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    Editor's Note:
    The Jeff in "Jeff's Story" is one of WebMD's most trusted medical reporters; he is also the survivor of a life-threatening medical condition. Jeff Levine shares his amazing story, from the shocking diagnosis to an emotional recovery, in a special four-part series.

    Prescription for Recovery -- Love and Support [Part 4]

    "A faithful friend is the medicine of life."

    -- The Apocrypha

    It was a real-life medical nightmare. The wrong decision could cost me my life.

    DOCTORS OFTEN refer to the "placebo effect." No one is sure exactly what it is, but virtually everyone agrees it can be a powerful healer. The very idea that you're getting treatment, or that a caring person is trying to help, can speed recovery in special ways.

    Looking back now at my surgery, I am amazed at the technology that was able to locate the growth and the skill of the surgical team in removing it. Barring some sort of miracle, only medical science could have saved my life.

    But there are things that even the most expert surgeons cannot provide -- the love and support of family and friends. Such is the enormity of brain surgery -- with all its unknowns, to undergo it alone would be unbearable.

    In crisis, people's true nature is revealed, and many people walked the extra mile for me.