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Old 22nd December 2005, 11:16 AM   #1
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Doing the least to save your life...

Introduction by Luke T.:  

We are witnessing an explosion of pushers of magic pills, waters, and elixirs reminiscent of the travelling snake oil salesmen of the late 19th century. Cure-all books which upon close examination we find have no cures in them, and are nothing but a bounty of vitriol for the modern science which has lengthened our lifespans.

For those unfortunates who are sentenced with a life-threatening disease, it is a time of vulnerability and desperation. Here is one man's personal war against a host of predators waiting to exploit that fear.

"There's no substitute for guts." - Bear Bryant

Link to original topic




My paper.

It's not written as well as it could have been. It's not as scientific, in that it does not go point by point through alternative medicines and treatments, as it could have been. It's not very polite at times.

It's my story, and it's how I feel about those that would offer me alternative medicine in lieu of proper medical treatments for my cancer.

Read at your leisure. I hope you enjoy it. There's some great pictures of my spine in there, both before the surgery and after.

I'll quote a little here:

Quote:
I spent the next few months learning to walk again. I underwent 24 sessions of radiation therapy and several bone marrow biopsies, MRI scans, CT scans, bone surveys (which are essentially an x-ray of every part of you from several angles), and blood tests. You see, Solitary Plasmacytoma of Bone has a 50% chance of progressing to Multiple Myeloma in 10 years. Once that progression has happened, 37% of those diagnosed make it past 5 years. Currently, there is a second tumor forming in my right arm, but with the help of my hard working doctors, it was found early and will be treated.
Because of all the hard work of my nuerosurgeon, oncologist, nurses, and me I was walking again by February of 2005 without a cane and had returned to work at a new job. A job that now pays for medical insurance.
Without the scientific method none of my treatments would have been available to save me. 100 years ago I would have died as an infant, and 50 years ago I would have been paralyzed - if not dead. What I mean specifically is that without properly blinded studies, peer reviewed publication, the removal of emotion when gathering knowledge (removing confirmation bias and cherry picking of evidence), and the self correcting nature of scientific advancement there would have been absolutely no chance for me.
You see, medical researchers come up with a hypothesis based on observed phenomenon. They then devise a test in which they cannot influence the end result, and then publish their findings for their peers to critique. If they did something wrong, it is caught, and more testing is done. In fact, more testing is done anyway. This is called Replication. That means if you have devised a study showing how much more effectively and quickly your pet rabbit learns to foil bungling hunters by watching cartoons, then I will also replicate that test to ensure the results are genuine. If they’re not, we’re going to have conflicting outcomes, and more and more study will happen until we get to the bottom of the true nature of how rabbits foil hunters.
Let me boil it down: science sticks to the facts in a way that negates whether those testing have an opinion about their studies, and it ensures that if they do botch it it will be caught and corrected. This is the reality of how science works. It is also the foundation to every single one of the modern conveniences you and I take for granted every day. Cars, refrigerators, televisions, telephones, cell phones, computers, antibiotics, vaccines, satellites, airplanes, indoor plumbing, skyscrapers, shoe insoles, birth control, iPods, compact discs, DVDs...
The list can go on for pages and pages. Science is leading us to more comfortable, productive, healthy lives and careers. It allows us to do things that would seem to be magic to someone from 200 years ago.
Recently, an acquaintance responded to my chiding of the belief in ghosts and those that claim to talk to the dead “Ah the faith you all place in science. It doesn’t explain everything you know.” I simply responded to such an absurd statement by pointing out that science had fixed both my and her spines. She has rods and screws in her spine also, correcting a very severe case of scoliosis. She walks upright, has a straight spine and leads a healthy happy life because of science, and yet her attack on science was that it does not know everything.
Here’s a news flash: science admits that. It continues to progress precisely because of that. You see, explaining “everything” isn’t the goal. The goal is to continue to learn all we can on observed phenomenon with empirical data gathered from blinded study published openly for peer review and based on testable hypothesis.
Quite frankly to live your life in debt to science and then throw insults at science out of misunderstanding it is such an insult I don’t know where to begin. Which leads me to the point of this paper.
After I wrote this, I found out the cancer has spread to my arm. I will be talking with an oncologist on 3 January, 2006. We'll discuss treatment options then. In the meantime, it seems I have an excuse to miss TAM.

Sorry about that.

Cheers.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 11:41 AM   #2
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I read it and I have nothing negative to say about it so I will say nothing at all.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 12:07 PM   #3
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
My paper.

