I read an amazing true story the other day. A middle-aged lady had been having lots of vague abdominal symptoms, so she was taken into hospital for exploratory surgery. While she was still coming round from the anaesthetic, the surgeon came out of the operating theatre to speak to her Son, who’d brought her in.
“It’s bad news about your Mother, I’m afraid,” the Doctor said. “She’s got widespread cancer. It may have started in her liver, but it’s spread to most of her other abdominal organs. I’m sorry, but I would estimate she only has about 3 months more to live.”
“In that case, Doctor,” replied the Son, “can I ask a favour of you? Don’t tell her what’s wrong. She’s always had such a fear of cancer. If you tell her that’s what she’s got, it will be like voodoo for her. She’ll just be utterly overwhelmed and miserable. Could you think of another diagnosis that you could give her? I don’t like to ask you to lie but it will
make such a difference to her quality of life.”
“Well, if you think it will be for the best. I could tell her we found some gallstones and we’ve removed them.”
“Thank you so much, Doctor. Honestly, it will make such a difference to her.”
So, that’s what the Doctor did. The lady was discharged, and the Doctor forgot all about her. Until 9 years later, when he met her in the street, alive and well! She came up to talk to him.
“It’s Doctor X, isn’t it? You probably don’t remember me, but you operated on my gallstones 9 years ago.” The Doctor remembered her all too well and tried to hide his utter astonishment at finding her still alive!
“It’s good to see you, Mrs Y. How have you been keeping?”
“Oh, my whole life changed after the surgery you did, Doctor!” she told him. “You won’t believe it, but I’d got myself convinced that I had some kind of dreadful cancer. Then, when you said it had just been gallstones, I said to myself:
“There! Now, look where worrying has got you! All that fretting that you’d got cancer, and nothing much the matter with you other than a few gallstones!” I tell you, Doctor, I really pulled myself together. I saw for myself that my silly worries
and negative thinking had brought me to a point where I felt really low. And all for not much! So, I made a decision, right there and then, never to let worry get such a hold of my mind again. I put a real effort into being more positive and cheerful – and you know, it’s definitely worked, because I’ve never felt better! Thank you so much, Doctor. Goodbye!”
This is a true story – and a wonderful illustration of the power of the mind.
Never doubt that what you think is changing your world!