those receiving the Royal Touch were miraculously healed. André du Laurens, the senior physician of Henry IV, publicized findings that at least half of those that received the Royal Touch were cured within a few days. Then we have the story of St peregrinus – the Patron Saint of Cancer. 
Near the end of the thirteenth century a zealous young priest of the order of

Patron Saint of Cancer Patients

Servites fell ill with a painful cancer of the foot. He bore his trial without a murmur and, when it was decided that amputation should be performed, he spent the night preceding the operation in prayer before his crucifix. He then sank into a light slumber from which he awoke completely cured—to the amazement of the doctors who could no longer detect any trace of the disease. The holy man lived to the age of eighty and died in sanctity. He became known as St. Peregrinus, the patron saint of cancer.

In this context – I introduce  two other sources for placebo – Both are from an indigenous source. I encourage you to consider the difference between an uneducated person who accepts their cultural beliefs and background including those in authority and our  current Western style culture where education levels are  a higher standard and where tradition and authority is often scorned or rebelled against. Did these simple beliefs and rituals have a ‘magical’ placebo effect?

The following stories  from the 1800’s were both recorded by medical physiologist Walton Cannon and concern  Australian experiences – the first one being an indigenous Australian account and the second – a Kanaka from the Polynesian Islands. From his diary he states:
“Dr. S. M. Lambert of the Western Pacific Health Service of the Rockefeller Foundation wrote to me on several occasions as he had seen evidence of death from fear. In one case there was a startling recovery. At a mission at Mona Mona in North Queensland, were many native converts, but on the outskirts of the mission was a group of non-converts, including one “Nebo”, a famous witch doctor. The chief helper of the missionary was Rob, a native who had been converted. When Dr. Lambert arrived at the Mission he learned that Rob was in distress and that the missionary wanted him examined. Dr. Lambert made the examination, and found no fever, no complaint of pain, no symptoms or signs of disease. He was impressed, however, by the obvious indications that Rob was seriously ill and extremely weak. From the missionary he learned that Rob had had a bone pointed at him by Nebo and was convinced that, in consequence, he must die. Thereupon, Dr. Lambert and the missionary went for Nebo, threatened him sharply that his supply of food would be shut off if anything happened to Rob and that he and his people would be driven away from the  mission. At once Nebo agreed to go with them to see   Rob. He leaned over Rob’s bed and told the sick man that it was all a mistake, a mere joke…indeed, that he had not pointed a bone at all.
The relief, Dr. Lambert testifies, was almost instantaneous. That evening Rob was back at work, quite happy again and in full possession of his physical strength.
A less fortunate outcome is reported in the next account.

Continue reading “Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 3”

Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 2

DIAGNOSIS, PROGNOSIS AND BEYOND ( adapted from Women of Silence – The Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer-Grace Gawler pub  1994, 2003. Click here to buy your copy – also available in e-Book.) Only available from the author.

It was noticeable in the early days of conducting support groups, that when people spoke of their lives and their cancers, other patients in the room would begin to nod knowingly as they identified how their own story aligned with those dealing with the same cancer.
We all have an ability to switch off our life force and lose our passion for living. There are many stories from indigenous cultures of people who consciously died because they believed the would. Perhaps such a message triggers a powerful belief that causes the soul to leave.  This ability has also been demonstrated in many indigenous cultures including the Australian aborigine, the Kikuyu of Kenya and the bushmen of the Kalahari. There have been many instances of this phenomenon. These cultures live very much in the here and now, so when imprisoned, they believe it is forever and they simply die. They lose their will to live or will to be because they see no end to their situation. Tribal indigenous Australians are  known for the phenomenon of “bone pointing” where healthy individuals die because their belief system supports the tribes medicine man who has a position of power and authority.

There are parallels between these experiences and the experiences of those diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Often, much depends on how the diagnosis and prognosis are delivered to the patient. At a vulnerable moment, information poorly delivered by a doctor and/or poorly received by the patient can cause the spirit to retreat and withdraw, eventually resulting in death. I have known many patients with six months to live who die almost to the day as if set by some invisible internal clock. When lack of hope and possibility are vocalised by a person of power, the patient is, at that moment, faced with a life and death decision. So powerful can it be, that all else, all survival messages, are filtered out of the patient’s awareness and the process of dying begins. Continue reading “Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 2”

Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 2

DIAGNOSIS, PROGNOSIS AND BEYOND ( adapted from Women of Silence – The Emotional Healing of Breast Cancer-Grace Gawler pub  1994, 2003. Click here to buy your copy – also available in e-Book.) Only available from the author.