It's not written as well as it could have been. It's not as scientific, in that it does not go point by point through alternative medicines and treatments, as it could have been. It's not very polite at times.

It's my story, and it's how I feel about those that would offer me alternative medicine in lieu of proper medical treatments for my cancer.

Read at your leisure. I hope you enjoy it. There's some great pictures of my spine in there, both before the surgery and after.

I'll quote a little here:



After I wrote this, I found out the cancer has spread to my arm. I will be talking with an oncologist on 3 January, 2006. We'll discuss treatment options then. In the meantime, it seems I have an excuse to miss TAM.

Sorry about that.

Cheers.

Thanks for that Fowlsound, it said all of the things I wanted to say to the rule 8's who tried (successfully unfortunately) to push SCAM onto my sister when she had cancer. Unfortunately at that time I was too young (and emotional) to really articulate what I wanted to say, so i spent a lot of time very frustrated, except on the one occasion when I did actually resort to physical violence. My youth and emotional stat providing a pretty good shield from serious repercussions.
I'm, none too proud of what I did, but I have to admit, it felt good.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 12:21 PM   #4
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Yowza fowldood,
I had a suspicion those were implants you either had or currently have. I guess things could be worse. Damn.. Not sure what to say. I read your story and of course you are preaching to the choir here so to speak but right on. I will pray to FSM that you continue to win all your battles.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 12:32 PM   #5
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Good luck to you FS. You have a quiet steady courage about you and I am inspired by it. You'll be missed at TAM. Get better soon!

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Old 22nd December 2005, 01:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
After I wrote this, I found out the cancer has spread to my arm. I will be talking with an oncologist on 3 January, 2006. We'll discuss treatment options then. In the meantime, it seems I have an excuse to miss TAM.

Sorry about that.
Sorry too, Fowlsound. I'm rooting for you.

Rolfe.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 01:33 PM   #7
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Dude...um...dude. No, really, Dude.

ETA: The MRIs of the spine "before" I sat for a good minute. So, again, Dude!
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Old 22nd December 2005, 01:36 PM   #8
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My thoughts are with you, Fowlsound. No excuses for TAM5, okay?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 02:51 PM   #9
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Jumpin' Jeebus!!

The pics of your spine made me reach for a handfull of Advil just for the sympathy pain.

I publicly bow before you in recognition of your courage. I hope I'd show the same were I in your shoes. Please pardon me if I also fervently hope I never have the chance to find out.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:05 PM   #10
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Well said, fowlshound.

I wouldn’t worry about it not being a scientific document, or that there’s some bad language in it – it’s from the heart, and that’s what really gets the point across.

Will it be staying up on that URL? I’d like to link to it if I may.

I’m rooting for you too. Well I will be unless you slag Newcastle Utd off again.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by John Jackson View Post
Well said, fowlshound.

I wouldnít worry about it not being a scientific document, or that thereís some bad language in it Ė itís from the heart, and thatís what really gets the point across.

Will it be staying up on that URL? Iíd like to link to it if I may.

Iím rooting for you too. Well I will be unless you slag Newcastle Utd off again.

Terry is hosting that for me. It's up to him. If you'd like, pm me an email address and I'll send you a PDF of it. (or just save it from that URL.)

I give premission to everyone who wants to reproduce or copy that paper as they see fit.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:16 PM   #12
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Thanks fowlshound,

I'll save a copy and put it on my server then I'll take the bandwidth hit.

I'll use it "as is".

Cheers,
John
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by John Jackson View Post
Thanks fowlshound,

I'll save a copy and put it on my server then I'll take the bandwidth hit.

I'll use it "as is".

Cheers,
John

Sweet. Post the link to your site. I'd be interested to see it.


ETA:

Nevermind. My moronic self remembered to check your profile.

Next I will learn to tie my shoes...
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:38 PM   #14
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http://www.skeptics.org.uk/documents/SpinePaper.pdf


I've put it up there.

Anyone can link to it or copy it from there - I have the bandwith, no problem.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by John Jackson View Post
http://www.skeptics.org.uk/documents/SpinePaper.pdf


I've put it up there.

Anyone can link to it or copy it from there - I have the bandwith, no problem.

Cool. gonna link it on the health page?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:44 PM   #16
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Yes, I'm definitely going to make something of it. It will be featured on the site.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by John Jackson View Post
Yes, I'm definitely going to make something of it. It will be featured on the site.

I feel all tingly now.

Glad you liked it.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:47 PM   #18
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Sounds like you've had a real "interesting" life there fowl, I hope it gets a lot less interesting in 06. Keep up the writing, maybe somebody else out there with similar problems to you will read it and get something positive from it.

