When Deepak Chopra was a young medical resident, training in endocrinology, he had a patient with widely metastasized liver cancer. As was sometimes the case fifty years ago, doctors would sometimes lie to the patient about the seriousness of the diagnosis. They did this because their belief was that being told you only have a short time left would create panic and despair on the part of the patient. Physicians have always known that despair is not good for health. The daughter of Deepak’s patient pleaded with him to let her mother continue to believe that the problem was simply gall stones. The daughter said: “Telling my mother the truth could kill her.” The daughter was probably right. Today, it would be considered unprofessional, unethical, and even illegal to lie to a patient. However, Chopra acceded to the daughter’s plea and told the mother that she simply had gall stones and that they were successfully removed. In doing so, there is a very good chance that Dr. Chopra saved that woman’s life. The patient was not expected to live more than a few weeks. Two years later, in a follow-up appointment, now the picture of health, she told Chopra: “Doctor, I was so sure I had cancer two years ago that when it turned out to be just gallstones, I told myself I would never be sick another day in my life.” Upon testing, the cancer was found to be gone. Her cancer never returned.
It is essential to find ways to do whatever you can do to improve your state of mind. Learning how to improve your support circle, as well as improve and deepen your relationships will improve your health as much as will improving your diet and exercise.
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