Bonus Monday Post: Flirting with Nonsense, Part 2 (or, Call Me a Shill, Call Me a Sheeple)

Gentle Reader,

Go here for the first part.

I have now reached my limit with the alternative health movement, and I’m not going to qualify anything in this post. You can read my initial thoughts in the above referenced link to know that I’m not some crazed, hypochondriac, pop-a-pill-for-everything, doctors-are-gods-among-men type person.

This here isn’t about qualifications, apologies or beating around the bush.

I read an article over the weekend that presented the hypothesis that breast cancer is really just a fungus. I won’t provide a link because you have fingers and can Google and I don’t want to drive up the hits on that particular piece of pseudo-scientific glory.

You can prevent breast cancer through “emotional healing,” “energy balancing” and baking soda concoctions, among other things.

Here’s the thought extended to its natural conclusion: Breast cancer (cancer of any kind, really) is no big deal.

The arrogance, the ignorance and the insensitivity…. I honestly can’t even make it compute.

I had a tumor. No, it wasn’t in my breast tissue and yes, it was benign, but trust me. IT WAS A BIG DEAL. AND IT WASN’T A FUNGUS. Here’s what tumors and cancer actually are:

Cancer cells differ from normal cells in many ways that allow them to grow out of control and become invasive. One important difference is that cancer cells are less specialized than normal cells. That is, whereas normal cells mature into very distinct cell types with specific functions, cancer cells do not. This is one reason that, unlike normal cells, cancer cells continue to divide without stopping.

In addition, cancer cells are able to ignore signals that normally tell cells to stop dividing or that begin a process known as programmed cell death, or apoptosis, which the body uses to get rid of unneeded cells.

Cancer cells may be able to influence the normal cells, molecules, and blood vessels that surround and feed a tumor—an area known as the microenvironment. For instance, cancer cells can induce nearby normal cells to form blood vessels that supply tumors with oxygen and nutrients, which they need to grow. These blood vessels also remove waste products from tumors.

Cancer cells are also often able to evade the immune system, a network of organs, tissues, and specialized cells that protects the body from infections and other conditions. Although the immune system normally removes damaged or abnormal cells from the body, some cancer cells are able to “hide” from the immune system.

Tumors can also use the immune system to stay alive and grow. For example, with the help of certain immune system cells that normally prevent a runaway immune response, cancer cells can actually keep the immune system from killing cancer cells. – What is Cancer?

But, you know, don’t trust that link because government equals lies, all lies. And the Lizard Lords of the Illuminati control the pharmaceutical shills who work for the National Cancer Institute. And cancer never existed before vaccines. And if we just ate paleo and brushed our teeth with clay we’d be great.

If only I had had my chakras feng shui’d.

I’m furious about this because the alternative health movement preys on my people, the chronically ill, much more aggressively than modern medicine ever has. That’s right, I said it. These bloggers with too much time on their hands, these “practitioners” with “degrees” from diploma mills, these “healing crystal” and bone-broth hawkers INSIST if you would just eat the left hoof of a three-year-old sheep ground into fine powder mixed with mung wort and drink dung beetle tea and give yourself a coffee (or even better, bleach) enema, you will be fine! If it doesn’t work, then you should try rubbing sixteen essential oils on your belly button while levitating above a bath heated to precisely 145.236 degrees. If that doesn’t work, then you’re just a moron who can’t do anything right and you should probably just die anyway because natural selection and that’s how it is.

Satire and sarcasm, people. Satire and sarcasm.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve come across a site or article promising me healing for only three easy payments of $59.99. Just as bad as the “preachers” who ask, tears in their eyes, for your “financial seed of faith.” And oh, their cries against doctors! “They don’t care! They don’t know anything! They work for Big Pharma (whatever that means)! Buy my book! Call me for a consult and pay me an astronomical fee! Purchase this (food/water/rock/pillow)!”

Meanwhile, eight months passed between the time imaging showed I had a problem with my liver and the actual removal of the tumor. My doctors who didn’t care about me and wanted to make me sick and were getting paid big bucks to keep me “down” were incredibly cautious. They helped me come off of my medications – and didn’t give me new ones. They suggested dietary changes. Over and over I was told that they needed more information. More understanding of what was going on. When I finally did make it to the cancer surgeon, he was none-too keen on rushing into the operating room. He wanted to make sure that was absolutely the best option and even the last resort.

Hmmmmmm. Methinks something is off here.

What’s most especially awesome about these harbingers of health, these dispensers of wisdom to the poor deluded masses is that they often refuse to publish respectful dissenting comments. Or they go the other route and challenge someone to prove them wrong, and something like this happens:

A German biologist who offered €100,000 (£71,350; $106,300) to anyone who could prove that measles is a virus has been ordered by a court to pay up.

Stefan Lanka, who believes the illness is psychosomatic, made the pledge four years ago on his website.

The reward was later claimed by German doctor David Barden, who gathered evidence from various medical studies. Mr Lanka dismissed the findings.

But the court in the town of Ravensburg ruled that the proof was sufficient.

Reacting to the verdict by the court in the southern town, Mr Lanka said he would appeal.

