Author: David Elliott
Publisher: Primary Press
At a time when some of Elliott approaches are still easily brushed aside by those who have never tried them, this compelling read is a valuable contribution to the growing body of works calling for the inclusion in conventional medicine of many of his suggestions. This is an amazing book that should not be underestimated.
Author: David Elliott
Publisher: Primary Press
As a former estate planning attorney, I can’t count the number of times where clients indicated to me that their doctor told them that they did not have long to live. What amazed me was their attitude and refusal to give up. In fact, I even had some clients return several years later and with a smile on their faces utter those incredible words, “see, you thought I would be dead by now.”
My father, who was an old-time family physician and who made house calls when such were the norm, always would remind me that doctors shouldn’t play God. They don’t have a crystal ball predicting when someone is going to die. All they can predict with certainty is that one day we will die. All of this now brings me to David Elliot’s You Don’t Have To Die When Your Doctor Says: A practical guide to living with grace and joy in the face of a terminal prognosis.
In January of 2008 at the age of forty-five, Elliott was diagnosed with brain cancer or in medical terms, glioma multiforme blastoma grade four. As Elliott points out, according to medical literature this is an aggressive and inevitably fatal disease with a ten percent chance of surviving two years, and that is the gold standard treatment. However, Elliott is a battler and has an amazingly strong will to live who won't give up and as a result has written this book not only for himself but also for anyone experiencing a diagnosis of cancer or any other fatal disease.
Basically, as he mentions in his introduction, it is a book about the power of belief and attitude within the context of a serious disease or medical death sentence. Elliott doesn't promise you that after reading his book you will be cured. All he provides are his own personal viewpoints. Furthermore, he states that it is not his intention to deter readers from following any course of medical treatment; he supports the choice you make. However, one recurrent theme of the book is that you must make the decision that you really want to live and take charge of your life, whether or not you are afraid to die.
You Don’t Have To Die When Your Doctor Says comprises twenty-five chapters packed within one hundred and fifty six pages. There is a great deal here to digest, however Elliott keeps the material accessible and interesting. Some of the many topics patiently explored by Elliott include the dreaded diagnosis, the importance of belief, faith and hope, placebos and nocebos, science and statistics, denial, fear, desire and reasons to live, feelings of being a victim, identification with your disease, being healthy and healing, listening to your body, attitude of gratitude, alternative modes of treatment as well as an examination of meditation and visualisation, biomedical medicine, mind-body medicine, caregivers, friends and love ones, why are we suffering from cancer, and death. Many of the chapters end with a summary as well as questions to consider. As you can see, Elliott has just about emptied the entire contents of his journal and experiences into this compact book.
The chapter pertaining statistics is particularly interesting. It is pointed out that doctors really are clueless as to when you are going to die and when pressed they very often admit that they cannot predict the length of time you have to live. They rely on “averages” from statistics to provide an answer. It should be mentioned that “average” numerical reveals very little of the “range” of data that actually provided the “average.” It is not the center of a set of data as we all assume it to be, as “average” is only centered when the data is evenly distributed. In fact, the average data point can be pulled higher or lower than the center point of the data depending on how skewed is the data. You simply just cannot depend on statistics alone as there are far too many variables.
Readers will also find some interesting tidbits from some of the informative chapters. For example, did you know that a recent study of the placebo effect that was awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine conducted by MIT demonstrated that expensive fake medicine is more effective than inexpensive fake medicine.
At a time when some of Elliott
approaches are still easily brushed aside by those who have never
tried them, this compelling read is a valuable contribution to the
growing body of works calling for the inclusion in conventional
medicine of many of his suggestions. This is an amazing book that
should not be underestimated.