In episode # 112, Dr. Reese sits down with world renounced surgeon, author and speaker, Dr. Bernie Siegel. In this talk, Dr. Bernie tells remarkable stories of people who healed their disease through the right attitude. Find out how Dr. Bernie brought over the work of mind-body to his practice and why the medical field labeled him as "crazy." Also discover why Dr. Bernie operated on his 4 year old son, why doctors aren't trained to focus on people, why reparenting is important and much more. Plus - Find out why it's painful to be a doctor according to Dr. Bernie.
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Dr. Reese (00:00:00):
Dr. Bernie, welcome to the podcast.
Dr. Bernie (00:02:28):
Thank you. <laugh>
Dr. Reese (00:02:31):
So why does God like to play? Doctor
Dr. Bernie (00:02:36):
Doctors are playing God. And so God plays doctor let's put it that way. Um, because a quote from Y that the diagnosis helps the doctor, but it doesn't help the patient. So there, the key thing is the story for it. Alone shows human background and human suffering. And only at that point can, the doctor's begin to operate, right? But doctors aren't taught that if you know what I mean, when you say to doctors, um, draw yourself working as a doctor and I have done this when I, the first time I did it, I was in incredibly shocked to see that almost every picture had a doctor sitting behind a desk with a diploma on the wall and no patient in the room. And I'm asking them to draw themselves working as a doctor. And I think that that's where the problem is. I don't really think God wants to be a doctor, but, uh, because yes, God likes to fix things, but also focuses on people.
Dr. Bernie (00:03:47):
And the doctors aren't trained to focus on people. Um, and it's sad and medical education is slowly improving. Well, this is a quote from a patient of mine. You're a nice guy. I feel better when I'm in the office with you, but I can't take you home with me. So I need to know how to live between office visits. That changed my life because I knew I couldn't cure everything. It was painful as hell to be a doctor. You're not trained that the suicide rate in doctors is higher than the general population. Yeah, it is. So when she said help, I thought, wow, I'll help people live. And I can feel better, even if I don't cure them. So I started support groups and then I learned a lot of people are afraid to be failures, so they don't join the support group to help themselves, uh, you know, or answer questions, draw pictures.
Dr. Bernie (00:04:44):
A lot of things that I, you know, talk about their feelings. So they didn't show up. That's shocked the hell outta me. And it made me learn what my patients were like and what taught me and what added to this. I did a workshop with Elizabeth, Google Ross, and I drew a picture for her from my imagination, a meditation scene. And she said, what are you covering up? I said, what are you talking about? She said, you used a white crayon to make snow on a mountain. And the page is already white. You added a layer. So what are you covering up? Wow. And I knew it was all the pain of being a doctor that's. So I went our workshop and she said, why is 11 important? I said, what kind of question is that? She said, well, you drew 11 trees. I, and I had been doing this work to help patients for 11 months.
Dr. Bernie (00:05:40):
So every time she had a question, boom, and then to make a long story short, I'm an artist, a painter, right? Once I drew a picture for her, I went back to the hospital with crayons and had my patients drawing pictures. And it was incredible what they revealed from their body, from their consciousness. It was absolutely amazing. Yeah. I mean, as a doctor, I knew anatomy. So I could look at a picture and diagnose them from their drawing. But anyway, at home I was painting portraits. And when our pets and children got tired of posing and ran out of the house one evening, when I came home, I busted out laughing and I knew what they were running away from. I didn't wanna pose for him. So I said, I'll do my own picture. I'll put a mirror up. And then they all turned around and came back in the house.
Dr. Bernie (00:06:32):
But I painted myself as a surgeon, a cap, a mask, and a gown. And at first I thought I'll call it the high priest, you know, but then the thought came to me, no, call it the cover up. That's just what Elizabeth, Google Ross said to you. Because if you came in the house, you don't know, what's a portrait of me. You know, I'm, I'm all hidden like a thief would, you know, with a mask and all covered up. And boy did that. Wake me up to what I was burying inside of me that needed to come out.
Dr. Reese (00:07:09):
It's, it's interesting that you say this cuz in my field, which is using food as medicine, essentially, mm-hmm <affirmative> my colleagues are not very kind to medical doctors, very anti doctor. Actually I have compassion for medical doctors. Cause like you said, the, the medical med school doesn't teach nutrition. It doesn't teach posture alignment. It doesn't teach stress management. It doesn't teach spirituality. It doesn't teach positive attitude. But along your journey as a medical doctor and surgeon, you learned all this and you, you implemented it. And so I just think that's, I think what's so cool
Dr. Bernie (00:07:54):
Is why did you become a doctor? And you know, if it's, oh, I'm fascinated by disease and anatomy and what about people? You know, but I know I cared about people and I realized, wow, I can kill a cure with words or a knife, you know? But it taught me about communicating with patients and giving hope, giving them faith, you know, and then doctors, I always keep this magazine in front of me from, I think about 30 years ago, uh, you know, article about the controversial Dr. Siegel and that's on the cover of New York magazine with my photograph, the controversial Dr. Siegel. That's why they're writing about me. See, because I'm controversial. I'm really nuts is their opinion. Um, all this mind, body stuff and so forth. Um, now we know it's not nuts, it's real and it's much more accepted, but it doesn't become part of medical education.
Dr. Bernie (00:09:04):
You see, you know, I mean, I, I really think of these things because if I were in charge of medicine, I wouldn't let anybody graduate medical school without spending a week in the hospital and you don't have to be sick. I would just put you in a hospital where they don't know you give you a diagnosis and then see how you feel when you get outta the hospital a week later, how people have treated you and what they've done and what it's like to be a patient, then you'd be a lot better. Cuz I have books sent to me and card sent to me by doctors who either get sick or have their loved ones, get sick. And then they say, this literally is in one of the books. I wanna apologize to Dr. Bernie Siegel. So I called the guy. I said, what are you apologizing for? You never caused me trouble. He said, I'm apologizing for what I thought of you. Now that my wife has cancer. You're an enormous help. You know?
