- Dr. Andrew St. Bernard
Something happened this past weekend that we need to talk about. This is something that has affected me and countless others personally, as well as the entire chiropractic profession, and the fallout has raised many questions. These are questions for which people are demanding answers. One of the most influential and powerful people I know has passed away due to sickness last weekend. This wasn't just anyone - this was a man whose cancer killing strategy had a large number of people following him and his advice. I don't necessarily want to go into the details about who he was or how he passed away, as there are still many unanswered questions. The reason I am writing is to move beyond the gossip and address the more important issues at hand. Since his passing, questions have been raised about the cause of death and the legitimacy of his mission, which was to help others beat cancer just as he did himself. This is what I want to address today.
I want to urge you if you are reading this and in some way, shape, or form, this tragedy has caused you to doubt, I want you to know there is hope. There is always hope. When my friend and colleague died, it seemed as though the loss of hope was palpable, and I think I know why. Some were questioning, “If THIS man, a man who has the resources, strength, and unyielding desire to overcome was unsuccessful at thwarting death, then why bother even trying myself?” If you have allowed yourself to believe this statement, you may have already or be on the verge of giving up. I want to talk you off the ledge. Let me prove to you why you shouldn’t allow this logic to steal your hope.
The first mistake in this logic is in the assumption that he was flawless, or that his life is a gold standard for which to emulate. Yes, he was an incredible inspiration to us all, and I believe I speak for the masses when I say his influence continues to live on. The reality is none of us are without fault, regardless of how it may appear on the surface. Making the assumption that his model was perfect and therefore grounds to believe a permanent outcome was possible is a set-up right from the start for failure. One thing I know about my colleague is that he rarely if ever slowed down. Mismanagement of stress is a huge contributor to many disease processes, and this is a known fact. Whether or not this was the cause for my colleagues passing is unknown, but understanding that none of us are perfect should give you peace. The only thing we can be confident in is whether or not we gave our best effort in this life for that which we are entrusted and responsible. I can say confidently that my colleague gave it his all, and the superior quality of life he experienced compared to those with a similar cancer diagnosis is evidence of this.
The second mistake is that of assuming death is somehow escapable. There is no question that as a result of my colleague’s efforts, he lived an enhanced quality of life. Make no mistake however that when he wrote about his own experiences, he also noted his struggles. He had said previously how it was better to prevent cancer than to beat it, and that if you wanted to beat it, it would take a complete full commitment. He spoke from his experiences and what he had learned, but just like any other gifted human, he was not omniscient. There are no absolutes with healthcare, and there is still much to learn regarding cancer and its treatment. Perhaps those of us who allowed his death to steal our hope may not have realized this. It goes without saying that none of us will escape death. As hard as it is to think about, we have limited time here, so then it follows that we should make the very best of it, however long it is.
I realize that these words don’t necessarily bring hope, but the great news is that hope is yours to invest. Hope is defined as a feeling of expecting a certain thing, or grounds to believe an outcome is possible. Hope is a feeling, and feelings change. Never lose hope, because without it, we have nothing to strive for. The grounds by which you place your hope should be solid and unshakable, but if those grounds unexpectedly change, your hope should not disappear. Instead we ought find new grounds on which our hope can be based.
If you have a diagnosis that is crippling you with fear, the first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. Find love, find support, and be with people who understand and who care. Don't allow your hope to disappear because one person’s journey came to an end. Instead, be inspired by the countless others who continue to fight and win. Be encouraged by their positive stories and great news. Just don't allow one loss to take you out of the game. Think of those who depend on you, and live your life each day with joy. Regardless of any outcome, we were meant to live with gratitude, and if your hope is well invested, you’ll have the courage to continue moving forward. I want to encourage you then to reassign where you place your hope. Instead of it being on a particular outcome, my wish is that you hope to have lived a life worthy of remembering. After all, life is about the journey, not the destination.
"But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” – Psalm 39:7