It was noticeable in the early days of conducting support groups, that when people spoke of their lives and their cancers, other patients in the room would begin to nod knowingly as they identified how their own story aligned with those dealing with the same cancer.
We all have an ability to switch off our life force and lose our passion for living. There are many stories from indigenous cultures of people who consciously died because they believed the would. Perhaps such a message triggers a powerful belief that causes the soul to leave.  This ability has also been demonstrated in many indigenous cultures including the Australian aborigine, the Kikuyu of Kenya and the bushmen of the Kalahari. There have been many instances of this phenomenon. These cultures live very much in the here and now, so when imprisoned, they believe it is forever and they simply die. They lose their will to live or will to be because they see no end to their situation. Tribal indigenous Australians are  known for the phenomenon of “bone pointing” where healthy individuals die because their belief system supports the tribes medicine man who has a position of power and authority.

There are parallels between these experiences and the experiences of those diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Often, much depends on how the diagnosis and prognosis are delivered to the patient. At a vulnerable moment, information poorly delivered by a doctor and/or poorly received by the patient can cause the spirit to retreat and withdraw, eventually resulting in death. I have known many patients with six months to live who die almost to the day as if set by some invisible internal clock. When lack of hope and possibility are vocalised by a person of power, the patient is, at that moment, faced with a life and death decision. So powerful can it be, that all else, all survival messages, are filtered out of the patient’s awareness and the process of dying begins. Continue reading “Grace Gawler Writes About Beliefs, Cancer & the Power of Placebo in Survival Part 2”

Grace Gawler Writes About the Placebo Effect in Healing and Cancer Part One

What is a Placebo? The Placebo effect (Latin placebo, “I shall please”), also known as non-specific effects and the subject-expectancy effect, is the phenomenon that a patient’s symptoms can be alleviated by an otherwise ineffective treatment, since the individual expects or believes that it will work. Some people consider this to be a remarkable aspect of human physiology; others consider it to be an illusion arising from the way medical experiments were conducted.

What is Nocebo effect: In the opposite effect, a patient who disbelieves in a treatment may experience a worsening of symptoms. This nocebo effect (nocebo translates from Latin as “I shall harm”) can be measured in the same way as the placebo effect, e.g., when members of a control group receiving an inert substance report a worsening of symptoms. The recipients of the inert substance may nullify the placebo effect intended by simply having a negative attitude towards the effectiveness of the substance prescribed, which often leads to a nocebo effect, which is not caused by the substance itself, but more the patient’s mentality towards her or his ability to get well. (source Wiki Psychology)

Doctor-Patient Relationship and Placebo:

ABC TV Australia 26 May 2011 broadcast – This was a most useful and interesting segment and gave a terrific layman’s explanation of this complex area of healing.

The power of vodoo and hex or… in other words placebo (I shall please) and nocebo (I shall harm) is  discussed in these two short videos copied from ABC’s Catalyst website. If you missed the program or even if you watched it; I suggest you take another look. The PET scan images at the end of the video titiled Vodoo –  provide some tangible explanations as to why some people are susceptible to placebo and power of suggestion than others. The outcome of a pain test reveals that subjects who are susceptible to the placebo effect produce significant amounts of opioids and the outcome of reduced pain. In fact these subjects can produce in their brain the equivalent of 10 mg or more of morphine! Others in the experiment for whom placebo did not work (15%) –  experienced a nocebo effect –  a decrease of opioids and therefore increased pain. Select video link below.
http://gracegawler.com/data/video/catalyst_s12_ep14_Voodoo.wmv

PET and MRI brain scans were combined to make these images, illustrating activity in the brain’s mu opioid system. On top, study participants were experiencing pain. On the bottom, they thought they were receiving an injection of painkiller medicine that was actually a placebo. Image Courtesy of University of Michigan

 Why are some people susceptible to Placebo and others not? Continue reading “Grace Gawler Writes About the Placebo Effect in Healing and Cancer Part One”