The Bulletin welcomes back Dr. Bernie Siegel

First let me thank the Bulletin for allowing me back. I had so many nice comments from people about my column that I felt guilty not continuing to write. One of the things that keeps me busy is counseling people with cancer and other afflictions.

We run support groups in Woodbridge and if anyone is interested, wants to connect with me or read more things I have written go to my Web site

We have just passed through a season I find very spiritual and symbolic. At the last Board of Directors Meeting in Heaven, where I am an visiting consultant, I mentioned to God how spiritual the Fall felt due to the colors of the leaves.

God looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, “What’s so spiritual about the Fall. I did it to raise money for the New England states.” I explained that for me the green leaves represented our early years when we try to please everyone and fit into the family tree without being noticed or attracting attention. Then the Fall of our life comes and we realize we are attached to the tree of life for a limited time and, therefore, have the freedom to reveal our true selves, our unique beauty and our individuality just as the leaves reveal theirs. God smiled and said, “Bernie my son I like that. Thank you.”

Now to get back to the doctor me. Thirty years ago when I started this work I was very controversial and on all the famous talk shows. Now science supports all the things that seemed crazy because people are willing to research them with a more open mind. The following is a paragraph from an e-ail a doctor friend sent me.

“Call it the arrow of cancer. Like the arrow of time, it was supposed to point in one direction. Cancers grew and worsened. But as a paper in The Journal of the American Medical Association noted last week, data from more than two decades of screening for breast and prostate cancer call that view into question. Besides finding tumors that would be lethal if left untreated, screening appears to be finding many small tumors that would not be a problem if they were left alone, undiscovered by screening. They were destined to stop growing on their own or shrink, or even, at least in the case of some breast cancers, disappear.”

What we obviously need to do is study success and not just wonder about it. There is survival behavior and people who do better than expected should be studied and asked, “How come you didn’t die when you were supposed to?” I am fascinated watching and waiting to see what will happen to the Lockerbie terrorist who blew up the plane over Scotland and who was released from prison to return home with a diagnosis of cancer and a prognosis of three months to live.

I think leaving a prison cell and returning home where he is a hero could extend his life by many years and potentially cure him too. What will the Scottish government do then? Ask him to come back to prison to finish his life sentence? We’ll see.

In closing an important bit of information related to treatment of the flu. A study showed that patients with compassionate doctors recovered from colds one day sooner than those with doctors who were not compassionate. So make sure you get a hug from your doctor. I learned it kept me healthy too. When you act out of love your immune system is in full gear. Volunteers live longer, healthier lives. If you want me to go on call the Bulletin and see if you can convince them to give me more space. I have many stories to tell.

Peace Be With You,

Bernie Siegel