Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Cancer

A few years ago, before chewing tobacco was banned in college baseball, I had the opportunity to walk inside a Division I college baseball team’s dugout and couldn’t (at first) understand why the floor of the dugout was so sticky. Then it hit me: Spit from chewing tobacco. But there’s a reason chewing tobacco should be banned in MLB that’s much more important than sticky dugout floors: Cancer. There’s no question that chewing tobacco damages healthy cells in the body and causes them to become cancerous. Normally, the immune system would be standing by to gobble them up Pac-Man style. But when a ball player experiences stress in is life (and make no mistake about it, playing major league baseball is a stressful business) the body gives off hormones such as Cortisol that impair the immune system and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. Just ask Tony Gwinn, Sr. Unfortunately, you can’t ask him because he passed away June 16, 2014 of salivary gland cancer. And before he died he attributed his habit of chewing tobacco to his being diagnosed with cancer.

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Those of you who read this Internet column know the importance I place on transforming athletic teams into support groups, allowing participants to discuss issues in their personal lives that may be affecting their ability to focus. And nowhere is this more clearly exhibited than when players hold team meetings, allowing them to get things “off their chest” with their teammates and soon after, the team begins winning. But few in the medical profession place much   emphasis on the role support groups can play when newly diagnosed breast cancer patients participate. When cancer patients address stressful situations in their lives (and begin the process of resolving them) the stress is reduced and its negative effect on the immune system is greatly diminished. An excellent example recently appeared in the February 4th 2015 issue of USA TODAY when a woman – Megan Schanie – told about her experiences as a survivor. “It’s fantastic,” says Schanie, 39, who helped start a support group for young breast cancer survivors in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. “Even in my own little world, I’ve noticed that we have so many in our group who are surviving.” If you’d like more information send me an e-mail – marv@mindoversports.com – and I’ll send you free information regarding how and why support groups work when putting cancer into remission. Support Groups, by the way, are not to replace any prescribed medical treatment by your physician but are only to be used as supplemental treatment.

When I read about Stuart Scott dying of cancer, after having been diagnosed in 2007, it reminded me of the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory” first discovered by the late Dr. Carl Simonton. Simply put, the Surveillance Mechanism Theory maintains that we all have cancer cells in our bodies and our immune systems are constantly gobbling them up Pack-Man style. But when we encounter stress in our lives, our bodies give off hormones that suppress our immune systems and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. And before long, we are diagnosed with cancer. And one of the most conspicuous characteristics of cancer patients is they all have bottled-up emotions at the time of diagnosis. Without knowing anything about Stuart Scott’s personal life, it’s possible that back in 2007 he had some kind of stressful event happen in his life that triggered his first bout with the illness. Over the years I’ve worked with cancer patients and would be happy to send free information to anyone reading this. Just contact me at marv@mindoversports.com — But keep in mind, the program I recommend is strictly supplemental and is not to replace any treatment you might be receiving from a physician

I’m not so sure. In the past, I’ve written about athletes who had been diagnosed with cancer but because Angelina Jolie is such a high profile person, I thought I would write something about her decision.

I’ve worked with cancer patients in the past when I lived in Kansas City, Missouri. As a volunteer, I conducted self-esteem building workshops at a local Cancer Support Center. Many of the participants were women who had been newly diagnosed with breast cancer. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer, from my perspective, I didn’t think that was their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system. I would then explain to them that research has shown that the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, and we would then have each person in the group stand and tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. After talking about their issues (many for the first time) their repressed feelings began to disappear and they immediately felt better about themselves. Once they began talking about their issues, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system.

Research has shown that many individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer are repressing their feelings, which negatively affects their self-esteem. Here’s how it works: When you withhold (repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see your world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself. As a result of the stress, your body gives off hormones that impair your immune system. According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory,” we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But when we encounter stress, our immune system becomes impaired and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.

Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness. I’ve found that when cancer patients enhance their own feelings of self-worth, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems.

After going around the room, providing everyone with an opportunity to talk openly about issues in their lives that were causing them stress, we were then ready to use a “guided imagery” visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” At the time I had a story-board that I used in those sessions showing the t-cells coming together, mobilizing, and forming an arrow. The arrow would zoom toward a large glob that represented a cancer cell and the arrow would attack the glob, which would then deflate and dissipate.

Unfortunately, after moving to a new city, I was never able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor. Later, patients would listen to only the music track and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically. This part of the program can be compared to the “placebo effect” as it applies to health and is currently being tested by Ted Kaptchuk at Harvard Medical School.

So my question is: Even though Angelina Jolie may have been genetically pre-disposed toward having cancer, I’m not sure it would have happened unless she had some type of stressful situation in her life. But on the other hand, if she believes that having a double mastectomy will keep her from being diagnosed with cancer at a later date, then there’s a good chance it will. When it comes to matters of health, beliefs can be powerful.

Let me be clear from the start. Cancer survivors often ask me, “You mean I created my own cancer?” and my answer is an emphatic: “No!” But I also point out to them that they did create the stress in their lives that impaired their immune systems, allowing cancer cells in their body to multiply at a rate faster than their immune systems could devour them. And their stress was based on how they viewed their life’s issues.

Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness.  Research has shown that many individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer are repressing their feelings, which not only affects their self-esteem, but also their health. Here’s how it works: When you withhold (or repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see the world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself. As a result of the stress, your body gives off hormones, (such as cortisol) that impair your immune system. According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory,” which was first identified and named by Dr. Carl Simonton, we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But when we encounter stress in our lives, our immune system becomes impaired and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.

In the late 1980s I lived in Kansas City, Missouri and volunteered my services at the RA Bloch Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of co-founder Richard Bloch, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system. Since research has shown the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, we would have each person in the group tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. After talking about their issues (many for the first time) their repressed feelings began to disappear and they immediately felt better about themselves. Once they began talking about their issues, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system. At that point they were then ready to use a “guided imagery” visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” At that time I had a story- board that I used in those sessions showing the t-cells coming together, mobilizing, and forming an arrow. The arrow would zoom toward a large glob that represented a cancer cell and the arrow would attack the glob, which would then deflate and dissipate.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor. Later, patients would listen to only the music track and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically. Also, it’s important to remember that when cancer patients enhance their own self-esteem, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems. One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment prescribed by a physician or oncologist.

When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri I had a friend who was a professional football player in the NFL. He was 6’ 8” tall and was considered one of the nation’s top defensive linemen. My friend, who was not happily married, was a national celebrity who had an enthusiastic following of young fans who looked upon him as a role model.  On one of his team’s trips to New Orleans he did something he had never done before: He had a one-night stand with a young groupie. A few months after returning to Kansas City, he found out the young lady with whom he had had the affair was pregnant. She wrote him a note but did not threaten in any way to go public with what had happened. When the baby was born, my friend, feeling he should help support the child, approached his wife and told her what had happened and that he wanted to send the young girl money every month to help her and her new baby. His wife was vehement and would not allow him to help her. My friend became despondent. It played heavily on his emotions and he kept the entire episode bottled-up deep inside himself. He was not proud of what he had done and he knew that if his affair became known it would negatively affect his image and that he would be seen by his fans as a hypocrite. Which he wasn’t. But he would rather die than have his affair become public knowledge. Not long after, because of the stress, which affected his immune system, he was diagnosed as having lung cancer (even though he never smoked but had been working around heavy duty equipment and exhaust fumes) and within 18 months he was dead. I have always believed that if my friend had not been a celebrity, and just a normal mortal being like the rest of us, he would still be alive today.

We often read or hear in the media where athletes have been diagnosed with cancer. More than likely these athletes are repressing their feelings, which not only affects their self esteem and their performance level, but also their health.

Here’s how it works: When you withhold (or repress) your feelings and emotions it’s a form of lying that demeans you and lowers your self-esteem. As your self-esteem is lowered you begin to see the world around you from a negative perspective (“we see things as we are”) and create stress for yourself based on how you view your life’s issues. As a result of the stress, your body begins to give off hormones that impair your immune system.

According to the “Surveillance Mechanism Theory,” which was developed by Dr. Carl Simonton, we all have cancer cells in our bodies that are constantly being devoured by our immune system Pac-Man style. But when we encounter stress in our lives, our immune system becomes impaired and the cancer cells begin to multiply at a rate faster than they can be devoured. The result is: we are soon diagnosed as having cancer.

Many physicians will agree that a relationship exists between high self-esteem and wellness, and low self-esteem and illness. When I lived in Kansas City, Missouri in the late 1980s, I volunteered my services at the RA Bloch Cancer Support Center. On various Sunday mornings, with the encouragement of co-founder Richard Bloch, I would meet with newly diagnosed cancer patients in a support group environment. At the outset I would explain to them that even though they had been diagnosed with cancer, that was not their primary problem. Their primary problem was that each had a suppressed (or impaired) immune system. Since research has shown the most conspicuous characteristic of cancer patients is bottled up emotions, we would have each person in the group tell his or her own story about stress in their lives. Each would interact with others in the room and, at the same time, bring their emotions to the surface. After talking about their issues (many for the first time) their repressed feelings began to disappear and they immediately felt better about themselves. Once they began talking about their issues, they experienced an increase in self-esteem resulting in an enhanced immune system. At that point they were then ready to use a visualization technique where they would “see” their own healthy t-cells attacking their cancer cells. This exercise was accompanied by Patti LaBelle’s recording of “New Attitude.” At that time I had a story- board that I used in those sessions showing the t-cells coming together, mobilizing, and forming an arrow. The arrow would zoom toward a large glob that represented a cancer cell and the arrow would attack the glob which would then deflate and dissipate.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to locate the storyboard. But I believe cancer patients reading this can create their own visual image of t-cells attacking cancer cells and use Patti LaBelle’s recording to accompany it. I’m sure Patti would not mind since she herself is a cancer survivor. Later, patients would listen only to the music track and the images that were embedded in their minds would recreate themselves, automatically.

Also, it’s important to remember that when cancer patients enhance their own self-esteem, they automatically enhance the potency of their immune systems.

One last point: What I have recommended should only be considered as a supplemental program. It should not replace any treatment recommended by a physician or oncologist


N. V. I.
National Visualization Institute

Learn how to visualize, resulting in increased performance.

CONTACT MARV FREMERMAN
PHONE: 417-773-2695

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