EP8: Mindset Elevates Medicine. An Interview with Bernie S. Siegel, MD

Skeptical about this mindset shit? In this special XL episode, world renowned physician, Bernie Siegel, MD, will share how women can empower themselves on the fertility journey by taking control of what they think and believe. You will be blown away by how powerful your mind can be in helping YOU beat the odds. If you could use a dose of inspiration, backed by science, don’t miss this!

Hey gorgeous, if you want success on your fertility journey, you’ve got to have the mindset for it. It’s time to kick fear, negativity, doubt, shame, jealousy, and the whole clown car of low vibe fertility journey BS to the curb. I’m your host, Roseanne Austin, Fertility Mindset Master. Former prosecutor and recovering type A control freak perfectionist, I use the power of mindset to get pregnant naturally and have my baby boy at 43, despite years of fertility treatment failure.

I hope women across the globe beat the odds on their fertility journey, just like I did. Get ready for a quick hit of confidence, joy, feminine badassery, and loads of hell yes for your fertility journey. It’s time to get fearless, baby, fearlessly fertile. Let’s do this. Hey love. Welcome to the Fearlessly Fertile podcast, episode eight.

And this is a very special extra large episode. And I am so excited to be sharing this with you because I am sharing a very special interview I did with a man that has absolutely changed the lives of people all over the world who are very focused on healing themselves, and it’s Dr. Bernie Siegel. He has practiced general and pediatric surgery in New Haven, Connecticut.

until he retired in 1989. In 1978 he began talking about patient empowerment and the choice to live fully. He founded the Exceptional Cancer Patients group based on carefrontation, a loving and therapeutic confrontation that facilitates personal change, empowerment, and healing. The resulting physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits led to Bernie’s desire to make everyone aware of his or her healing potential.

As a physician who has cared for and counseled innumerable patients, Bernie embraces the philosophy that is at the forefront of a society grappling with medical ethics and spiritual issues. His books, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, published in 1986, and Peace, Love, and Healing, later in 1989, amongst so many others, have broken new ground in the field of healing.

And he is so special, and I know his words of wisdom can illuminate your fertility journey. Here’s my conversation, loves, with the amazing Dr. Bernie Siegel. Well, I am so excited and happy to be doing an interview with Dr. Bernie Siegel, the author of Love, Medicine, and Miracles. And I’m just so delighted to have you here, Bernie, and to welcome you and, and really have the opportunity to speak to women who are struggling with fertility and, and give them a completely different sense of empowerment.

Because I have to tell you, on my own fertility journey, Getting my hands on your book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, uh, was profound. It, it was one of the key reasons why I was able to turn things around on my own journey and empower myself. And I love your message of hope and your message of empowerment and really helping people to see that they absolutely have a hand in their own health and their own destiny in their lives.

So, welcome. Okay, you know, a simple message so they all know, Monday morning we have more heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and illnesses, so you see how feelings affect our health, what happens on Monday morning, and those are things that people need to understand and look at, you know, you change your life, you change your health, and You know, my problem is I never stop talking because so much floods my head, all my experiences.

But let me just put it this way so people understand. Act and behave as if you’re the person you want to be. Why do I say that? Because when you give actors a script, if it’s a comedy, immune function goes up, stress hormone levels go down. If it’s a tragedy, the opposite happens. And they’re only acting.

And it’s changing their body. So, you know, if you’re planning to become pregnant, yeah, then picture yourself becoming pregnant and not having any trouble. You know, then your body expects it to happen. And I mean that literally. So I do the same kind of thing, preparing people for surgery, treatment of their cancer.

If they visualize it as successful without side effect, then their body doesn’t know they were visualizing. It thinks it was really happening. So when you go to have things done, you do fine, because your body expects to not have any problems. But when the devil’s giving you poison, as one woman drew, you’re in for a lot of trouble.

So, change the image, change your picture, and you change your body. Oh, that’s so, that is so true. It’s in, in a way, what you’re saying is to expect to expect in a sense, to expect that of yourself. And, you know, I think that’s such a, I get that concept and, and I so am happy for that concept because it changed everything about the way, not only I live my life, but ultimately what I teach, but that’s a very difficult thing to get across when we have drummed into us that medicine alone is the only answer.

