A Word on “Alternative Medicine”

And try as hard as I like,
A small crack appears
In my diplomacy-dike.
By definition,

I begin
Alternative Medicine,

I continue
Has either not been proved to work,
Or been proved not to work.

You know what they call alternative medicine”
That’s been proved to work?


The above lines are from the “beat poem”, Storm, by Tim Minchin. (If you are unfamiliar with his work, you may be in for a delightful discovery.)

They often come to mind when I read claims by one person or another about “natural cures”, or worse yet, how bad modern medicine is for you.  The vaccine deniers are deserving of special derision, but that for another day.

I had lunch a few days ago with a special friend of mine.  I say “special” because Don and I are members of The Brotherhood of the Balloon, an honorary society of men who have undergone Proton Therapy for prostate cancer at Loma Linda Medical Center in California. (I won’t gross you out with how one qualifies for membership.)

We chatted about many things: hunting, politics, women, and more, until Don’s face turned sad, and his tone somber.  “I buried a close friend a few weeks ago,” he began.

It seems that at the same time Don was diagnosed with PCa, his friend was also.  They spent weeks investigating treatment options, and discussing their findings into the night.  Don, obviously, chose Proton Therapy.  His friend opted for “natural” treatments, including vitamin mega-doses, a special diet, and a “proven” blend of herbs.

That was five years ago.  For the last year Don’s friend suffered horribly, as the once treatable cancer had spread into first his bones and then his brain.  He is not the only victim of such fake claims and misplaced trust, the victims number in the many thousands.  Even rich celebrities fall victim, Steve McQueen to name one.

Don and I on the other hand are cancer free, and have every reason to believe we will remain so. We trusted the best medical science had to offer, therapies subjected to rigorous testing and with years of positive results.

A word to the wise, and all that jazz…


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