In my view, the ideal physician is one who combines caring, compassion, empathy and introspection with hard core science. It is all too easy to become fascinated by the “mind over matter” paradigm and delude one’s self into thinking that a positive attitude will solve some very basic problem (like a mutation in DNA…). That said, I have little doubt that patients with a positive attitude generally enjoy their lives and whatever time they have left with friends and families more than those who become obsessed with one disease or another and launch on an endless search for an answer that probably doesn’t exist. My own experience with cancer in my parents, siblings and self has taught me that equanimity is one of the most essential characteristics of the cancer survivor. We all survive (with luck) various insults in our genomes or our environments for only so long, and then we move on. I will turn 65 this summer, and it is hard for me to internalize the reality that (again with luck) I may have only about 20 or so more years to enjoy this wonderful planet. Like everyone else, my mind tells me I will go on forever, but the harsh reality of 20 years is just plain difficult to internalize. Are you kidding me? 1992 seems like only yesterday!
Today I received an email from a colleague with a link to this website that is written by a psychologist. It seems to have lots of good resources, and I recommend it on your journey. Perhaps Dr. Pope will have helped winnow down the avalanche of information out there for you as well. Good luck!