New Cancer Drugs Uncovered

There are a number of new cancer drugs currently undergoing preliminary testing, which are in no doubt raising the hopes of many of those unfortunate enough be battling cancer at this time, as well as the hopes of their families & loved ones. But are these high expectations of life extension, or even of being completely cured truly justified by the claims of the medical industry on the capabilities of these new drugs?

For many of the people in the UK who saw the Tonight program on ITV, “Can We Beat Cancer” who find themselves in similar circumstances to those featured on the program will likely be hot on the case of the drugs mentioned. For me, on the other hand, having uncovered some truly horrific facts about chemotherapy which shed a very different light on orthodox treatments, there were immediate doubts in mind regarding this new wave of cancer drugs.

Firstly we are all so captivated by the term ‘Drugs’ when associated with serious diseases such as cancer, as if all the answers & even miracles are encompassed within this term. When used in conjunction with statements such as ‘Medical Breakthrough’ we become even more drawn in to the possibilities which may lie with such drugs, especially today with cancer being such a profound killer. Well, this is exactly the reaction intended by those who continue to convince the vast majority of the population that drugs are in fact the best, if not the only hope they have should they be diagnosed with cancer at any time in their lives.

The truth; cancer patient + cancer drugs = huge profits

In light of this, let’s take a closer look at some of these new cancer drugs of which so many people are living in anticipation for, or who may in the future be putting their lives over to;

Iressa (gefitinib)
Iressa may currently be used to treat people with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) or NSCLC that has spread to other areas in the body. Iressa is what is known as an EGFR Inhibitor; this means it only works where mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor on the surface of cancer cells is detected.

There are distinct characteristics to the group of patients likely to have the level of EGFR needed to respond to such treatment; women, people who have never smoked, people with adenocarcinoma, and those of Asian ethnicity.

Iressa attaches itself to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the surface of the cancer cell, preventing the attachment of epidermal growth factor (EGF) onto the receptor. EGF is a form of protein found in the body & once attached to a receptor, an enzyme called tyrosine kinase (TK) is formed. This enzyme instigates the cancer cell’s ability to grow & divide, causing the cancer to spread, through a chemical process triggered off within the cancer cell it’s self.

Iressa has shown good results in many cancer patients initially, however this tends to be followed by a relapse. This is most likely down to the ability of cancer cells to become resistant to drugs they are treated with. I have read medical reports of patients achieving full remission through the usage of Iressa, only for the cancer to return & for this same line of treatment to be found completely ineffective the second time around. As Iressa is mostly only used following the failed attempts of treating with chemotherapy, there is little hope of any forms of treatment being successful the second time around.

Known Side Effects

Nausea & Vomiting – Usually treated with anti-sickness medication.

Diarrhea – Usually controlled with further medication.

Skin rashes – Acne-like rashes, dry, itchy, sore & irritated skin.

Vision Problems – Pain, redness of the eyes, blurred vision, itching & soreness of the eyes, conjunctivitis.

Fatigue – Extreme fatigue & lack of energy.

Loss of Appetite – Possibly resulting in weight loss & may be linked to feelings of extreme weakness.

Hair & Nails – Loss of hair & loose, brittle nails.

Increased Blood Pressure – Symptoms are headaches, dizziness, blurred vision.

Lung Disease – Affecting around 1 in 100, this is a rare side effect, involving inflammation of the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing & fever. This is very serious & can even result in death.

Conclusion

We are not looking at a potential cure here but merely at an extension of life. The ability of cancer cells to become resistant & to return with complete immunity to this drug means it does nothing more than ‘bide us more time’.

The side effects are not pleasant, to say the least & once the cancer does return, as scientific testing has shown it almost inevitably does, what options are there left?

In my opinion; a great let-down for something instigating such high hopes among many sick people.

PARP Inhibitors
Early results in the use of PARP inhibitors for treating breast cancer are said to be promising. PARP stands for poly(adenosine-disposphate-ribose) polymerase, an enzyme which repairs damage done to our DNA.

These drugs are said to work by “obstructing the ability of cells damaged by chemotherapy or through genetic mutations to repair themselves, causing tumour cells to die as a result” (WSJ).

PARP is found in all cells, including cancer cells & helps damaged cells to repair themselves. According to some doctors, because cancer cells have BRCA gene faults, if they can stop the PARP-1 working then these cells will be unable to repair themselves & will die. As healthy cells do not contain BRCA gene faults they should still be able to repair themselves despite the fact that PARP-1 is blocked in all cells of the body, not just cancer cells.

