How doing research sucks (at times)

20171220 Blamedutchie Why Research Sucks 01

Bad News

When the doctor is done diagnosing and tells you what ails you, don’t be surprised to discover he tells you something you already knew. Since our minds and bodies are connected – more and better than that: they’re one –  it is simply logical that you already had a pretty good idea about what was going on inside of you. The symptoms were there, weren’t they? The fact that you chose to ignore them for quite some time doesn’t change that. For how many years did you tell yourself that your filthy habits did not hurt you? Simple answer: too many. The good news is that you don’t have to feel bad about that.

The moment after the doctor tells you what kind of hell you are going to experience is not the time to start feeling guilty. Deep inside, you were doing that for a long time already – with every secret cigarette, every time you saw those black spots in your sputum and quickly flushed them away, after each and every argument of which you had no idea how it started, when the mirror tells you your body is changing – so you better stop doing it and concentrate on the near future. That is where more good news is waiting.

But wait, the doctor just finished explaining that the surgery he is going to perform will be complex, dangerous and involve a lot of pain afterwards. And it’s only the first part. You will have to go through therapies that will be of the kind that everybody knows as killing your body in order to save you. Months of down-right misery, followed by a long period of recovery. Where is the good news?

It’s right in front of you, but you have to want to see it. You have to shut that voice in the back of your head up. Immediately. It is trying to make you feel sorry for yourself. It is the voice that creates fear. So shut it up. Fear is not the path to the good news. This is not the time for negative internal dialogues. The power of negative thinking got you in this mess in the first place, so stop giving it a chance now. Start thinking around corners and use your brain to create the change you need to heal.

Because that is the good news! You can get through this mess and heal. I am not the kind of person to tell you this is the perfect opportunity to change your life, the moment you’ve been waiting for. No New Age Cancer Pep Talk for me, thank you very much. Just plain and simple logic. Basic question: is my current thought helpful? If not, think a thought that is. Difficult? No. Simple? Yes, after a little practice.

It means… Saying NO to “fuck, this is going to hurt” and YES to “I’ve got to get ready”.

Getting Ready

For me, part of getting ready was going through what (I thought) I knew about the standard therapies and available alternative ways to get rid of the disease. Ironically – paragraph one – in the previous months I had done a lot of research on exactly that subject. I went through hundreds of websites, hundreds maybe thousands of pages of information, disinformation, misinformed and badly written bullshit, seemingly valuable pages leading to urges to buy this or that product. A product that usually, how surprising, turns out to be far from cheap and sometimes illegal (especially if you live in that ultimate home of dreamers, the US of A).

I watched hours and hours of video. Some with very good and sensible information, others with the typical snake oil salesmen, others with a doctor who might be on the right path but turns out to be completely unreachable for comment. Quite a few videos containing a lot of good information that really should be shared with cancer researchers and doctors all over the world, but useless in my situation because it deals with different types of tumour.

So now, it was time to put all the pro’s and cons aside, follow common sense and decide on what would be my strategy. Would I go for the suggested chemo- and radiotherapy or would I follow an alternative path.

There is just too much bullshit about cures for cancer flying around on the web, and the only reason for that is the fuckin’ money.

Anonymous patient in a forum

What I found was that it is basically impossible to inform yourself properly. For that, there are simply too many lies floating around in cyber. Already back in 2016, for instance, I stumbled upon The Truth About Cancer, a documentary series that promises “you will discover the most effective ways to prevent and beat cancer — from 131 of the world’s top experts — that you won’t hear about elsewhere” and can be watched for free every once in a while.

Following their free pre-release schedule, I watched all nine videos. The premise is catchy: a man – an American man – who loses a few family-members to various types of cancer and starts looking for answers. The more I watched, the more I started to feel I was watching an HBO series. Catchy amateurishly shot, a nervous man interviewing `specialists´ in various fields like nutrition, cancer, medical science and spirituality. All against a background of a totally corrupted medical establishment that does not care about people’s health and is only in it for the money.

Mind you, the American situation is different from the European and there is no doubt in my mind that throughout the years some potentially valuable research has been killed by the medical establishment and the Federal Drug Administration. The pharmaceutical industry is one of the dirtiest in existence, no doubt about it. But offering solutions that consist of nothing else than become vegetarian, juice the hell out of your fruit and vegetables and make sure you consume broccoli sprouts every day, seems a bit too easy. Measures like that can be part of the solution, but by no means do they guarantee a life without cancer. We all know examples of people living a healthy life, eating locally grown and still dying of a brain tumour or leukaemia. There is no magic bullet. In fact, Siddhartha Mukherjee, an Indian-American physician, oncologist, and author best known for his 2010 book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, makes a very strong case for the term cancers instead of cancer, because of the large number of variations.

Let’s roll!

All the hours I spent researching taught me a lot and I certainly don’t think I wasted my time. So why then is it that research sucks? Because of the immense variety of vague bullshit, lies and the deliberate spreading of false information in order to earn money by receiving cents for clicks. Websites that cite sources that are websites being run by the same people. Deliberately misinterpreted semi-scientific data to scare readers into buying snake oil and miracle grass.

When you are holding a diagnosis and a suggested plan of attack, there is one thing that you don’t have and that is time to sift through all the crap. What you need in that situation is real information, from sources that can be trusted.

What is so painfully telling, is that sending several email messages with requests for information to Ty Bollinger and his Truth about Cancer business – because that is what it is, Big Business, make no mistake – never resulted in receiving one single reply.

Luckily, I have a good working bullshit detector and when asked for my consent I was able to put down my signature knowing that what my doctors were proposing was the best possible solution to the problem. Combined with the support of Traditional Chinese Medicine, reiki, a diet that made sense and the love from friends and family I was able to get in the right state to undergo the surgery and therapies successfully.

The recovery is an ongoing project and I still have the same mindset as I had in April.

Let’s roll!