Dr. Reese (00:09:59):
Or they put a headline that said something along the lines of Dr. Bernie Siegel says that cancer can be cured with the minds. And you were kind of like, oh whoa. But then sometime later you discovered that that was true because so many patients have overcome illness through hope. How many, how many patients have you seen completely changed their life? Just through attitude.
Dr. Bernie (00:10:29):
I tell people, read fiction and you'll learn the truth. Now that may sound crazy, but the authors are writing what they have seen in life, but turn it into fiction by creating their own characters and stories about it. And when I was reading souls and Eaton's book cancer ward, oh boy, what jumped off the page is this paragraph. It says one of the men walked into the ward and says, look, I found this book in the medical library. It says here, there are cases of self-induced healing, not recovery through treatment, but actual healing sea. And it was as though a rainbow colored butterfly flooded out of the great open book and they all held up their far heads and cheeks for its healing touches of fluke pass. Um, only the gloomy potty F with a hopeless and opposite expression on his face. Crod out. As opposed for that, you need to have a clear conscience.
Dr. Bernie (00:11:27):
Now, what is that telling you about people who get well when they're not supposed to, but what does a doctor call it? See a spontaneous remission. You walk into the office, the cancer you're supposed to die of is gone. And the doctor says, oh, you're so lucky you had a spontaneous remission. Now why doesn't the doctor say, what the hell did you do? Right. You know, I should tell other people. And the symbol, the rainbow color butterfly is exactly what they do. The rainbow is your life. In order, the butterfly is a symbol of transformation. So what do these people do? They bust out of the cocoon, change their life. And then their body gets the message. Monday morning, we had more heart attack, stroke, suicides and illnesses because of how people feel. But I began when these people knew it was okay to come back and talk to me.
Dr. Bernie (00:12:24):
Um, I wasn't giving them bad news all the time. They always had a story to tell you, I left my troubles to God. I closed my law office and started playing the violin that my parents never wanted me to do. Cuz they wanted a lawyer for a son. Um, I moved to Colorado to die in the mountains. And that's the one of the funniest ones, because I said to the family, call me when he dies. I'll come and attend the funeral year later, no call <laugh>. I called up to say, why didn't you call me? Why'd you ignore me? He answered the phone. These were his exact words. It was so beautiful here. I forgot to die.
Dr. Reese (00:13:06):
Dr. Bernie (00:13:07):
Why I learned yes. Oh my landscaper. I don't mean my landscaper, but my landscaper patient, he said it's springtime. I'm not gonna have any more treatment. After I operate on him for cancer, the stomach, I said, John, you ought to have more treatment. There's signs that you may have some cancer cells level. Now it's springtime and never returned to the office. Six years later, the nurse handed me his chart. I said, he's dead. He must have somebody with the same name. She said open the door. So I opened the door to examining room and there sat John. I have a hernia from lifting boulders in my landscape business. See he was busy making the world beautiful. Not trying to avoid dying. And I mean this, when I say he became my therapist, I started spending time with him looking at nature. And that is a part of many religions being with nature, with creation with God. Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:14:04):
Especially Daoism. Yeah. So many people reverse their illnesses get better live longer than they were supposed to. And there's something to be said about, you know, let, let go and let God, you know, faith, faith and hope.
Dr. Bernie (00:14:21):
One woman who had cancer, the pancreas, she came back to the office and my partner yelled, Bernie, come in here, you're interested in this stuff. So I went in, I said, what is it? Her cancer's gone. I can't even feel it anymore. She had a big mass in her abdomen. So I said to her, tell them what you did. She said, you know, I said, yeah, but tell them, I left my troubles to God.
Dr. Reese (00:14:43):
Dr. Bernie (00:14:44):
Those were her words.
Dr. Reese (00:14:46):
Dr. Bernie (00:14:47):
Yeah. And I realized how powerful faith is faith, hope, and love. But those things change your chemistry. That's what people need to understand. Yeah. This is not imagination. No. When you draw blood from actors and you put them in a comedy or a tragedy and the comedy immune function is up stress, hormone levels it down the opposite and the tragedy. So your attitude, your state of mind, and even, uh, another big thing is feeling loved by parents. Part of students were asked, did your parents love you? No. Middle aged, 98% had suffered a major illness. Yes. My parents loved me. Middle aged. 24% had suffered a major illness. Mm. And that's why, what I've learned is to reparent people. I mean, I've had phone calls from people years ago. Uh, when they would ask for Jack of kin's phone number, I wanna be dead. And I'd say, what's going on in your life?
Dr. Bernie (00:15:56):
What happened? Oh, my father's sexually abusing me. I said, I'll be your new father. And she's alive today. You know, 30 years later. And I, every time I say this, I save all the cards. She sends me happy. Father's date to my bonus dad. Um, but she's a gift to me too. Loving me back. Yeah. Again, I tell people a and the word came to me from a suicidal patient in the office, cuz she said, you're my CD. I said, what the hell are you talking about? I'm a CD. You're my chosen dad. Ah, she could feel my love. And it changed her. Yeah. And I've seen that with another patient who fell into a fireplace as a kid and was all scarred and considered herself ugly. And I got her a job one summer when she needed one. And she said, nobody noticed my scars.
Dr. Bernie (00:16:49):
It was in a nursing home. And she had to wear an outfit where her scars and her neck and arms would show cause she fell into a fireplace and she said, nobody noticed my scars or said anything. I said, Madeline, when you're giving love, you're beautiful. And that changed her life. You know that message to her. And if people wanna get, well, you talk about the self love. These are all true stories. I don't make any of them up. Right. The woman had polio as a child. She said, I just never liked my body. And then she developed another neurological problem that was dying. And she said, but I didn't wanna die. Not liking my body. So I started lying naked in front of a mirror and loving my body inch by inch. She said, I start on the toes and I worked my way all the way up. And her disease went into remission. Hmm. Yeah. Now
Dr. Reese (00:17:50):
Unbelievable. UN unreal. So
Dr. Bernie (00:17:51):
That was one more story. A woman came up because her relative, who was helping my father-in-law, who injured his spinal cord said to her on the phone when she said, my doctor told me not to go for any more treatment at duke, but just home. Enjoy the last two months when you know that you have left to live. So the friend said, oh, come up here. Dr. Siegel makes people well all the time. So she comes up from North Carolina without even talking to me about it. And I thought, oh, what am I supposed to do? Now? I said to her, I see you have leukemia. I'm a surgeon. That's not my thing. I'll get my oncology friend to take care of you. Now these are people who had all criticized me and told me I was a nut case that I'm a surgeon, not a psychiatrist.
