The older I get, the more I realize the importance of gratitude. Over the course of the last 29 years as a physician, I have been blessed with the ability to perform missions work in various parts of the world. It is on these trips when I realized how truly blessed we are. Seeing children with diseases that are routinely cured in America always brought tears to my eyes; but, also helped me to understand how blessed my children are. Seeing children looking in trash cans for their food made me so grateful to have a daily meal with my family. Finding people sleeping on the cold, hard ground caused me to wake up every morning with words of gratitude for a good night’s sleep in my comfortable bed.
We must find gratitude in our everyday lives. Once we see how blessed we truly are, we seem to forget the negativity that surrounds our daily lives. Did you wake up this morning? Thank you, God. Did your child smile this morning? Thank you, God. Did you help to make a difference today because of your kindness to someone? Thank you, God. I sometimes hear patients say that I am grateful because I am blessed. My response is that I am blessed BECAUSE I am grateful.
We all have had difficulties in our lives, times when we feel alone, abandoned, sick and helpless. It is in those times when we should be the most grateful. That is where true faith lies- finding positive in the negativity of the world. God even said to us, “ I am with you always.” All we need to do is believe and be grateful that our Lord will help us through any storm, any difficulty.
I have seen patients recover from horrendous diseases simply by thanking God for them. It is not the negativity that is thrown at us that matters, but how we handle it. God knows our hearts, he listens and responds in His time, not ours. By being grateful for everything, good and bad, I believe he feels our pain and responds accordingly. By becoming man, He clearly understood our emotions, our fears. It is during this holiday season that we should be most grateful for everything; but most importantly, that God took on human form, was born in a lowly manger, experienced the negativity of the world, to save each and every one of us. Be grateful for everything and know without a doubt that we are cradled in the hands of an ever -loving God.
Do Miracles Happen?
I recently overheard a few colleagues debating the topic of miracles. One physician stated that there were no such things as miracles. The other said that they exist in the minds of some patients, and that’s why they improved “miraculously”. Unfortunately, there was no mention of God in their dialogue. They simply attributed any spontaneous remission of disease to the patient’s own ability to heal. When did God disappear from medicine?
Over the course of my medical career, I have seen people spontaneously “heal” when their physicians gave them no chance of survival. After interviewing literally hundreds of patients with diseases that normally either kill or disfigure, I discovered one common denominator in all of them, their faith in God. How they perceived their Creator determined their recovery.
One particular patient that I vividly recall was assigned to me as a lowly medical student. The child was merely six years old and dying of an “incurable” cancer. The attending physicians told me that my goal was to simply keep the child comfortable, since there was no cure for his disease. What I remembered the most from this young patient was his unrelenting faith in God, even when his parents and physicians told him that there was no hope.
One evening while doing my late night rounds, I saw the child up in his bed laughing hysterically! I asked him if he was in any kind of pain or if he had any problems from his medication. He answered that Jesus was in his room and that He would cure him of his disease. I thought that the medication was causing hallucinations. Over the course of the next two weeks, I saw a lifeless six year old child become vibrant and healthy with out the help of his physicians. As he left the hospital, he winked at me and said, “ I told you so!” Ironically, his attending physicians called it a “spontaneous remission”.
We as physicians must remember that the power to heal is not in our hands, but in God’s. We should never assume that there is no hope. There is always hope as long as we believe. The true worth of a physician is not only in his or her knowledge, but in their ability to instill a ray of hope into each patient. Patients must realize that their health and recovery from disease is not determined by their doctors. It is ultimately in their hands, cradled by God.
Ernest Renan, the famed writer, once said, “Experience shows, without exception, that miracles occur only in times and in countries in which miracles are believed in.” I think it is time that both physicians and patients learn from a six year old child that we must believe in miracles. Yes, my fellow physicians, miracles do happen.
What I Learned from Coco
Recently, our little dog named Coco became ill with pancreatitis, a potentially deadly disease for dogs. We later found out that it is most common in dogs that are substantially overweight. Unfortunately, our dog is pleasingly plump secondary to eating too much table food. Little did we know that it was “people food” that was killing him! We were told to stop feeding him table food, even sneaking it to him under our seats! I must admit that we were all guilty of this, but my wife was the main offender! Did I mention that my wife was the main offender? Fortunately, I am pleased to inform you that Coco is now home from the hospital on a very strict diet of dog food and water. He feels so much better and is back to his normal begging self! Through this whole difficult ordeal, I learned some very valuable lessons that apply not only to dogs, but to people as well.
The first lesson that I learned from Coco is simply not to overeat! Coco will eat anything and everything. Unfortunately, this was nearly the cause of his demise. People are no different. Everything in moderation, including food. We need to eat to live, not live to eat!
The second lesson that I learned from Coco is not to wait too long when symptoms occur. If my wife would have waited an extra day, our little dog would be gone. Humans are the same. At the first sign of trouble, get to a hospital! That “heartburn” might just be something deadly such as heart disease.
The third lesson is to always be thankful. Even when the nurse was putting an IV into his little paw, Coco was licking her hand. He understood that she was trying to help him and was truly grateful. Remember, an attitude of gratitude is by far the best way to get through life no matter what the circumstances. We attract the energy that we emit. Positive and thankful attitudes attract positive responses. It is known as the law of attraction which supercedes all other laws, including the law of gravity!
The fourth lesson is to rest when you’re tired. Take that brief nap when necessary. There is an incredible restorative power in sleep. Dogs know this better than humans.
The fifth lesson that I learned from Coco is that exercise is important in both recovery from and prevention of disease. Just 15 minutes of exercise per day can extend your life expectancy by nearly 3 years according to a recent study on 400,000 men and women followed over a 12 year period.
