Health is your responsibility. How responsible are you?

Seventy-four-year old LAE suffered stomach bloating sometime in December 2014. She did not tell anyone in the family about her problem. Then around Chinese New Year 2015 time (February), she became really sick. LAE was brought to a private hospital. A CT scan on 20 February 2015, showed, “large lobulated matted lymphadenopathy in central mesenteric-para-aortic region measuring 118.3 x 109.5 mm. There is also adjacent thickened mid ileal wall segment which is adherent to this lymphadenopathy. Extensive surrounding omental and mesenteric streakiness seen.”

LAE’s problem was subsequently diagnosed as Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, B phenotype.

She had ascites (fluid in the peritoneal cavity) and pleural effusion (fluid in the lung cavity). LAE was breathless and needed oxygen. The doctors in the hospital could not do anything for her, because of her old age – 74. So no chemo, no medication. LAE could not eat anything since the last one plus month. Her lips and the inside of her mouths are full of sores.

LAE remained in the hospital for 2 weeks and then requested to go home. But the doctor said if her oxygen was removed she would go into a coma and die within the next 24 to 48 hours.

LAE nevertheless decided to go home. However, she did not die as predicted. LAE remained alive at home, just like she was in the hospital, for 2 weeks.

On 27 March 2015, two ladies came to seek help and related the story above.

They asked: What can you do to help?

Our reply: We are sorry, there is nothing much we can do. According to the doctor LAE could die anytime or by now should have been dead without the oxygen support. What do you expect me to do?

I turned to one of the lady: What do you want me to do? Give her herbs? And what will you say if after taking  the herbs she dies the next day? Will you blame me?

She could not answer. She looked towards the other lady — hoping to get some response from her. The other lady was equally dumb founded — unable to say a thing.

I sensed something was amiss. I asked the lady: Who is this patient — your mother? Both ladies said LAE is their mother-in-law.

Who many children are there in the family?

Answer: Three sons.

Where are the sons? Why are they not here?

The ladies fumbled again. Later, I came to understand that the three sons do not see things eye-to-eye, hence leaving things to their wives to handle.

I told the ladies. As daughters-in-law, you all CANNOT make any important decisions. Your husbands or LAE’s sons need to make whatever decisions for their mother, not you – the daughters-in-law. If anything goes wrong with LAE one of the sons will blame you — the woman in the house! If not even one son can have time or make the effort to come and see me personally to ask for help, I don’t see how I can help their mother.

After further explanation, the two daughters-in-law understood my message. Go home and discuss what I have said with your husbands.

Two day later, another lady came to our centre. Her mother is 89 years old and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver in mid-January 2015. She was hospitalised for 10 days.

Her problem started with high fever and she was jaundiced. She had some blue-black marks on the skin. The doctor installed stunt to relieve the blocked bile duct. The jaundice was resolved. Mother recovered.

Unfortunately her hospital stay had to be extended (for more three days) because on the 7th day, she contracted a serious  infection. The doctor told the family it as an ESBL infection. As a result Mother had to be quarantined ( placed in an isolated room by herself).

The daughter learned from the internet that ESBL infection is caused by a certain strain of  drug resistant bacteria. Many types of antibiotics are not effective for such infection. Though the doctors would not admit it, the daughter suspected this infection was due to  the poor hygiene in the hospital. The total hospital bill for a 10-day stay was RM31,000.

Mother was discharged from the hospital but the doctor was not able to do anything for her pancreatic-liver cancer. Therefore, her daughter came to seek our help.

Chris: Who is she, your own mother?

Daughter: Yes.

C: How many of you are in the family?

D: My mother has 7 daughters but one passed away. And I am the youngest.

C: Did your other 5 sisters know that you are coming to see me?

D: Yes, we are a close-knit family. I have discussed this with my other sisters. In fact my sisters have two friends who are your patients. So they know about you.

C: Do they agree that your mother undergo our therapy?

D: Absolutely.

C: The herbs are bitter and have awful smell. Can your mom take them?

D: No problem. She likes to take Chinese herbs.

C: Now, what would you say if after your mom takes the herbs and she dies?

D: We all know that.

C: You are not going to blame me for that?

D: Absolutely not. We understand that. We want you to help Mother. Let her have a quality life – can eat, can sleep and no pain. We do not expect you to cure her. We all understand that.

C: It seems that you have been reading what I wrote in the website?

D: Yes.

C: Okay, let’s try. I would not prescribe too much herbs for now. We will introduce the herbs slowly and observe what happen after two weeks.

