Moving from Orthodox Medical Treatment to “Alternative” Treatment
Some preliminary thoughts…
To “acclaim” means to praise a truth; to “disclaim” mean to say “it’s not true.” Let me start with one acclaimer and two disclaimers. The acclaimer is this: my God has promised in His Word that if any of us (who are following Him) ask for wisdom, then He will give it to us (James 1:5). We are trusting that He has led us in this way of thinking, because we have asked Him for wisdom, and we trust His promises. Somewhat adjoined to this thought is that great verse in Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith, it is impossible to please God….for the person who comes to God must believe 1) that He exists (i.e., He’s not just a “higher power” or “the man upstairs” or some distance cosmic entity), and 2) that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (i.e., He’s a responder; He hears and answers; He communicates; He relates). These are two elements for the foundation of living by faith with an unseen God.
For Dave and me, we have affirmed for many years that our God is a personal being, One who actually exists, both in spirit and in body (through Christ Jesus), and we have enjoyed a back/forth, dynamic relationship of communication and understanding with this personal God for many decades.
So from the outset of explaining our shift in medical care, we want to acknowledge the joy of following our Lord, of relying upon His Person and of communicating freely with Him. For His reasons, He led us through 3 ½ years of the standard medical care (surgery, radiation, chemo), with its attendant costs (physical as well as financial). We do not worry about the “why” of His leading; we rejoice in His faithfulness to us in providing all that we needed during those 3 ½ years.
And now we sense that He is leading us to a new route…a route that is different from the medical route in which I spent 30 years as an intensive care nurse. This alternative route is less familiar to me; it has a high learning curve. But I rejoice in His Spirit that has nudged us in this direction, and in His gift of reason which allows us to comprehend and analyze the rationale of these treatments.
And now for the disclaimers. There are two disclaimers.
First, we do not in any way claim to understand all the ins/outs and ramifications of these alternative treatments. That lack does not worry us. Even when we were in the medical model, no one completely understood all the ins/outs of the chemo and radiation….conclusions were founded upon limited studies, and there were always new studies coming out that enforced or discredited the previous understanding. Reality is that the universe is much too complicated for us to completely understand. At best, we can use our brains and observations to come to tentative conclusions. So we make decisions on the basis of limited knowledge. There is an aspect of faith to any decision we make, whether for Orthodox Medicine or for Alternative Treatment.
Second, we do not in any way claim that this Alternative Treatment will cure the cancer that currently resides in my body. If you have been following our journey these past years, and if you know me personally, you know that we are not seeking healing…..we are seeking faithfulness to the End (whenever that comes). We want to show forth the Lord’s glory, to live in the reality of His Person, to use the cancer platform to declare His Gospel. Healing is not something we are seeking.
Our medical oncologist has informed us that there are no new treatments available in radiation or chemotherapy. If we aren’t seeking healing, why don’t we just quit all treatments? It’s called stewardship.
You see, since yielding to the salvation offered through Jesus Christ, a great switch of ownership happened. I am not my own. Jesus owns me. His own, personal blood paid the price for me…lock, stock and barrel! That includes not only my soul, but also my body. Do I always live in the reality of that ownership? No. Many times I’m seeking my own agenda instead of His. But that failure on my part does not change the reality of His ownership.
It’s similar to my marriage to Dave. When I said “I do”, my life was no longer my own. We became “one” person. Do I always reflect that one-ness in my decisions and behavior? Of course not. But the reality of our one-ness remains. And the goal of my life is to live more and more in the reality of my one-ness with Christ, and my one-ness with Dave.
Because Christ owns my body, my time, my money, my energy…I must make stewardship decisions that yield the best results for His purposes.
At this point in my life, we feel that we cannot just quit all treatments for this cancer without rationally exploring alternative treatments.
An explanation of the Alternative Treatments we have chosen.
There are “Alternative” Treatments (which are done independently of orthodox medical treatments) and there are “Integrated” Treatments (which are done concurrently with orthodox medicine, usually to deal with the side-effects of chemo or radiation).
In light of the horrendous and serious side effects that I have suffered at the hands of the chemo these past 6 months, we have decided to discontinue the chemo that we were on, even though it was keeping the cancer from growing. So we are not doing the Integrative Treatments. Our oncologist is very supportive of our choice to discontinue orthodox medical treatments, and do exclusively Alternative Treatments for a period of time.
An “Alternative Treatment” is any treatment idea that has not met the rigid (and expensive) testing requirements of the FDA. The testing (proving) requirements of the FDA are so extensive and costly that few proponents of Alternative Treatments can afford it, so these treatments remain in the “Alternative” (“unproven”) camp instead of in the Orthodox Medicine camp.
There are hundreds of Alternative Treatments. I’m certain that many of them have little if any science reality to stand on; these could legitimately be called “quack” remedies. The blending of psychological hope with physical healing is deep topic for consideration. I told Dave from the beginning that if the Alternative Treatment doesn’t make sense to me, with my medical background, then I would not consider it. Picking a treatment out of a hat, based purely on testimonials or very broad statements or unfounded claims was not good stewardship. I felt that we needed to understand the framework of the treatment, and it needed to make sense to the reality of science as we know it. How thankful I am for my nursing background and all those years in advanced medicine!
The Alternative Treatment that we have settled on is called electromedicine. It is predicated upon the theory that cancer is caused by microbes, which enter weakened cells and then monopolize the metabolic system within the cell, further weakening the cells, damaging cellular DNA, etc. If we accept this theory, then there seems to be a 3-pronged approach to treatment: 1) kill the existing microbes, 2) strengthen the cells, and 3) bolster the immune system (so that it can better deal with future microbes).
So in addition to fortifying my diet to strengthen cells and the immune system, I’m adding electro-medicine in an attempt to kill the existing microbes. You can research this if interested. Just Google “Royal Rife” (the initial developer in the 1930s), or “Bob Beck” (who rediscovered it in 1980s while searching for a cure for HIV), or “GB-4000” (the machine most like the Rife machine and the one I will be using). This is a home treatment, and we expect to be focused on this avenue for most of this year.
And so we begin another little leg in this Journey. We’re trying to be good stewards. I’ve done some baseline medical testing, and we’ll repeat these tests after some months. In addition to these testings, I’m looking for a general strengthening of my body (which has been blasted pretty strongly these past months)!
All of this is placed in the hands of the God we serve. If He chooses to bless me through this Alternative Treatment, then all praise goes to Him, and I ask Him to make me to serve Him more with whatever health and strength He gives. If He chooses to let my cancer advance, then we will cross that bridge when we get to it. As stated above, our goal is not healing…..our goal is good stewardship.
December 16, 2012