In 1985 at the age of 57, my Dad was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was at work as a pathology nurse when he phoned to tell me that he was on his way to hospital.
On hearing my news, one of my colleagues, Michael, a scientist in our laboratory, immediately mentioned a book he’d read which he urged me to get for Dad as soon as possible...
The book’s author, Ian Gawler, had successfully overcome a very savage myeloma, which was predicted to take his life within days of diagnosis,
and once fully recovered, he wrote the book and founded The Gawler Foundation; a
healing centre to assist others to better manage their health by focusing on “alternative” methods of health management, including meditation, positive thinking, vegetarian diet and more.
Michael, who usually worked in the main lab in town, was relieving that day for our usual scientist who was away on sick leave. Had he not been there as I received my dad’s sad news, we would
have lacked that good positive head start to the challenging journey which lay ahead of us.
I say head start because I think that the mind plays such an integral part in our ability to heal. Mum was duly dispatched to find the book, which she delivered later that day. So when the staff doctor walked in to discuss his diagnosis, Dad already had the most important information he needed.
There was another way to look at a terminal diagnosis.
There were things he could do to contribute to his wellbeing in whatever time he had left. It was the difference between living his life, rather than sitting around waiting for it to end. The
positive thinking and healthy diet regime surely made his life and ours much happier in the last few years we had together and often caused me to reflect upon our luck that Michael had told us
about Ian Gawler and his alternative ways of coping with cancer.
It was unusual for me to hear such news from a scientist. My experience was that they generally supported the “proven” western medical philosophies with little apparent regard for esoteric concepts.
My mother was a solid support for Dad throughout this time and went along with whatever he was doing, including altering her diet. I firmly believe that the changes Mum made to work in with Dad’s regime have helped her to become the fit and healthy person she is today. In 2015, at 83 years of age, Mum still regularly walks 8km twice a week and is about to move house to be closer to her favourite swimming beach.
But the real hero of this story is PMA: Positive Mental Attitude. My dad found his – better late than never – and his journey helped us all to cope with his disease. Watching my
dad choose to focus on what he could do to help himself inspired me to write a book
about it. And the good news is you don't have to get sick to find yours!