This treatment is still in the early trial stages, but could be a successful treatment for cancers with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This drug, when used in conjunction with chemotherapy may reduce the resistance of cancer cells to the chemotherapy. This treatment is only currently available to those with an abnormal BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene being treated for advanced-stage breast, ovarian, or prostate cancer through the participation in clinical trials.

Known Side Effects

As this is such a new treatment little is yet known about side effects, however there are a few that doctors do already know about; Drop in Blood Cell Count – Causing tiredness, shortness of breath, an increased risk of infection or bleeding problems.

Conclusion

Although it is stated that inhibiting PARP-1 should not affect the functioning of healthy cells this quite simply cannot be the case, as is shown in the fact that this can cause a drop in blood cell count. Surely this is evidence of damage to blood cells, which are unable to repair themselves? I find it very hard to believe that PARP would be found in all healthy cells if it was not in fact needed by them as part of their healthy functioning. We should be increasing the strength of our healthy cells & immune system, not obstructing their ability to repair themselves, common sense tells us we are just weakening our entire body in the hope of killing the cancer cells before the damage to our healthy cells kills us first. Cells are the making of our entire form, our bones, our blood, our skin as well as our internal organs, by denying them of something which they to maintain themselves we just leave ourselves wide open to infection & further illness.

Herceptin (trastuzumab)
Another drug used against breast cancer & also stomach cancer; apparently herceptin can stop the growth of breast cancer & in some cases can even reduce the size of the tumour. Herceptin is only used either in conjunction with chemotherapy or by those who have already completed two courses of chemotherapy.

Herceptin is part of a group of cancer drugs called monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies recognise & attach themselves to certain proteins which may be found on the surface of cancer cells & are said to trigger the immune system to attack these cells. While assisting in the elimination of certain types of cancer cells, these drugs are said to cause ‘little’ harm to healthy cells.

In around 20-30% of breast cancer & apparently in 6 – 40% of stomach cancer cases there are excessive amounts of a protein called HER2 found on the cancer cells, which encourages the growth of these cells. Such cases of these types of cancer are referred to as being HER2-positive, where breast cancer patients are concerned this can be very aggressive & fast growing. Herceptin attaches itself to the HER2 protein on the surface of cancer cells & prevents the epidermal growth factor protein from attaching itself, the epidermal growth factor triggers the chemical reaction within the cancer cell causing it to grow & divide.

Known Side Effects

Common Side Effects:

Fatigue – this can last anything between 6 months – 1 year after treatment, although gradually decreases over time.

Flu-like Symptoms – Nausea, sickness, headache, fever & chills may be experienced & are said to subside after a few hours following treatment. These side effects are usually counteracted with further medication.

Allergic Reaction – Affects around half of patients, usually reduces across further treatments. Symptoms include fever, chills, skin rash, hives, itching, wheezing, headache, sickness, flushes, faintness, breathlessness & difficulty breathing.

Diarrhea – Usually treated with further medication. Affects around 1 in 3 people.

Heart Problems – Fast & irregular heart beat & is therefore unsuitable for patients with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure.

Pain – Abdominal, chest, joint & muscle pain may be experienced.

Less Common Side Effects:

Reduced White Blood Cell Count – Causes an increased risk of bacterial infection, which in some cases may be life-threatening. Symptoms of infection are headaches, feeling cold and shivery, aching muscles, coughing, sore throat, & possibly pain when passing urine.

Lung Problems – Coughing & respiratory distress.

Heart Damage – May cause heart damage, affects around 1 in 25 people, or even heart failure.

Liver Problems – Usually monitored with regular blood tests.

Insomnia – difficulty sleeping.

Fertility Problems – Unknown effects on fertility (but still listed).

Conclusion

Considering the claims that this drug causes ‘little harm to healthy cells,’ when you look at the above side effects, this is clearly put into perspective. Anything which produces side effects like this & more commonly according to some reports than widely published, is harmful & damaging to our cells & our long term health.

Another strong-point; this drug is only used with or after chemotherapy. Chemotherapy causes significant damage to our body & kills more people than cancer. Surely to use this in the first place is beyond all reason, let alone in conjunction with another drug with such awful side-effects like almost any one of the above! Everyone knows the poor quality of life which results from chemotherapy, especially from repeated treatment, I can only dread to think about the suffering people may endure through a combination of chemotherapy & herceptin.

