Author Topic: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?  (Read 839 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Chronos

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 2266
  • Darwins +120/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Born without religion
    • Marking Time
Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« on: August 22, 2012, 02:00:58 PM »
I have a friend (and professional neighbor) who will likely die of cancer within the next 3-4 months. While she went through initial treatment of mastectomy, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and ended up in remission. Unfortunately, the cancer reappeared 8 months later. We concluded that the oncologist was not aggressive enough in the first go round, and so did she. One can't turn back the clock. So, she resumed a daily medication that was like "mild chemo at home" (no side effects) for about 4-5 months. Afterward, another PET scan found more spots on her bones, spots on her liver and some lesions in her brain. She completed the radiation therapy for the brain, but has eschewed the recommended chemotherapy and has opted for naturopathy. Now, about 3 months later, the doctor looked at recent results of a blood test for the liver and advised her to make her final arrangements.

This is an intelligent woman who I knew did not want to repeat chemotherapy treatments because of how incredibly sick she was during the first round.  She didn't want to be that sick again. Not having gone through chemotherapy, I can understand how she may not want to endure that again. However, what I cannot understand is this turn to naturopathy. The woman who provides the naturopathy (the exact circumstances of which I do not know) has told her that she has had success with many cases. Of course, I would want hard numbers. While we all hope this ends up being one of those amazing (miraculous) stories of people who are mysteriously, but suddenly, healed of cancer and live another 30 years, rational thinking and medical statistics show that she is more likely to be struck by lightning.

Now, to interject something religious here, this woman is a Christian, but a very liberal one, and attends a Baptist church that, itself, is quite liberal. Churches in this particular area are not at all fundamentalist as the clientele, if you will, are quite educated, upper income people, very often working in the fields of science. My friend knows I'm an atheist.

Here is my question? Why would somebody who is fairly smart and quite modern, regardless of her religious affiliation, who has decided that she would just rather go instead of going through chemotherapy (which I understand) ... why would someone like her engage in naturopathy which probably can't cure anything except by happenstance? Why not simply say, I do not wish to endure chemotherapy again, and I will let my cancer run its course? Why bother engaging in something that she really does know won't work? Honestly, I think there would be more power in her prayers than sucking down capsules filled with dry Asian plants (or whatever it is she is doing). In other words, why is she being dishonest? I do not know of a single person around her that would think she was being irreligious in any way if she just let her illness run its course. It's just self-delusion.


Conversely, I have an employee who was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer (luckily, they caught it early) and upon diagnosis normally the patient dies within 3-6 months. However, an expert in the field caught her case and put her through some pretty aggressive chemo and surgery, and she is about to go through more rounds of chemo. But even after her first PET scan before the first series of chemo treatments were completed, they couldn't find a sign of cancer. She has continued on with the plan and doesn't want to miss doing anything. After finding that her blood tests and an additional PET scan show no signs of cancer, they have shortened her second round of chemo treatments (which have not yet begun) from 9 to 3. Of course, she is aware and is an acquaintance of the other person I have written about above. When she (person 2) found that the other (person 1) was going through naturopathy instead, she just glared at me and then asked, "Why is she being so stupid?."


The first person mentioned above has 3 children, two of which haven't graduated high school yet, and 2 step-children (older). The second person has grown children and grandchildren. She's older with, essentially, less to lose, yet she is fighting more. I have stated here often that I think we weren't brought into this world of our own will so we should have a right to check out whenever we like (assuming that we are of sound mind), but I do not understand this turn to naturopathy with some expectation that it will work. I just don't get it.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Quesi

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1986
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Female
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 02:24:26 PM »
First of all, I am sorry to hear about the serious illness that your friend is facing.

You know, much of society admires “fighters.”  Don’t give up! 

So she doesn’t want to do any more chemo, and it sounds like it is likely that more chemo will not offer her more quality time anyway.  So she picks an “alternative” therapy.  That way, she is not “giving up.”  And there is significant evidence that “keeping a positive attitude” and “having something to look forward to” does in fact have a modest impact on longevity. 

I don’t know what naturotherapy is, and I actually had to google it.  So, she is going to eat healthy foods and get appropriate exercise and keep a positive attitude.  That seems harmless enough.  On a certain level, I am sure that she knows that she is dying.  But this way she can feel like she is being proactive. 

I am interested in hearing what Lori has to say on this topic. 

Offline Kimberly

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1044
  • Darwins +78/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Apatheist
    • I am a Forum Guide
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 03:42:14 PM »
I am sorry to hear this news Chronos. I'm not sure of  your relation to these women or how closely this will affect you personally but imagine you caring even if it's a professional relationship. You've always been one of my favorite posters and it saddens me to hear that people in your life are not well. I think you have a unique gift to understand and sympathize with people. You're also very good at analyzing problems and offering an easy, rational resolution. I've always enjoyed that you can think rationally but still understand emotional responses. You seem to understand the balance that is required to maintain a healthy and productive life.