My crystal balls tell me you've got lots of TAMS in front of you.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 03:57 PM   #19
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Isn't there a curse that goes "May you have an interesting life"?

Great paper, fowlsound... and I shall think good thoughts for you in the new years.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 04:31 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
Isn't there a curse that goes "May you have an interesting life"?
I think it's Chinese and I believe the quote is somethig like:

May you live in interesting times.

No doubt some clever bugger will come along with the correct info soon.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by AnotherSillyAlias View Post
I think it's Chinese and I believe the quote is somethig like:

May you live in interesting times.

No doubt some clever bugger will come along with the correct info soon.
That's it exactly. "Interesting times," are never the times of pleasantry, peace, and calm. They're nearly always famine-filled, war-filled, tyranny-filled, jelly-filled, plaque-filled, and generally suffering-filled.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:20 PM   #22
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Hey fowl... Beautifully and powerfully written. I'm going to print this out and give it to a friend of mine who's father is very ill and has been sucked in by some fraudulent peddlers of alternative treatment.

Thank you.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:35 PM   #23
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This question leaked into another thread from this one, so I brought it back here.

Originally Posted by LostAngeles View Post
The guy is a walking miracle thanks to science and yet people have felt the need to throw garbage in his face like, "Your body is too acidic," or, "You did something to deserve this." They offer him sugar pills and magic water and poo-poo the stuff that actually saved his life and call it, "poison."

Wouldn't you be angry?
Well I guess I would be if I had experienced all that.

fowlsound,
I read your paper with interest.

What do you think would have happened if you had been treated using alternative medicine at any point?

How does your anger serve you? Does it protect you from using bogus treatments?

How in control of your life do you feel?

I wish you a full recovery.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:40 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by love View Post
...
What do you think would have happened if you had been treated using alternative medicine at any point?

How does your anger serve you? ....
I believe he said he would be dead. Something you would have noticed if you had read it. See (quoting from the first message in this thread):
Quote:
100 years ago I would have died as an infant, and 50 years ago I would have been paralyzed - if not dead. What I mean specifically is that without properly blinded studies, peer reviewed publication, the removal of emotion when gathering knowledge (removing confirmation bias and cherry picking of evidence), and the self correcting nature of scientific advancement there would have been absolutely no chance for me.
Edited to add: His anger may have to do with those who do not stop to understand what they are saying.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:49 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Hydrogen Cyanide View Post
I believe he said he would be dead. Something you would have noticed if you had read it.
I am not sure that using alternative medicine is the same as not using doctors. Which of magic water, changing your diet or Vitamin C kills you?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:50 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by love View Post
This question leaked into another thread from this one, so I brought it back here.


Well I guess I would be if I had experienced all that.

fowlsound,
I read your paper with interest.

What do you think would have happened if you had been treated using alternative medicine at any point?

How does your anger serve you? Does it protect you from using bogus treatments?

How in control of your life do you feel?

I wish you a full recovery.

What would have happened? I would be dead. plain and simple. No alternative treatment would do anything to cure what I have.

How does your anger serve you? How in control of your life do you feel?

Piss off.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:50 PM   #27
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Thanks for that, Fowlsound... I was wondering how I could link it over at the skepchick.org site but Mr Jackson (thanks!) said he'd put it up and that's brilliant. I have a few people in mind who should definitely read it.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:51 PM   #28
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Damn, FS....

Thanks for that.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 06:53 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by love View Post
I am not sure that using alternative medicine is the same as not using doctors. Which of magic water, changing your diet or Vitamin C kills you?

In leiu of treatment? They all kill you because teh cancer kills you.

Actually read the paper, don't just look at the pictures.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:41 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
In leiu of treatment? They all kill you because teh cancer kills you.

Actually read the paper, don't just look at the pictures.
What about the placebo effect. You benefit from that surely? Otherwise double-blind trials would be a waste of time, n'est-ce pas?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:43 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by love View Post
What about the placebo effect. You benefit from that surely? Otherwise double-blind trials would be a waste of time, n'est-ce pas?

Are you for real?

Do you want to gamble your life on the placebo effect? It is not 100%. It's more like 20% (or somewhere around there. med folks, help me out with that #?) There is no PLACEBO that cures CANCER.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:49 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
Are you for real?

Do you want to gamble your life on the placebo effect?
Sure, but I wouldn't stop at one, I'd use several.

Quote:
It is not 100%.
No, it's not. What is?