Dr. Bernie (00:18:39):
I don't know what I'm doing. But then they began to see what became called. That's one of Siegel's crazy patients. Hmm. How well these people did. They had no side effects, literally no side effects to radiation chemotherapy. And the doctor would say, how come I thought something was wrong with the machine? I thought the nurse didn't give you any chemo. Oh, I get out of the way and let it go to my tumor. So then they realize these are crazy people, but it's fun taking care of them cuz they do well. So she went to this guy who said, Bernie, I agree with her doctor, but I know you and your crazy patients. So I'll give her hope. And then every two weeks he send me a note as he was treating her doing well very well by the sixth week he wrote she's in complete remission. Isn't chemotherapy. Wonderful. That was his sense of humor. You know, because he had said, I don't think it gonna do anything for her. And here she is in complete remission because of her faith in Siegel and his doctor, friend. Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:19:49):
Yeah. It's powerful. Uh, you know, you mentioned pancreatic cancer just a few minutes ago. That's a severe cancer. That's that's not like breast cancer. That's, that's painful. That's aggressive for somebody to overcome. That is a true Testament of how, when we change our attitude and we raise our vibration. Yeah. Amazing things happen.
Dr. Bernie (00:20:21):
Yeah. You know it's, as I say, you're changing the message that you're giving your body and your heart understands that it it's. I was rereading a book called um, the heart's code by Paul POL years ago. And it's how intelligent the heart is. You know, it's not just your brain. That's thinking your heart is giving messages to the body too. And a lot of times in my meditation, I pack my heart full of love. Let it give itself the love and then send it out to all the organs of the body. Um, and I know it makes a difference because of the experience I've had with all these patients.
Dr. Reese (00:21:05):
Yeah. But isn't this the, the, the true message of what Jesus, the Christ with, you know, bringing Lazaruth back to life. And when he walked on that water, he told the disciples, he said, oh, you have no faith. You have no faith from the storm. <laugh> yeah. Isn't this the message to have incredible belief in faith.
Dr. Bernie (00:21:30):
Yeah. And if you have that incredible things can happen. I mean, part of my problem literally years ago was I kept saying if I were Jesus, I would've jumped off the cross because I would've said to people, you see what I'm capable of. I unplugged the nails. I climbed down I'm okay. And if I were Abraham, that made me think too, because why didn't Abraham say to God, and God said, I want you to sacrifice your child, but why don't you take me and leave the kid alone? But they both had faith. That's right. And they knew that accepting these actions was going to benefit the world and everybody on it.
Dr. Reese (00:22:17):
What's it mean to decide to live to a hundred?
Dr. Bernie (00:22:22):
Well, it's an attitude. In other words, you're not thinking, oh, but my sight, my hearing, my walking, my, you know, you're not seeing all the things you don't wanna be. I don't remember who said it, uh, that I was reading. He said, there's a big difference between growing old and getting older, say, so you don't wanna live to be a hundred. You don't wanna get old. If you wanna live to be a hundred, you have no problem growing older, right?
Dr. Reese (00:22:56):
You're into the journey.
Dr. Bernie (00:22:57):
As I'm talking to you, I am 88. See most of the people who didn't die when they were supposed to said things like I put a sign on my refrigerator when you live in your heart, magic happens. And the psychiatrists understand this better than oncologists surgeons, medical doctors, because you learn you're gonna die in a short time. According to the doctor, you go see a psychiatrist to help you deal with it. And when the aids epidemic was out, this one psychiatrist wrote an immune competent personality study because he noticed certain patients didn't die when they were supposed to. And he realized it was their personality. See, even something like laughing for no reason was done in a study with cancer patients. They had a better survival rate than the group who wasn't told laugh for no reason, several times a day. So again, it's the attitude. And when I tried to write the medical journals, they came back with letters. My articles saying, it's interesting, but not appropriate. When I sent it to psychiatry journals, it came back saying it's appropriate. But isn't interesting. We all know this. You see, that's the part that is what screwed up about medicine you head, you know, and your body are separate entities. You know, your emotional problems, your physical problems, emotional go to that doctor physical, go to that one. But your one person, they should be treating both things.
Dr. Reese (00:24:36):
We should have a health doctor. <laugh> right. An HD.
Dr. Bernie (00:24:40):
Yeah. That's what I say. Monday morning. More heart attack, strokes, suicides and illnesses. Because most people don't like their life. So their body does you a favor? I'll get you sick today and you can stay home. Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:24:55):
There was a doctor who passed away about, I don't know, five, 10 years ago. His name was Dr. Sarno in New York. And he was helping people overcome back pain and neck pain and anxiety. And he actually gave it a name, TMS, the mind body syndrome. And once people were like, oh, I don't have fibromyalgia. I have TMS. There's quote, unquote, fibromyalgia went away. Their pain went away.
Dr. Bernie (00:25:25):
Yeah. Let me tell you something. If I can interrupt you for a second. Yeah. What I learned to do is say to people, what does your pain feel like? Gimme a word, say you're having cancer. What are you experiencing? And no matter what their issue was, oh, I had years ago, vertigo. I got outta bed one day, you know, feeling very dizzy. And I said, Hey, dumbbell, do what you tell patients to do. What's this like, well, the world is spinning around. And then I said to myself, right? You're traveling all over the world. You're going everywhere. Giving lectures, doing things. You need to take it easy. You're doing too much. You have a wonderful symptom. It makes you lie down and rest. So I changed my activity and the disease went away. But with patient, see failure. Well, how does failure fit your life?
