Could Optimism Fight Cancer: Why Not?

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Filed Under: General Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

I recently heard a story about a colleague, named Ashley, that’s such a perfect example of the healing power of an optimistic attitude that I wanted to share it with you.

You see, a while back Ashley and her husband Roger (pictured at right) found out that he’d developed esophageal cancer that involved some of the lymph nodes in his neck. Pretty scary stuff for any of us! When they first got the news, they were stunned. But somehow they held tight to their faith, and rallied.

In Ashley’s own words that she emailed her peers she said, “I know that keeping Roger feeling optimistic and focused on a positive outcome is going to be our most powerful weapon. Immediately after the diagnosis, he was consumed with questions like "why me?"… why us?" … and "why now?" In the weeks since, as we've clawed our way back around to hope and optimism, we've replaced those questions with a mantra of "Why not?"

“Chances for a cure may be slim, but "Why not" him? Can he get through this? Sure..."Why not?" It's a little thing, but having this daily mantra has changed his whole outlook—he's feeling good, strong, and ready to blaze through this.”

At that same time, Ashley received gift cards from her friends at work which they thought she could use toward hiring help around the house or easy meals. But Ashley’s thought went to another plan she’d been hatching: to surround Roger with positive thoughts and encouragement from every direction.

So, she ordered something “tangible”—and even humorous: visible fluorescent green tee shirts for their entire family and many of the people who are closest to him every day. On them, she emblazoned their personal mantra: “Why Not?” Not only do the shirts keep Roger thinking positively, he’s found that they’ve been a fantastic way to reach out and minister to others who ask, “What’s with the shirt?” 

I also share this story because it is so compatible with my own belief system about healing, and life for that matter! I’m convinced that keeping a positive outlook is critical! In fact, my wife refers to me as the “Master of the Reframe.” When something happens that seems like a negative at first, I look for the silver lining.

Roger’s latest PET scan was their first good news. Not only has the cancer not spread, there is much less than five months ago! There is always hope in a prayer as well. So, I ask you to join us in praying for Roger. Dr Byrd taught us years ago about the power of remote healing. People in the coronary care unit who were prayed for— even when they neither knew they were being prayed for, nor the person praying for them—did better than those who were not prayed for.

Now it’s your turn: Have you experienced the power of optimism?

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