The sixth lesson that I learned from our chubby little dog is, when family comes home, no matter how you feel, always run to greet them. In spite of the fact that he was in pain and literally limping to the door, he always managed to greet us!
The seventh lesson that I learned is to always trust in God. When the vets told us that Coco might not make it through the night, we trusted in the power of prayer and not in our own understanding. God listens to all prayer, but in His time, not ours. We simply must accept His wishes and allow His will to be done.
The last but certainly not the least lesson that I learned from Coco is to love unconditionally. Dogs seem to do this better than humans. There are no stipulations on their love. They don’t care if you’re rich or poor, black or white, Muslim or Christian, they just love. Wouldn’t this world be a better place if we humans could learn this one simple lesson from a little dog?
We are truly blessed to have our dog home. These last few weeks were arduous and stressful , yet through it all, we learned some very valuable lessons from a sick little dog named Coco. If we could somehow teach these simple principles that are known instinctively in the animal kingdom, then no matter what the difficulties in this confused and sometimes painful world, we would overcome them.
After 20 years of medical practice, I have seen too many patients have adverse side effects from medication. I thought that there had to be a better way. For this reason, I started recommending natural products such as glucosamine sulfate to my patients. I truly believe that this supplement is the answer to better joint health.
Unfortunately, I discovered that not all glucosamine products are the same. This is due to the fact that the FDA does not regulate natural products, allowing many manufacturers to produce lesser quality supplements. I decided to take action!
After four years of research and experimentation, I developed my own supplements working with an FDA registered lab. We found a pure form of glucosamine sulfate and added other natural ingredients known to fight arthritis. I can now confidently recommend what I believe to be the purest product on the market, that will ultimately give you the best results.
Glucose sulfate is a nutritional supplement that is natural, effective and safe. It stimulates certain components of your articular cartilage called glycosaminoglycans (GAG). This substance acts as a nutrient to produce new cartilage.
Most people report that their pain starts to diminish after approximately two month s of being on glucosamine sulfate. Once the pain decreases, they can slowly drop the daily amount needed. The average dose of glucosamine is 1500 mg. per day. In many European studies, glucosamine sulfate had less side effects than placebo (sugar pills).
Our products are completely natural and vegetarian. Each ingredient has been researched and found to be in its purest form. Even the capsules are vegetarian! Did you know that if your vitamin bottle does not list your capsules as vegetarian, they are usually made from ground beef bones? Not for me!
The other active ingredients are MSM, a natural sulfur-based product already found in your joints, shark cartilage, which is a pure form of chondroitin sulfate, ginger, and tumeric, two natural anti-inflammatories.
You will notice that regular chondroitin is not used in our products. I question the absorption of this substance from your stomach and intestines. The major source of chondroitin found in health food stores is made from cow trachea (wind pipe). So, if you are a vegetarian, you may not want to take it!
In addition, I have added our new ingredient hyaluronic acid, made from fermenting starch. This is a natural ingredient that helps to lubricate the joints. It is similar to chicken cartilage, but has a higher molecular weight, which allows it to better penetrate the joints.
People always ask me if I would take these products. My answer is, "I am taking them!" Rest assured, I have painstakingly developed these awesome products with the belief that they have to be good enough not only for me, but for my family and friends as well. I truly hope that these natural remedies help to improve your life and reduce your pain. If they do, always remember, "My help comes from the Lord, which made heaven and earth".
In this very complicated and difficult world, we are frequently bombarded by uncontrollable negativity. It is impossible to turn on any form of media without hearing stories of war, despair, mass shootings and religious fanaticism. During these challenging times, I frequently turn to my faith and my Bible to help me keep some semblance of sanity. After all, Christ clearly states to be of good cheer since He has overcome the world. I truly believe that even during periods of extreme stress, God performs small miracles in our lives to aid us in experiencing His divine presence. We simply need to look for them.
One such event occurred to me a few months ago. A very pleasant young lady came to visit me for a severely sprained ankle while playing for her high school basketball team. On a routine X-ray, I noticed an ominous appearing bone tumor. It had the characteristics and appearance of a bone cancer, visible on three separate views of her ankle. I explained to the parents that an MRI would be warranted and promptly set it up for the following week. She returned after being prayed for by her church community. A repeat X-Ray was performed prior to her MRI on the same X-Ray machine, and much to my surprise, no tumor was visible! I proceeded with the MRI due to the remote possibility that there was something occult in the bone, not visible on the second set of X-Rays.
I had the X-Rays reviewed by four separate physicians which all agreed there was a bone tumor. We then reviewed her second X-Ray and MRI scan and much to our pleasant surprise, revealed a tumor-free ankle. I then heard all of the medical and logical explanations frequently regurgitated by scientists and doctors. It was probably technician error, defects in the digital system, and even spontaneous remission. Doctors tend to compartmentalize things in logical boxes that can be explained scientifically. Miracles are not logical! I also know that many times God is not logical.
I truly believe that the tumor vanished because of the patient’s belief systems. She and her parents believed BEFORE the miracle, I believed afterwards. There is a quote that I remembered as a child which states that miracles happen in places and countries where miracles are believed in. The popular saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it” is more correctly rephrased, “I’ll see it when I believe it.”
Despite all of the odds and negativity associated with this ominous diagnosis, this young lady’s faith strengthened my own and reinforced the ideology that God still does miracles. In this crazy world, we must look for daily small miracles that are ever so hidden, but ever so present. Expect miracles and thank God for them. Keep smiling, He has overcome the world.