Quote:
It's more like 20% (or somewhere around there. med folks, help me out with that #?) There is no PLACEBO that cures CANCER.
What about the people who get better without using doctors?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:54 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by love View Post
Sure, but I wouldn't stop at one, I'd use several.


No, it's not. What is?



What about the people who get better without using doctors?


love, I am trying to decide whether you are honest in this line of questioning or if you are trolling.

Ok let's put it this way:

You have multiple myeloma. Do you attempt to shrink your many tumors using, say, Revlimid, which is tested and shown to have a high effective rate in shrinking tumors (well over 85%) or would you take the sugar pill (20%?)

If you choose placebo you are worthy of a Darwin Award.

Do you have a point here, or are you just trolling?



ETA: show me one placebo that puts back the vertabrae destroyed by the tumor I had in my spine. Are you honestly suggesting that homeopathy could have cured that condition?

Did you even read the paper, or are you talking out of your rear?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:58 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by John Jackson View Post

Will it be staying up on that URL? Iíd like to link to it if I may.
I will be hosting it there indefinitely. You may consider the URL static.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:59 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Terry View Post
I will be hosting it there indefinitely. You may consider the URL static.

Thank you Terry. Much obliged
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Old 22nd December 2005, 07:59 PM   #36
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Quote:
What about the people who get better without using doctors?
What people with cancer get better without using doctors? I imagine it would be those who don't have cancer but imagine they do so if they imagine they took something for their imaginary cancer they could imagine they got better and they would be better in their imagination if you can imagine that.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 08:01 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by love View Post
Sure, but I wouldn't stop at one, I'd use several.
Yes, clearly employing multiple placebo effects is the future of medicine...

So if you were diagnosed with cancer, you would:

a.) take a bunch of Vitamin C

b.) pray like the dickens

c.) wear a healing crystal around your neck

d.) wear a copper bracelet while lying on a mattress filled with tiny magnets

e.) and gulp handfulls of sugarpills

f.) (insert other hokey bunch of jackalope crap here)


If so, well.... good luck with that.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 08:22 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by love View Post
Sure, but I wouldn't stop at one, I'd use several.
In the awful event that you're ever diagnosed with cancer, make sure to keep a detailed log and let us know how sampling from the placebo dessert tray works out for you.

It's funny that for thousands of years humanity had nothing but placebos with which to treat their diseases. They had placebos coming out the wazoo. A cornucopia of placebos of many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Yet they lived dramatically shorter lives overall and died much more rapidly when they were diagnosed with diseases.

I wonder why that is?
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Old 22nd December 2005, 08:36 PM   #39
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thanks FS. That is an excellent piece. It will come in handy.


Love's comments are exactly why your paper is needed. Thank you again.
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Old 22nd December 2005, 08:47 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by fowlsound View Post
love, I am trying to decide whether you are honest in this line of questioning or if you are trolling.
Although I may be coming from a very different viewpoint to you, and certainly had very different experiences, I am interested in what you think and feel. Maybe my interest is that I used to be a very angry person myself. And maybe also because I still feel some anger towards doctors.

Quote:
Ok let's put it this way:

You have multiple myeloma. Do you attempt to shrink your many tumors using, say, Revlimid, which is tested and shown to have a high effective rate in shrinking tumors (well over 85%) or would you take the sugar pill (20%?)
Well, I would use all my healing tools, and attempt to determine the underlying cause of the disease. I would likely only use Revlimid as a last resort. I would bascially just do, whatever I felt to.

I do use homeopathy. Last time I had dental pain, for example, I treated myself using a homeopathic remedy. I guess I am just one of those 20%. Perhaps I am extra suggestible.

Quote:
If you choose placebo you are worthy of a Darwin Award.
I think that's an exaggeration, and you know it.

Quote:
Do you have a point here, or are you just trolling?
No, I'm just kind of curious, because my experience is so different to yours.

Quote:
ETA:
Please help me here. What does this stand for?

Quote:
show me one placebo that puts back the vertabrae destroyed by the tumor I had in my spine.
The Body Mirror System of Healing, for example. It helped cure a family member of scoliosis. There are many others. I could offer you a remote healing. As I am so far away, I am fairly sure you won't punch me in the face.

Quote:
Are you honestly suggesting that homeopathy could have cured that condition?
The condition, yes. But I am not sure you are open to being cured that way. You seem to have more faith in the miracles of modern medicine.

In the end, I believe people heal when they take responsibility for their own health.

Quote:
Did you even read the paper, or are you talking out of your rear?
Yes. It seemed very passionately argued.
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