A fair few of the side effects mentioned are treated with ‘further medication.’ Further discomfort & damage to our body can be the only real result of this, even if initial relief is felt.

Medical Industry figures indicate a 50% increase in the survival rate of those using herceptin against breast cancer; unfortunately just more misleading statistics. The true figure is just 12%.

Additionally, this drug is currently being tested for its effectiveness against other types of cancer & has actually increased the death rate by 2.5%.

Overall Conclusion

We are not looking at any real new concepts in the fight against cancer here, just the same old ‘drugs,’ upon ‘drugs,’ upon ‘drugs.’ The side effects of & potential dangers of all of these new drugs are profound & would appear to be most unpleasant. I personally would never even consider touching them, I won’t say “even if my life depended on it,” because it never would, my life will always depend on ‘my own lifestyle choices,’ not drugs prescribed to me by any doctor.

When hearing statements about these drugs being set to potentially benefit thousands of cancer patients & you consider that 1 in 4 of the population is directly affected by cancer, this is a lot of people, even if 3-4% of them did benefit from them -this would still be thousands of people! As it is medical statistics but these figures much higher, but again these statistics are in fact flawed in many ways. One example of this is the 40-50% survival rate of chemotherapy patients, what is not always made clear is that this is only over a five year period. If you were to take into account how many people live the rest of their lives completely cancer free & never die of cancer, the treatment, or through any indirect cause from the treatment, this figure is just 3%! This is due to the increased susceptibility to cancer that chemotherapy causes, far more often than not it does return in the future & this time the chances of survival are far less.

In this day & age & with the advanced levels of science, is this the best they can come up with? The truth is that there are many scientist whose research is dedicated to the greater good of humanity, but as the medical industry has superior credibility among the vast majority of the population & with their findings being made readily available to us, if not pushed on us, people simply do not hear of or even take notice of alternative research.

The real cure for cancer:

There are, in reality, many, very real cures for cancer but they are just simply overlooked by most people who put their faith & indeed their lives in the hands of their oncologist alone. Perhaps we should remember that these people, although no doubt they are acting with the best of intention, are trained in ‘medical school’ on the usage of ‘drugs’ to treat cancer. They do not have knowledge or experience in natural treatment options & therefore now is surely the time for us to take control of our own fate by educating ourselves on other methods of treatment that are proving successful for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. There are so many stories written by people who have cured themselves after they were deemed incurable by their medical professionals & some have even recovered after being literally on their death-bed.

The main aspect to consider when attempting to cure cancer is that certain lifestyle adjustments need to be made, something was not working for you or you would not have become ill & the thing I am talking primarily about is diet. Changing the diet alone can be enough to reverse many cases of cancer, especially if it is in the early stages & always the best place to start. If you are not prepared to give up foods you like, or are not prepared to give this a try, then the true desire to get well again is not there. This course of action has no painful side effects, only that it can make you feel better & better over time. Certain foods contain nutrients that directly attack cancer cells, others boost the immune system response & also when following a cancer diet you are ‘starving’ the cancer cells while ‘feeding’ healthy cells, giving your body the best opportunity of wiping out the cancer.

Cancer Killing Supplements:

In addition to your diet & for a more aggressive attack on cancer it is a good idea to add cancer fighting supplements to your daily regime. Certain supplements are over 100,000 times stronger in their healing properties as well as cancer fighting ability than chemotherapy.

Top Supplement Recommendations:

These are the best cancer fighting supplement combo’s available at this time.

The numbers in brackets equal how many bottles should make one months supply.

Vortexia, Creation, Quzu (PrugX, BLA): The first three provide an extremely powerful combination in terms of boosting the immune system response & vibrational frequencies of cells for increased health & healing. Add on PrugX & BLA for the most potent cancer-killing combination of products available on the market today.

PrugX, BLA, MC2 Combo: PrugX & BLA are Energetic Medicine types & are formulated through the principles of Quantum Physics, which states that; all matter is ultimately energy, as indeed is every thought, which Quantum Physics has proved & energetically enhanced medicine works on level with these energies as well as those of disease in the elimination of the latter. (3,3,2, / 4,4,2 / 6,6,3)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on New Cancer Drugs Uncovered

The Mad Hatter

My first experience with Doctor Teitelbaum was at the Hub in the Correctional Treatment Center of the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego, California. I stood in front of the wrap-around desk that contained the daily sign-in sheets for the MTAs, chatting with the officer on duty, when I heard a voice behind me. The voice was a warbled mix of falsetto and feminine baritone.