Dr. Bernie (00:26:20):
Well, I have cancer. My body fail. That's not my question. How does failure fit your life? My parents committed suicide. When I was a child, I must have been a failure as a child. What is the pain like pressure. What's the pressure in your life? My marriage. And literally this was the lady in the emergency room. Her pain went away in five minutes after she said that to me and the nurse said to me, oh, she's on her way home to straighten out her marriage. And that's the stuff that impressed is me. Yeah. You know, when you help people heal their life just with one word like that. Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:27:00):
So essentially human beings are holding on to emotions and it's, it's, it's almost getting trapped. Energetically. We're not, we're not letting it go. And it manifests physically.
Dr. Bernie (00:27:13):
Right. And in different parts of the body. Yeah. I mean, some people get mad at me for asking them questions like that. You know, it's like, I'm blaming them, but it's not about blaming you. It's about what is going on. What's contributing, you know, I'm not saying it's your fault that you have a backache. It's your fault. You have migraine headaches, your fault. You have cancer. I'm saying, let's look at it because again, identical twins don't get the same cancer. The same month of life. One can spend a whole life, never getting it. And the other one gets it. Now, if you ask an audience, see people understand this. I mean, it intuitively I say to an audience, I have twin sisters. One is breast cancer and one doesn't, which one do you think has breast cancer? The one who's making mommy and daddy happy and is very submissive to their needs or the little devil of a sister who drives them nuts now.
Dr. Bernie (00:28:10):
And then, and they all vote for the little devil. See cuz she's living her life. That's why when I talked, I mentioned very quickly earlier, a lawyer who, as soon as he learned, he had cancer, shut his office and started playing his violin and got a job at an orchestra and didn't die. But his parents didn't want him to be a, a violinist. So it was a hobby, not, you know, a profession, but, but that's not his life. Then see he's given up his life to make mommy and daddy happy. Right? And then his body says, well, let's get out of here. We're not enjoying this. And then you change your life and your body says, oh, this is fun. And another, just about violinist. There was a nine year old on television playing the violin for a concert. And they were interviewing her before the concert. And she said, when I was five years old, I saw violin for the first time. And I ran over and hugged it. I don't know why I just hugged it. And yeah, I know why. Cuz in the past life she was a violinist and loved it. So she has that person in her and she starts playing the violin. And at age nine, it's playing in front of a concert orchestra. <laugh> because it's, it's who she is. And she can do that.
Dr. Reese (00:29:36):
How can a patient with cancer learn to let go of the fear?
Dr. Bernie (00:29:41):
Well, it's, I'd say meditation, relaxation doing what makes you happy? Literally saying one of the things, when that psychiatrist studied survivors, he said, well, the biggest thing is, was saying no to the things you don't wanna do. And nurses have a big problem doing that. They're always trying to help everybody. But if you're asked to do a favor for a friend or a family member and you don't wanna do it, the right thing to say is no years ago. It shocked me when my father said that because I was asking him for help. I mean, I got married in medical school. I, you know, I'm not making money. I'm going to college going to medical school. So to get married, I needed to ask him for help, pay for rent, you know, and things like that. My wife got a job when she'd finished college.
Dr. Bernie (00:30:36):
But one day I said to him, you know, I really feel guilty asking you for help. He said, don't. I said, why's not. He said, because if I don't wanna help you I'll say no. Boom. Wow. And that what a change first time I ever heard that. Yeah, but you see his father died when he was 12 years old. So he said to me, one of the best things that ever happened to me was my father dying. When I was 12 years old, taught me what was important about life. Wow. He was quite an incredible guy. I had really great. The, you know what I call great therapists, parents. I didn't enjoy what they were telling me as a kid. You know? Do what makes you happy? I mean, I'm looking for help. Don't tell me, do what makes me happy. Tell me what to do.
Dr. Bernie (00:31:25):
<laugh> right, right. Yeah. When I have a lousy day, don't tell me, God is redirecting me. Uh, feel sorry for me. But you know, I learned later they were giving me therapy and people I learned, you know, to know who were well known, uh, religious leaders, doctors, others who were doing it. Right. They always said the same thing about their parents. You see Norman Vincent peel became a good friend. He said, Bernie, my mother used to say Norman, if God slams one door further down the corridor, another will be open. Now when I had trouble, some days I wasn't happy. When my mother told me, God is redirecting you something good will come of this. I say, man, did you hear what happened to me today? Why are you saying <laugh>? But I would go to my room and talk to God as crazy as that sounds. But it, it, it gave me a connection and made me realize that you don't always know what the future, you know, will hold because of a certain event. So you know what you think is a, a curse can become a, a blessing.
Dr. Reese (00:32:44):
Yeah. It's not nothing wrong with talking to God.
Dr. Bernie (00:32:48):
Dr. Reese (00:32:48):
So please explain this statement from one of your books. There are no incurable diseases. Only incurable people.
Dr. Bernie (00:32:59):
Yeah. The potential. See that's the word is there. If you feel something's incurable, what happens to your immune system? It's just down, you know, everything, stress, hormone levels go up, all these things. So it gets you to die faster. But when you at least have faith, give yourself the potential. See, that's the word? What's the potential. I mean, we're all gonna die. I always tell people, don't try to not die because you can't not die, but get busy living. Then your body enjoys the experience and you will live longer. My parents, uh, my wife's parents lived into their nineties and taught me a lot of things. My wife just died a little over three years ago. Um, she was 87 at the time
Dr. Bernie (00:34:01):
And she died, see peacefully in her sleep in bed. Um, so you know, it wasn't suffering and, and there were many diseases she was supposed to die of. She never did. Um, she had multiple sclerosis and I was told I'd end up taking care of five kids with no wife. And she lives 87 years. She developed a breast cancer. And as she got older, I gave her various hormones to help keep her young. And doctors would tell me, do you know, that's not good for breast cancer? You could consider it. I said, I'm I want her to have a good life. I'm not worried about the breast cancer. I want her life to be a good one. And, uh, it never came back. So again, I lived what I call the sermon, you know, with her. And, uh, she did beautifully and um, had heart attack one night, um, and then, and died.
