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A Medical Mysteries Interview with Dr. Clifton Meador

Dr. Clifton Meador

Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 9 of Clifton Meador’s Virtual Blog Tour.

Clifton’s book Fascinomas is celebrating its launch from February 17th to March 3rd, 2014.

Clifton K. Meador, MD has a gift for filtering through tales and ‘can you beat this one’ stories that are passed around doctors’ lounges and operating rooms, and for coming up with succinct but extremely entertaining stories.

A ‘fascinoma’, as Meador defines, is medical slang for an unusually interesting medical case. He has gleaned and collected and curated 35 such cases from his own experience and the experiences of colleagues who have given permission to re-tell their own blockbusters.

Each case is reads like a short story – the presentation of a strange set of symptoms, the initial response of the examining doctor(s), gradual revelation of further symptoms (sometimes via revealed secrets from the presenting patient), and the final diagnosis.

Clifton’s mantra is: “There is not a medical diagnosis or a defined disease behind every chronic symptom; but there is a demonstrable cause if you listen and search carefully.”

Yesterday, Clifton visited Kathi Casey’s Healthy Boomer Body blog, where she asked him how disease labels can often be harmful to the patient diagnosed.

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Clifton when I asked about how a diagnosis can sometimes keep one ‘stuck’, and the importance of keeping a journal. I hope you enjoy it!

***INTERVIEW***

SAM: I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and migraines.  I was always fearful of what was coming next. Today, I have none of those ailments, I’m a medical mystery. Coming out of meditation one day, I simply knew that “all is well.” That day, all fear dropped away and I followed my intuition in getting off all medicine and recovering the damage done to the body from the various ailments.

Did I cause my ailments? Then later did I “turn them off?”

CLIFTON: Sam, what a great story! This is a difficult subject because it generates so much misunderstanding. My psychiatrist friend, Dr William Mundy of Kansas City KS (check out my interviews with him on YouTube www.doctorswholisten.net) says, “what the mind cannot deal with is relegated to the body.”  That is a powerful statement. He also says, “what is mind caused can be mind cured.” Not knowing you I can only guess that your cure was a mind cure.
No one I know consciously causes disease but unconsciously they can. Mundy goes into much more detail in our interviews on YouTube.

One has to get beyond thinking he or she just made themselves sick or that they are just imagining they are sick. The sickness is very real and it can be mind caused.

SAM: When I was dealing with bipolar disorder my doctor had me fill out a journal that had 10 questions to gauge my well-being. I became obsessed with the book and it influenced how I moved through the world.  For example, if I answered that my energy and mood were poor, I had a terrible day.

Is there a benefit to keeping a dairy for our symptoms?

CLIFTON:  I think diary keeping is best used when someone has chronic recurring symptoms – symptoms in the body that come and go. In those cases, there is often a toxic personal relationship or a toxic physical substance producing the stress that is still out of conscious awareness. The diary method helps to bring the “cause” into full consciousness. Only then can it be addressed or eliminated.

SAM: After I healed, I saw how the labels of my diagnosis kept me stuck. I told myself “I’m bipolar – I’m supposed to act this way” or “I have MS, I supposed to be disabled!”

How can these labels cause us harm?

CLIFTON: That is really a good question. I made up a dictum that says, “There is not a medical diagnosis behind every symptom but there is a demonstrable cause if one looks carefully and long enough.” Labels, especially if they are wrong or inaccurate, completely remove the patient from an honest search for causes. With a label or diagnosis, they have a name for their condition. They can tell friends. They can read about it. They can believe they are stuck with the named condition. Michael Balint in Scotland said “once a doctor and a patient agree on a name for a chronic illness, that illness, present or not, becomes incurable.” I found that removal of a false diagnosis is very difficult in some patients.

