Is It Possible?

You Are the Placebo
Chapter One

Sam Londe, a retired shoe salesman living outside of St. Louis in the early 1970s, began to have difficulty swallowing. He eventually went to see a doctor, who discovered that Londe had metastatic esophageal cancer. In those days, metastatic esophageal cancer was considered incurable; no one had ever survived it. It was a death sentence, and Londe’s doctor delivered the news in an appropriately somber tone.

To give Londe as much time as possible, the doctor recommended surgery to remove the cancerous tissue in the esophagus and in the stomach, where the cancer had spread. Trusting the doctor, Londe agreed and had the surgery. He came through as well as could be expected, but things soon went from bad to worse. A scan of Londe’s liver revealed still more bad news: extensive cancer throughout the liver’s entire left lobe. The doctor told Londe that sadly, at best, he had only months to live.

So Londe and his new wife, both in their 70s, arranged to move 300 miles to Nashville, where Londe’s wife had family. Soon after the move to Tennessee, Londe was admitted to the hospital and assigned to internist Clifton Meador. The first time Dr. Meador walked into Londe’s room, he found a small, unshaven man curled up underneath a mound of covers, looking nearly dead. Londe was gruff and uncommunicative, and the nurses explained that he’d been like that since his admission a few days before.

While Londe had high blood-glucose levels due to diabetes, the rest of his blood chemistry was fairly normal except for slightly higher levels of liver enzymes, which was to be expected of someone with liver cancer. Further medical examination showed nothing more amiss, a blessing considering the patient’s desperate condition. Under his new doctor’s orders, Londe begrudgingly received physical therapy, a fortified liquid diet, and lots of nursing care and attention. After a few days, he grew a little stronger, and his grumpiness started to subside. He began talking to Dr. Meador about his life.

Londe had been married before, and he and his first wife had been true soul mates. They had never been able to have children but otherwise had had a good life. Because they loved boating, when they retired they had bought a house by a large man-made lake. Then late one night, the nearby earthen dam burst, and a wall of water crushed their house and swept it away. Londe miraculously survived by hanging on to some wreckage, but his wife’s body was never found.
“I lost everything I ever cared for,” he told Dr. Meador. “My heart and soul were lost in the flood that night.”

Within six months of his first wife’s death, while still grieving and in the depths of depression, Londe had been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and had had the surgery. It was then that he had met and married his second wife, a kind woman who knew about his terminal illness and agreed to care for him in the time he had left. A few months after they married, they made the move to Nashville, and Dr. Meador already knew the rest of the story.

Once Londe finished the story, the doctor, amazed by what he’d just heard, asked with compassion, “What do you want me to do for you?” The dying man thought for a while.

“I’d like to live through Christmas so I can be with my wife and her family. They’ve been good to me,” he finally answered. “Just help me make it through Christmas. That’s all I want.” Dr. Meador told Londe he would do his best.

By the time Londe was discharged in late October, he was actually in much better shape than when he had arrived. Dr. Meador was surprised but pleased by how well Londe was doing. The doctor saw his patient about once a month after that, and each time, Londe looked good. But exactly one week after Christmas (on New Year’s Day), Londe’s wife brought him back to the hospital.

Dr. Meador was surprised to find that Londe again looked near death. All he could find was a mild fever and a small patch of pneumonia on Londe’s chest x-ray, although the man didn’t seem to be in any respiratory distress. All of Londe’s blood tests looked good, and the cultures the doctor ordered for him came back negative for any other disease. Dr. Meador prescribed antibiotics and put his patient on oxygen, hoping for the best, but within 24 hours, Sam Londe was dead.

As you might assume, this story is about a typical cancer diagnosis followed by an unfortunate death from a fatal disease, right?

Not so fast.

A funny thing happened when the hospital performed Londe’s autopsy. The man’s liver was, in fact, not filled with cancer; he had only a very tiny nodule of cancer in its left lobe and another very small spot on his lung. The truth is, neither cancer was big enough to kill him. And in fact, the area around his esophagus was totally free of disease as well. The abnormal liver scan taken at the St. Louis hospital had apparently yielded a false positive result.

Sam Londe didn’t die of esophageal cancer, nor did he die of liver cancer. He also didn’t die of the mild case of pneumonia he had when he was readmitted to the hospital. He died, quite simply, because everybody in his immediate environment thought he was dying. His doctor in St. Louis thought Londe was dying, and then Dr. Meador, in Nashville, thought Londe was dying. Londe’s wife and family thought he was dying, too. And, most important, Londe himself thought he was dying. Is it possible that Sam Londe died from thought alone? Is it possible that thought is that powerful? And if so, is this case unique?

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14 thoughts on “Is It Possible?