“I wish to be escorted to the Facility One Clinic. I was told to meet MTA Taylor here.”

I turned to get a view of the speaker. She was a heavyset woman in her early fifties with a shocking amount of frizzy, dyed red hair, sticking crazily out from under a wide-brimmed, magenta hat. She was wearing what might have been a workout suit of a shiny material in two different shades of purple. Her shoes were yellow sneakers and she carried a large, red leather bag. Small, beady eyes peered back and forth between the officer on duty and me, through large glasses on her pale, moon-shaped face. Taken aback by the sharp disparity of her appearance among the uniformed officers and scrub-wearing medical staff, I would not have been entirely surprised if she had told me she was there to don a bright red nose and make balloon animals for the inmates. I was the MTA assigned to Facility one clinic. An MTA, or Medical Technical Assistant, was a position unique to the California Department of Corrections. It was both a medical position and a peace officer position. MTAs responded to all medical emergencies and ran the day to day of the clinics on the yard. The department would soon do away with the position, and we would be given the choice of being either nurses or correctional officers. I would later choose to become a correctional officer.

“I’m MTA Taylor,” I said, “I don’t believe we’ve met before. Can I ask what your business is at the clinic?”

She made a dramatic flourish with her left hand and raised her odd warble of a voice, affecting the style of a Shakespearian actor.

“I am Doctor Teitelbaum,” she announced not only to me, but to every person in the nearby area, “I am the new Psychiatrist.”

Five minutes later, I was escorting Dr. Teitelbaum across the plaza to the Facility One Clinic. We reached the Facility One gate, and the gate officer checked our identification.

“Are you new to the prison system, Dr. Teitelbaum?” I asked. I knew entering a prison yard for the first time could be an overwhelming and frightening experience.

“I am new to the prison system, Mr. Taylor, but not new to those imprisoned by mental illness.” Her eyes took on a fevered, dreamy, faraway look. “I am here to help men escape their prison.”

The gate officer, a black man in his late forties, looked at her, then looked questioningly at me. Talk of helping inmates escape was not something taken lightly. I assured the officer that Dr. Teitelbaum was using a euphemism.

“It’s Just talk,” I said. “Dr. Teitelbaum doesn’t mean escape from the actual prison, but the prison of mental illness.”

Dr. Teitelbaum looked wordlessly up at the officer through her large glasses. The gate officer frowned but opened the gate. He looked Dr. Teitelbaum up and down, taking in the full oddity of her attire. He grimaced and rolled his eyes.

“It’s on you, Taylor,” he said. “It’s all on you.”

We stepped onto Facility One Yard. The prison yard was a large, oval strip of land surrounded by a track a third of a mile long. Inmates wearing blue CDC uniforms walked around the track, returning to their housing units from morning chow. They walked counter clockwise in the same direction, with occasional reminders over the loudspeaker to “Keep moving on the track.” Prison is nothing if not redundant. Inmates see the same colors every day; blue and gray inmate uniforms, green and khaki officer uniforms, gray prison walls. You can imagine, then, the reaction among the inmates when they saw Dr. Teitelbaum entering the yard in her purple ensemble, magenta hat, red hair, yellow sneakers and a large red bag. Inmates stopped on the track, pointing. Inmates standing in the pill line in front of the clinic stared. Some appeared hopeful, no doubt thinking, as I had earlier, that she might be some form of entertainment. Others laughed, and I heard a few jeers.

Inmates were lining up in front of the clinic for pill line. They were allowed medicine in their cells, but psychiatric medicine had to be administered at the clinic. Much of what occurs inside a prison is in reaction to lawsuits filed by inmates. The California Department of Corrections had settled or lost several lawsuits filed by inmates who suffered due to poor medical standards and nonexistent or inadequate psychiatric treatment. The courts ordered the department to remedy the problem, and the department struggled to hire physicians, psychiatrists and other medical personnel. Because of this, hiring was the priority. Anyone with a medical license could obtain a contract position working in the prison. The standards were quite low. Over the years, I have worked with fine psychiatrists and physicians. I have known and respected dedicated psychologists. I have also known the ones who, in the departments rush to fill positions, fell through the cracks of the screening process. To meet the requirements ordered by the courts, Inmates were screened for mental health related issues. This was appropriate and necessary, but it also had a tremendous impact on prisons. Suddenly, inmates were being diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, psychosis and antisocial behaviors. They were placed on psychiatric medications, which required follow-up appointments with the psychiatrists. Soon, thousands of inmates were on medication, and more psychiatrists were required to meet the need for follow-up appointments. The increased numbers of psychiatrists resulted in even more inmates being placed on medication, which required even more psychiatrists and psychologists. The day Dr. Teitelbaum first walked into Facility One Clinic, the cost of psychiatric medication at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility had exploded to well over one and a half million dollars per month. This did not include regular, physician-prescribed medication.

