In a previous Healthy.net column, I wrote about Silverlon, the treatment that healed my husband Tim’s skin after eight months of the “standard of care” treatments failed to help him. These “standard of care treatments” -- repeated surgeries -- not only failed to close his non-healing head wound, but actually made him sicker. Finally, by the time I found Silverlon, Tim was already severely brain injured, paralyzed and bedbound, all as a result of the additional surgeries.
As I described in that column and in my book, HONEST MEDICINE, when Tim’s doctors weren’t at all interested in this treatment, I wrote an article about our success for SEARCH, the newsletter of the National Brain Tumor Foundation. Many patients read my article, and begged their doctors to use Silverlon for their relatives with non-healing, post-surgical head wounds. But none of those doctors was interested, either.
I began to suspect that something was seriously wrong with our medical system.
For 3-1/2 years after Tim came home, I dedicated myself to taking care of him, and to obtaining financial coverage for the caregiver services we desperately needed. I also kept my home-based public relations business afloat so that I could afford to keep Tim at home. Even though he was very disabled, he was still Tim, and we were able to have some wonderful times.
Tim died in November 2005. Following his death, our difficulties in dealing with the healthcare system kept gnawing at me. The more I thought about it, the more it became obvious to me that our Silverlon story was not unique. In fact, I was sure that it was probably part of a larger picture of a dysfunctional medical system. I had a strong suspicion that there were other similar, lifesaving treatments like Silverlon that doctors also weren’t telling their patients about. I was sure there were other treatments that were quietly saving lives once patients discovered them on their own. I suspected that these treatments were being under-publicized, or not publicized at all.
If I was right, why weren’t treatments like these better known? In other words, what was it about our medical system, and our doctors, in particular, that made them so resistant to learning about (not to mention, trying) anything that was different, no matter how promising.
Secretly, I often wondered, and still do, whether these doctors have forgotten their Hippocratic Oath, and if so, how this has happened.
So, I decided to first create a website in Tim’s memory and in his honor. I wanted to educate others about the flaws in our medical system. I also wanted to inform people about other promising (and often lifesaving) treatments, like Silverlon, which I knew their doctors probably wouldn't tell their patients about.
Thus, HonestMedicine.com was born.
Finding other similarly lifesaving treatments turned out to be far easier than I had thought it would be. I didn’t have to look very far. I decided to set the bar extremely high, so that no one could call them “anecdotal.” They were all what I have come to refer to as “patient-evidence-based” treatments.
The “patient-evidence-based” treatments I discovered all have similar, compelling, characteristics:
1) They have been around for many years, ranging from “only” 25 to over 90 years, and have benefited hundreds, sometimes thousands, of patients.
2) These treatments have all benefited extremely sick patients, with life-threatening illnesses ranging from epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and even HIV/AIDS and cancer. The results have been clear (i.e., seizures stopped, MS patients being able to walk, etc.).
3) The treatments all have medical practitioners, and in most cases MDs, who prescribe the medications, and openly champion them.
4) In most cases, the patients who have benefited from these treatments are extremely passionate about helping others to learn about them. The patients often devote a great deal of their time -- unpaid -- to doing this, holding fundraisers and educating the public through online forums and social networking sites like Facebook.
5) And finally, some are natural treatments, such as diets or supplements. Others are off-label uses of generic drugs. But they all have one thing in common: No one is making large amounts of money from these treatments, especially when compared to the money that is made from the treatments championed by Big Pharma.
For many reasons, I decided that the time was finally right for me to speak up about this problem.
One of the main reasons I decided that the time was right was that, for the last several years, Big Pharma’s duplicity had been making headlines, with many exposés about pharmaceutical companies appearing in the media; articles about pharmaceutical companies:
“Rigging” the so-called studies, which they themselves fund
For the last several years, this kind of behavior has been exposed on a regular basis in numerous publications, including the Wall Street Journal. And, in April 2008, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) itself published three articles exposing the fact that Merck Pharmaceuticals had engaged in duplicitous behavior in marketing Vioxx, prior to 2004, when it was pulled from the market. Merck, as revealed by JAMA, had engaged in every one of the Big Pharma practices mentioned directly above. (The three articles may be found here: http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/15/1800.abstract, http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/15/1813.abstract?etoc, and http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/299/15/1833.extract.)
Because of the media attention given to Big Pharma’s behavior, and also because of many excellent, best-selling books being published on the topic, I decided that our country was finally ready to be open to the treatments I wanted to write about, even though they might not have multi-million dollar, Big Pharma-funded studies behind them. I decided that the public finally understood that such Big Pharma “studies” do not necessarily result in safe, effective treatments.
The time was right for my article for HonestMedicine.com, which I titled “Four Lifesaving Medical Treatments: Not So ‘Anecdotal’ After All” ( http://www.honestmedicine.com/2008/05/four-lifesaving.html). That article was the precursor to and foundation of my book, also titled HONEST MEDICINE.
In future Healthy.net columns, I will discuss the three other treatments I profile in HONEST MEDICINE: Low Dose Naltrexone, the Ketogenic Diet and intravenous alpha lipoic acid. As you will see, one of these treatments has been in use since the 1920s; and many patients have used the other two successfully since the 1980s. I hope you’ll enjoy learning about all of them. Please stay tuned.
Note: This column has been adapted from Julia Schopick’s Amazon.com best-selling book, HONEST MEDICINE: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life Threatening Diseases (http://www.honestmedicine.com/2008/05/four-lifesaving.htmlhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/product/0982969007/). She continues to write about treatments like these on her website, HonestMedicine.com.