Dr. Bernie (00:34:59):
And let me tell you how our mind body, cuz I tell you what happened to me. I walk in, in the morning to get her up, um, because you know, I thought she was just sleeping late. And um, when I took her hand to wake her up, it was so cold. I knew she had died and I felt like a bolt of lightning hit me in the heart. I've never experienced anything like that. Nine months later and nine is very important. If you wanna get into the mystical, my wife was born on 99 and we were married on the 11th and I can talk to you about numbers. Cuz young said numbers have quantity and meaning. But anyway, yeah, nine months later, my heart rhythm changed to what's called the ULA fibrillation. So I had to go to the hospital. I get into the emergency room and I hear a voice from the back of the room.
Dr. Bernie (00:35:56):
Yell, put him in room nine. Huh. And I immediately said, oh my wife's here watching me. Then they said, we don't have a room for you upstairs. So I'm lying there overnight. Okay. We got the room 8 1 9. So it's two nines. And eight is also a new beginning. In other words, seven is a cycle. Eight is the new beginning. And interestingly, every religion has seven days in a week, but different days and months. So as young said, numbers have quantity and meaning. Um, and then I look at the wristband. I got to identify me as a patient 8, 9, 9, 6, 6 3 3. I mean it was incredible. Mm. And I knew she's taking care of me. And the doctors and nurses began to get annoyed with me cuz every time I'd go for a visit, they'd say we know, we know they all add up to nine because even the visit numbers would add up to nine.
Dr. Bernie (00:37:02):
Um, and they thought I'm nuts, but it was just an incredible sign. And I found a diamond at penny. We were married, married on the 11th. It it's just incredible. Uh, in bird baths in the yard, in, in supermarkets, in the street. Um, I know they're coming from my wife and I'll tell you one more thing, cuz people don't believe our consciousness doesn't end our body. Our body dies our consciousness doesn't right. Right. And that's why we talk about past lives and you know, coming back as another person. But I went to bed at night after my wife died and I heard a sound like blowing out a candle. And then I felt a breeze on my face and I knew she had kissed me good night. Hmm. And that lasted for a couple of weeks. That sound and the breeze. And I, I would hear sounds also during the night that sounded like her lying in the bed next to me, one night I even sat up and said, do you need any help?
Dr. Bernie (00:38:14):
And then I said to myself, stupid, your wife is dead. What, what are you what's happening to you? But I mean, it was a reflex action, right to, it was like my wife was turning over in bed and grunting cuz it was a little hard work, you know, that sort of thing. And so I don't know if you're interested in some of these stories, but recently, um, there are many things that have disappeared. Several women began to pay attention to me after my wife died and I have, well, I don't know if you, you can't see it. I forgot the camera's not working, but I have a wedding ring and a friend ring on one hand and the family ring on the other and the friend ring disappeared. Huh. And I knew my wife was saying, keep away from those women
Dr. Reese (00:39:03):
Dr. Bernie (00:39:05):
And confined it anywhere. Many, many months later somebody was cleaning the house and said, oh Bernie, there's a ring on the floor in your bedroom. It was the friendship ring. Now where it was lying is right out where it's visible. So I don't know where my wife hit it, but she did. And then when she knew I was behaving myself, it came back. But the other day I called using my cell phone on Friday night. Something that wonder if our kids is interested in and then on Saturday morning, I come into the kitchen where I leave it on the table and it's gone and I don't know what happened to it. You know, I call it, it doesn't ring. I don't hear anything. Um, I called our son who was the neighbor where I had called him. He can't find it there. And he spent literally the weekend, Saturday and Sunday searching the house and the car and outside looking for the phone, you know the phone mm-hmm <affirmative> cause I'd call it and go out, you know, waiting to hear it ring in.
Dr. Bernie (00:40:10):
Where did I? And Sunday night he said, well, that's it. I can't find it. I'll love to get you a new one. So he said, I'm going home two minutes later, I hear a knock on the door. Dad, what is it? I heard mom's voice. She said where the phone is and I should go and look for it. It was outdoors on a chair, almost in the woods that we don't use. They're just old chairs that are sitting there. And he went over to the chair and there was the cell phone when he brought it in. Now you'd say, how the hell does that happen? You know? I mean you could say, well, you must have dropped it there. I wasn't there. You know, I used it Friday night, Saturday morning. I couldn't find it. I didn't go and sit in that chair on Friday night. Um, but that's what changes our family, those mystical things, you know? Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:41:04):
Yeah. But as you experience them, I'm sure there's a smile and a, a raisin vibration.
Dr. Bernie (00:41:09):
Yeah. What they began. And I thought it was no accident. When my mother died. I began to find many, many pennies everywhere and not on the way to some place, but on the way back, like if I go to my mailbox, there wasn't a penny in the driveway on the way back, there was a bunch of them lying there. So one day as I came back up the driveway, one of our kids and grandchildren were there. I said, oh my look at all these pennies, it's gotta be for my mother. And this little PIP squeak of a kid said, oh yeah, their pennies from heaven. Now, where did that come from? Out of this, say five or six year old. They're pennies from heaven.
Dr. Reese (00:41:56):
Dr. Bernie (00:41:57):
Yeah. From grandma. Yeah. And from that day on, I knew if a kid that age said it it's the truth.
Dr. Reese (00:42:08):
So Dr. Bernie you're 88 years old. Yeah. What do you do to keep your vitality and to keep your health and to make it to 100? Because I'm assuming you've decided to live to 100.
