"Imagine a future world in which medicine was oriented toward healing rather than disease, where doctors believed in the natural healing capacity of human beings and emphasized preventions above treatment."
Spontaneous Healing, by Andrew Weil, M.D.
In November of 1995 I visited The American Metabolic Institute- an alternative health clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. I was there to write a story for Awareness magazine. On my tour of the facility, I met a man whose wife had been diagnosed with a stage III B cancer. (see Jan/Feb'96 issue of Awareness Magazine- "Alternatives in Healing- Dr. Rubio"). She was beginning a five-week stay at the clinic. We talked briefly and I learned that his wife had a large tumor in the pericardia (the lining of the heart) and that the cancer had also spread to other parts of her body. In Texas, along with the radiation, she was given chemo-therapy which was taking its toll on her immune system and as a result creating other health problems. After trying conventional medicine in the U.S., she was told that her chances of survival were 20 percent for a two year period. The couple made a decision. They decided to fight this deadly disease using alternative treatments, and eventually they ended up with Dr. Rubio at the American Metabolic Institute in Tijuana, Mexico.
As an investigative journalist, I went to the American Metabolic Institute to gather information on alternative health clinics in Mexico and present this to the public. And, as a writer for Awareness magazine, I wanted the article to be about health and well-being issues, written in a positive tone. Initially after meeting this couple, I thought it would be a great story, about cancer and alternative healing methods. But I must admit, after reflecting on this woman's prognosis, my internal radar started bleeping pretty loud, saying "Perhaps in this case, I should back off the story." Stage III B cancer? . . . a 20 percent chance of surviving for two years? . . . maybe this was one article that shouldn't be written. But I decided to write the story anyway.
In mid April (1996), I made a follow up call to the same person I had talked with in November of 1995, at the American Metabolic Institute. I had many questions. First and foremost, I wanted to know about his wife's cancer. Did the treatment given at the American Metabolic Institute work? The voice on the other end of the line was happy to announce that the cancer was in remission and her tumor, in the pericardia, was all but gone. He went on to explain that his wife was gaining weight and beginning to exercise. When I asked the question "Are you glad you crossed the border and went to AMI? The answer was a resounding "yes!" "And did you return to your original doctor in Texas?" Apparently after her stay at the clinic in Tijuana, she returned to her oncologist in Texas. He no longer wanted to do radiation treatment, and basically didn't want to discuss her treatment at AMI. The physician's only comments to the patient were brief but succinct, he said "Medically you're well." End of discussion.
Hearing stories of miraculous recoveries are one thing. Actually talking to those that have had the experiences are another. And then there's the lingering questions, like why are thousands and thousands of people being forced to cross the borders into Mexico and other countries to seek help? And why are our bookstores filled with books that say "Cancer-you can win!", but our hospitals are filled with doctors that say "cancer? "We're not sure," "The statistics aren't good," or "We're sorry."
Many people leave the country, seeking alternative therapies when they've been told that "there's little that can be done." They've heard stories of miraculous recoveries (like the case of Norman Cousins, or the person I interviewed) and they know in their heart, that somewhere there's a solution to their problem. Their own physicians say "You're probably not going to get better," and the patient finally says "nonsense! "I'm going to fight this thing, and I want a doctor who will help me."
Once a person makes the decision to fight, his or her choices in the U. S. are very limited. In the case of cancer, it's surgery, radiation or chemo-therapy.
ENTER THE LEGAL SYSTEM
Imagine you're a doctor. Imagine you've spent the first thirty or so years of your life getting ready to be a doctor. A patient comes to you who's dying of cancer. The medical establishment says there are three medical treatments available, and with all of them the patient is probably going to die anyway. Do you break the rules, try things that are being tried in other countries, push the envelope and risk being sued and ending you're career? Or do you play it safe, play by the book and live to practice another day? There in lies the dilemma.
TURNING TO ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
We know that our medical system is not set up to break the rules. It's based on arduous studies. Do such and such and statistically this will probably occur. The focus is on the disease and not the cause. And I don't think anyone would argue with the fact that pharmaceutical companies have an enormous investment in the concept of attacking the problem, using of course, pharmaceuticals. And we know that our culture has evolved to the point where the fear of a lawsuit dictates medical procedures.
We have, in the U.S. one of the medical best systems in the world when it comes to managing trauma, diagnosing complex medical problems, utilizing immunizations, reconstructive surgery and correcting hormonal deficiencies. What we don't do well is curing most degenerative diseases, curing cancer and curing most forms of autoimmune diseases. In these area, alternative medicine has taken the lead. Unfortunately, most of the work has to be done outside of the U.S.
SO WHERE DO WE GO FORM HERE?
We can all take an active role in creating the necessary change in our medical establishment by:
-And we can all imagine . . . "imagine a future world in which medicine was oriented toward healing rather than disease, where doctors believed in the natural healing capacity of human beings and emphasized preventions above treatments"
For further information contact Bill Fry at The American Metabolic
Institute: 1-800-388-1083 or visit the American Metabolic Institute's HOME PAGE
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