Psychiatric medication can be divided into three categories: Anti-seizure medication, uppers and downers. If you pull back the curtain of psychiatric and psychological jargon, you soon realize that psychiatric medications are drugs, plain and simple. I remember a conversation with one of the contract psychiatrists. He was a in his late forties, an agreeable man without the typical airs psychiatrists are known to have. We were having lunch in the MTA office in the clinic. The inmates were locked up in their cells for count, and we were alone.

“Do you know what I do for a living, Taylor?” He asked.

I smiled at him across the desk over my lunch.

“As far as I can tell,” I said, “you’re a psychiatrist.”

“Well, of course I’m a psychiatrist,” he said,” but I’m not talking about my title or license. I’m talking about what I actually do.”

“Well, Doc,” I said, swallowing a bite of a tuna sandwich, “I may be crazy, and you’re better suited than I am to make that determination, but it seems to me you talk to inmates about their issues, then come up with a diagnosis and a treatment plan. Does that about cover it?”

“Well, that’s certainly how we phrase it, but that’s not the heart of it,” he said. “What I really am is a licensed drug dealer.”

“Do I need to get my handcuffs out?” I said. “Is this a confession?”

He grinned.

“I did say licensed, Taylor. But licensed or not, that’s what I am. Have you ever really thought about what psychiatric medication is? Drugs, Taylor. That’s what they are. They’re uppers and downers, and I prescribe them to drug addicts in a correctional facility. If I wasn’t licensed to do it, I would be sitting in a cell instead of sitting here having lunch with you.”

“Now, Doc,” I said. “I think you might be selling yourself short. I’m sure you’re doing a lot of good. There’s a big difference between what you do and what drug dealers do.”

“A difference in motivation, I agree. But not in what I do. When I first started, I opened an office in the city, and advertised for clients. I wanted to help people, I really did. But you know what kind of clients I got?” I shook my head and motioned for him to continue. “People started coming into my office with memorized symptoms. I knew they were just telling me symptoms, so I would prescribe them specific medications. It was obvious. But I had a lease and bills to pay. You know what I did, Taylor? I prescribed the medications they wanted. After that, word spread, and clients kept making appointments. Over half were drug addicts wanting legal drugs.” He pointed to the nearby medication cart. “That’s what they are. Drugs, man, drugs.”

I had experienced the effects of the medication myself about a year before, when someone handed me a bottle of liquid risperidone, a medication prescribed to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Some of the liquid had spilled and was on the side of the bottle. I touched the liquid with my bare hand. The medicine seeped through my skin and entered my bloodstream. For a good hour, I was euphoric, laughing and extremely talkative. Though the medication never touched my lips, part of my upper lip went numb. Even today, whenever I recall the incident, that part of my lip turns numb. Like the good doctor said, “Drugs, man, drugs.”

The pill line was very long, reaching from the pill line window to the track about fifty yards away. Close to a thousand inmates were incarcerated on Facility One Yard, and half of them were on psychiatric medication. An MTA stood inside the medication room window, handing inmates their medication through a rectangular slot. The MTA, a balding pale-skinned man by the name of Ford, looked at Doctor Teitelbaum as she passed by. He smiled at me and shook his head. Several inmates looked at the new psychiatrist, then looked questioningly at me. I ignored the questioning looks and made my way to the clinic. I opened the clinic door and led Dr. Teitelbaum to an office in the back.

“This is your office, Dr. Teitelbaum,” I said, opening the door and switching on the lights, illuminating a small office with two chairs facing each other across a wooden desk. Dr. Teitelbaum entered the office and sat heavily in the desk chair, plopping her large red bag down on the desktop. “I will bring a schedule of inmates and inmate medical charts in a little bit.”