Yes. You as a professional and teaching this for, for some time now, you know, how do you introduce the subject of the mind body connection to patients that are perhaps a little bit skeptical? The truth is, the most significant thing are stories, because nobody can deny a story. It’s true. I talk about patients.

See, I don’t say, if you took a hundred people, yeah, I might say, a hundred cancer patients who laughed three or four times a day, uh, lived longer than the ones who didn’t, okay? You have a study. But you see a doctor can argue with me. Well, the control group was a poor group. It wasn’t well defined, but they don’t want to believe something.

But if I tell them a story, nobody’s threatened. Well, that’s an anecdote. That’s a story. Yep, but everybody has stories. So the stories can open your mind. And then the next thing I know, the people who were doubting come to me and say, hey, I got a story for you. And then the walls come down and they begin to listen.

I mean, I’ve had doctors who literally thought I was nuts. See, what I’m teaching patients. Until they or their loved ones develop cancer. Then they write a book apologizing to me. I mean this literally. You know, I want to apologize to Dr. Siegel. He’s such an enormous help now in all his work. Why? Because now they’re living the experience, you see.

So, it’s not about statistics. It’s about what is happening. And if I can tell you two stories about people in my life that were having difficulties. One was a nurse in our office who was trying desperately to have a child and nothing was happening. So, I said to her one day. Look, visualize it happening, so that when you have intercourse with your husband, you expect it to be successful, and you’re picturing having a child.

I mean, stop all the anxiety and tension, and, you know, that it’s work, and we’ve got to try, and, and, because that’s affecting you and your body. And it’s ability to become pregnant. Well, within two weeks, she came in smiling, said, It worked. I’m pregnant. Another was, which impressed me even more, was a woman who had been in our cancer support group.

And she was doing well. And one day, the phone rings. She says, Bernie, I’m having a miscarriage. I’m in the hospital. Can you stop by to help me? You know, to relax and to accept it. So I went to the hospital. When I walked in the room, it felt so horrible. It was like being in hell. The doctors, the nurses, her family, everybody was there for the worst.

What’s going to happen? I yelled at them. I couldn’t help it. I yelled, get out of here! And they looked at me like, who the hell are you? I said, just get out of here. And when they got out, I said to her, look, you’ve got to change, you know, the negative stuff. I mean, I could feel it in the room. So we’ll do a meditation and a guided imagery.

And I Did the meditation, the imagery, to communicate with her uterus, calm it down, tell it to relax, stop the labor, and it stopped. A few months later, I get a phone call, Bernie, I just gave birth to a boy today, we named him after you, but we’re Irish, so his name is Brady. And, um, again, you see, she communicated with her body, And stopped the labor.

You know, those are the kinds of things people need to understand we’re capable of. Now again, some people are afraid, see? But what if it hadn’t stopped? Then I’m a failure, and she failed? No, that’s not the point. Take the challenge. Give it a try. What do you got to lose? You know? Well, I’ll be a failure. See, so many people grow up with negative messages.

I mean, I keep quoting this one lady. My mother’s words were eating away at me and gave me cancer. She dressed me in dark clothes, told me I was a failure, embarrassed her. She didn’t want anybody to notice me. Well, that lady had to get a life threatening illness to start living, and she’s alive today going out and buying a red dress and red high heeled shoes, which when I met her, I couldn’t understand why she was dressed like that and why her husband let her out of the house.

I mean, she was so bright, I was getting a headache, you know, but when she handed me the letter explaining her life, uh, she became a buddy, you know, my best friend. And, uh, I can always count on her to be dressed in red if I give a lecture in her neighborhood. I ask her to stand up and there she is. And, again, but she reclaimed her life.

And it’s not different if it’s a disease, you know, or pregnancy. Look at your life. Well, let me do it in several ways. When people are having a problem, I say to them, how would you describe the difficulty? Now, if you said, I have a headache and it feels like pressure, okay, what’s the pressure in your life?

