Daily Archives: October 21, 2011

Modern vs. Natural

I have to admit, yesterday’s post about my new drug schedule was actually a bit of a lead up to this one. I haven’t spoken too candidly yet about my decision to take the drugs I am on, and I decided now would be as good a time as ever to address it.

There is a world of information out there about ways to treat cancer, and the world seems to be divided into two camps: those who treat it with “modern” drugs and those who treat it through a more “natural” approach.

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 Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with any form of illness can surely relate to the amount of information available in both areas. On one hand, our doctors tell us to try certain kinds of treatments, on the other hand there are books upon books out there saying that modern medicine ignores treatments that have been used for centuries.

When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, the green tea started flowing. A lot of people said I needed to get a juicer immediately, eat more “sea vegetables,” and start taking supplements.

I think a lot of this is inspired by what we see in the media. It’s in documentaries like Crazy Sexy Cancer, where a woman with a slow-growing incurable cancer virtually stops the growth of the disease through lifestyle and diet. We often hear more about the miracles on TV than we do about the everyday treatments.

What some people miss however, is that there is a big, BIG difference between someone like me and someone like Kris Carr. Her cancer is “incurable” and mine is “curable.”

Hodgkin’s disease is one of the first types of cancer they tested chemotherapy on decades ago. It is one of the most responsive types of cancer through chemo, and one that actually goes away with modern treatment. A significant number of people diagnosed with Hodgkin’s in their 20s live into their old age because of aggressive chemotherapies, despite the treatment poisoning the body in the process. This book was invaluable for educating me on chemotherapy and its purpose.

I read articles in the New York Times and LA Times yesterday about how Steve Jobs put off surgery for nine months after his pancreatic cancer diagnosis in lieu of “Eastern therapies.” At the time of diagnosis, he too had a possibly curable disease, and putting off surgery and chemo may have changed that. Reading this made me angry. When a doctor presents you with something that will save your life, no matter how harsh, how can you look the other way? How is your life not valuable enough?

My point, is that given the choice, I will always choose the treatment that is proven to work best. I was lucky to get a common cancer with a well-known treatment. There really was no debate or need for a bunch of extra opinions because my diagnosis and treatment is so cut and dry.

For now, my focus is on taking my chemo drugs and hoping they work their magic. My oncologist says I will always have a little piece of cancer sitting on top of my heart, so I imagine I’ll invest in that juicer just yet. Because when the chemo is done and I’m left with a poisoned body, I will continue to do what’s proven best to halt further cancer growth and make my body healthy again. I’ll just make sure to do it on the advice of my doctor first.

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