  1. I once, in my teens, read a book where the author, as he was advocating the power of suggestion, described an experiment in which the person sentenced to death was put in a tub filled with warm water, with his hands tied at his back. Then the “surgeon” mimicked cutting his wrist veins with a knife – the blade was previously cooled – while in fact he was using the unsharpened part of it and it didn’t harm the person at all. In the mean time, a red blood-like liquid was released in the tub, from the back of the condemned. As he stood there in the tub, noticing the water getting redder and redder, probably when he appreciated that he had lost sufficient blood, he just died. He suffered no injury at all, and yet he died.
    I don’t remember the author, nor the title. I recall that he was french.

  2. This story does highlight the much wider implications of thought and belief.It made me think of the beliefs we form as small children about who we are,and about our possiblilities,so much of what we come to believe as children only keeps us in survival mode,not in creation mode.Without our knowing it we re-live our emotional childhood over and over,all because of some false stories we learned as children,and that we now accept as “how things are”.Thankyou Joe for your research,your work brings the hope of a different way of living.I hope one day to have the privilege of meeting you.Warm Regards,Lynn Hubbard

  3. Having survived cancer twice, I know only too well how emotions running rampant can affect the body. I had a 20 year gap between the two and the second one came shortly on the heels of a disastrous love relationship (which rocked my beliefs about love) followed by a devastating (by my perception) career incident.

    I completely believe that thought alone had the power to kill Sam.

  4. I so believe what your article tells us: and, Jesus Christ, our Lord and the son of our living God, said it beautifully, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” I have followed the works of Wayne Dyer for years, and I am glad I found your book., You Are The Placebo. Thank you.

  5. Unfortunately that is not an uncommon event. we see people like that a lot. Most people can tell you want they don’t want in life but you ask them what they do want and what that would like in their lives, they look like a deer in the headlights with no response. I have no control over the thoughts that come into my head but I do have control over how long they stay there. I choose to entertain certain thoughts, to build sometimes wild scenarios where I am always the center of attention. It is when I choose to put that thought with Love, I produce a feeling that is always healing. That is the place I want to be. The challenge is to stay there.

    Thanks Doc for all your hard work,
    Bill Harth

  6. Yes it is possible … and sadly enough, I think more people die from the
    Medical Doctor’s diagnosis than from anything else in this world.

  7. I do believe this because several years back someone told me of a wonderful doctor she had found. She said her neighbour went to him not feeling well, and this wonderful doctor not only diagnosed he had cancer but also told him the very day he would die, and he did die on that very day….. myself, l call that akin to pointing the bone!

  8. When my mother was being treated for a uterus cancer that had spread to her lymph nodes, I remember she asked for a similar thing. I want to live until Christmas so I can spend time with my grand children before I die. And like Londe, my mother was strong and living relatively well till Christmas when she had a wonderful time with her grand children and died shortly after! It amazes me how she could, like Londe does, manage to keep herself alive because of her will to be, and then simply surrendered to another belief that now she would just died!! Yes I am so sure that our thoughts but more accurately our unquestionable beliefs makes us and breaks us…. Life and death after all are the two sides of the same coin and if what we are is a manifestation of the”field” or life force or universal consciousness embodied however you want to cal it! Then our power to creates must equal our power to destroy… Creating our reality must include its two faces… Where we put our focus…..

  9. I know it is possible to think yourself to death. My mother did that. She was for many years an unhappy person and always spoke about how not only was she ok with dieing but that she wanted to die as there was nothing here for her that brought her any joy.
    For about 2 years before she died she kept saying she had cancer–that she could feel it . Colonoscopies came back clean (I even remember the doctor saying to her “sorry mrs. bremmers, you don’t have cancer”. He was being funny with her because she kept insisting that she did)
    Anyway within 2 years she had cancer and died. Even the last 6 months she tried to speed it along by talking about how she was ready now and couldn’t understand why she couldn’t just die. She even applied to U.S. immigration to see if she could move to the one state that allows euthanasia.
    I also believe this you can think yourself to death because I have seen animals “give up” and die from no apparent symptoms and I have seen people use their mind to make themselves healthy.
    Thank you Dr. Dispenza for all that you do. I attended you workshop April 2013 in Carefree, Arizona and my life has not been the same since. I keep intending to send you a testimonial and I will get to it this month–I am grateful beyond words for the transformational information that you shared with us that weekend.
    Saskia

  10. Dear Dr. Joe
    I can’t wait to get my hands onto this book! I have read the one preceeding this three times and still refer to sections every day!
    Thank you for your wonderful insights!
    With Love

  11. Pingback: Can you think yourself to death? | MeaningfulWesternLife

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