Until the last few decades, researchers believed our minds had no power over our [brain] matter. Since the, research has shown that thoughts have amazing power: they can lead to great changes in our brain chemistry, our body chemistry, and our health.
While the stories of placebo healing our numerous, Mr. Wright’s love affair with Krebiozen, in particular, evidences the role our minds can play in our healing… or our dying.
Mr. Wright and His Miracle Cure, Krebiozen
In 1957, a man who we today know as “Mr. Wright” was dying of terminal lymph node cancer that had spread through his body. Baseball-sized tumors were visible on his neck, chest, abdomen, and groin, and doctors agreed that no treatment could save him.
During his own personal research, Mr. Wright had learned of a horse serum called Krebiozen that he believed would cure him. In his final bedridden days, he convinced doctors to inject him with the drug.
After a single dose of Krebiozen, the tumors shrunk by more than half. Within three days Mr. Wright had resumed a normal hospital routine. Ten days later, he was miraculously discharged from the hospital.
Unfortunately, a few months later, Mr. Wright learned that the Krebiozen that had saved him had proven in further studies to be ineffective in curing cancer. The news rocked him, and immediately, his cancer returned – just as vigorously as before.
In a desperate attempt to save his life, doctors gave Mr. Wright a “new super-refined double-strength” version of Krebiozen that, they claimed, had just been developed. The substance was, in fact, just a placebo saltwater solution.
Nonetheless, Mr. Wright’s tumors again miraculously shrunk, and he left the hospital days later. Sadly, a few months after that, he read that no form of Krebiozen had worked on cancer patients, and he promptly died.
What We Can Learn from Mr. Wright’s Story
What we know – what is obvious – is that Mr. Wright experienced a placebo effect. His belief in Krebiozen was enough to reverse the spread of a cancer that doctors agreed was irreversible… twice. But he also experienced a nocebo effect – his realization that Krebiozen hadn’t helped others was enough to cause the cancer remission and, quickly, death.
The invitation in this story, is for each of us to consider how our own thoughts – both conscious and unconscious – dominate the realities of our own lives, and how we might adjust our thoughts to create the lives we want.