“It is a psychosomatic illness,” he told regional paper Suedkurier. “People become ill after traumatic separations.” – Germany Court Orders Measles Skeptic to Pay 100,000 Euros

Measles is a psychosomatic illness?

What.

So you’ll have to forgive me if I pay ZERO attention to the claims of alternative health from here on out. You’ll have to forgive me if I roll my eyes. Call me a shill, call me a sheeple. Tell me I’m willfully blind. I DON’T CARE. 

Finally, if you’d like to do some starter reading regarding alternative medicine and how it should be approached with extreme caution, please see:

Alternative Medicine in the Church by Janice Lyons at Watchman Fellowship

Alternative Medicine: a Christian Perspective by George Smith, taken from Triple Helix, a publication of the Christian Medical Fellowship

Grace and peace (and common sense) along the way.

Stop Embracing the Darkness

 

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Gentle Reader,

It wasn’t my plan to spend this day curled up in bed begging God to make the stomach pains stop. And spending intimate time with the porcelain throne. Third time in four months this has happened. Probably more doctor’s visits and tests in my not-so-distant future.

Which has me thinking.

Life is really hard. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Illness. Financial stress or outright collapse. Homes burn down in freak electrical fires. Friends move away. Jobs change. Divorce happens. Loved ones die.

It sucks.

Sucks more to stay in that place, the place you go to when the initial shock hits.

I’m just going to be blunt: We have to stop wallowing.

We have to stop embracing the darkness.

Not for nothing did I decide to kill myself three-and-a-half years ago. I get what it is to be so far down the rabbit hole of grief that you can’t even begin to imagine light or warmth. I don’t at all think that we should avoid mourning or working through our issues and feelings. I don’t believe that sorrow is tidy or linear.

I do believe that it passes. No, we don’t always “get over” something. Life will never be the same after a death in the family, the sting of betrayal or a loss of security. These kinds of things are forever-type changes that ripple through the years.

But if we’re still indulging in anger over an event years after it happened…. Still caught up in crying jags years after the death…. Still looking for someone to blame…. Searching for statuses or photos on social media from the time surrounding that hard moment and thus keep reliving it…. Still picking at the scabs, rubbing the scars raw, refusing to move forward….

That’s wrong.

It disturbs me when I read a post or an article airing grief or an offense written in such a way as to make that grief or offense sound fresh when it isn’t. It bothers me to see people stuck in mourning mode. I know what that feels like. I know the rage, the bitterness, the crippling nature of the tears. I also know that it can reach a point when the sorrow feels comfortable and even righteous. “How can anyone really expect me to move on? They don’t understand!”

Meanwhile, friendships fade and families suffer. Children are confused at best, neglected or abused at worst because Mom or Dad won’t come out of the fog. The boss wonders how to handle this newly-volatile employee. God becomes seemingly distant because we make an idol out of that which has been lost. We worship at altars of death and decay.

My friend, this should not be so.

A gentleman in my Sunday school class said something very interesting yesterday: “Every day is a holiday. You can choose to be happy.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement. In the immediacy of sorrow, there’s nothing to smile about. That is for certain. But as the days pass and the heart bleeds a little less with each pump, we are faced with a choice. Do we let God do the work of healing and comfort, or do we spit in His eye and rip open the wound time and again?

I am the last person on earth who will tell you that depression or anxiety put you in the “Too Far Gone” column. I won’t tell you how to mourn. I don’t believe that feelings are sinful – but what we do with them can be. The pain should be diminishing, however slowly, as the days pass. This is a great gift from the One who overcame the world, a store of fresh mercy from the One who never promised there would be no trouble.

Embrace Him, dear one.

Let the darkness go.

Grace and peace along the way.

Five Minute Friday: Plan

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Gentle Reader,

I didn’t plan to turn on my computer tonight. We’re experiencing a lull in our relationship. I just need a break.

But I also love my FMF tribe.

I planned to lurk.

Instead I quoted Chandler Bing.

Kate. The ladies. We: plan.

Go.

Last week my blogging/Voxer/all things online buddy Rebekah mentioned that Jen Hatmaker was looking for people to be part of the launch team for her new book, For the Love, releasing in August. I’d never even heard of the concept of a launch team, let alone imagined myself being part of one. But because Jen has blessed me with her humor and her straight-shooting, I filled out the form, shrugged my shoulders and went about the day.

I didn’t plan to be chosen.

The notification sneaked into my inbox on Tuesday and my toes curled with excitement. I get to read a book before everyone else does! I get to support someone! I get to help promote the Gospel and some truly witty quips! Sure, it’s a PDF download, a dreaded electronic…thing that this bibliophile has made passionate arguments against. (Patrick, if you’re reading this, I don’t want to hear a SINGLE. WORD).

I can’t stop scrolling. I can’t stop reading.

I didn’t plan to get hooked. I didn’t plan to laugh out loud. I didn’t plan to tell myself, “Just one more chapter.” Two days later and I’ve only got a third of the book left.

For the Love is a something I needed to read right now. I didn’t plan on it. I didn’t even really realize that I needed to be reminded of the richness of grace. But God knew.

God planned.

Stop.

I can’t say much more about this fabulous book until the official launch this summer, but reader – get thee a copy. Request it at your local libraries. Make For the Love part of your plan.

Grace and peace along the way.