Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Healer, Heal Me

Hubster and I belong to a large corporate HMO provided through his place of employment. We have benefited from it greatly. Both he and I have seen the inside of the ER, logged up plenty of doctor visits for various illnesses and injuries and taken advantage of their pharmacy and radiology departments. So in no way do I wish ill will or mass destruction on the institution. They have served us well.
But... when I received my cancer diagnosis, I knew I had to be well informed about treatments and procedures. This was a major life changing decision I would make - one that would impact not only me but my circle of family and friends. I needed to explore all my options.
After the conventional medicine follow-up tests, I was immediately placed in the cue for appointments with a surgeon and oncologist and offered a visit to a radiologist. I turned that one down. I was getting overwhelmed.
Conventional medicine offers the trinity of treatment for cancer - chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Sad to say, it is also known as cut, poison and burn.
Each doctor presents their method of treatment much like one would sell you a time share. You go in their office, and after the prescribed welcome hand shake, they sit you down, tell you that you need their services and if you don't take advantage of their offer within 24 hours, your window of opportunity will be gone - oh and so will you...
Doctor Surgeon told me I had stage 3 cancer, needed surgery and gave me the colorful pleasant pamphlet showing the different methods of cutting out your colon, depending on where the cancer is located. The pictures showed happy, smiling doctors with happy, smiling patients before and after the procedure - oh, they were all artist rendered pictures - and gave a brief description of what would take place. Reminded me of the pamphlets you get when you buy into the new housing subdivision, shiny  new houses with shiny new lawns and pretty flowers. What they don't show you is how your subdivision is really going to look like when they are behind schedule and you still only have a foundation sunk in mud two months after you were scheduled to move in.
My picture showed a happy lady looking at her colostomy bag like it was a tattoo. Neat and easy.
I figured by the steady, controlled look on Doctor Surgeon's face that she was familiar with doing the surgery, but not so much the aftermath of what her patients went through after the deed was done.
After her pitch, I kindly let her know that I was contemplating a naturopathic approach, gave her my research findings and assured her that I was under the care of a licensed educated naturopathic doctor and not doing the witch doctor approach with bones and eyes of newt. Her eyes took on a glazed and guarded look, let me know that there was no founded studies "out there" that supported naturopathic cancer treatments, told me that she could not accept my decision and sent me on my way with a pronouncement that I'd probably be back like the others too sick for her to save.
My next appointment was with the oncologist. He was an older, serious man who cut to the chase, told me  he'd read Dr. Surgeon's report and knew of my "alternative treatment plan". He offered me his treatment - 5-FU chemotherapy along with radiation at the same time. He told me that there would be side effects - hair loss, nausea, diarrhea, severe anemia, low immunity to other illnesses, and although they don't know why, my hands and feet would turn red and blister. Oh, and the radiation? Just imagine an enema with acid... need I say more? He sent me on my way with a little more compassion. He let me know he could not agree with my alternative approach, but wished me well and would support my decision - because it was my decision.
So, I came away thinking - I have a better chance of dying from the treatments rather than the cancer.
Next: Healer, Heal Me - Part 2

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