Q & A with Bernie – September 8, 2014

Question for Bernie

My 47-year-old husband was diagnosed with Stage V non-smokers lung cancer 26 months ago.

As much as I believe in many of the things you talk about, I wonder how our family is supposed to continue looking at this cancer as a blessing when our medical options are running out and we are so scared of the future?

Bernie’s Answer

Ask yourselves what you are to learn individually and as a family from this experience, and it will help change it from curse into a blessing.  This is a wonderful chance for those in the family to develop a positive perspective together and then surround your husband with positivity which will strengthen his immune system.

As a family, resolve to help your husband learn to love his life and his body as it is now—not think of his body as the enemy.  He can then begin to envision healing the body his loves.   Our bodies respond to things we say and do which reinforce reverence for our amazing bodies and minds.  Conversely, if everyone around your husband feels like a victim too, the atmosphere is anything but positive—which interferes with healing in a major way.

One thing spouses and families learn from going on the cancer journey with their loved one is the ability to see how rich and wonderful every moment really is in our lives.  Just watch little children and dogs at play—they are our “Professors of Positivity.”  They teach us how to live in the moment.  So learn together how to avoid having regrets about life by opening to the wonder of what each moment gives us.

My father’s dad died when he was only 12, and he said it was one of the best things that happened because it taught him what was important about life. My dad was a very special guy.

So, seize each day and live it fully with hope—not in a fearful future created by our often overactive, worrying minds.  Heal your lives and find peace, and amazing things happen.

Have faith,

Question for Bernie

Thank you for sharing your love with the world in so many forms! My loving mom first introduced me to you when your words helped my family through the loss of my brother and many other dear people in my youth.

I again was blessed by meeting you at a workshop in Athens OH when I was in Osteopathic med school. I am now a family doc that tries to show love to all my patients, and I am grateful to say I love my job because of it!

Since finishing residency I have been divorced, diagnosed with cervical cancer (truly believed I was cured), remarried to an amazing man, diagnosed with a recurrence in February, undergone chemotherapy, and continued to work, all while raising my beautiful now five-year-old son.

My amazing oncologist has said my cancer was undetectable at my last PET scan (thank God!) but has told me it is very likely to recur. My faith tells me God is in control of my healing, but my medical side is doubtful. I am eating vegan, praying, trying to be positive, sharing and accepting the love of my amazing family and patients. Can you help me find peace in marrying doubt and faith? Thank you in advance!

Bernie’s Answer

First create a life you love and love your body—clearly you already have done much of this, but think carefully of ways in which you can show your body love so that it gets the unmistakable message from you of “I WANT TO LIVE.”

Do some visualization in which you are acting as if you are the person you want to be. That changes your chemistry, too.  See yourself surrounded by the positive wonder of life.  I’m sure you see that in your little son because children and pets (especially dogs) live in the moment.

Think of things from long ago or just yesterday that made you laugh out loud.  Let yourself relive that time and laugh out loud again several times every day. You may even want to find a Laughter Workshop in your area—or even start one.  Humor is a great healer, but it also can prevent health problems, keeping your immune system strong.  Some people like to use mantras, so you may want to try that, too.

Become a love warrior where love is your weapon.  You are aware of our potential and you are capable of achieving it.  The great Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn discusses the term self-induced healing in his book CANCER WARD. He says this is not a spontaneous remission, and he is right.

The symbol the author uses is a rainbow colored butterfly with the rainbow symbolizing your life in order and harmony, and the butterfly symbolizing transformation.  Change is transformation and most of us resist it to some degree, but we are wasting precious time and energy trying to change a fundamental part of the human design.

What you need to do in your life now is to make the changes to accommodate maximum healing…changes that restore the sense of rhythm and harmony you have temporarily lost as you struggle to choose between doubt and faith.  You really need not make a choice since both doubt and faith are part of the potential we all have to live fully.

Find your “chocolate ice cream” and do what makes you lose track of time.  Faith is easy—just look at life and believe.

Survival is built into all living things.  That’s why bacteria alter their genes and become resistant to antibiotics.

Last but not least, I want you to do a couple of things for me so I can help reinforce what I’ve told you here.