*** END OF INTERVIEW***

I hope you enjoyed this brief interview with Dr. Clifton Meador Fascinomas – fascinating medical mysteries is Clifton’s 13th book on medical matters. The response to True Medical Detective Stories led him to collect and write the 35 cases in Fascinomas. In Fascinomas, all of the clinical facts are completely true – the story of the illness, all lab work, all imaging studies, and the physical exam findings. If you are intrigued by the curative power of listening and engaging the patient and the family in searching for clues, especially when the symptoms are chronic and recurring – pick up Fascinomas. You can find the book on Amazon at:

Amazon US – Paperback: http://amzn.to/19bWyIs

Amazon US – Kindle: http://amzn.to/1cTp6aY

Amazon UK – Paperback: http://amzn.to/198bXLO

Amazon UK – Kindle: http://amzn.to/1iaxFz1

Amazon Canada – Paperback: http://amzn.to/KwrqKK

Amazon Canada – Kindle: http://amzn.to/1cHpzbC

 

Thanks for reading! Please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback

Be sure to follow Clifton tomorrow when the next stop on his Virtual Blog Tour is Gerry Ellen Avery’s ‘Elephant Journal’ blog at http://elephantjournal.com/author/gerry-ellen-avery/, where she’ll be asking Clifton about “malingering” and the effect of placebos on illness.

All That Remains Is Love

For some, love becomes conditioned base. You first become attracted to someone based on a set of conditions: personality,  common interests,  financial success,  education,  physique, to name a few on a very long list.   They meet your conditions and you start a relationship.  In a relationship,   if your conditions continue to be met then love blossoms.

People fall out of love when these conditions are no longer met.  The mind is continuously adjusting these conditions for the ideal relationship.

The neighbor’s wife got a new job and their financial situation has improved. She begins to tell you all about the new job and how they will be able to live their dream –the ability to move to a bigger house with more land, the ability to pay for their children’s college expenses, two weeks in Paris.   Instantly, your mind wants that too.  Your ideal relationship just changed.  You now place more pressure on yourself and your spouse to acquire more money to meet your new ideals.

The mind is constantly in a state of comparison.  The mind is non-stop with opinions and judgment — it becomes impossible to be fully content.

Through a process of self-discovery, you see how thoughts create discontent.  Through self-discovery you become aware of your true nature that is beyond thoughts –this is awakening.   In most cases the awakening fluctuates – you are aware of your true nature, however the mind still has the ability to trap you with opinions, judgments and beliefs.   Through a mindfulness practice the awakening deepens.

Once you get beyond thoughts you find yourself in a permanent state of acceptance.    You accept each moment as it is.

In this state of acceptance you no longer believe the judgments and opinions, which are created from the mind.  You dismiss the mental noise coming from the mind.

Without the negative thoughts, how could you not love (accept) yourself?    This love transitions to a love of all beings.   You love all beings, as you love yourself.  You discover that thoughts create a false sense of separation.  Without thoughts you see how all beings are interconnected — there is a sense of oneness.

Beyond thoughts — all that remains is love.

 

Alone and Naked: Thoughts on the Impermanence of Stuff

legs_smallI stand alone and naked. Then I begin to wonder, What do I really own?  Do I really own anything?

When I gaze around the room I see all sorts of stuff — my neatly folded clothes, the wet shower curtain,   the wooden floor that I am standing on, the beige sink,  etc.  I would say that I own those things since I have purchased them. However, is that really true?

Then I look closer at all the stuff and release their impermanent nature. Even the Earth and Sun are impermanent. I realize that everything I can perceive with my eyes will not be here forever — stuff can last from a fraction of a second to billions of years.

Then I my thoughts drift to wonderment about why folks cling to their possessions. Some gain an identity because of the stuff they own. This identity gives them a sense of importance — I own this rare sports car therefore I am special. Some folks believe that owning stuff creates happiness. They fail to realize the impermanent nature of objects, and their happiness from ownership is fleeting. No matter where there look outside themselves, they will not find permanent happiness.

I then realize when I own something — I’m only borrowing it for this moment. All objects will return to its natural state as raw material –quantum particles.

Everything is made of the same quantum particles. The particles dance around to form specific atoms to give us the building blocks to create objects we can perceive.

I can only think of one thing that is impermanent — energy.

How can I make claim to energy disguised as some object, when at the core it is the same energy that is within me?

In the end, I realize that I don’t own anything.  Looking closer at myself, standing here, all alone and naked.   I realize that I am nothingness.

Everyday is Groundhog Day

“ D1 – Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cooooold out there today.

D2- It’s coooold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?

D1 – Not hardly. And you know, you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing.

D2 -That blizzard – thing. That blizzard – thing. Oh, well, here’s the report! The National Weather Service is calling for a “big blizzard thing!”

