Keep your alternatives open


Well, Well, Well: Mind-expanding drugs
Keep your alternatives open
Connie Howard /

Sometimes I feel this massive despair. Not just with the futility of writing against the flow of politically correct government-sanctioned orthodoxy, but with all of it. With people who apparently feel nothing but their own pain, people who missed the gene that permits us to see perspectives outside our own, people who are masters of labelling those they need to keep off balance as naïve or untruthful or inept or manipulative, people locked into narrow fundamentalist black-and-white ways of thinking, people with no concept of complexity.

It’s a dynamic Robin Stern calls the Gaslight Effect, and I’m only now beginning to realize just how toxic and health-robbing it is. Resolution of conflict with these people is as likely as flowers in January.

I know, I’m a ray of sunshine today. Maybe it was hearing about Health Canada’s most recent raid. They’ve shut down and seized the computers of the company supplying New Life products to Canadian naturopathic doctors. These are products I’ve relied on for decades, literally, to keep me well and manage my Achilles heel, and they’re gone now, even from the backrooms of the few remaining brave naturopathic doctors, herbalists and stores who still had them, because they’re afraid of being raided and shut down themselves.

Maybe it was that news, or maybe it was the new treatment guidelines on menopause that got to me—hormone therapy is our best option they say, even though the largest study on hormone replacement therapy ever conducted concluded otherwise, and even though five of the six authors of the new guidelines have ties to drug companies, and even though it’s well-known that our bodies have trouble metabolizing synthetic hormones and that they stress our livers, and even though those of us at risk for breast cancer shouldn’t use them and even though many of the confiscated New Life products worked outstandingly well for depleted hormone levels and hot flashes and all the rest.

I’m clearly angry, and not only with Health Canada and unyieldingly self-righteous kinds of people in general. I’m angry with those willing to call Christine Maggiore the absolute worst kinds of names and put her in jail if she hadn’t already succumbed to the cruelty of her illness. Her crimes are many they say, but her biggest is her refusal to have her daughter tested for HIV and have her put on HIV/AIDS meds. But that judgment is made on the premise that outcomes are always better when drug treatments are followed—a premise that hasn’t actually ever, as far as I know, been scientifically verified.

One friend, who asked to remain nameless (for obvious reasons), tells me he has watched all but one of his HIV-positive friends die over the years—friends who did as they were told, who took their antiretroviral meds. He, also HIV-positive and so far refusing treatment, is alive and well. The truth is that we simply can’t assume either Christine or her daughter would still be alive had they gone with recommended drug treatments.

Should we begin performing mastectomies because we have genes predisposing us to breast cancer? Some do this, I know, but some of us want to keep our breasts. And being at risk of disease down the road doesn’t necessarily justify aggressive and toxic treatment early on. Non-toxic, non-drug, immune-optimizing measures have kept many very high-risk women vibrantly well into old age.

As my friend said, what set Christine Maggiore apart was her willingness to be unflinchingly realistic about the risks and toxicities of treatment, the unanswered questions and the potentially relatively lower risk of non-drug approaches. Does that not sound reasonable? Should we have to go into the closet because we believe it to be our fundamental right to choose our path, our medicine, our risk?
They—whoever they are—may never get it, but drugs aren’t the answer to all that ails us all the time, at least not for all of us. V

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