Health Matters

Health is one of those “things that matter.” (Things that matter being the ever-recurring theme of this blog; look up along the top!) There are continuing revelations lately about the un-reliability of our so-called “health care system.” Of drugs, of theories about disease causation, false cancer diagnoses, etc. etc.

I personally lost faith in the conventional medical/health care establishment quite a long time ago now. I don’t really remember when or why, but I suspect it was a gradual process. I now usually say our health care system is good for broken bones & gushing blood. Not so sure what else, really. (& likely this is not entirely accurate … but it feels accurate enough to me.)

What is motivating me to write about this now are repeated instances recently of friends surprising me with their continued reliance on this terribly broken system.

Friends I might expect to have dropped any naïve faith in technology & drugs & conventional medicine to “save” themselves … or anyone else.

I’m going to provide a list below of relevant resources to check out so that you as a reader can embark on your own fact-finding mission & start putting the pieces together for yourself (&/or share them with others who may need to know these things).

First, let me tell you about an Ah-ha moment I had many years ago now.

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When I was pregnant with my second child (who’s now in her 30s), I had an ultrasound done at the halfway mark (20 weeks), as was then routine (perhaps still is, I don’t know).

I was told that I had “placenta praevia” & that if this situation did not reverse itself, I would need to have a Caesarean section. However, many weeks later I had the second ultrasound, the problem had reversed itself, &, to my great relief I went on to give birth vaginally.

For some reason, what came to me at the time was this: I wondered whether this was a situation that had perhaps often occurred in the past, but had not been known to us until the ultrasound technology came along. I thought “Hmmm. I wonder if maybe this has been happening forever, & we just didn’t know it. Nor did we perhaps necessarily need to know, because it was a situation that would later usually resolve itself.” Just a (possible) intuition that came to mind.

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Many years later – 20+, actually – I wound up ordering a book recommended in a Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives newsletter. The book is called Should I be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here’s Why. It’s a mind-blower of a book, & I highly recommend it.

For me the book became the final nail in the coffin for medical procedures such as mammograms & colonoscopies. Mammograms had fallen by the wayside for me some years previously, after I’d learned they can initiate cancer.The film ‘Exposure: Environmental Links to Breast Cancer’  had twigged me to this.

As for colonoscopies, besides the ever-present risk of false positives & false negative results with diagnostic tests (as well explained in the book), surgery of any kind is inherently risky & always best avoided if at all possible.

(An article about false diagnoses of cancer has just recently come my way. You can read it here )

Now, this is important: While I (after much careful deliberation) don't "do" mammograms or colonoscopies, get flu shots, or take the osteoporosis medication that was prescribed for me, I am not advising anyone else to do as I do just “because I say so.” You need to dig into things yourself – but I do think you’ll find there is plenty of evidence to suggest that blindly trusting medical practitioners may not turn out to be a particularly wise or safe course of action.

Couple key things:

  1. Cancer has become big business. I don’t want to insult anyone who’s in the biz – but make no mistake, it’s become a very big job-creator & money-maker. There are industries that both cause cancer (with their toxic products) & then turn around & profit from their cancer creation (e.g., with mammography machines). It’s sick & horrible & I try not to think about this any more than I have to. 
  2. I have friends who’ve chosen not to follow the advice of their doctors when given a cancer diagnosis, who’ve healed themselves without the recommended surgeries/chemo/radiation. (It took research & lots of effort, yes. No question! In one case I can think of, it actually took just leaving things alone. This is something that sometimes works. Partly because of this problem of over-diagnosis. You need to read the book!!)
  3. The stories of medical/hospital mistakes are scary. My own mother, a retired nurse, had at least 2 serious errors made when she was in hospital. One of them, had she not caught it, would have killed her. A recent CBC re-broadcast of the ‘White Coat, Black Art’ episode called “Lessons from the Hudson to the Hospital” is very eye-opening in this regard.
  4. Prevention of illness (& problems of any kind, when it comes right down to it!) is always the best way to go, yet never receives proper energy, attention or funding. You see, in order to prevent illness, we’d have to re-think our lifestyles. We’ve become big “consumers” – & consumers want to keep doing & having the jobs that will pay for all this costly stuff we have become accustomed to consuming. We have not landed where we are overnight, Reader. It took us work & time & ingrained habits to get here. It’s made an awful lot of people an awful lot of money, too!
  5. Healthy skepticism is probably a good attitude to develop toward the so-called “health care system.” You are the person who is really in charge of your health – so what you eat, how you exercise, & so on, are utterly your responsibility. I myself have been a consumer of organic foods for longer than I can now recall. When asked by friends with vastly greater financial resources “How can you afford this?” I reply “I see it as an investment in my health!” I’m also a person who buys & consumes less than many folks, in general, being a believer in that saying “Live simply so others may simply live.”
  6. Along with seeing many instances of medical mistakes or worse, I’ve seen that our so-called Health Units do not always (or perhaps even often??) truly have health in mind. They will promote the use of chemicals to kill mosquitoes when more people would be harmed by the chemicals than by the West Nile virus they are supposedly fighting. And/or sit on their hands while the nuclear industry does its thing, never questioning (or even acknowledging) “routine releases” … and all the while discouraging proper research into health impacts of local nuclear facilities. Or fail to chase down cancer clusters in an area because they are not “statistically significant.” (Have you read the book A Civil Action or seen the movie?? Or the books Welcome to Shirley – a memoir of an atomic town, or Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Shadow of Rocky Flats?) Nosirree, you can certainly not count on your local health unit to keep you healthy or safe.

 

Enough, enough; make me stop!! I could go on about this practically forever…

(& of course I’ve barely even scratched the surface of this big & important topic … I know, I know! It’s a start, though, & there are good resources listed below.)

Janet

 

Articles / Books to check out

 

** apologies re: formatting weirdnesses. Arghhhhhhhh!!!!!

 

  • BOOK & YouTube: The Enemy Within – The High Cost of Living Near Nuclear Reactors, by Jay M. Gould. Great 9-minute YouTube about the book (an interview with the author) here

 

Films / YouTube / Radio Segment 

 

 

**** Walking, btw, is surprisingly good for our health.   ‘Why walking is a wonder drug for your health.'

 

‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “No matter how far you’ve gone down a wrong road, TURN BACK!” – Source unknown

Bonus quotes:

On the dangers of un-guided technology: “We are aboard a train which is gathering speed, racing down a track on which there are an unknown number of switches leading to unknown destinations. No single scientist is in the engine cab and there may be demons at the switch. Most of society is in the caboose, looking backward.” – Ralph Lapp, Scientist-turned-writer

“The sum of the whole is this: Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy.  The best way to lengthen our days is to walk steadily and with a purpose.” – Charles Dickens

“People will say with pride: ‘I’m not interested in politics.’ They might just as well say, ‘I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.’” – Martha Gellhorn

“We live in a world that has practiced violence for generations – violence to other creatures, violence to the planet, violence to ourselves. Yet in my garden, where I have nurtured a healthy soil-plant community, I see a model of a highly successful, non-violent system where I participate in gentle biological diplomacy rather than war. The garden has more to teach us than just how to grow food.” ~ Eliot Coleman, ‘Four-Season Harvest’

“The healthy, the strong individual, is the one who asks for help when he needs it. Whether he has an abscess on his knee or in his soul.” – Rona Barrett

“We are told over and over again these days that the economy is the bottom line. But as a biologist this never made any sense to me...It is the biosphere that is the source of everything that matters because it is the health of the biosphere, including the water, soil and air we all breathe, that is responsible for survival and our quality of life.” – David Suzuki