  1. Tell me the words which describe your cancer experience (examples can be from how you feel physically to how you feel emotionally).
  2. Using a box of crayons so that you have all the colors you may need available, draw a picture of yourself, your disease, treatment, and immune system eliminating the cancer and e-mail it to me for interpretation.
  3. Also draw an outdoor scene and e-mail that to me along with the picture in #2 above.

Believe and it will happen.  Leave your troubles to God.  One woman I know did that and her cancer disappeared.


Question for Bernie

I listened to you on the Cancer Summit and was so intrigued. I have always believed in the power of thoughts and feelings and their connection to our body. A true test of that came seven months ago when my 7-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Stage 4 Wilm’s tumor kidney cancer. It was very hard at times to maintain a positive attitude, but with God’s help we did, and she did, and I know she benefited greatly from it. She would look to me for my reaction and then mirror it. We saw small miracles happen all along the way.

She is a very strong little girl and has an amazing spirit, contagious spunk, and constant smile, even after going through so much pain with the biopsies and the blahs of six months of chemo treatments. But each day is a new day to her, as if nothing bad had ever happened. She is inspiring!

She finished chemo last week, and had previous surgery to remove the kidney and tumor. The chemo removed the spot on her lung quickly, and she has no known remaining cancer. However, the doctor’s protocol is to do six days of full abdomen radiation because of the potential “spillage.”

I have prayed, searched my soul, given the outcome to God, sought advice and treatment from a naturopathic oncologist, and I truly feel in MY heart that radiation is not for her. But it is not MY body. Can a mother have a connection to her child when it comes to this? I don’t know how to get the message from her as to what her body wants since she is so young. She draws a lot. It is her favorite thing to do, in fact. Her drawings are always happy with smiles and family or friends. Do I need to ask her to specifically draw about the situation of her radiation in order to see her specific answer on that?

It is a heavy burden to make decisions for someone else’s life, especially someone so young. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Bernie’s Answer

I have two things to tell you about that might help.  The first one is about when I thought our seven-year-old son had bone cancer and a short life ahead.  He said to me, “Dad, can I talk to you for a minute?”  Of course I responded, “Yes, what is it?”  Well, my seven-year-old proceeded to tell me—these are his words—“Dad, you’re handling this poorly.”

He turned out to have a rare benign tumor, but he and your daughter are great teachers about enjoying the day.

Yes, you can get a full box of crayons and ask your daughter to draw herself getting radiation treatment and email or mail it to me to evaluate.  You have to think clearly about your issue, too.  How will you feel if she does not have radiation therapy and is not cured; if she does have the radiation therapy but experiences side effects, how will you feel?

With children at her age, you can be “hypnotic” using relabeled vitamin pills or herbs like curcumin and boswellia which reduce inflammation.  The labels you put on the containers say anti-nausea, appetite pills, hair growing, skin protection, etc.  Whatever the doctor says can happen (like nausea for example), the pills treat.  If she does undergo radiation, help her imagine letting the radiation go inside to treat any cancer cells.  Help her decide what she wants to think about that is fun and happy while undergoing radiation.  Keep her positive and not afraid.

As a pediatric surgeon, I “lied” to kids regularly for their benefit.  There is an article on my website titled “Deceiving People into Health.”  Here is the direct link to it:


Finally, when she needs blood tests tell her new alcohol sponge numbs the skin so she will not feel the needle.  Again, keep her positive by showing her your love by being positive yourself.

I hope this helps—and I look forward to her drawing.


  1. Marilyn Montalvo

    In 2002 I had breast cancer and your books and your website helped me so much. I am still here. Recently, my husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He underwent a urostomy but the scar opened within a week and had another surgery. While in the hospital he developed boullous penfigo, a rare inmune skin disease. I has been hell for him and for me since May. I have spent days and nights taking care of him, both physically and mentally. At times I thought I would become insane because he is very pesimist and has no interest in empowering himself. At times, I have lost my patience and called him ungrateful and selfish. And I have felt better afterwards. I will not let anyone interfere with my health.

    I just wanted to share with you this feelings and tell you how grateful I am for your help.