D1 -Yessss, they are. But you know, there’s another reason why today is especially exciting.

D2 – Especially cold!

D1 -Especially cold, okay, but the big question on everybody’s lips…

D2 – On their chapped lips…

D1 – Do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow?”

D2- Punxsutawney Phil!

D1 – That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers – it’s…

D1 & D2 – GROUNDHOG DAY!”

 

The above is from the movie Groundhog Day. It’s a classic movie that applies to everyone.

 

It’s about a reporter in Pittsburg, PA that travels to Punxsutawney, PA for Groundhog Day.   It is a big festival in this little town where a groundhog is supposed to predict whether winter is going to last 6 more weeks if he does see his shadow or if spring is going to come early if he does not see his shadow.

Today, he saw his shadow…at least that is what we are told.   I was there and it was raining,  so unsure about that translatation.

The reporter Phil is dreading the trip which will become the 4th year doing this report, and when he gets to the town he is miserable.  He is also a bit arrogant since he calls himself, “the talent.”  He doesn’t want to spend any more time than necessary.   When trying to leave town they discover that a blizzard has shut down the highway and they have to return to town.

He is even more miserable when he returns to town.    He goes to bed and wakes up to the same music and announcement as the day before on the radio.   He thinks they made a mistake – playing the same loop tape, then he looks outside and there is no snow – no blizzard has come.    He goes through the day thinking he is living with déjà vu — the feeling that he has done this before.

On the 3rd morning,   it is the same thing again.   He is MISERABLE.

He tells his producer.  “What if there is no tomorrow, there was none today.”   She tells him to go get checked out.   He sees a doctor who can find nothing physically wrong with him and tells him to see a psychologist — who doesn’t know how to handle him.

On the 4th day,   He states.  “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?”

“What if there is no tomorrow.”

“We could do whatever we wanted.  There are no consequences.”

“It’s the same thing your whole life.” Then he goes on a rant; “Clean up your room.  Stand up straight.  Be nice to your sister. “

This is a good example of people of being stuck in their story — that everything is the same.  The mind creates subconscious programs about everything it sees.  All the comments “clean up your room”, ”stand up straight”, ”be nice to your sister” – are programs. The mind creates programs to save time and energy.  Life becomes routine and boring – there is nothing new to the subconscious mind.

The way to break free from the programming is to make conscious choices and not allow the default subconscious program to run.  When you make conscious choices you are fully in this moment, when the subconscious is running the show your body is here but your mind is elsewhere.

Then for the next several days he does whatever he wants – he gets arrested,   robs an armed car.

He then gets bored of the same misery and tries to take his own life to no avail — he still wakes up the next day with the same radio announcement.  It’s still the same day over and over again.

He talks to his producer Rita that he is living the same day over and over again.

“I’m an immortal. “

“You’re not God. “

“How do you know that I’m not a God?  I know everything.”

He starts telling her information about everyone he sees and she is amazed.

She has some doubts and wants to spend the entire day with him.  As the night continues she falls asleep very early in the morning.  He starts to talk to her about how generous, kind and sweet she is, he has an “a-ha” moment – a realization.   Then next morning he is still stuck in the same day.   Now,   he wakes with a profound shift of consciousness.

The next day he gives an old homeless man that he has been ignoring some money, brings coffee and pastries to his cameraman and Rita.  He is operating from a place of love.   He has a new focus of kindness and getting to know everyone – making a connection.    He now knows that it’s not about him but being of service to others.  He saves a boy from a tree then later a man choking, he connects with people, he is very kind, and caring.  He has redeemed himself.

The next morning he states, “Today is tomorrow.”  He finds Rita next to him.

Everyday is Groundhog Day for most of us.  Different day still the same old stuff.  This is because of the story that we have about everything we see.   We cling to the story that keeps us trapped.   We have allowed our subconscious free reign, we stopped making conscious choices.   We have become a robot on autopilot.   We dwell in thoughts.

By making conscious choices we are free of the mental stories that keep us trapped — we are free from the demands of the mind.  We no longer suffer – thoughts cause suffering.  We are free to be a service to others,   help them to suffer less and become free themselves.  We no longer dwell in thoughts.