Ah! Yes! The good news.
First a general review of the medical establishment’s relationship with its patients to be followed by a detailed look at just how my PSA fell to 2.03 from over 5, with supplements and one prescription drug (finasteride).
My story as story, as meaning, is both simple and complex. It is all about the difficulties of the emerging relationship between patient and the medical community as demonstrated in what I had to go through to have my victory.
How so? Meaning what?
What I experienced and what you, the reader, have undoubtedly experienced as well, is the medical community can be loathe to accept the input from the patient and partner in the best way in determining treatment. It’s not that I have nothing good to say regarding their contribution to my apparently successful resolution of my problem with an aging prostate, but, rather that the problems and small but significant crises I underwent in the course of dealing with my elevated PSA are totally typical of the medical establishment approach as a whole, and are, for the most part, unnecessary.
These problems need to be remedied to have an effective and successful health system in the US. One we can afford, by the way. One that prevents disease and reduces the need for expensive high-tech interventions and lowers, rather than raises, cost.
Our experience lately with my wife’s breast cancer turned out to be one more example of this situation. Successfully resolved, but with a lot of unnecessary drama and uncertainty on the way to this. Also, a tremendous increase in the cost of the treatment that could have been avoided. This will be blogged!
My main point, which I will make in regard to my own problem with my prostate, is that this coordination does not exist as it should, on the level that it should, because the medical community suffers from an unwillingness to share power and has certain areas “roped-off” as taboo in terms of treatment. The patient is considered a subordinate, not a partner whose input is vital.
I read years ago that quite a few doctors get annoyed by, even angry with, patients that do their own research on-line and have a lot of questions. MDs have been through quite a lot on their way to become doctors, and I know this first-hand because I myself spent two years at an East Coast medical school. I did pass everything including the National Boards at the end of two years. Over twenty percent of my class at Jefferson had to retake those National Boards. I did not. Chalk it up to an exceptional memory.
I saw that the degree of self-denial can result in an attitude of superiority, which appears justified, at least, to the MD, but can make a patient feel alienated and neglected. When a problem then occurs, ah! Lawsuits begin.
The movement to take the MDs off their pedestals actually began in the late sixties, ironically, while MDs were made to look heroic, wise and good in various TV shows such as “Dr. Kildare” and “Ben Casey”.
Then along came this thing called “getting a second opinion”. On TV talk shows such as “The Donahue Show”, this topic got well explored. This was a paradigm shift.
Because, if in scientific medicine, which they all supposedly practiced, there could only be one true, correct opinion, how was it that often enough the best doctors disagreed among themselves?
You mean what was to be done in a given medical situation was not all that clearly set? There were things to be considered outside of physiology and pharmacology?
OMG. The patient would have to be involved in the whole decision-making process.
Then there were the MDs who really went against the grain.
There was one of the leading pediatricians of the US who was a regular on the Donahue Show. One day he explained that he took a gram of C an hour, the day before, the day of and the day after, traveling and appearing on Phil Donahue’s show, without which, he said, the stress would cause him to get gravely ill.
A few weeks after watching his show, after reading his book, I found myself on the verge of collapse after running more than three miles and then getting invited to run across the Golden Gate Bridge with some young men I knew. I remember sprinting the last few hundred yards and finishing before them in spite of having run three miles more. Then, on the way home, I felt myself collapsing internally.
I got home and started taking one gram of C an hour. It all stopped within about five or six hours.
The pediatrician explained that very healthy babies sometimes succumbed to terrible bacterial infections post-infection with a cold because the immune system had used up the C to fight the virus and then when the bacteria invaded, had nothing with which to fight the bacteria.
This was why he recommended Vit C supplements for children. For want of a safe, inexpensive supplement of Vitamin C, you could obviate that whole situation. Then, “Doctor, Doctor, Mr MD”, why not get on board and recommend a supplement of Vitamin C for infants and toddlers, and children in general?
See, back then, to hear MDs tell it, Vit C’s job was only to help form collagen. Its absence created scurvy with its soft-tissue breakdown, bleeding, etc. No one ever mentioned that Vitamin C was used to make a free radical that the white blood cells shot at invading bacteria.
So, the MDs were getting thrown off their pedestals.
Here’s another story.
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I was there during the controversy brought about by Linus Pauling’s book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold.
What could I say?
I was eating lunch in a medical fraternity while a bunch of us were watching Mike Douglas interview Pauling while one of the top internists of Philadelphia sat nearby, fuming! LOL.
We med students essentially had no opinion regarding Pauling, Vit C and colds, but we all agreed that the internist HATED Pauling. One story about my conversation with the head of pediatrics and my close friend’s father might suffice.
I asked, having no knowledge of exactly what Pauling claimed regarding Vitamin C, as to what his objections were. He was, in a word, adamant, in his objections.
Ha! Turns out that (#1) was the fact that Pauling was not a doctor! As if that whole area of knowledge was more than what a Nobel Prize winning scientist could deal with! And, wow! (#2) Vitamin C is an acid, which it is: “Ascorbic acid”. Somebody who failed to dilute the C or who did not know that (e.g.) milk of magnesia could be added to buffer the acidity, might get diarrhea.
Not once did I hear a refutation of the actual evidence of the various Vit C double-blind tests done by well-qualified researchers, including MDs, that demonstrated just how effective Vit C was in dealing with the common cold.
So, with all that in mind, I tell my story in Part 2.