Dr. Bernie (00:42:23):
Well, I don't know about the number yet. Cuz I might go for 99 cuz of my wife, you know, or 109. I don't know what's gonna happen, but <laugh>, I haven't picked the number yet, but you know, I, I'm just trying to live in the moment and enjoy my life. I have pat still and uh, you know, and, and yes, they add to your survival too. You know, I can get into statistics and studies, but petting a furry creature, again, changes your internal chemistry. It's like bonding hormones and women will live longer than men with the same diseases. They, these are quotes. I can't die until you all married now the house mm-hmm <affirmative> and the husband, there's no point in living. I can't work anymore. And that's the sad part, you know, trying to wake men up, there's more to life than doing something. So I love relationships, you know the interviews. Yeah. There are times I put so much energy into them and all the zoom stuff. Oh, I'm worn out. But I've learned to take a nap <laugh> you know? Yeah. And even my wife was the one who told me that resting is doing something that was one of the things she finally educated me too. Cuz as the busy doctor, you know, I don't wanna waste time napping or resting, but I learned from her, it is doing something it's taking care of yourself. Yeah,
Dr. Reese (00:43:52):
Dr. Bernie (00:43:54):
Our pets, when my wife died, they started taking care of me in a way that they had never done before. And I knew they were doing it to make the loss of my wife. Easier for me to manage. I have to tell you one that will make you smile. This one cat named hope. She would jump into bed with me as if you know my wife isn't here. So she'll keep me company. I got up in the morning and something she's never done. She starts shrieking. Damn you I'm doing this loud. And I thought, what the hell is going on? And we walked to the kitchen and then I knew what was going on. She made breakfast for me. There was a dead chipmunk lying in the kitchen door. Mm. And when I saw that, I thought, oh, she made breakfast for me. So I had to, you can communicate with animals through your consciousness that I've learned too. Um, so I said, no, no, I don't eat chipmunks. Don't do this anymore. So she's been better since then. Cuz it breaks my heart when she thinks she's doing me a favor to bring me a dead animal. Yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:45:08):
How many surgeries roughly do you think you performed in your career?
Dr. Bernie (00:45:13):
Oh, hundreds and hundreds. Uh, my surgical training started when I graduated from medical school. So that would be um, in the late fifties. Um, I started my practice in like 61 when I was done with training and part of what I did extra training was in children's surgery cuz I loved the kids. Hmm. And that's a big part of what made me, who I am. You realize how powerful your words are to children?
Dr. Reese (00:45:47):
Dr. Bernie (00:45:49):
I mean I realized the kids believed in me and their parents, so I trained their parents to, to talk to them in a certain way. And I would too. You see? I mean the simplest thing, I always describe to people. You take an alcohol sponge, you tell the kid, this is a new sponge. It numbs your skin as well as cleans. It you'll be very happy. You won't feel the needle and you rub their skin, give 'em a shot. And what do you hear? Oh, that's wonderful. Why don't the other doctors use it? So I learned, this is the term I came up with. I learned how to deceive people into health.
Dr. Reese (00:46:30):
Dr. Bernie (00:46:31):
There's uh, an article on my website, Bernie Siegel, md.com that says that because you can tell people to expect something. They believe in you when it happens. And even now with the COVID vaccine, what worries me is when people are telling you don't get vaccinated or you know, all the side effects, all the problems you'll have. Yeah. You go in expecting to have problems. If you're vaccinated, you'll have them, right? Because you're hypnotizing yourself. Your body is trained. So listen
Dr. Reese (00:47:07):
Dr. Bernie (00:47:07):
Your doing that in your imagery. You're picturing. So as one woman said, she had no reaction to radiation. They thought the machine was broken until they saw my name in her chart. And then they said, oh, it's a crazy patient. Her words were, I get out of the way and let it go to my tumor. Now, how does she prepare her body by picturing that? So if they treat her, it's no different than what she pictured. No side effects, no problems. And what studies have shown is when patients are on the way to the hospital to get chemotherapy, the white counts are going down already. So when you expect, oh, the COVID vaccine, I could have a reaction. I could this, I could that. Yeah. You'll have it. I mean, I've been vaccinated. I was no different like than any other day in my life. Right. And so when I pick up poison Ivy accidentally, I say, well, I don't get it. And the body doesn't break out in a rash.
Dr. Reese (00:48:07):
Dr. Bernie (00:48:08):
So again, you're teaching your body a healing mechanism,
Dr. Reese (00:48:14):
Mind, body, right? I tell people all the time, you gotta be careful what you say too.
Dr. Bernie (00:48:21):
Dr. Reese (00:48:22):
You know, one of my favorite books to four agreements, number one, be impeccable with your word. When you start affirming things. Like if you, if you're going to an event, let's say, and you say this is gonna suck <laugh>
Dr. Bernie (00:48:40):
Yes, it will.
Dr. Reese (00:48:40):
It's gonna suck.
Dr. Bernie (00:48:42):
Well, here's one. That's true story. They had four chemotherapy agents. One first one was a top side. See, that was an E. And then there was a P O N H the doctor one day, one of the doctors looked at it and said, you know, if you turn it around, it spells hope. So he started calling it the hope protocol and giving it to people with that name at the end of the study, he had more patients respond positively to the treatment than all the other doctors who were giving EPO. Mm Yeah. And he wrote an article cuz it woke him up, you know, to what a difference it made.
Dr. Reese (00:49:25):
Dr. Bernie (00:49:26):
And I, and that's why the drawings, um, are so wonderful because they reveal what's in you. Um, because of what Elizabeth knew about me from this crazy outdoor scene, I went back to the hospital with crayons and it blew everybody's mind because again, doctors could see anatomy in the picture. One that's really funny is a kid drew two airplanes. And he said, this is like before, this is like after now, if you look at the profile of a plane, he turned it into a penis. Yeah. And one had a force on it. And one didn't. So when the doctors and nurses looked at his drawings, they all busted out laughing <laugh> because he wasn't talking about drawing his surgery. He just, you know, he just said, this is like before, this is like after, but that's what he put on the paper. And then there are other kids who drew pictures of the operating room.
Dr. Bernie (00:50:21):
They'd never been in, you know, the, uh, the color of the drapes, the number of lights, the people in the room. Um, so you knew, and that's why one of the anesthesiologists made up a coloring book for the kids. And one more example, that was so powerful. It says on the first page, you'll meet someone called the anesthesiologist. Who's wearing an outfit that looks like green pajamas. The kid drew him in red, even though it said he's wearing green pajamas. And I made sure that when they drew the pictures, everybody had the full, you know, spectrum of colors because what's funny with kids, a kid came in with a black drawing. I said, what's wrong? What's going on in your life? My life's all right. I have three older brothers. That's the only crayon they give me <laugh> you know, so you have to know what's going on.
