Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A story about cancer

I want to tell you a story.

A man I know went -- at his wife's insistence -- for a routine physical. At the exam, blood work was done, and the the doc was concerned because the man's PSA ("prostate specific antigen" -- a test for indications of prostate cancer) was elevated. Further testing was done, and a diagnosis of prostate cancer was made.

Conventional treatment began, and there were complications: nausea, confusion, bone weakness, and excruciating pain. The man died a little over 2 years ago, in 2003.

This man was my dad. And his suffering is an example of why I write this blog.

I'm a nurse (RN). And while most nurses are firm believers in conventional medicine, I am not. My parents disagreed with me, and my dad's treatment was conventional. And from that perspective, it was certainly adequate.

The problem is that it didn't do him any good.

Maybe you are like my parents. Maybe you feel that conventional, western medicine does a world of good. In which case, you probably won't be too happy with what I say on here.

While our system of medicine can do wonders in an emergency (if you're involved in an auto accident, it's amazing what a good trauma staff can do for you), western medicine is less sterling for most routine care. It's especially inadequate for long-term illnesses, such as cancers, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

But there are alternatives. Some of them are good, and some are less good. But one of the signs of an open mind is a willingness to consider various alternatives when one is not working. So that's what I try to do here: point you to alternatives.

It's ultimately a call you will have to make whether you want to use any of these alternatives. But I will point them out.


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