In her case, it was a marriage. So instead of getting admitted to the hospital with severe pain, she went home to straighten out her marriage. The pain was gone. See? Somebody else says, well, cancer’s a failure. My body failed. No, what about your life? Oh, my parents committed suicide when I was a child. That must have been a failure as a child.

So if somebody’s having trouble becoming pregnant, okay, what is the problem? What are you going through? How would you describe what it feels like to have this trouble? And the words that pop out, if they’re negative, then my next statement is, what else in your life fits that word that you need to eliminate?

So, if people said, you know, wearing me out, uh, draining, roadblock. Okay, what else in your life fits that? Now, if they said, it’s been a wake up call in the new beginning, you know, because they’re really trying to change it, I’d say, fine. Then you’re on the way to healing and having it happen. But the negative stuff.

I mean, some people, their eyes pop open because they know what’s in their life without even telling me that they pop their eyes open, say, Oh, my God, thank you. And they get up and go home because they know what to change and what, how to heal their lives. And I say, no matter what your problem is, always think about that.

How would I describe this to people? Because I help myself with that too. If I have certain symptoms or an illness, I say, okay, what’s it trying to do? It might be saying, we need you to rest and lie down. You’re doing too much. Okay. You know, I don’t need to be sick to do that. Thank you. And to use it in a way that helps you.

I also have to add, you know, so my body and my wife, her remarkable sense of humor. Because we had three boys, and I told her I wanted a daughter, you know, to take care of us when we got old. And after asking her many times, she said, all right, I’ll try again. In those days, we didn’t have, you know, all the ultrasounds and stuff, so shortly before she was to deliver, they took an x ray, because the obstetrician said, you’re going to have twins.

And he took the film, and it verified it. And my wife said to me, if it’s two more boys, I’m not coming home from the hospital. That, you know, her sense of humor. And thank God, the first one out was a girl. Yeah, you know, I really, I think what you were just saying is so fantastic earlier, was this whole, you know, and this goes to like the four questions in your book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles, that you ask your patients.

And the question that really blew me away was, What did you need? Uh, you know, what did you need to learn from this illness? Or what is the illness teaching you? And it’s such a, I love it because it’s such a revolutionary way of looking at something that we’re conditioned to see as bad. Yeah, well, you see, again, that’s the problem with people.

If you haven’t been parented properly, you grow up with guilt, shame, and blame, and you get a gun and go kill people in revenge. I’m not kidding when I say that. All these murders are due to the children who felt rejected and want revenge. But when you’re willing to say, what can I learn from this? It’s not about being a failure.

See, when I send out a hundred letters to people with cancer, Saying you want to live a longer, better life. Or if I sent a hundred letters to women, who are having trouble becoming pregnant, said, hey, I can help you, come on. Twelve women showed up for the cancer group. I expected two hundred people to come, because they’re going to bring friends and relatives, you know, who have troubles.

And, and these were to patients from my office. Okay, these are not strangers. Let me help you live a longer, better life. What the hell are you not coming for? Oh, well, if I have to read a book, if I have to draw a picture, if I have to talk about my feelings, uh, what if I don’t get better? Then I’m a failure again.

You know, like I quoted that lady. My mother’s words were eating away at me. So, again, that’s the biggest problem. Getting people to participate and say, look, there is hope, this is not statistical, you know, why not give it a try, what do you have to lose, but when they have no self esteem and self worth, it’s, oh, there’s one more thing that’ll prove I’m no good, you know, you said you’re a lawyer, let me mention something.

Because I often quote, saying, being a lawyer is a serious illness. It is. Lawyers, look at me. Because lawyers are trained to think, not feel. See? And this one lawyer sent me an article he put in the Law Review. He said, in the midst of a tragedy, I was thinking of what to do. Things like, where do I put people’s cars?

You know, somebody rushes to the emergency room, and all these things are left. Uh, sitting around. Where do I put this? Do I take it to his house? And then he said, I realized, dumbbell, stop this. Go to the emergency room and help them. Be there for them. Support them. Because, this is his quote, while learning to think, I almost forgot how to feel.