Dr. Bernie (00:51:22):
But, um, the boy, when he drew the anesthesiologist in red, the anesthesiologist said to me, when I told him, I'm worried, he said, yeah, you should be worried. His mother has muscular dystrophy. He could have a rare, adverse reaction to muscle relaxants. So I said, look at the last page, cuz that's the one where you're going home. Yeah. I said, if he draws himself in purple spiritual color, we're canceling surgery. Um, but on the last page it was the usual. I'm not happy I'm going home. You know? And then I had an operation. So we went ahead with the surgery and uh, that's the part that also when people draw the purple kite, the purple balloon they're telling you I'm ready to go. And that helps everybody. Also, you know, if your child is ready to die, I can show you the drawing. I mean, this one child did a purple balloon with her name in it.
Dr. Bernie (00:52:21):
And I said to the mother, she's ready to go take her home and love her. I said, I don't know what the eight colorful like flowers are because I don't know what you know, that number means to her. Oh. And she drew another face with the green and yellow, which are healthy colors. And then she said to me, that's not me. That's the kid in the next room crying. See that's, what's so fascinating cuz it confused me. You're ready to die. And you look wonderful green in yellow. No, that's not me. So a mother took her home eight days later with those, you know, those eight colorful flowers. Eight days later, she woke up and said, mom, it's your birthday today. I'm dying to free you from all the trouble. Mm. And all that's in the drawing. Wow. Or somebody, a husband hanging onto a kite purple kite. And the woman said, yeah, I'm ready to go. But my husband can't let go. We said to him, why can't you let go? Cause my wife's a nurse. She takes care of everything. If she dies, I'm dead. I don't know how to make a meal. Do any pay the bills? So she said, I'll train you. And she did. And then he said, honey, I cut the string. And then she went and had a peaceful death.
Dr. Reese (00:53:36):
Dr. Bernie (00:53:37):
And my father died laughing, cuz he said, I need to get outta here. And I explained to my mother, his body was just no fun anymore. So we said, all right, when do you wanna die? He said, alright, I'll die Sunday afternoon. So we had a wonderful party. And when the last person arrived and he's in a coma, he took his last breath and died. He heard her name and he died smiling. Cause uh, my mother, see, when I say I hear a voice, a voice said to me the day that Sunday morning, how did your parents meet? I said, I don't know. The voice said, ask your mother when you get to the hospital.
Dr. Reese (00:54:16):
Dr. Bernie (00:54:17):
I asked her, she said I was on vacation with girls. I didn't know. I learned, I had a terrible reputation. Boys came down the beach, tossed a coin. Your father lost and got me. And that started these funny stories of how they met and what happened on dates. And my father died laughing. Wow. Because of the wonderful things that my mother was sharing.
Dr. Reese (00:54:44):
Dr. Bernie (00:54:46):
And we hear in coma too. So I say to people, even if people are in coma, talk to them, they hear you. They may not talk back, but they're, it's getting into their consciousness. Even in the operating room, I talked to patients and played music while they were anesthetized and they all thought, what are you crazy? They're under anesthesia. They're not gonna, and then they'd wake up and talk about the music and the stories. They like, one word lady said, I didn't hear the end of a joke you were telling. And the anesthesiologist that blew his mind, cuz that was a joke he was telling while we were operating and she didn't hear the end of it. So <laugh>, it was obvious she heard it. Yeah. And the music is funny too. Cause uh,
Dr. Reese (00:55:34):
How old were you when you did your last surgery?
Dr. Bernie (00:55:38):
I think it was about 90, 98. I, you know, with all the traveling we were doing, somebody said to me who was in the audience, did you ever think of just speaking and writing a book, you'll help more people than if you stay in the office and, and our surgeon. And that's when I realized I could help more people by talking and writing than I could with a knife.
Dr. Reese (00:56:02):
Dr. Bernie (00:56:03):
So, um, we had a retirement party and I quit, you know it's and now we're wearing masks all the time. It's like being back in the operating room. <laugh> Was at COVID yeah.
Dr. Reese (00:56:18):
You perform surgery into your sixties basically.
Dr. Bernie (00:56:22):
Yeah. So I operated on our children too because I was trained to be a pediatric surgeon and was the best one in new Haven. I wasn't gonna let somebody else operate on my kid. Um, but even operating on your child that taught me something too, cuz I was so busy telling him everything that he would know and understand. And when he woke up, he said, you didn't tell me it was gonna hurt. Like, but you see that was an education for me. I think as a doctor, you know, I think I'm tr preparing him in a mechanical way, knowing the people, knowing the operating room, knowing everything. And then he made me a better doctor. He didn't tell me he was gonna hurt. So
Dr. Reese (00:57:07):
How old was he?
Dr. Bernie (00:57:09):
Four years old.
Dr. Reese (00:57:10):
So you, you operated on your four year old son?
Dr. Bernie (00:57:14):
Yeah. Wow. Yeah. Cuz there was nobody better than me in terms of pediatric surgery. So I couldn't let somebody else take care of my loved one. Wow. And I made sure that every one of them came into the operating room as a visitor to see what I was doing. Cuz they weren't happy having a doctor as a father, cuz you were on call all the time. You know, you had to be home there. Weren't cell phones. I mean, people had to call you at a certain place if there was an emergency. It, it, again, I think they saw my pain. They weren't happy with the life of doctor has to lead. And uh, there were all things. They were my teachers and trainers too, you know, to share things with me and teach me how to adjust. And, and you know, we took vacations. My wife took the calendar and marked it for the year to give me breaks cuz I had partners. So we would rotate and take time off and everything. And um, you know, they, they all made me a better person.
Dr. Reese (00:58:22):
So it's still worth, you know, getting a surgery if needed.
Dr. Bernie (00:58:27):
Yeah. Oh yeah. We can still cure people. Yes. But you see, when you say draw a picture of yourself in the operating room, um, and the woman drew a black box and she's the only one lying there on this black table. I said, then don't go. She said, no, I wanna have surgery. I said, then you have to change your attitude. Mm said four or five times a day. I want you to picture yourself, going to the operating room, having surgery, people taking care of you doing beautifully and going home. Well a week later she came back to the office, gorgeous picture. You know, God's light is shining in. Everybody's taking care of her. Family's outside the room, you know, all in colors. I said, fine, go ahead. No problem now. And I mean it, these people don't have the pain that others have and chemotherapy, one lady drew the devil giving me poison and another woman drew it as coming from God, yellow energy flowing like out of an IV right into her. So you say, how can one have side effects? The other one, not, yeah. They have prepared their body for this reaction. And uh, so your body just does what you're telling it ahead of time.
