I graduated from Washington Evening High School in May of 1967, and in July of 1967, I was in a Portland hospital, having been diagnosed with fatal kidney disease. One kidney was totally destroyed with nephritis, the other kidney was 50% destroyed in active nephritis.
And in 1967, this is a death sentence. We don’t have dialysis, we don’t have transplants, and every medical physician, doctor, specialist, surgeon all said the same thing: “The best we can do is maybe give you six months if we can get the blood toxin level in your body reduced enough to remove that surgery, then maybe you’ll have six months.”
And I was terrified.
And my belief system at that time was this was happening to me. I was being punished for being a bad girl, and I was being punished.
Well, the night before the surgery, a woman walked in my room at 10 o’clock at night who identified herself as a chaplain offering prayer for people who’re going to have surgeries the next day — did I want prayer?
And I’m thinking, you know, well, the God of my upbringing probably needed to have some anger management classes. But it’s the only God I knew at the time, and I said, “Well, maybe.”
And she pulled her hair next to my bed. She didn’t do anything that looked like prayer. She talked to me, and she asked me to tell her what had been going on in my life the last year or two, which I did, and when I was finished, she said, “Mary, everything’s created twice.”
“What do you mean?”
She said, “You know this. In fact, everybody knows it. Almost nobody knows the power of knowing this.” She said, “The bed you’re on, the nightgown you’re wearing, the sheet covering you, the walls, ceiling, floor, all the machinery you’re hooked up to first had to be a thought before it could be a thing. You know this.”
Then she said, “I hear how much you love your little boy, but I also hear how much you’ve been hating yourself. You feel like you shamed yourself, you shamed your school, you shamed your family. And now that you’re thinking how everything’s created twice, could you consider that there could be a correlation because, notice this Mary, if you think embarrassing thoughts, your cheeks get red; if you think scary enough thoughts, your heart beats faster. It doesn’t mean anything scary is going on; it doesn’t even mean anything embarrassing is going on; it means you think those thoughts, and your body responds. Could it be that if you think enough toxic thoughts about yourself, there could be a correlative, a toxicity, that goes on in your body that actually could threaten your life?”
Well, this was so beyond anything that I had any framework for at that point.
And she said, “Could you believe it’s possible that we could do a prayer or say words and this could completely be eliminated from you. And in fact, when they come to get you for surgery in the morning, they say, ‘Get up, go home. You’re fine.’ Could you believe that?”
And I told her the truth: “No.”
I didn’t believe that was going to happen for me. There was not one part of me that believed. I was way more belief in my pain at that point.
She said: “All right, if you can’t believe this, remember there’s an infinite number of possibilities. There has to be one where instead of — we do this prayer, we pull all the genesis of this dis-ease that’s going on in you and put it in the kidney that’s going to be removed. And when it’s removed, instead of you getting worse, you actually get better. Could you believe that’s possible?”
I didn’t know if it was possible, but I could tell she believed it was possible. And I believe it was the first time I ever chose to believe on the frequency of someone else’s belief, who was operating at a higher domain. I said, “Maybe it’s possible.”
Remember, this is before Sheldrake and David Bohm, and quantum field science, and all the things — at this point, there was no mind-body clinic at Harvard. I mean, this is all… in the last 40 years, so much has happened.
So she said, “All right, let’s work with that. One idea,” she says, “one part of you open to the idea; let’s work with that.”
She said some words. She gave me a prescriptive for how to use my thinking and my emotion, and then she left, and they did the surgery.
And about a week or two later, my numbers were stable — enough that they said, “You might have a bit more time. We’re going to let you go home.”
I went home to my parents’ house in an ambulance, where my son and my husband were staying. And I could hardly get my head off the pillow.
But subtly — I was in many times a week at first, and over time, less time as being checked, having my numbers checked. And subtly over time, my numbers not only stabilized, but improved.
And four or five months later, I’m sitting in a doctor’s office with a surgeon and a specialist and my regular GP, and they’re scratching their heads, saying, “We have no science for why your one kidney is not only getting better it seems to be functioning as a perfectly whole fine kidney. And we don’t have any science for this. We’re going to put medical anomaly on your chart. Whatever you’ve been doing, keep doing it.”