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Recovering From Serious Illness

Shannon Harvey

Not wanting to end up like his own mother who ended up in a wheelchair unable to feed herself, Professor George Jelinek went on a search for a cure for Multiple Sclerosis when he was diagnosed with the same disease she had suffered from. He appears in The Connection and has written this guest blog post for us.


The Key Ingredients

Three things are necessary for recovery from serious illness. First, one has to have hope. That can come from a single report of someone else recovering. That is all it takes. Hope that you too can be like that person. Randomized controlled trials aren’t necessary to have hope.  But hope is necessary for recovery.   Next, one needs faith. Faith means living as if recovery is possible. It doesn’t require belief. 

That can come later. Without faith, you are buffeted by every passing negative comment, report, news item. Faith enables you to get through the negativity that surrounds most serious illnesses.  

Finally, one needs to have the tools to enable recovery. This is where evidence comes in, data from studies of lots of people with the illness. Sometimes the illness is so rare that one can’t find any good studies about what might help. Sometimes, one has to go with the best available evidence, no matter how scant, even if it is just a few anecdotes. As Ian Gawler says, “I’d rather be a live anecdote than a dead statistic!”  

But for most serious chronic conditions currently flooding our hospitals and homes, there is a wealth of evidence about what can be done to prevent them, or once diagnosed, prevent their progression. Mostly that takes changing a lifetime’s habits.  Good nutrition, exercise, adequate sun exposure, stress reduction.  

Looking through these three requirements, one notices the key connection between them. Our minds. It is our engagement with the problem, the finding of hope and the development of faith, our passion to get better, that leads to recovery. The connection is critical to healing. The mind and body are inseparable; our thoughts, emotions, feelings and stresses play out in our physical health, in how our mind engages with our body to produce the optimal conditions for healing. Hope leads to faith leads to empowerment, and the future suddenly looks different, there are different possibilities. Recovery is possible.  

The Connection lays out the science behind this. But more, it will enthuse you to get involved with your own health, to develop the passion and skills to determine your own future. And the journey then becomes quite amazing! Be well….  

Check out Professor Jelinek's website Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis to learn more about his remarkable program.
Read more about Professor Jelinek's story in The Connection.

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