What I need (2)

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the possibility, and potential power, that would come my way if I felt I might have the power of healing (What I need).

One of the comments that followed the post was to the effect that there might be solace for the soul of the victim but the odds of actually healing by the method of Trumpeting, as I suggested. was probably nil.
I didn’t respond to the comment for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that my logical mind is pretty much in agreement with the sentiment.

Before I go on though, let me share something from my book which I think revant:

As I type this, my best friend from college lies in a hospice bed a few feet from me. The doctors say he’s within days of succumbing. He suffers from a particularly odious form of cancer, unlike, in many ways, any other I’ve ever known. But, in the most important way, precisely as cancer always seems to be. It’s taken over his body.

Pann first suspected trouble when his bowel became painfully obstructed. When they went in to see what was wrong, they found he’d been oozing a sticky, viscous mucus material from his appendix, probably for years, into the peritoneal cavity; the space between the organs and the interior wall of the rib cage, going all the way down to the groin.

The cavity had become so full of this puss that there was no room for normal passage of semi-digested food through the intestine. One day everything suddenly just came to a stop–like a semi flipping onto its side in front of you on the freeway.

That was about seven years ago. They have twice since had him on an operating table for most of the day, his intestines laid out on a table next to him, while they attempted to remove all trace of the mucinous growth from the inside of his body and the outside of every internal organ.

His cancer has always come back in a slightly more tenacious and altered form, now no  longer dependent on the appendix for its source and more rigid than ever.

Tonight, as they changed his bedding, I caught a glimpse of his distended stomach. Incredibly old, for a man my own age, it looked like a gunny sack full of balls of various sizes, ranging from a marble to something almost as large as a softball. The skin clung like shrink wrap to each lump.

Pann is dying, mainly, from malnutrition. That is a very frequent theme with death by cancer. In Pann’s case, it is primarily a side effect of loss of appetite, although I’m sure the tumor is making sure it gets more than its fair share of what he does eat.

That cancer, sad to say, killed him. Pann was killed, not by any ill-will of his cancer cells, but rather by their success.

How cancers kills is actually quite counterintuitive. Cancer is not an alien bacteria or virus invading the body and exercising malicious intent. Our bodies have seen and known the cancer family’s cells since the womb. There is no reason to suspect them of doing anything but their job Therefore the body never mounts a defense.

In fact, the cancer cells do nothing wrong. They do sometimes cease to perform their intended function. Usually, in fact. Their failure in that regard can, indeed, be fatal to the host. Sometimes the cancer cells produce so much waste that this overwhelms the rest of the body. But in each case it is essentially the abundance of the dysfunctional cells that does the damage.

Cancer can be ugly or cause pan. That’s often the first awareness we have of anything amiss. But it’s not an infection or a virus.

Cancer simply crowds other tissue in the body out, and it may change or preempt the alien tissue’s basic functions. Such alteration is, as often as not, a fatal complication, for the loss of the other’s role may be critical to the whole. If death is due to failure of the organ in which the cancer originates, as say in lung cancer, the effect is usually a direct result of the cancer’s redirection of its energy to reproduction of itself alone, with loss of interest in performing its original function.

Cancer essentially either strangles its mother or stops fulfilling some vital role it once did wonderfully well. Unwittingly and unintentionally, but inexorably, cancer’s preoccupation with its own well-being does the host in.

There is a phenomenon called the placebo effect, which is noted in studies of potential medications. A subject’s symptoms may go though significant improvements even if the subject is not getting the medication, but a placebo, such as a sugar pill, instead.  The effect is sometimes so pronounced that capturing it would be a giant step forward for medicine.

But there is no profit in that, so the financial benefit falls to discouraging anything other than the medications involved. And that is what happens. No one understands the placebo effect, but virtually everyone recognizes it. Somehow some patients make improvement merely through being included in the study, whether they be in the control or the experimental group.

Suppose there are ways for the mind to communicate to the cells–ways we don’t understand at all. To utilize that communication might be to tap into the power of the placebo effect.

I think that Trumpeting, or a similar form of meditation, may have a better chance of success than our current methods of treating the disease. More than anything, what is needed is remission. The cancer cells need to realize they are not the main thing–that their success is killing the whole

Giving the patient chemotherapy is never going to induce this realization. Meditation might.

Difficulty is, of course, that there is virtually no way to test such a proposition. Hence it is unlikely to ever become more than a rampant speculation.

Still, it seems as likely as not that the odds of Trumpeting being as good a therapy as what we currently do is much better than we give it credit for. Perhaps it is even a better therapy than the conventional treatments.

And this should be even more likely if the patient believes the therapy has value.

To that point, my own faith in all things scientific may well be my chief barrier. I am instilled with a tendency to exclude that which I do not embrace. So my tendency is to be dubious of that which appears non-scientific. This only makes it harder for the patent to trust the therapy. And it is the patient who has to believe.

I need someone who is willing to believe in his/her own power.

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3 Responses to What I need (2)

  1. Hank Raymond says:

    I have never seen any evidence that the placebo effect works in the case of cancer. Have you?

    • George says:

      The Placebo effect specifically refers to medical trials. I do not know wether any of those trials were directed at cacncer drugs or not. I would be very surprised if the investigators on such drugs were ignoring the possibility, however. Whether or not they were seems a bit irrelevant to the issue, however.

  2. Dallas Smith says:

    George, In medical circles the Placebo effect is often called the “Meaning Effect.” Your trumpeting, meditation, music, prayer, all such practices have meaning for those who practice them. If one accepts that the mind can affect the health of the body, then obviously there is great potential for any such practices and beliefs to positively affect one’s health outcomes. Indeed, it is a failing of many scientists not to recognize the positive potential of developing the mind-body connection enhanced through all variety of meditative practices.

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