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OVERCOMING CANCER: IDENTIFYING THE “BENEFITS” OF ILLNESS

July 23rd, 2011

The task that faces the patient includes: (1) identifying the needs being met through the illness, and (2) finding ways of meeting those needs directly without illness. How can you identify these needs? We invite you to participate in an exercise we use with our patients to help them begin to recognize the benefits of their illness.Get a piece of paper and list the five most important benefits you received from a major illness in your life. (You may find that there are more than five.) If you have or have had cancer, use this as the basis for this exercise.The following is an example of how the exercise can work. During the preparation of this book, we had a conference with a business associate in Vail, Colorado. We got through the conference ahead of schedule and our associate, a nonskier, decided he would take some skiing lessons. He returned from the lessons exhausted and flew home. By the next day, he had developed a case of the flu that kept him in bed for two full weeks. In an effort to get well again and to apply the concepts we had described to him in Vail, he discussed the situation preceding the onset of the flu and then listed six benefits he derived from his illness.At the time I became ill, I was having a lot of trouble finishing a job in which I had a great emotional and financial stake. It was very important to me that it be completed in a splendid fashion, but the work was going slowly and I had doubts about the product I was producing. By getting sick I was able to meet many needs at once:1. I wanted my wife’s help on the project but felt that, unless I literally couldn’t do it myself, it would be wrong for me to distract her from her own activities to help me.2. I needed the excuse of “something beyond my control” for not finishing the project on time.3. I may also have been preparing an excuse for any imperfections that might appear in it.4. It gave me a reason to get seriously involved with my own health, which meant among other things resolving that when I got well I would find the time to play tennis, an activity that I enjoy but which I normally don’t do because I’m “too busy.”5. It was a simple rest from my daily labors, which were giving me a lot of stress.6. The work at Vail called up many memories of my father’s own death from a brain tumor. The unresolved issues of that situation were very much on my mind.Clearly his physical exhaustion, both from the unusual exertion of skiing and the stress of completing a major job, contributed to his susceptibility to disease. But, as his answers show, the disease also gave him permission to rest, to ask for help, to take care of himself, to recharge his energy, to release himself from’ the tension of meeting very high standards, to remake decisions regarding priorities and lifestyle—all of which he had been unable to do without the illness.The final pressure, the feelings about his father’s death, was stirred up by the discussion of our approach to cancer treatment. Getting comfortable with this approach required that he start to resolve his feelings about his father’s death.In going over the lists our patients write, we find five major areas in which they most frequently benefit from their illnesses:1. Receiving permission to get out of dealing with a troublesome problem or situation.2. Getting attention, care, nurturing from people around them.3. Having an opportunity to regroup their psychological energy to deal with a problem or to gain a new perspective.4. Gaining an incentive for personal growth or for modifying undesirable habits.5. Not having to meet their own or others’ high expectations.Now review your own list. Consider what underlying needs were met by your illness: relief from stress, love and attention an opportunity to renew your energy, and so forth. Next, try to identify the rules or beliefs that limit you from meeting each of these needs when you are well.One of our patients discovered that she felt a lack of physical closeness from her husband, but it was unthinkable for her simply to ask for affection and caring when she was well. Now she has given herself permission to say to her husband at any time, “I want a hug.” She also learned some important things about herself as she looked at why it was so difficult to ask for physical closeness from her husband.Ask yourself if you have been unable to allow yourself periods of release from tension. What personal beliefs stop you from giving yourself this freedom without needing the illness as justification? You might believe, for example, that it is a “sign of weakness” to give in to pressure or tension, or that it is your duty to put others’ needs ahead of your own. Because these rules are mostly unconscious, this self-examination will take effort. But taking preventive action to avoid future illness is worth your time and energy. Once you begin to become aware of your internal rules and are able to see alternative ways of viewing situations, you are on the road to a healthier life.By using the lessons of illness as a starting point, we can educate ourselves to recognize our needs and take the opportunity to satisfy them. This is the creative use of illness.*38\347\2*

EATING DISORDERS: ANOREXIA AND BULIMIA /BIOCHEMICAL ROOTS – WHY LIQUID ZINC?