Like Quesi, I'm not familiar with Naturopathy. I also agree that this is probably her way of doing the best she can with what she has left. I've never witnessed cancer, the affects of treatment, or losing someone from it. From all the stories I've read or heard about it's just about the worst way to go. If I were in my final stage I imagine I would resort to anything that brought me peace. I would want to spend my final days with a sense of acceptance and as much comfort as possible. If the chemo wouldn't help I don't know that I would choose to be miserable. (Or more miserable, however you look at it.)

I don't think it's necessarily self-delusion. I don't know this women but I personally find it logical to take her approach under her circumstances. It might not be what those closest to her would prefer. Perhaps they would want her to fight harder, for one extra day, hour, week, year... but ultimately she is the only one who can decide how to live out her final days.

I hope if you are close with this woman that you are able to celebrate the rest of her days with her. Help her find comfort as you so naturally do.

::Hugs::
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline LoriPinkAngel

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1198
  • Darwins +124/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • I'm Your Nurse, Not Your Waitress...
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 08:08:15 PM »
To be diagnosed with cancer is a terrifying thing.  But to find it is back and has now spread to the brain, liver and bone....  unimaginable.  The survival rate when a cancer spreads to just one of these is low but all three is abysimal.  I would guess she chose the naturopathic treatment not for a cure but to improve her quality of life during the time she has left.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline 12 Monkeys

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4374
  • Darwins +96/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • Dii hau dang ijii
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 09:08:27 PM »
Having never been in that position,how can someone comment on her choice?....I was lucky enough to have benign growths they were removed by laser from my throat......I no longer can talk....but it is amazing what medical tech can do
There's no right there's no wrong,there's just popular opinion (Brad Pitt as Jeffery Goines in 12 monkeys)

Offline Chronos

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 2266
  • Darwins +120/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Born without religion
    • Marking Time
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 09:17:58 PM »
I should clarify that she is consulting a practitioner of homeopathy and naturopathy. After being told to be on a very restrictive diet with some odd things in it, and also after taking things like caplets of crushed pooja weed[1] and who knows what else, this practitioner places something on different points of her skin and obtains tears(?) to do analysis to determine whether the cancer is present or gone. I could achieve the same by reading stains in a coffee mug.

It would seem to me that consulting a psychic would likely be far more fun, productive and therapeutic.

Kimberly, besides working in the business next to mine, which is how I met her about 3 years ago, through various other circumstances that are simply too long explain here, I got to know a lot about her and her family. They became my clients, and her son now works for me. I hear her perspective but I also hear her son's. One aspect of this is that she may be doing this homeonaturopathyvoodoo to give her children some kind of hope, but it doesn't. It's clearly a facade. I can only conclude that this alternative medicine may be a way to mask the daily pain the family experiences -- if it's not there, there's nothing to discuss.


Unfortunately, this is the year of cancer. Besides these two ladies, I also have an uncle who was diagnosed with cancer, stage 4 -- after the symptoms appeared, he waited way too long to go to the doctor. Unless some sliver of luck comes his way, he, too, will pass in about 4-6 months. He finally agreed to the radiotherapy on his lungs and the radioknife[2] treatments for the lesions in his brain. The radiotherapy has made some immediate improvements for him, but so far he has also refused the chemotherapy, which the doctors said would have given him about 8-10 months. He figured, why bother? I completely understand.


 1. Not a real substance
 2. I am completely forgetting the proper medical terminology tonight
John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Quesi

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1986
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Female
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 09:58:50 PM »
Oh, if there were only a special hell for people who prey on the desperate and dying.  How does this "practitioner" take his or her payments, and rest comfortably at night? 

I roll my eyes at people with moderate ailments who pay good money for the placebo effect.  I had a friend many years ago who went on a regiment of liquefied fruit juice with grated ginger in it, and frequent enemas.  She proclaimed herself cured.  But it was not cancer.

In terms of cancer, I know so many people.  I have friends and family and staff and colleagues who beat the odds.  I actually know a lot of survivors.  One going on 12 years I think, from stage 3 cervical cancer with a rather pessimistic prognosis.  Another who was given 3 months to live nearly 15 months ago, who is doing so well she is back at work - at a job that she loves.   She got on some experimental treatment - some medical trial.  I'm guessing she is not taking the placebo.  My grandma survived 20 some years after some nasty surgery, and died of an unrelated stroke.  But my beloved dad - his cancer traveled fast.  An originally optimistic prognosis deteriorated quickly, in spite of aggressive treatment. 

May you find the strength to get through so much illness.  Spend quality time with the people you care about, and I hope they find joyful days at the ends of their lives. 

Please remember to take care of yourself during times of grief and loss.  Nutrition is especially important during times of stress and grief, as is sleep and exercise.  But especially nutrition. 

