Posts Tagged ‘alternative medicine’

A Death in the Family

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

My brother Ben died last week. I miss him a lot and always will. He was a wonderful man, husband, brother, and human being. You can read more about him in the tribute on his Facebook page:

I’m writing about his death for two reasons. The first is because I am grieving and am trying to come to terms with and accept the reality that I will never see him again. And writing about it, my memories, and my brother’s (mostly) wonderful qualities, will help me heal.

The second reason I’m writing about Ben’s death is because I think it may have been preventable. And while nothing will bring him back, I want future possible deaths that can be prevented to be.

Here are a couple of my memories: Ben was five years younger than me, so he had five less years than I’ve had to learn the lessons life gives us. So it seems kind of ironic that I, as someone whose job and career is to give people ideas and suggestions to help them live better lives, would call him for help and advice. But I did, more times than I can count. And the counsel I received was always compassionate and wise.

One more thing I want to share about Ben is that he was a gifted french horn player. While I’ve heard him many times, one time that was especially memorable was last year when my girlfriend and I stopped by to visit on our way home from a trip out of state. We were treated to our own live performance, and I can truthfully say that what came out of Ben’s horn was richer and more heartfelt than anything I have heard from any other french horn player’s horn before or since.

I’m grateful for those and many more memories, but of course I wish Ben hadn’t died. I’ll probably never know for sure, but I think his death could have been prevented. I’ll describe how by sharing my own story.

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1996. When the treatments my doctor gave me didn’t help, I decided to learn as much as I could about my illness and all the standard and alternative treatments people were using to treat it. I made a vow to myself that I was going to do everything I could to get well, and do so for as long as necessary.

While doing my research, I was well aware that on the internet people can say anything – and some do. So I got corroboration before trying anything. I ended up trying many standard and alternative treatments, and even devised one of my own.

In effect, I became the head of my medical team of doctors and other practitioners. And after three years, my Crohn’s went into remission. With the exception of a few relapses (the last one was four years ago), it has stayed in remission without drugs ever since.

Ben didn’t do that. He got the best medical care he could for his atrial fibrillation and his lung disease, and followed his doctors orders religiously for years. His health would get better, but then get worse than it was before, but he continued to follow orders.

He also didn’t give his heart or his lungs – or himself – the kind of compassion I have written about in many of my posts. And he died, much too soon.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying you should disregard what your doctor says. He or she has studied and learned a lot about diagnosing and treating illnesses.

But doctors are human and they make mistakes, and in my experience they often ignore potentially helpful alternative treatments.

So what I am saying is do your own research, and ask questions about the treatments you’re given and also about alternative treatments you think may be helpful.

I don’t know if the holistic approach to treating illnesses and healing the body that I have briefly described here would have prevented my brother’s death. But I have seen far too many positive results for me not to strongly encourage others who are struggling with illnesses to try it themselves.


To learn about other effective ways to heal your pain, I invite you to sign up for my free E-Course: Learn How to Raise Your Energy – and Your Spirit – in Just 21 Days.

I don’t believe in the word “incurable”

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

I don’t believe in the word incurable. I’ve even blacked it out of my dictionary. I want those of us with chronic illnesses to stop using it – and I especially want doctors to stop using it.

A few years ago, I read an article in an ezine about chronic illnesses in which a woman with lupus told how she asked her doctor if her condition would ever get better. She wrote that his reply, given with a sad look, was, “No I’m sorry, it won’t.” I got upset when I read that. I wanted to chastise both of them: the doctor for saying that, and the woman for believing him.

What doctors actually mean when they say an illness is incurable is that they haven’t found a cure for it – yet. But medical science is continually making advances which result in new, better, and more effective treatments for many diseases (I’m a beneficiary of medical science’s advances because infliximab, a new drug that was approved in the late 1990s, gave me my life back).

A doctor who says that a disease is incurable or that the patient’s symptoms will never get better is completely ignoring the very real possibility of a medical breakthrough. Also, although most doctors are reluctant to admit it, many of them have seen or know of one or more cases where patient’s symptoms got better or completely disappeared for reasons they couldn’t explain.

So like I said, I don’t believe in the word incurable. Even when my illness was at its worst, and I was so weak that I passed out from the exertion of taking a shower, I didn’t give up–although there were definitely times when I felt like doing so. Instead I did lots of research, and vowed that I would keep investigating and trying different standard and alternative treatments until I regained my health, no matter how long it took.

I’ll close by saying there are always ways you can improve your health and your life when you have a chronic illness. I wish you well on your journey to live your best possible life.