July 12th, 2011

Individuals with eating disorders usually have a difficult time absorbing the nutrient any other way. This is because zinc in powder, tablet, or capsule form must first be absorbed by the small intestine before it can do any good. And if the zinc is combined with another element (as it is in zinc sulfate, gluconate, or picolinate, for example), first the complex has to be broken down in the stomach to liberate the zinc, then it must be absorbed by the small intestine. People with eating disorders usually have digestive difficulties; therefore, these products are relatively useless. Liquid zinc, on the other hand, will bypass the stomach and small intestine and directly enter the blood and liver. Once the liver recognizes zinc’s presence, a positive chain of events will be set into motion.It may take some time, anywhere from three days to three weeks, before the effects of liquid zinc are seen. This is because zinc depends on a protein carrier, and it generally takes several days for zinc to facilitate its production. Once the protein carrier is synthesized, zinc is transported to where it needs to go. The nutrient begins to saturate brain tissue and effect a positive shift in perceptions. As zinc is involved in over 200 enzyme reactions in the brain, this influx begins to correct the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the eating disorder.Schauss is not the only researcher to praise the benefits of liquid zinc. Its value has been confirmed worldwide in several studies performed since the 1980s. Placebo-controlled, double-blind experiments do confirm that most eating-disorder patients are zinc-deficient and that administering liquid zinc is highly beneficial. Further, five years after initial treatment with liquid zinc, follow-up studies find that nearly 65 percent of bulimics and 85 percent of anorexics remain fully recovered. Additionally, liquid zinc has been correlated with mood improvement. The latter findings have implications not just for people with eating disorders but for a wider population with mental health concerns.Clearly then, liquid zinc should be a first line of defense in any eating disorders program. Available in the United States since 1984, the product is safe, effective, and easy to use. A problem, however, is that most eating-disorder treatment facilities have been slow to recognize zinc’s importance. This is unfortunate for a number of reasons, including financial ones. Institutional costs of programs that combat eating disorders can add up to nearly $30,000 a month. By contrast, liquid zinc costs $2 to $5 a day and promises good results.It should be remembered that, even if you don’t have an eating disorder, zinc is an important nutrient for appetite regulation as well as for bolstering the immune system and maintaining optimum skin condition. Some good food sources of this mineral include wheat germ, lima beans, lentils, almonds, split peas, tuna, and pumpkin seeds.*63\233\8*

THE PLACEBO RESPONSE FOR PAIN TREATMENT: ANGINA

July 9th, 2011

In the 1940s and 50s, before the days of coronary bypass surgery, an operation intended to improve the circulation of blood through the heart was carried out on many thousands of patients with angina. The method was to ligate two arteries below the sternum in the belief that new blood vessels would grow to bypass the block, helping the heart. The rationale for this important operation, which was successful, came to be doubted when the new irrigation of the heart could not be observed. Astonishingly, two groups of surgeons and physicians, one at Harvard and the other at the University of Pennsylvania, obtained ethical permission to carry out a placebo trial. In one group of patients, arteries were exposed and ligated in the approved fashion, while in the other group the arteries were exposed but not blocked. The observing physicians and the volunteer patients did not know who had the true operation and who had the sham. The majority of patients in both groups of patients showed great improvement in the amount of reported pain, in their walking distance, in their consumption of drugs, and in some cases in the shape of their electrocardiogram. This is a rare example of surgery being submitted to a placebo trial, and the improvement of both groups was maintained over six months of observation despite a general belief that placebos have only a brief fading action.*63\219\2*

DISEASES OF THE SKIN: FAVUS, HERPES AND ICHTHYOSIS

June 24th, 2011

Favus   This is sometimes spoken of as crusted ringworm. It is due to a parasite and is regarded as contagious. The susceptible skins are those that have lost their natural immunity; not all members of a community will get this complaint, which shows that there is a natural barrier to it. Individuals who suffer in this way are usually of poor nutrition, and urgent body-building measures are required in addition to the local treatment. It is characterized by a small saucer-shaped yellowish crust that forms around the hair follicles and may give off a musty odour.
HerpesEverybody is familiar with this eruption on the skin. It appears as a little group of vesicles that form but give no particular trouble. They are generally connected with an elevation of the bodily temperature, and often follow feverish colds, appearing around about the lips. These are sometimes called cold sores. Their appearance in children often indicates that there has been an unsuspected temperature. They clear up as the general condition of the body improves.
IchthyosisThis is sometimes called fish-skin and is a difficult condition to overcome. Some authorities are inclined to the view that it may be hereditary, but that is no reason for instituting despair in the patient. It is true that external applications are not of much avail, but a systematic health-building regimen should be adopted and carried out with great persistence. If neglected, the surface of the skin may become very hardened and wart-like growths may appear.
*29/154/5*

PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOSOCIAL ASPECTS OF PAIN CONTROL: PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES-ANXIETY