 

Offline LoriPinkAngel

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1198
  • Darwins +124/-6
  • Gender: Female
  • I'm Your Nurse, Not Your Waitress...
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 10:51:28 PM »
I like alternative medicine for pain management, stress and anxiety relief and other symptom relief but I generally prefer conventional medicine for disease management or as a curative treatment.
It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Kimberly

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1044
  • Darwins +78/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Apatheist
    • I am a Forum Guide
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2012, 09:08:31 AM »
Chronos,

When it rains.. I'm sorry to hear about your Uncle as well. Seems like you have a lot on your plate right now.

IDK about the care she is receiving, are these doctors milking the families money dry needlessly? That type of practice should be illegal, I can't stand people who profit off of shady business practices like that.

Hope you have some good things going on in your life to help balance out your life. Stay strong.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Chronos

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 2266
  • Darwins +120/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Born without religion
    • Marking Time
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2012, 08:23:11 PM »
Chronos,

When it rains.. I'm sorry to hear about your Uncle as well. Seems like you have a lot on your plate right now.

Yeah, I do. I was gone from the forum for a month because there were about 20 other things going on, as well (they still are). I have a feeling that the next two months are going to be exceedingly busy.


IDK about the care she is receiving, are these doctors milking the families money dry needlessly? That type of practice should be illegal, I can't stand people who profit off of shady business practices like that.

The medical doctors? No. They're not milking anything. The time for milking was a year ago and they missed that opportunity. The homeonaturonut is milking it, but I have no idea how much she pays for it. Compared to medical expenses, it's probably nowhere near as expensive.


Hope you have some good things going on in your life to help balance out your life. Stay strong.

Yes, I do. I'm not worried out about things I can't control. Puzzled, yes. Worried, no.

John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Kimberly

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1044
  • Darwins +78/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Apatheist
    • I am a Forum Guide
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2012, 09:05:38 AM »
Should you need to vent please feel free to reach out to me. Take care.
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Chronos

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 2266
  • Darwins +120/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Born without religion
    • Marking Time
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 06:08:12 PM »
Well, the one who chose homeopathy/naturopathy over chemotherapy passed away today. She went downhill quicker than any of us expected, even without chemo. Just a little more than a week ago she was very tired, but still able to do some things, just not for long. Last weekend she became unable to do most things, and by Monday she rarely spoke and was mostly incoherent. I did see her yesterday and she recognized me. I could see that she was so jaundiced that the end was near, but I thought it would be perhaps another week.

I always find it difficult to know the right things to say or do when someone dies, but I am speechless. I always found Christian platitudes to be more of an insult than saying nothing at all, but of course, I am not a Christian. I don't know how people who are Christian accept such words as meaningful, but I guess that is another feature of self-delusion.
John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Kimberly

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1044
  • Darwins +78/-1
  • Gender: Female
  • Apatheist
    • I am a Forum Guide
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 06:35:44 PM »
I'm sorry to hear things took a turn for the worst so fast. I'm not good at knowing what to say myself. Expressing how you feel, sympathy for those who are morning, and an offer of support is probably beneficial even witouth offering a religious feel good type statement.

How are you taking it?
Thank you for considering my point of view; however wrong it may be to you.

Offline Chronos

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 2266
  • Darwins +120/-6
  • Gender: Male
  • Born without religion
    • Marking Time
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2012, 09:06:20 PM »
I'm fine. Makes me appreciate the here and now more. Worrying about an afterlife is pointless.
John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Quesi

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1986
  • Darwins +371/-4
  • Gender: Female
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 05:39:22 AM »


I always find it difficult to know the right things to say or do when someone dies, but I am speechless. I always found Christian platitudes to be more of an insult than saying nothing at all, but of course, I am not a Christian. I don't know how people who are Christian accept such words as meaningful, but I guess that is another feature of self-delusion.

May I offer a suggestion?

Stand silently and politely as others proclaim that "she is in a better place" and whatnot, and then look at the family dynamic and offer some practical assistance.  Not the generic "if there is anything I can do" offer, but "I'd be happy to drive Johnny to soccer practice on Thursdays" or "When you are ready to clean our her closets I can help" or "she loved pruning those beautiful roses and I'm good at pruning roses and I'd be honored to take care of them" or "I'd be happy to scan your old photos and upload them so that everyone can share them" or whatever it is that they might need that you have the capacity to offer.

In the frenzy of the funeral there will be gobs of people there and the family will have lots of support.  But in the weeks and months to follow, as they try and carve out new routines and face their grief, that is when they will need the most support.  It doesn't have to be something big. 

Online jaimehlers

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 4607
  • Darwins +502/-11
  • Gender: Male
  • WWGHA Member
Re: Naturopathy or Self-delusion?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2012, 12:34:21 PM »
I'm not against things like naturopathy and homopathy in a general sense.  What I am against is the idea that these can somehow supersede known and tested medical science.

However, when it comes to something like cancer, which medical science can't really cure, it's unfortunately not surprising that a person might turn to an alternative kind of medicine rather than face round after round of painful and debilitating treatments, especially if they didn't do any good the first time around.

So it may be a delusion, but it's an understandable one.