When we develop cancer we need to get up and win the race. We have our ups and downs. When we stumble and fall, we must not give up.
I believe it was 2015 when the National Cancer Institute invited me to participate in a two-year study about why some people survive cancer and others do not.
This year, 2017, they asked if I would participate in another study: How DNA or genetics may play a role in surviving cancer.
I became a cancer patient in 1996 and given only four months to live. The hospitals and oncologist offices are filled with us. The obituaries list “after a valiant fight with cancer”. It seems that almost everyone knows somebody with cancer. I think we need to be taught about survival techniques. I have some ideas to share.
The doctors didn’t expect me to live beyond the summer of 1997. I suggest that we don’t necessarily have to be a statistic because some of that is up to us. I believe the medical folks treat us for the disease but we must consider some personal strategies to supplement treatment. In order to find hope, it was necessary to locate a surgeon, oncologist, and medical social worker, who I could believe in.
From the book, “Getting Well Again”, the authors talk about setting goals, and so, I did. Great goals! I used my computer as the basis for visualization, by making a game where I could actually see my tumors, as tracings, and erase them. I wasn’t able to meditate in the usual way. One of the major hospitals encouraged patients to watch funny movies and I did that, too. In addition to watching them, I used music as therapy. My goal was “Positive Thinking! Possibility Thinking! Power Thinking!”
I also talked to friends from long ago. Where have all our friends gone? Diets and supplements were considered. I wasn’t too conventional. We need to form mental pictures and write. Writing can be great therapy and form much of the basis of forming a strategy. We must find a way to jump start our belief system when the dip stick is low.
I wrote my book, “My Home is in the House of Cancer” as part of my strategy. In addition to my strategies, I included ten commandments for a cancer patient.
There are many stories, in my book, from those who contacted me, about their experiences, and their need for hope.
Benjamin Kim, M.D., FACS, Utah Cancer Institute, LLC
Just finished reading your working copy — it’s both provocative and inspiring. You are not alone — maybe talking to some other patients will broaden and confirm your hunches.
Saundra S. Buys, M.D., Hematology and Medical Oncology, University of Utah Medical Center
It’s very powerful and will be an asset for many people. Thanks for letting me be a part of this miracle.
Richard A. Bloch, Bloch Cancer Institute, Kansas City, MO
Thank you for your manuscript, My Home is in The House of Cancer. I took it home last night and went over it and believe it can be most helpful to cancer patients. I particularly liked your first page, The Magic Word. I am placing your book in our library so cancer patients may have reference to it.
Susan Schulman, Project Coordinator, Huntsman Cancer Institute
I formally noted the existence of the Vandegrift hypothesis yesterday.
John Conlee, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
When I first met Bob, he had been diagnosed with colon and liver cancer and was given a short time to live. This grim prognosis only seemed to fuel Bob’s spirit and inspire unshakable determination and commitment to beat the odds. I was just starting to use imagery with cancer patients when Bob devised a novel approach to visualization. Our collaboration comprised only one aspect of Bob’s compelling journey. His book provides a down-to-earth account of how one man did beat the odds.
Jan Freeman, MD, FACS
Hope you are still doing well — it was great to read your story. I’m always happy to be wrong in these cases — wish I could be wrong more often.
Margie Levine may be the longest survivor of pleural mesothelioma in the world. She is cancer free and heads up the Boston Institute of Noetic Science, an international education and research organization studying mind body health.
So much of what you did and how you feel remind me of what I did. We have so much in common. There is a part of healing that definitely comes from believing in your own wishes and strengths. It is going with your inner voice.
Bernie S. Siegel, M. D., Author of “How to Live Between Office Visits” and “Peace, Love & Healing”.
It’s too bad we have to learn the hard way — but you surely have and are filled with wisdom. You are the talented athlete — who with coaching does get up and win the race. I am less concerned about the accuracy of your words than the truth of your message.
Marcella L. Keck, Attorney and Cancer Patient
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I have been reading many things, including Bernie Siegel’s “Love, Medicine, and Miracles” and Rachel Remen’s “Kitchen Table Wisdom”. I had begun my spiritual journey some time ago, but felt that I wanted to go the next step further. So much in your book was affirming to me — seeing in print conclusions I had reached and feelings I had. I read it over the holidays. It was a perfect gift for me.
Earlier this fall, a friend who is a recovering alcoholic told me that I would be bombarded with advice about healing as she had been bombarded with advice about sobriety. She, too, gave advice: Take what feels right and leave what doesn’t. Your book does the same thing. It affirms each person’s choice of path, but stresses the importance of a path. It seems to me that your diagnosis encouraged you to rally to life.
If you are interested in a copy of the book, please contact me at:
Robert “Bob” L. Vandegrift
797 South 350 West
Bountiful, UT 84010