And two of our sons went to law school and um, It’s interesting because I think they went to law school instead of medical school because they saw my emotions and pain not being trained properly as a doctor, you know, to deal with people and all the things I couldn’t cure. But I used to go. You know, to their classes to speak to the students and say, pay attention to your feelings.

Remember, you’re taking care of people. Absolutely, you know, and that, that really cuts to the core, I think, because when I look back at the way I was living when I was struggling, it’s no surprise to me that my husband and I were not conceiving. You know, I just carried so much disbelief in myself and so much negative programming that, you know, before I even started, I was telling myself I was too old.

You know, I was, I was buying all of these statistics and getting beaten down about my age when by all accounts, there was nothing wrong with me. What you remind me of, this was chemotherapy, but I want to use this for people who are pregnant too. That, it’s called deceiving people into health. If you go to my website, berniesiegelmd.

com, you can read it. Now what do I mean by deceiving people into health? I lied to people all the time for their benefit. You come in and you say, I’m having trouble conceiving. Oh, you’re so lucky to come today. I just got a new drug from a new study. It has had an amazing effect on pregnancy. Here, and I send you home with it.

Are you more likely to get pregnant? You’re damn right. Because now you’re full of hope. Well, this doctor was giving four drugs as part of a study that began with the letters E, P, O, and H. He realized, hey, turn it around, it’s hope. So he started giving hope, you know, that was what the protocol was called, the hope protocol for him.

Everybody else was giving the EPO protocol. He had more patients respond to the chemotherapy protocol than all the other doctors. You know, statistically, the number of patients in his group. So again, whether you’re going to an obstetrician, or a surgeon, or a cardiologist, if they give you hope, they will change the outcome.

I did a lot of children’s surgery and The kids had faith in me. See, I’m their doctor, their surgeon. So I lied to them all the time, and they did beautifully. And I told their parents also. See, if I took a vitamin pill and put on it, you know, pregnancy inducing medication, more people would benefit from it, and all they’re getting is a vitamin.

Now, it could say nausea, headaches. You know, it could be the side effects of pregnancy, and I’d say, here, take this, it’ll cure that. And you take a vitamin pill, and you say, Oh, good. That feels much better. Why? Because you’re hypnotized into the belief. If you said, I can’t have a child, so my life is meaningless, you’re less likely to become pregnant than you said, Hey, I’m here to have a kid and I’m not going to stop trying.

You know, I have faith. I’m working with God. Yeah. You know, whatever it is, faith can calm people and have a lot of things happen. So when you believe. You change yourself. Absolutely, I mean that’s great. And there are no coincidences, is a way I love putting it. Because your consciousness affects the future.

So, remember there are no coincidences. Well, I always keep saying, I don’t know why Jesus wasn’t criticized by people. Because he said, It is done unto you as you believe. Now, was he blaming people? No. And I was saying the same thing to people, you know, if you have no hope, hey, what’s going to happen? And, and doctors would criticize me and say, you’re blaming your patients, you’re asking them what’s happening in their life, you’re giving them false hope, oh, that used to drive me nuts.

Oh, I bet. I’d say, hey, you know, if you buy a lottery ticket, you could win. It isn’t false hope, it’s, you know, it’s a statistical chance. But people do win. And the same with diseases. You could say 5 percent of the people survive. Okay. Then there’s a chance. Let’s try. But when you take hope away And doctors can do that, you know, with their words.

There’s no hope. I doubt that you’re going to survive. I don’t think you can become pregnant at your age or your this or your that. Get rid of the fear. Oh, I’m just reminded of a 98 year old I asked to become a therapist in our group. She said, what are you talking about? I said, you’re 98 years old, so you’ve been through everything.

So why don’t you come, and if somebody’s worried, you can say, oh, I’ve got through that. And one day, the room was full of panic. And I said to her, what are you afraid of? And she sat there for five minutes without answering. And then suddenly she lit up. I remember, I know, I said, what is it? Driving on the parkway at night.