Dr. Reese (00:59:53):
<laugh> so we, we should combine a positive attitude, great spirit along with say proper nutrition and modern technology when needed.
Dr. Bernie (01:00:05):
Yeah. You said it right. Mind, body and spirit. Yeah. My monies a thousand years ago said it beautifully. And really what the Bible tells us. He said disease is a loss of health. And we are told if you find what your neighbor has lost, return it to him. So what's our job. You lose your health. Our job is to help you find it again. And that's what I learned from that lady who said, I need to know how to live between office visits. You start ING teaching people how to live. And it's amazing how well they do. But again, you have to get them over the guilt and the blame and you know, all the stuff that they grew up with. That's why the reparenting, you know, and you think, why do you smoke a cigarette? Why are you 200 pounds overweight? Why, why, why? Yeah. It's how they were brought up.
Dr. Reese (01:01:11):
We gotta take care of ourselves. I heard one master say one time that, uh, he said, I treat my body like a pet. I take it for a walk. I give it good food. <laugh> take it out the play.
Dr. Bernie (01:01:25):
Yeah. That's the best thing you could do. <laugh> love. That's why the lady who laid down in front of the mirror and loved her body and it got well. So when you're loving your body, it does what it can for you. And I know I'm a hell of a lot more active and healthier, you know, than most 88 year olds. Um, but I also know because of accidents I've had and others. Yeah. I've got some balance problems. Um, so I have to be careful and I go to physical therapy and you know, I work on retraining myself. I mean, uh, gotta give you a, a sense of humor with my father-in-law died at 98. See, I want him to live to be a hundred. So we get him on television and he didn't wanna live to be a hundred. Cuz he got tired and one night he said, no dinner, no pills.
Dr. Bernie (01:02:26):
And he went to sleep literally, you know, and ended his life. And I thought to myself, I was being a pain in the ass. I'm trying to get him to live two more years cuz I want to celebrate him. You know, it's up to him, not me. But I did ask him for advice cuz one day for seniors and he had fallen down a flight of stairs when he got new eyeglasses and that's why he injured his spinal cord. He said tell them to fall on something soft. That was his advice for seniors. <laugh> a few days later I came to visit him at the nursing home. He was in and he said, what? I told you, it doesn't always work. I said, what are you talking about? I told you to fall on something soft. They stood me up in therapy and I toppled over on my wife and broke her leg.
Dr. Bernie (01:03:18):
So tell them to just fall up. That's on his headstone at the cemetery. Wow. Because I thought it was such a wonderful classical, you know, sense of humor, statement of his, he just fell up and there were people who would always ask me, what does that mean? You know, when you see, he just fell up on his headstone. But to me, that's just what he did. I'm not having dinner. I'm not having my bills. And we left and I, I told the nurse he's gonna die tonight. And they called and said he did. And we had a lot of control over when we die. People need to understand that too. Don't let others keep you alive if you don't wanna be. And maybe one last story, cuz one of my patients came in one day and said, I'm a mystic. I know you're not a normal doctor.
Dr. Bernie (01:04:15):
I have a message for you from one of your patients who died from Frank and this, I put in one of my books. If I known it was this easy, I'd have bought the package a long time ago and not have resisted so much. And I know who Frank was. He had just died a few weeks before I called his wife. She let out a Shrie. I said, I didn't wanna upset you. You're not upsetting me. That's what he said. Every time he left your meeting, I can't buy the package. And then she started, Monica became a friend of mine and started calling me when various people died.
Dr. Bernie (01:04:54):
And when my wife died, I thought, let's see if Monica is really knowing and in touch cuz she doesn't know my wife has died. She's not a neighbor of mine phone rang. My wife died Friday, Sunday, the phone rang Bernie Bobby's with her family. Again a lovely lady who was an opera singer. Got in touch with me. Now think about that. How the hell does Monica know my mother-in-law was an opera singer? You know what I mean? You can't deny those kinds of statements. Right? So she said, she's a lovely lady, an opera singer. And she said, Bobby's fine back with the family. Everything's okay. Boom. See, I believe what I experience. I'm not worried about trying to explain things. If I experience it, it's real. And that's what we need to understand. So the same thing with how can people get, well, you know, have faith believe it has happened and when you can achieve that, it's amazing. Uh, so it's worth a try. So stop worrying and participate in life.
Dr. Reese (01:06:08):
Dr. Bernie, I gotta wrap this up. Where can people come say hello to you and learn about your work?
Dr. Bernie (01:06:14):
Well, my website right now, especially with the COVID thing and not running any support groups, doing a lot of zoom stuff and phone calls stuff. Um, it's Bernie Siegel, S I E G E L md.com. And there's information. There are articles about me, all my books and on the right side of the opening page, there are descriptions of two groups we run, you know, via phone and it gives you the phone numbers. And the time of the groups, one is the first, Friday and the other third, Thursday of the month.
Dr. Reese (01:06:51):
And this is for cancer patients.
Dr. Bernie (01:06:53):
Anybody re well the, the second group, um, is for cancer patients. It was the exceptional cancer patient group, um, that I started years ago that we were meeting. But you know, if somebody wants to call in, they can, the first group is like a, a life group. It's for people working on life. So that's the Friday group, but uh, I never mind somebody calling in and learning something. You know, it's like saying cancer comes in many shapes and sizes. So, you know, it can be a physical cancer. It could be an emotional cancer too.
Dr. Reese (01:07:30):
Sure. Sure. All right. Well, I, I appreciated this this time we had together. Thank you Dr. Bernie.
Dr. Bernie (01:07:38):
Speaker 2 (01:07:40):
Thanks for listening to inner peace with Dr. Reese. If this episode opened your heart, feel free to share on social media and tell your loved ones. Also be sure to subscribe. So you never miss an episode until next time may peace be with you.