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Abbreviations: WAM = Western Allopathic Medicine; CAM = Complementary/Alternative Medicine.

Whenever we are faced with any sort of illness, minor or major, we have choices about how we wish to journey through the experience.

Low intensity illnesses, like the common cold, present the same choices as serious, chronic disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Will we suppress the symptoms and attempt to work through the day as normal, control the symptoms in the hope that they will not increase, or employ strategies to recover our good health?

There are times when options one and two (suppression and control) are useful or even necessary. However, if we choose to ignore recovery strategies, we are doomed to repeat minor illnesses and live with ever-increasing chronic illness.

Our current “Health Systems” in the western world (in truth, Medical Systems) are all geared to suppress and control. If we are seriously ill and our grasp on life is compromised, it is very important to control the process of illness and preserve life. Suppression of symptoms is often necessary in these cases to avoid unnecessary pain or distress and reduce long-term damage. For instance, if we experience a heart attack or stroke, or are involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, it is vital that medical treatments control the immediate crisis and suppress any possible exacerbation of damage.

However, suppressing or controlling symptoms does not restore good health. If we do not change the environment of illness, illness will remain in some form – perhaps diagnosed as a different “disease”, but still the same process.

A common illness process of suppression and control marks the progression of many people from a relatively healthy life to diagnosis with Parkinson’s or similar. In their 20’s or 30’s, their blood pressure becomes a little elevated and they are prescribed anti-hypertensive medication. While this medication controls the hypertension symptom, it does nothing for the causes of hypertension (stress, toxins, metabolic dysfunction in one or more organs) so the “illness” persists, simply suppressed/controlled. Some years later, the causes of hypertension combined with medication cause mild anxiety or depression, treated with medication to suppress the symptoms with no attempt to find or reverse the causes.

Long-term medication, plus several courses of antibiotics for influenza or similar, with no redress of gut microbiome deficits caused by antibiotics, lead to fatigue, general slowing down and, in many cases, mild tremor in one limb. The person is then diagnosed with Parkinson’s, prescribed medication to suppress the symptoms, and told they will inevitably become more ill as there is little or nothing they can do to help themselves.

We can make different choices. If we are diagnosed with hypertension, we can ask about the causes. If our doctor is unhelpful, we can seek other help from integrative doctors, naturopaths, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, herbalists or homeopaths. If antibiotics are required (as they sometimes are), we can choose to rebuild our gut microbiome, a vital part of our immune system brain function and mood support, by taking probiotics, prebiotics and being very careful about food choices. If we feel our mood is low, counselling, exercise, meditation and a wide variety of non-pharmaceutical interventions can assist us while we make any necessary changes in our environment to create joy.

Even in the most extreme cases of illness such as advanced cancer or traumatic spinal injury, we can make choices about our approach to treatment. Many recovery strategies are compatible with best practice western treatments and, when appropriately chosen and administered, enhance the efficacy of those treatments.

Those of us lucky enough to live in an advanced society, have the privilege of being able to take control of our health care, access high-quality western allopathic medicine and traditional/complementary medicine, and enhance our quality of life during our time on this planet. At times, this endeavour may be expensive and we may have to make serious choices about how and where we spend our limited income.

During my nearly 80 years on the planet (so far), I have chosen my health over luxury and the latest technology, and survived this long because of those choices. When diagnosed with stage 4 Parkinson’s, I chose a variety of recovery strategies to the exclusion of Western Allopathic Medicine (WAM), so recovered my health and now live symptom-free. When journeying through stage 3 cancer, I chose a combination of WAM (a few weeks of chemo and radiation, then surgery) and CAM (food choices, Salvestrols, nutritional supplements, exercise) with only CAM following the surgery. I remain cancer-free 7 years after diagnosis.

In 2020, I experienced a “widow maker” heart attack as a result of foolish life choices through my first 50 years. However, I survived a 95% blockage of the LAD artery – a rare experience. Why? Because the choices I have made since the age of 52 have created resilience, cleared and repaired other cardiac arteries, and allowed me to survive a potential lethal cardiac event. I am well now with one stent (wonderful technology) and less than minimum WAM support (about 10% of “normal” prescriptions for similar events) plus great CAM support and self-help.

Western society has created an epidemic of chronic disorders because of increasing chemical pollution, poor quality food (looks great and is supported by seductive advertising, but there is little nutrition), decreased outside activity, rampant screen time, and reliance on “quick-fix” pharmaceutical suppressive theory for minor illnesses instead of changes to create wellness.

We can make different choices as individuals and join the growing number of people are disillusioned with a medical system seeking to profit from suppress and control strategies while ignoring good science supporting wellness.

We can choose to improve our lifestyle, food, relationships, activities and goals to support recovery and a lifetime of robust health.

What will you choose?

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