More of Vincent Gammill’s words of wisdom
Posted by Jonathan Chamberlain on January 27, 2009
There’s really a lot of info on this site so do browse. This supports and extends the info and critical discussion in my two cancer books. For more information go to www.fightingcancer.com
“This book tells me everything. Why didn’t my doctor tell me this?”- Rev. Bill Newbern
VINCENT GAMMILL’S WORDS OF WISDOM
The foundation for ANY healing protocol must come from a place of
>positive emotion and belief, for without this, no stage can be set,
>no foundation laid for a strong house.
This seems to be quite true, but I think we can explore further.
I have seen thousands of people with cancer over decades and because
of the nature of my program I get to know many of them quite well. I
constantly search for factors that seem to affect outcomes. Some
factors are obvious: Can the patient afford the requisite meds? How
disciplined is the patient? Is there multiple drug resistance that
would undermine a fresh approach?
When I go over the numbers of people who do extremely well with the
worst cancers, I see a major factor that can’t be characterized
better than by saying how upbeat they are. This upbeatness seems to
be closely associated with both their intrinsic nature and often
If anyone on the list is shopping for a religion, I can help. Pick
one that emphasizes the positive. I don’t think it is beneficial to
dwell on perdition, shame, guilt, or even too much thinking about
spiritual matters. Pick a religion that strongly emphasizes service
to others. Pick a religion with a sense of community — especially a
community that will support your medical choices. I see a sense of
joy, and humor, and general upbeatness that I don’t see elsewhere.
If religions rub you the wrong way, find an organization that you
believe in that stresses service to others even though those services
are largely limited to those within the group. AA jumps to mind. If
your organization or religion doesn’t buy into
alternative/ integrative medicine, then keep details of your approach
to health very selective.
Another thing to keep in mind is that not all cancer support groups
are created equal. I have had many clients who were virtual refugees
from conventional support groups. They would watch as their
new-found friends would die one by one. Any alternative suggestions
were met with hostility. I think such groups are cults created to
worship physicians and misery. The same is true for some of the
If upbeatness is not a part of your nature it can still be attained
obliquely through service, but there is one type of upbeatness that
is not in your interest. This is unwarranted ebullience. It is not
in your interest to have your emotions whipsawed by numbers on your
tumor marker tests or any other single parameter. In cancer, things
are rarely as good as they may seem and rarely as bad as they
seem. A certain equanimity can serve you well in patiently assessing
Equally important is belief, as this allows you to relax. That
belief can be a belief in an omnipotent God who loves you enormously,
or it can be an unshakable faith in the road chosen, it can even be a
smug belief that you can solve every problem yourself.
I think that loving your work helps inoculate you against serious
disease. We have a 75 y/o immunologist on the board of our center
who has metastatic renal cancer. This was diagnosed four years
ago. He was told he had about a month to live. He is not a good
patient. Quality of life, he says. I think he has cheese with every
meal. He is totally distracted by his work. He flies around the
world giving speeches at immunology conferences, spends time in the
lab, writes papers (some 350 peer-reviewed) , and applies for
grants. He and I have set up a new lab to make meds that are
otherwise unobtainable. I think he plans to be on this planet from
here on out. He is one very upbeat man.
I had a case of a woman with breast cancer whose abdomen was rigid
with metastases. She came to to do our program, but she
would miss appointments because she was having too much fun
shopping. It was a little frustrating for me. Her cancer just
melted away. I found out later that when she came here she was also
escaping an abusive husband. When she kept her appointments she
would spend much of the time laughing.
There was a woman who came to me last July. She had massive cancers
filling her entire left breast. All her physicians — both
conventional and integrative — strongly recommended surgery. She
declined. She said she liked her breasts. This woman has been very
diligent doing the program — unlike the last woman I mentioned. We
had an ultrasound elastogram done this week and her cancer is almost
entirely gone. What little remains appears mostly benign and cannot
be palpated. She has also lost about 40 unwanted pounds thanks to
the diet. The woman is a nationally known cartoonist and sees the
humor in almost anything.
Who are the losers in spite of winning therapies? First of all those
who want to die. I see this most often among women who were once
very proud of their bodies and have been horribly mutilated by
surgery. I am not talking about a simple mastectomy. There are
bodies that look like they have been through a war zone. These women
fear rejection or have been rejected by their love interest. It is
sad and I have no facile solution.
Passive or lazy people tend to lose and this includes those who are
too philosophical about their cancer. These people need to learn
that they create their own destiny. I am always looking for ways to
light a fire under their tails to get them motivated.
Hostile people tend to lose. I am careful to distinguish whether a
person is argumentative for non-hostile reasons. I once had a woman
whom I thought was hostile but she did very well. You learn from
those cases that you think you are going to win and then lose, and
from those cases that you think you are going to lose and then
win. I analyzed her case: why did she win? It turns out she is a
businesswoman and her arguments were always over money. Her
arguments over money were sincere — she truly hated to spend money
— but in retrospect I think there was a strong element of sport in
it. So often truly hostile people want to escape something or hurt
someone. Some people fight to live; I think this woman lived to fight !!!
If anyone knows a good service-oriented, non-accusatory religion, let
me know so I can sign up. Oh, its gotta have a Black choir !!
Note: The Cancer Survivor’s Bible (2012) is now available – see www.fightingcancer.com
“This book is more valuable than gold.”