Tuesday, October 19, 2010

It's Not Just Cancer that Medical Research Helps, aka as Thank You, Big Pharma, that I can breathe!

I posted a response to a post that Allan mentioned in one of his blog posts. He got really mad at Becky Johns of My Walk from Flab to Fab blog over an entry on cancer.

I didn't stop to do research or get numbers or anything like Allan. This is personal for me, as in ME. My gratitude for the advances of science and pharmaceutical research and the doctors who have tried to improve my life--and keep me breathing.

But I did want to add my own bit. I tried to comment and got an error message (don't know if my comment went through). But this was my personal reaction, which was spontaneous and maybe not as eloquent as I would have liked. Whatever. Here it is:

I do not doubt there is a great deal of bureaucratic waste and some abuses in ANY large, for-profit (or even nonprofit) system, and that includes Big Pharma.

However, I'm alive because of science, technology and Big Pharma. My brother and I were both born with bad, bad asthma,allergies, immune problems. He is 14 years older and grew up in clean air mountains eating farm food (organic, since they were dirt poor and had no high tech fertilizers and such), eating just killed chickens, fresh laid eggs, just milked milk, running and getting exercise. But he had asthma that sometimes simply put him near death. So did I.

I grew up here. I got the bad food that sixties and seventies and 80's youth likes (fast food, sugary junk), and I suffered as my brother did without the benefits of fresh air and food.

HOWEVER, neither one of us saw significant relief from our crippling symptoms until they came out with inhaled steroids and Singular and antihistamines of the stronger sort. That made life almost NORMAL. Prior to that, I'd miss 50 days or more of school He routinely ended up in the ER, me,too.

I would have died without the anesthesia and medical know-how and antibiotics that took care of my acute appendicitis with incipient peritonitis. My father would have died without his anti-epileptic drugs. My mom would have died without her bone marrow stimulating drugs and transfusions when aplastic anemia laid her low. It gave her 6 years of life she and I cherished.

I am a God-fearing woman. I believe in miracles. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe we should not be gluttons and become fat (like I did) becaus it is a sin. I believe that cleaner food is wholesome, which is why I support local farms and belong to an organic co-op. I buy organic milk, eggs, and a lot of my other dairy...and as possible meats and such. I like the local food movement.

But I will not dismiss the immense benefits of medicine, technology, and Big Pharma. People ARE being saved by meds that the pharmaceutical research develops. Lives are being saved.

Is it all pure and perfect. No way. Greed is part of the human sin condition. As is corruption, not just in big corporations, but in any aspect of life--families, churches, small businesses, sports, etc. Where you find profit, you'll find corruption. Where you find desire, ditto.

But I worked in a major hospital. I worked in the hematology/oncology wards, and I saw those doctors, nurses, and the medications/drugs they used sometimes work amazing things to help. I will add that I and a coworker would also pray for our patients on a daily basis--she a Pentecostal, me a Baptist. And my Catholic mom and I would pray constantly for her own healing. We do give God his due. But I believe the God who made our bodies able to repair (to some degree) also gave us brains to come up with remedies. He's the one who gave us the plants out there from which things like healing drugs are refined. Herbs, willow bark, etc...it's been used for ages.

I think to condemn a whole, when that whole does so much good in its parts, is fanatical and short-sighted.

Mir, Princess Dieter

Is there some selfish finagling involved with the "pnk" campaign. Sure. Probably. But I will happily buy pink products if it means more money for scientists (even if others line their pockets). I want a cure. I'm a woman. I've got boobies. I've got sisters with boobies, nieces with boobies, and I want them and myself to KEEP THEM and their lives as long as possible, as healthfully as possible.

I donate to cancer research, the lung association, leukemia. I've had people I love be affected by all these diseases (I'm a bad, bad asthmatic, and I can live almost like a normal person cause I take a bunch of meds, meds that have nearly zip daily side effects and don't make me nuts like the prednisone and epinephrine and theophylline that were my only options growing up). I would have died at age 4 without the medications during hospitalization that kept pneumonia from killing me. (More than one bout of pneumonia.) I would very likely have died of the HOng Kong flu when I was 8 had the doc not had those meds to inject me with (five of them) to keep my airways open. I was moments away from death in 1974 at the age of 14  due to a severe allergic reaction (exposure to a cat, dog and parrot all at once at a pal's house just was too much). Fortunately, the friend's dad was a cop and, thank Heaven, had his car with the lights/siren and rushed me to the ER, not stopping for red lights in the snowy winter. During that drive,  I made my internal confession and prepared to meet my Maker. It was the drugs they injected into me and the drugs they infused into what was left of my airways that saved me so that I can be here, middle-aged and 50, typing today.

Thank you, reasearchers, who came up with these meds. Thank you!

I would love to see lots of diseases and conditions wiped the hell out or essentilly nullified in my lifetime, especially those that affect people who matter to me: multiple sclerosis, lupus, asthma, prostate cancer, fibromyalgia, insulin-dependent juvenile diabetes, paralysis, etc. And if we can put the kibosh on cancer, especially those that affect people well before old age, hooray.

Big Pharma ain't perfect. But Big Pharma makes breathroughs. And my life is better for it.

And I'm not furious at Becky, like Allan. I am dismayed.

And yes, I disagree vehemently with her about cancer research, yes, but I don't disagree with the value of cleaner foods and more wholesome lifestyles (activity, food, less stress, all the things that sages for ages have said is good for us, nothing new).  I can't help but wonder, though, if Becky or one of her children came down with a treatable oncological disease, would she really reject the established medical regimen or chemo? Really?

I have my doubts. I think she'll rethink.

I'll also add that many, many ladies from the churches I've attended home-schooled with excellent results, and I have seen healing miracles happen (sadly, not for my mom or me, but for others). I did have a church pal get healed from cancer without chemotherapy/radiation/drugs, a gal who went the organic, vegetarian route. BUT...one cannot predict when miracles will happen or when a body will on its own go into remission and which will not. Why reject effective medications and regimens out of hand? Why dismiss research that extends and saves lives? God, in the end, is the God who creates the human brain, human ingenuity, human creativity.  So, I do not diss the choice to say no to drugs or to home school. Personal choice. And I pray almost daily for MORE breakthroughs, MORE cures. I pray God blesses researchers to find the brilliant insight that will save MORE lives.

I find no contradiction in taking my daily meds AND eating organic foods and filtering my water and destressing with prayer and exercising. I see it all as part of being healthier.

And I see no contradiction in donating to cancer research /seeing my docs regularly/ staying on top of the research for my medical conditions AND avoiding certain toxins/ eating a mostly healthful diet/using natural remedies and....praying for miracles.


For a fatfighting blogger-doctor's response, read this.


Allan said...

Very well put..

Anonymous said...

Amen. A most excellent response, Ms. Princess.

Ann (-17 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

AWESOME post!!