June 17th, 2011

• The relief of anxiety may greatly lessen pain.     Anxiety is a normal and universal emotion. As with depression, the distinction of abnormal anxiety in patients with physical illness is poorly defined. The clinical features and signs of anxiety are numerous. Patients with cancer may have fears relating to the uncertainty of the future, to bodily dysfunction, unrelieved pain or other symptoms, or it may be the fear of death itself. Panic attacks can occur which consist of sudden, unpredictable attacks of intense fear and physical discomfort, usually lasting 15 to 20 minutes.     Normal anxiety-Anxiety occurs normally in response to the stress and crises associated with cancer and its treatment. These episodes settle with time and general supportive care.     Adjustment disorder-reactive anxiety. Anxiety lasting longer than expected (more than 7 to 14 days) or exceeding the level regarded as normal and adaptive, may be classified as an adjustment disorder. Reactive anxiety follows a defined incident or stress and depressive symptoms frequently coexist.     Organic anxiety syndromes-In patients with cancer, anxiety can occur secondary to other medical problems.     Anxiety disorders-Generalised anxiety, panic disorders and various phobias may be precipitated or aggravated by cancer or its treatment. These patients have more severe and disabling symptoms which appear inappropriate and out of proportion to the medical situation. A generalised anxiety disorder is characterised by chronic unrealistic worries with autonomic hyperactivity, apprehension and hypervigilance.     Treatment-Patients with normal anxiety responses simply require good supportive care. Temporary use of a hypnotic at night and an anxiolytic by day is appropriate if the symptoms are severe. Brief supportive psychotherapy is frequently beneficial. Behavioural techniques including distraction, relaxation therapy and stress management techniques will help some patients. If significant depression is present, an antidepressant should be considered.     Benzodiazepines are the drugs used most frequently to treat anxiety. Drugs with short and intermediate half-lives (alprazolam, lorazepam, oxazepam) are preferred to longer acting drugs such as diazepam. Lorazepam has the advantage that it can be given sublingually. Midazolam can be given subcutaneously and can be included in a subcutaneous infusion with morphine.*80\55\2*

IBS AND PRESCRIBED DRUGS: TRANQUILLIZERS AND SLEEPING PILLS – JUNE’S EXPERIENCE

June 8th, 2011

The effect of tranquillizers and sleeping pills on the gut is unclear, but there is no doubt that a very high percentage of users develop the Irritable Bowel Syndrome and chronic candidiasis either during therapy or during withdrawal. The symptoms can persist for many years after complete withdrawal from the drugs.More gastro-intestinal problems were reported in people taking lorazepam (Ativan) than other drugs in the same group, such as diazepam (Valium). It is known that these drugs block the absorption of zinc so it is possible that they hinder the absorption of other vital nutrients, thus allowing the body to become depleted; Candida thrives in these circumstances. Here is the typical experience:June had been off diazepam (Valium) for two years. The first six months had been very rough but she coped well and was pleased with her progress. She had much more energy and felt she was coming alive again; the depression she had experienced for years had gone. When she had been drug-free for about ten months she started to have digestive troubles – constipation, bloating and pain. She was fully investigated at the hospital and told she had the Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The high-fibre diet made her symptoms worse, everything she ate seemed to upset her, the skin around her anus itched and became sore and her ears itched and discharged a watery fluid. When this touched her face it caused a rash. Altogether she was very low and could not understand what was happening to her. When she saw a television programme about tranquillizer withdrawal she rang the counselling line and things began to fall into place. They recommended a book and in it she read about the Candida connection and the large numbers of people who have been on these drugs and then experienced bowel problems.At her local health food shop she found a book on Candida and she bought the supplements it recommended. She was unable to tolerate these in the suggested doses so she started with a small dose and gradually increased it. A relative paid for her to have a week at a health farm and she felt this helped her a great deal. She was givenan 80 per cent raw diet and was astonished to find that many of the vegetables she could not digest when they were cooked proved no trouble when they were raw. (This is quite a common experience.) She continued with the diet at home and tried to take more care of her general health. She washed her hair frequently with an antifungal shampoo and used an anti-fungal nappy rash cream on her face. She felt much better after a few weeks and felt well six months later although she did notice if she strayed too far from the anti-Candida diet her bowel symptoms returned.*83\326\8*

