Like most doctors, I decided to go to medical school mainly because of a genuine desire to help people. And because of my curious nature, I am naturally drawn to complicated things I don’t understand. I wanted to understand the human body. What I didn’t expect was that I would learn the most from my own health crisis.
In 1994, I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. I was 36 – almost 37 years old at the time. It was, of course, a fearful experience, but also a very powerful one that changed my life dramatically. Despite the best of medical care, I couldn't help feeling deeply that something was missing.
Nothing in my traditional medical training in internal medicine could help me with my biggest concern.
First, I asked my doctors, "How did I get it? What caused it?" Unfortunately, none of my doctors had an answer.
Second, I was also very interested in how long I had unknowingly had this tumor. I asked and the answer shocked me - the best estimate was ten to fifteen years! The impact of this information and the entire experience hit me like a ton of bricks.
Since then I’ve learned that my case was not the exception, but rather the rule. Despite the best medical science, the diagnosis of disease takes years, if not decades from the time the illness actually started. It’s true of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and just about all chronic diseases. The common exception, of course is some kind of infection, which is an acute problem.
What I’ve learned since then is that I could have detected the problem much earlier, and possibly even prevented cancer altogether had I known then what I know now.
What I’ve learned is that the body is an amazingly complex and yet intelligent creation. Even though I was not aware of being sick in any way, my body did know. I just wasn’t smart enough to know how to ask it.
I don’t believe the answer is for us to build fancier CAT scanners or MRIs or even PET scans and scan everybody once a year.
What we need to do is to ask our own body if there is anything wrong. We just need to ask the right question…
Like a modern car’s computer diagnostic system, every person has a built-in surveillance and early detection system that is constantly monitoring your health and looking for disease at a microscopic, cellular level. That system is your immune system.
I just hadn’t inquired…
Having learned all of this “the hard way,” I now understand and know how to check in with my immune system to learn what it knows. I’ve also come to understand how to harness the power of my immune system to help prevent disease and promote health and longevity.
Despite the negatives, having cancer has been an incredibly enlightening experience.
I still want to help people, and I’ve also learned that writing a book is one of the best ways to share my experiences and knowledge. So I’ve put the latest discoveries in my new book, UltraLongevity – The Seven-Step Program for a Younger, Healthier You. I hope you enjoy it and learn from it.