Dr Avi: Anita, love your work. I was there in Sydney, I think about two years ago, when you did your first public talk. And Wayne Dyer invited you on stage, and you launched your book. And that was the first time that I’d heard of Wayne Dyer as well. So you made a huge impression on me. I’m a medical doctor by background, and when I heard your story, I was like, this is something completely different here, and I’ve got to ask a lot more questions. And here I am interviewing you. It’s phenomenal and thank you so much for the work that you do.
Anita: Thank you.
Dr Avi: I have a big question. In terms of healthcare and healing, knowing what you know now, and you are in my position and talking to my medical peers and colleagues, who are obviously treating people with conventional medicines. And that’s the way they know how to treat people. But knowing what you know now, how would you use what you know to help them integrate your knowledge into the day-to-day care in hospitals or GPs, for example? And if that were to happen … this is a two-part question … If that were to happen, what would healthcare look like 10 years from now? Or 20 years from now.
Anita: Oh my gosh, that’s such a beautiful question. It is an amazingly beautiful question, because this is something that I have wished and hoped would happen, and I get the opportunity to answer it. What I would like healthcare workers to know is that people who get cancer don’t just get it randomly because some cell that wasn’t supposed to replicate, replicated.
Cancer is our own body attacking itself. Why is it doing it? People need to ask different questions. If someone comes in with cancer, the first thing that’s being done, is they’re being sat down and being told their options of chemotherapy and radiation.
If it were up to me, I would ask the person, have you got family? Have you got people that love you? Have you got people who care for you? Are you happy? Are you living a life of joy, a life of passion? Do you have a practice that uplifts you? All these kinds of questions. Did you go through any kind of crisis recently? Did you go through a divorce? Have your kids left you? All these things, I would ask them these first.
And even if they are at a late stage of cancer, where you feel they need intervention, I don’t want to get in the way of intervention if someone needs it, because sometimes taking away that intervention can make them even more fearful if they believe they need it. But all these other things have to be dealt with and addressed while they are having the treatment. And the other thing, I would completely do away with the word remission. That is such a dangerous word, because it keeps people in fear that within 5 years there is this huge possibility that they may get cancer again. That is such a redundant and useless word.
I tell people as soon as the cancer has left their body, and they’re told they’re cancer free, I tell them that you’re done with cancer. You’re done with it. Don’t even think about it. Remission is such a bad word in the medical dictionary. I would never use it. I never bought into it, never believed in it, but till today I’ve been cancer-free almost 8 years now.
And how I would see hospitals in the future, they wouldn’t be white. You wouldn’t have doctors wearing white coats. They would come in dressed friendly, funny. Doctors would have different bedside manners. You would have lots more entertainment, community, people coming together. You could bring your pets, your pet dog, your pet monkey, parakeet, whatever. I missed my dog so painfully when I was in hospital. For me, that was the big reason why I did not want to be treated in the hospital. I wanted to be treated at home, because for me my dog was therapy.
Hospitals would look completely different. I don’t know why hospitals actually make people more fearful and sicker. And they do the opposite of what we’re trying to do. Why is it that we have created so many things that do the opposite of what we’re trying to do?
Female 1: Anita, we need Patch Adams in every hospital everywhere around the world.
Anita: Yes, we need that. I love Patch Adams.
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Dr Avi specialises in insights and strategies to improve patient and customer experience.
Contact: +61 2 8091 0918