23 April 2012
Thought for the day:
Live never to be ashamed if anything you do or say is published around the world, even if it is not true. Richard Bach, Illusions
A lifestyle based MS program that over 5 years results in 30% better outcomes than conventional treatments.
Too good to be true?
Surviving secondary osteogenic sarcoma for well over 30 years using an approach based upon Integrative Medicine.
Too good to be true?
Leading lifestyle based cancer self help groups for over 30 years.
Too good to be true?
The Age newspaper has written another feature questioning my cancer diagnosis under the heading, you guessed it, “Too good to be true”. I guess this is better than having a heading “too awful and inconsequential to be bothered with”, but perhaps what the title does reflect is the real issue.
Too good to be true. That is the sort of statement you make when your belief system is challenged, when you cannot believe something new is real and actually effective. As human beings we have this powerful tendency to accept things that reinforce what we believe in and to reject everything that conflicts with our point of view.
I suggest we are moving towards the end of a major paradigm shift in medicine that has been in progress for the last couple of decades. A paradigm is a prevailing set of assumptions, and medicine is slowly but steadily adjusting to the fact that the public wants to be more empowered when it comes to making decisions around their health choices, and they want a more integrated, more holistic approach. I contend Haines and Lowenthal are attacking because they represent the old ways of medicine and so far have been unable to adapt and move with the times.
So in this latest Age article I wonder how much of the old paradigm affected the journalists’ judgment? I was amazed that they did not include a quote they had access to from the surgeon who removed my lung in 2004. Professor Peter Clarke, an eminent, senior surgeon and authority on TB said “If he had had widespread TB rather than recurrent osteosarcoma he would be dead. I have no doubt he had localised TB secondary to impaired resistance after chemotherapy leading to a focus of destruction in his left lung with recurrent opportunistic infection requiring resection of the diseased lung. If he had generalised TB it would have affected both lungs.”
Neither did they report a medical historian from Yale, Dr Kathryn Irving, who wrote to the Internal Medicine Journal (IMJ) and said that the Haines and Lowenthal article “written about an episode that occurred more than 30 years ago, can best be explained by some oncologists’ discomfort with losing their authority to dictate patient choices” and that “Haines and Lowenthal’s mission to debunk Gawler’s cure runs the risk of sounding like a paternalistic attack on a therapeutic competitor”. (Unfortunately, this article is only available to subscribers of the IMJ so it cannot be linked to).
However, earlier in the week The Age did run another story featuring a GP who has changed his mind. Dr Rod Anderson also wrote to the IMJ saying he had experienced melanoma himself and had recommended people with cancer to the Gawler Foundation for many years. However, now he believes I did not have secondary cancer, that no one has recovered after going to the Foundation, and so now he will stop his recommendations.
Logically, and rather unfortunately, we have to conclude that Rod Anderson is either incompetent or a fool. Here is why. Having recommended his patients, competency would require him to follow up and seek feedback. If the feedback from people going to the Foundation was bad, he needed to stop recommending. If he did not obtain feedback, he is incompetent. If the feedback was good, which would explain him continuing to recommend patients over many years, and yet now he stops because of what happened to me over 30 years ago, he is a fool. As far as I know, Sir Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered penicillin, was an exemplary man. But if 30 years after penicillin had come on the market, his history had been found to be flawed in some way, would we have said penicillin was useless and should be withdrawn from the market? I do not think so! Only a fool would suggest that.
Further, Anderson has not read, or has chosen to ignore “Inspiring People” and “Surviving Cancer”, two books that recount the stories of many people who have attended Foundation programs and survived against the odds. I have a deep concern for patients of this man who now may miss out on being recommended to significant help because of his limitations.
And this is the real problem. What of the people with cancer? Where are they left amidst all this controversy?
It has been said that new ideas that challenge old paradigms go through four stages. First they are ignored; then ridiculed; then attacked; then taken as being self-evident.
It has been tough being attacked over my personal history, but any concerns readers feel need to be focused on those vulnerable people, both patients, family members, friends, doctors and other health professionals who may be adversely swayed by the attacks of Haines and Lowenthal.
There is a real need for those of us who believe in the integrated approach I represent, and that the Gawler Foundation teaches, to speak up wherever we can and to be advocates for this approach. That is why I continue to speak up on this. It will be good to meet with Melbourne supporters at my weekend workshop in May - see below.
So what does all this say of The Age? Why are they running so hard with this? Why are they giving space to someone like Anderson, and leaving out the voices of Clarke and Irving?
It is a strange world we live in. That is true, but I am not sure it is too good.
1. Melbourne workshops now open for bookings through the Gawler Foundation
Saturday and Sunday May 26th and 27th at Hawthorn
The Mind that Changes Everything
A highly experiential day based on the latest research as well as ancient wisdom. Understand more about how the mind functions and how we can use more of its extraordinary potential. A gentle blend of theory and practice, with many led sessions of meditation and imagery, along with ample time for questions and discussion.
Click here for more details and bookings.
2. Griefwalker – a challenging but rewarding exploration of death. A film available online.
A universal experience whether or not we can admit it, death is the sole counterpart to life. From the moment we take our first breath, death is our only guaranteed experience. This is something Stephen Jenkinson, a Harvard educated theologian and one of Canada’s leading palliative care educators, not only understands but something he loves. And he wants you to feel the same way. Jenkinson insists that in order to love life, we need to love death. Captured with a cinematic eye, this lyrical, haunting documentary exhibits an unparalleled understanding of mortality. Worth a look.
BOOKS You Can Conquer Cancer Ian Gawler