MECHANISM OF A CORONARY OCCLUSION OR

May 22nd, 2011

Some hearts that have been examined after a fatal heart attack reveal no actual obstruction of the blood vessel, only a narrowing of the artery. In this circumstance, how did the infarction develop? It is difficult, if not impossible, to know exactly what happened, but this may be what occurs. Most of us are familiar with the function of gasoline engines. Many of us have at one time or another tinkered with our engines and are aware that if the gas line between the fuel tank and the fuel pump were kinked difficulty would arise. The engine might run satisfactorily at idling speed, or even when the automobile was running at 20 or 30 miles per hour. But at some critical point, say 40 miles per hour, enough gas would not pass through the obstruction and the engine would falter.In the automobile there is no great problem because if the engine falters the car merely slows down. In the human mechanism, however, a different result may occur. If a person were doing heavy work, the muscles in his arms and legs would be burning up oxygen and food at a rapid rate. These substances are supplied by the blood stream, and the normal course of events is for the heart to pump a greater amount of blood into the blood vessels to supply the working muscles. When the heart pumps a greater quantity of blood, it, too, is working harder and requires a greater amount of oxygen and food. These energy substances must be delivered through the coronary arteries. If the coronary arteries are narrowed and are unable to deliver adequate amounts of food and oxygen to the heart muscle during total body exercise, and if the total body work and the demands upon the heart continue despite inadequate nourishment of the heart muscle, that portion of the heart muscle supplied by a narrowed coronary artery could, figuratively speaking, burn itself out.We believe that when the heart receives inadequate food and oxygen, it sends a signal to our conscious mind in the form of chest pain. If the period of deficient blood flow is of short duration, no damage will occur to the heart muscle. If this deficiency is prolonged beyond a critical period, the heart tissue will die. This, again, is essentially the difference between angina pectoris and a myocardial infarction. Angina pectoris is known to the patient as a chest pain that is usually of just several minutes duration. Although it may occur when a person is at rest, it usually happens when a person is active or after he has eaten a heavy meal. The person who has the pain usually stops what he is doing, or lies down, or takes a nitroglycerine tablet and within a few minutes the pain is relieved. When the person stopped walking, he decreased the demands that his leg muscles were placing on his heart and the heart could rest temporarily. This is probably why the pain stopped. When a person takes a nitroglycerine tablet, the drug temporarily increases the nourishment of the heart and, again, the pain stops. If the pain persists for many minutes or hours despite rest or nitroglycerine, it is likely that a complete occlusion has occurred and actual muscle death and myocardial infarction are in process.*10/309/5*

BACH FLOWER REMEDIES: OAK – THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ‘OAK’ REMEDY

May 20th, 2011

To consider the main characteristics of the ‘OAK’ REMEDY.(1) Never admits defeat even in the most adverse conditions and continues the fight in the belief of ultimate victory.(2) He does his duty faithfully and conscientiously, even when he is dead tired, and never complains of it.(3) After working ceaselessly without respite he may get tired and even feel sad but still plods on.(4) He works with utmost patience and endurance as if endurance is the sole aim of his life.(5) After hard work, body wants some rest, but the OAK person even denies this natural urge of the body, and endangers his health.(6) When his body is unable to render help to others because of illness, he becomes despondent.(7) His persistence to pursue an impossible feat borders on foolhardiness as he continues to waste his energy and money on a job which is beyond the realm of success by any human being.(8) He is an inveterate gambler who would like to have “One last go” even on borrowed money after having lost all his assets earlier.*150\308\8*

THE PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OF YOUR KNEE: POINT OF TENDERNESS

May 8th, 2011

Your physician will feel around the knee to determine precisely where it hurts. Does it hurt in the area of the kneecap? Does it hurt in the area of the meniscus? Although it may not be possible to pinpoint the precise trouble spot, this examination can give your doctor some idea of where the problem may lie.Sometimes the pain may be isolated to one spot; sometimes it may seem to roam all over the knee. When the physician says, “Where does it hurt?” in about 20 percent of all cases, a patient with kneecap symptoms will specifically point to the patella. However, 20 percent will point to the left side of the knee, 20 percent will point to the right side, 20 percent will complain of pain in the back of the knee, and 20 percent will say that they have pain everywhere. This is not surprising: pain is often referred, that is, an injury in one location may hurt in another. In the case of the knee joint, the closeness of the anatomy makes it even more difficult to precisely pinpoint the location of the pain, but an experienced specialist can often narrow down the possibilities.*11\185\2*

MONITORING YOUR DIABETES

April 24th, 2011

Do check on how well you’re keeping your diabetes under control by measuring your own blood glucose.Do measure your glucose to find out how your body responds to food, exercise, stress and any changes in your life.Do understand that blood glucose monitoring does not, in itself, do anything to control your diabetes. Blood glucose monitoring does, however, provide you with information about the level of glucose in your blood at the time you do the measurement. You must then use this information to make adjustments in food, exercise, or medication to keep your blood glucose within your normal range.Do learn how to perform all of the steps in blood glucose monitoring effectively and efficiently. Don’t take any shortcuts. How accurate you are in blood glucose monitoring procedures determines how accurate the blood glucose measurements will be.Get complete instructions from your pharmacist or diabetes educator on how to use and maintain the blood glucose monitoring system you purchase. Then practice this procedure, again and again, until you’re perfect.If your blood pressure is elevated, monitor it yourself and make sure it is under control.*58/210/5*

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