And then the whole room burst out laughing, you know? I mean, because if the only thing she’s afraid of is driving on the parkway at night, then why don’t you lighten up and go home and know you can get through it the way she has. And I say to people. Absolutely. And, and to love yourself. When you look in the mirror, don’t be upset with yourself.

No, you’re a terrible body. You’re not becoming pregnant. You’re disappointing me. It’s horrible. No, look in the mirror and say, I love you. I love my uterus. I know it’s going to give me a baby. Because I’ve had people whose diseases have disappeared when they sat naked in front of a mirror, because they didn’t want to die, as one woman said, hating my body.

So she said, I sat naked in front of the mirror to tell it I love it. And she went inch by inch. I mean, she’d love a knee. You know what I mean? Her ankle, I mean, it was amazing what she did and her disease disappeared and she didn’t die. So again, I’d say to people, look at your body, look at your tummy and say, I love you.

I love what’s in there. You’re going to create new life and amazing things can happen. Yeah, it’s so beautiful. And, and, you know, essentially what your, you know, your message is, is such. A place of empowerment because it’s it’s having patients and people be part of the equation themselves as opposed to just putting all the responsibility on medicine.

It’s really. Us taking responsibility for creating the results that we want and I mean, I, I, I think it’s brilliant and I, I see it every single day. I mean, I have clients on six or seven continents and I see these women applying these principles and it’s incredible. But you see, when I talk about self induced healing, you know, or deceiving people into health, that’s what I’m talking about.

Their beliefs, the transformation. I mean, that term, self induced healing, did not come from a doctor, it came from Solzhenitsyn’s book, Cancer Ward. See, doctors are not as much help, because they talk about spontaneous remissions. You can’t become pregnant, and suddenly you do. And they didn’t expect you to, so it’s like, oh, that was wonderful.

A spontaneous, you know, uh, event occurred. They don’t say to you, hey, how come you became pregnant when I didn’t expect you to? How come your disease went away and I didn’t expect it to? And it’s the symbol in Solzhenitsyn’s book, Cancer Ward, is a rainbow colored butterfly. Now that’s not just about cancer, it’s about your life.

The rainbow is harmony, order. What’s a butterfly? It breaks out of the cocoon and changes. And becomes a beautiful rainbow colored butterfly. So the butterfly is a symbol of transformation from the caterpillar to the butterfly. You change your life and you create harmony and then wonderful things happen.

One of the things I hear from women consistently is a sense of helplessness. And in your book, you were talking about how The stress of helplessness is worse than the stressor itself. So again, if you fear not having a pregnancy, it’s more likely to happen. But when somebody helps you relax and laugh, you see, then it’s more likely for you to become pregnant than to not have it happen.

Right, it’s funny how we feed the thing that we don’t want, right? It’s like where your focus goes, your energy flows, and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, and I mean, It’s not about statistics. Know that there is hope. There is a chance to give it a try. You know, rather than say, what if it doesn’t happen, it’s another thing that I failed, you know, it’s the message I’ve gotten, just the disease is a loss of health, the inability to have a child is a loss of something, but you can look for help to find what you’ve lost, see?

So if you lost the ability to become pregnant, then look for that ability to be returned to you. Now, that could be from doctors, therapists, hypnotists, all kinds of things, nutrition, um, you know, changing your life, uh, emotional help, but again, see your problem as something you’ve lost that you can now get help finding.

That is something taken away from you. Yeah, right. No, that’s a complete redirection. And, and just knowing that, you know, sometimes these things are happening and well, not just sometimes, I mean, I’ve come to believe after working with women all over the world, these things happen for us, if you’re willing to see it that way.

You know, these things that may at first seem really horrific are, you know, it’s, it’s happening for us and everything changes if you’re willing to see it that way. Charcoal becomes a diamond under pressure. Again, at workshop, I hold up a piece of paper with a black circle on it, you know, maybe like a two inch black circle on a big piece of paper.

I say, what do you see? Now, some people yell black dots. Almost everybody in New York yells a black dot. Other people say, there’s a piece of paper in your hand with a black dot on it. Yeah, I said, that’s right. But if all you see in your life is the black dot, what’s going to happen to your life? When you realize this is only a part of my life.

