Props to Riley on this one. I haven’t finished the book yet, but I made my way through half of it in about two days. It was that good. (Plus, I had a couple extra long trips on the commuter rail last week). What you should know right off the bat: “Love Medicine and Miracles” by Dr. Bernie Siegal has a become a bible to many men and women diagnosed with cancer. But I don’t have cancer, and let me tell you it’s still incredibly fascinating for a number of other reasons.

When my mom was diagnosed with cancer she was particularly interested in Dr. Siegel and even went to see him speak. Why? Something in his book really hit home. Dr Siegel suggested… stop and think about what was happening in your life two years before you were diagnosed with cancer. Odds are there was a clear emotional trigger. Two years earlier, my little brother was wildly ill. Doctors were saying he had cancer, and worse, they were saying they simply had no idea what was wrong. It was painful, dramatic and a huge strain on my family (turns out he had a knot in his small intestine).

If you’re interested in the mind-body connection, or know anyone who might be fighting cancer or a daunting health issue this book is a fantastic read. Even though my stomach issues are seemingly totally unrelated, this book really opened my eyes to how much our body reacts to what we believe.

We can heal our bodies by focusing on exercise, laughter, play, meditation and guided imagery. We can heal ourselves by letting go of broken relationships, guilt and remorse over the past. And most importantly, if you believe that you are sick– you always will be. If you believe you are a survivor, you will be one. But it takes a lot of courage some days to keep on fighting.

I particularly liked this poem “Repairs”written by one of Bernie Siegel’s patients

“We could justify the need for love, or crack open the eye of a tulip.

Who cares? We try to stretch our bodies to catch the rain

Or fallout or darkness, anything that falls from outer space

But instead, I hear the surgeon singing “Desert Song.”

And I feel his gentle tugs and pulls as though it were my father

Caning chairs or my mother sewing pockets in my wedding dress”