Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tumor Markers Shrink By Over 50%!

Doc Sez: Blood Work Good, Tumor Markers Down From 1200 to 400!

Now, just exactly what is being measured here is not entirely clear to me, but the layman's take-away appears to be that this is hard, scientific evidence that cancer is is less present in my system than heretofore.  So-- Frabjous Day!  Callooh!  Callay!  Let's chortle in our joy!

Good News, no doubt about it...

But...  I don't know.

Things are going my way and I should maybe just shut up and be grateful.



(I must be feeling better, here comes the piss and vinegar.)

Okay...  I just find it interesting that these blood tumor markers --  about whose dependability allopathic medicine was highly suspicious when my naturopath wanted to follow them thirteen years ago--  you know, during my very first brush with cancer, when I was looking for alternatives to the brutal cell-warfare that is chemo and radiation, aka "the standard practice"-- are NOW, at this stage of the game, treated like the very gospel.

Of course, I'm in the middle of Round Three, here.  This is Stage 4 Breast Cancer.  There is no Stage 5.   The standard, proven, go-to treatments of chemo and radiation were 'gone-to' during Round Two and were found, in my particular case-- uh, what shall we say?--  Of Limited Effectiveness?  So now maybe allopathic medicine is willing to reach a little further off the map, where before I was told, Beyond Here There Be Dragons.

It's just...  interesting...  I know that so much of this is educated guess work.  Science is as much a narrative, an explanation, a story we tell ourselves to explain the world, as anything else.  But the guesses, the stories that get the most study and hence might render the hard evidence that the AMA likes to see (and, not incidentally, the insurance companies-- don't get me started...) those are the stories, the guesses that someone can patent and sell. This cannot be surprising, can it?

And whatever those newest stories or guesses are, they have to be rigorously tested before they become standard practice.  This only makes sense, right?  We want our medicine to be safe.  I get that.  But.

I guess my question remains:  How does this benefit those who are suffering here and now? And maybe more importantly:  How does binding our model of healthcare to the profit motive benefit anyone?

Well, this is a long, long story, friends.  The story of my own bewildering journey through the labyrinth of current medical practices, systems and institutions, the role of pharmaceutical companies, the effects of the air we breath, food we eat, water we drink, and the stress of modern life, the efficacy of pink ribbons and the mind-set they arise from and in turn support, the alternative world of alternative care,  the wide range of doctor-patient relationships and of relationships between mind, body and spirit.  It can't all get told here and now.  But I look forward to trying to lay the pieces out for you bit by bit.  Then maybe you can help me put the pieces together and make sense of the puzzle.

Here's what I discovered on my first pass through the medical maze:  When it comes right down to it, it is shocking how little we know.  (And we as a culture so value knowing.)  Information is not wisdom.   We all have to make the choices we believe are best-- and often it is in making those choices that we uncover what it is we believe.  Our choices are a testament about how we think the universe works.

As for me, I am open to further research, further searching, further information, further not-knowing, further surprises and further discoveries.  I respect intuition as well as proof.  I have this strong hunch that in the end science and poetry are somehow made one.  I guess that's how I think the universe works.


  1. Just saw this good news, Ms Aitch. And while it is oh-so-true that it's hard to know what we're even talking about, I want to regard it as excellent news anyway.

  2. Such wonderful good news! Why is it that numbers seem to make information seem "more true"? (I ask as the teacher who is already sick of the phrase and idea of "data driven instruction")
    I hopped on your blog to see what you'd say about the good news and read all the blogging I'd missed. I LOVE the parable of the Dead Mouse. You have to find someone to publish it for a larger audience. I'm so impressed with you and your writing ability/talent/gift. LOVE, mandy