And for women to see the problem as a labor pain. You know, what do I have to do to deliver and make this pain meaningful and worthwhile? That is so beautiful, Bernie. Thank you so much for sharing that because I mean, that’s something I tell my clients all the time. It’s like, God’s timing was so perfect because the woman I had to become, um, was part of this process.

The labor pains, as you would put it, was this woman that I was becoming was the woman I needed to be to have this miracle boy. And, you know, I don’t regret any of the pain that I went through because it, it literally changed my life and it helped, it’s helping me help other women. Change their lives. So, I mean, what you’re sharing is, is so perfect.

It’s so, it’s so spot on. And, and I am certain it’s going to inspire, uh, the women listening to this. And I’m just so grateful. If there’s inspiration in them, they’ll be inspired. If they respond to this by saying, That was such an inspiring program. Oh, that’s wonderful. Fine. There’s inspiration in them. But if they say, Oh, yeah, he keeps repeating the same thing all the time.

I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. They, see, I’m the coach. They’re not showing up for practice. You know what I mean? So, it doesn’t matter what we tell them, if that’s their reaction. And it’s sad. And I gotta tell you, miracles do happen. I mean, I don’t know if I mentioned this earlier, but cancer patients who laugh for no apparent reason.

This was, they were told to do as part of a study. Laugh every three hours for no reason. They had a better survival rate at the end of several years as the control group who weren’t told to laugh for no reason. So, yeah. Wow. You want to make it more likely? Laugh every few hours for no reason. Every morning think of what am I grateful for?

See, not, Oh, I wonder if it’ll happen today. I wonder if I’ll become pregnant. I wonder. No, be grateful. Look what you’re focusing on. Not, What do I have to fix today? What’s wrong in the house? Where do I have to go? You know, do I have the time? Oh, I have all those interviews. Oh, that’s so true. Well, Bernie, you are such a blessing and thank you so much for sharing.

Showing these women that somebody with MD after their name can think differently and, and can absolutely see the power that they have within them. And you’re such an inspiration. And I can’t even begin to thank you enough for what you did in my life. And for undoubtedly what you’re going to do in the lives of these women.

Look, I call them life coaches. They look for coaches. If you have the talent, if you show up for practice, things will happen. You know, I say Monday morning we have more heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and illnesses. So do you have meaning in your life? Are you able to ask friends and family for help? Are you able to say no, and nurses have a big problem with this, no to things you do not want to do when a friend or a family member asks you?

Because if you’re doing what you don’t want to do, you’re changing your life. Do you have some play in your life? Um, do you make decisions about treatments? And, uh, it just, you know, goes on and on, as I say. So act like a survivor. Act and behave like a survivor. And you’re more likely to then be one, or become pregnant, and so forth and so on.

And pay attention to those things. And two, you know, in medicine, unfortunately, we break people up into heads and bodies. So, I have sent articles to medical journals that get rejected, even though it’s interesting. And the psychiatry journal said, yes, we’re rejecting it because we know all this. So it’s not interesting.

That’s the problem. So, unify yourself. Put the head and the body together and make sure your doctors, the MD, isn’t medical deity. It’s not that they’re your God, but that they pay attention to you as a complete, Person and yeah, the important part. All right. Yes. That’s so awesome. Thank you so much Bernie It was so amazing to be with you.

Thank you for all of your wisdom and everything you’ve shared and I’m so grateful Thank you loves. I hope you enjoyed this extra large episode of the fearlessly fertile podcast really take a moment to think about Bernie’s words And the wisdom he shares. And don’t you dare fucking forget that the desire in your heart to be a mom, it’s there because it was meant for you.

Change your mindset. Change your results. Love this episode of The Fearlessly Fertile Podcast. Subscribe now and leave an awesome review. Remember the desire in your heart to be a mom is there because it was meant for you. When it comes to your dreams, keep saying hell yes.

Rosanne offers a variety of programs to help you on your fertility journey — from Self-study, to Live, to Private Coaching.