Comments

In my book, Cancer what now? I wrote this:

  • Over the past 16 years or so, since we started CA Care, we learned a lot about cancer, about people who get cancer and how they respond to their problems … So here we are, having to deal with a diversity of personalities besides having to deal with many different cancers. It is hard and often a frustrating task indeed.
  • Over the years dealing with cancer patients, it dawned on me that cancer is not just about a tumour in your breast, lung or liver. It is about you as a human being. 
  • Not all people who come to seek our help will benefit from our work. Only 30 percent of them benefited in one way or another, the remaining 70 percent did not. Why? I also tell you this: By talking to you for five to 10 minutes, I can more or less know whether I can help you or not. How patients present themselves would indicate to me if he/she can make it or not. His/her attitude, facial expressions, emotional problems, lifestyle, commitment, family support, etc., are observed and noted – all these enable me to assess and figure out the REAL person we are dealing with. No two ways about it, it shows!

Let us stress again. Many come to us hoping to find a cure … hoping that we have the magic bullet to make their cancer disappear. They are disappointed when told that, “I cannot cure your cancer. You cure yourself.”

We also know from our statistics, only 3 out of 10 who come are serious in wanting to heal. The remaining 7 are just “shopping.” Many come to dump their problems onto us and expect us to solve their problems. It is very frustrating indeed. The stories above illustrate what I mean. But at least these people did make an effort to come to our centre and talk to us. At least, we will take time to explain (without any consultation fee).

Don’t get me wrong. You have the right to “shop” — as the saying goes, “Go ahead and shop till you drop dead.” I have no problem with that. In fact, to help you I have posted hundred of articles, videos and e-mails that people wrote to me. In addition, I have written more than a dozen books. I have done my part to provide vital information that you need to know. But you need to do your part. Just read them! Is that so diffocult? Unfortunately, some people don’t want to read or search the information for themselves. They just abuse that “privilege” of writing us because they have easy access to us.  Why waste our time? Spare us the time to help others who really  need our help. To the “shoppers” — we say, please find other shops.

The most “frustrating”  are those who use e-mails to find quick fixes … expect us to read their medical reports, read their long winded emails and then answer their long list of questions. No, we do not provide consultation through emails or phone. Sorry about that.  If these people do not see the need to come and see us personally, we suggest that they go and find someone nearby to help them. There are many other “doctors” who can help and can cater to their wishes and mindset.

Don’t get me wrong. Some people do need help through e-mails. We understand that. And we do answer them.  But know this, what can I do by sitting in front of the computer? Act like god and play god? 

As I am writing this article, two e-mails came in. Here is the short one. Let’s not bother about the long, winded e-mail.

On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 11:56 PM.

Dear Dr Chris

Please help me. My husband is diagnosed with liver cancer.  The doctor has give only 30% chance of recovery.  He is currently hospitalized.  Underwent chemo on Friday.

I am confused, don’t know what is happening.  He’s on catheter to drain the liquid from his liver, yellowish green liquid.

Please help me.  My children are young and still studying. We live in Singapore.

Are there any treatment you can suggest? Thank you

Reply: Let the doctor take care of him … after all he is doing the chemo already. What can I do now?

For more of such e-mails go to: https://adaywithchristeo.wordpress.com/ There are over 600 such e-mails.

For those who write me e-mails … this is the reply you will get. Come and see me with all your medical reports. Period.

Don’t be surprised. The next day or a few days later, these people show up at our centre. No, they just don’t come from Butterworth or Taiping or Ipoh or Kuala Lumpur or Singapore. Some of them take 2 days to fly to reach Penang. Such people deserve our utmost attention and help.

And for those who want to know if we can cure them by writing e-mail, this is the answer they will get: I cannot cure your cancer. Over the years, we have learned that no one of earth can cure any cancer. So we give this honest answer which we know many patients don’t like to hear. Some even shot back at us. So why have CA Care then? Tell you the truth that no others may not tell you. Make your life better, perhaps! But cure you? There is not much to boast about.

Let me end by saying this. Health is your responsibility. Your are responsible for your own health. If you think we can help you in anyway come and see us. There is no quick fix, no magic bullet. And sitting in front of the computer expecting me to help you? Forget about that too. I am not God and I also don’t play God.

Notice: Consultation by appointment only, Monday to Friday at 10.30 am to 11.30 a.m.(NO more consultation on Friday afternoon or Sunday night).

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