“Patients, Mr. Taylor,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “They are not just inmates. They are my patients, and I cannot wait to see them.” She looked up at me through her large glasses, the faraway gleam returning to her eyes. “I assure you they have never seen the likes of me.”

“Yes, Doctor. I believe that may be the case,” I said. Despite her decidedly odd appearance, I fully intended to give the new psychiatrist the benefit of any doubt. Part of my philosophy was, and still is, not to judge a book by its cover. “Would you like the door closed or open?”

“Please close it,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “It is time for my calming ritual.”

I nodded and exited the office, closing the door behind me. I had a busy day in front of me and had to prepare for it. Leaving Dr. Teitelbaum alone in her office, I grabbed a cup of coffee from the already brewed pot in the treatment room, sat down at the desk, and began organizing the inmate medical charts, dividing them between medical and psychiatric patients, making sure each chart had fresh doctor’s notes to write new prescriptions on. I was absorbed in the ritual, when I heard Dr. Teitelbaum singing opera in what I thought might be Italian, as loud as she possibly could. I stepped out of the treatment room. MTA Ford was coming out of the medication room.

“What the heck is going on, Taylor?” He asked. I stood outside Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door. The opera continued in her warbled voice. Inmates peered through the clinic windows, wondering why the pill line had stopped, hearing the Italian opera coming from inside the clinic. I shook my head and knocked softly on the office door. The Italian opera continued inside. I knocked louder.

“Dr. Teitelbaum?” I called. The opera persisted. I shrugged at MTA Ford and opened the door. Dr. Teitelbaum was sitting behind her desk. Her eyes were closed, her hands lifted above her head, moving dramatically back and forth, conducting an orchestra which only she could hear. Seeming unaware of my presence, she continued her performance, her voice straining to reach soprano levels, then falling to baritone lows, all at the top of her lungs. All I could do was wait for her to stop. For several minutes, the opera continued. Then, with one final crescendo of screeching soprano and faltering baritone, the performance came to an abrupt end. Slowly, she lowered her hands and opened her eyes, blinking in the light of the office. She stared up at me through her large glasses, acknowledging me for the first time since I entered.

“Is there something I can help you with, Mr. Taylor?” She asked.

“Well… ” I said, “Uhm… What I mean is… ”

“My singing, Mr. Taylor. Is that why you are here?”

“Well, yes, Doctor,” I said. “It was a little surprising.”

“I find opera to be calming, Mr. Taylor. It is part of my morning ritual. It lowers my stress level and prepares me for the rest of the day. Now, if you will excuse me, my routine is not yet complete.”

“Will you be singing again?” I asked.

“No, Mr. Taylor,” she said, “I will be meditating. Close the door, please. Let me know when the first patient arrives.”

I left Dr. Teitelbaum alone in her office. MTA Ford had overheard the conversation.

“She’s crazy, man,” he said.

“What can we do about it?” I said.

“We need to tell somebody. I mean, she’s a real mad hatter.”

“I’m not in for telling,” I said, a phrase used by both inmates and officers. It meant you were not a snitch. Snitches were equally hated by inmates and officers.

“This is different, Taylor. Somebody has to know.”

“Let’s just see how it plays out,” I said. “What’s it going to hurt?”

Ford agreed reluctantly and returned to the pill line. I continued to get ready for the medical and psychiatric appointments. Dr. Wong, the physician, a diminutive Asian man with thinning hair, wearing a doctor’s smock over slacks and a dress shirt, arrived. He knocked on the clinic door and I opened it. He entered the clinic.

“Good morning, MTA Taylor,” he said.

“Good morning, Doctor,” I said.

“Is it a good morning?” He said. I opened the door to his office, letting him in. He asked me the same questions every morning.

“A fine morning, Doc.” I said.

“A fine American morning?”

“Yes, Doctor,” I said, “It’s a fine American morning. There’s coffee in the back. Want a cup?”

The doctor smiled, nodding.

“Is it American coffee?”

“It was purchased in America,” I said.

“Then yes,” he said. “I want an American cup of coffee.”

This routine had played out five days a week for nearly a year. Doctor Wong, a transplant from Asia, who had lived much of his childhood struggling to feed himself, who somehow not only made it to the United States, but became a medical doctor, loved America with a fervency bordering on insanity. It wasn’t a fine day unless it was an “American” day. He had a headache once, and I brought him a Motrin. He asked if it was “American” Motrin, taking it only after I assured him that it was.

“Good, Doc,” I said. “I will bring it to you.”

I returned to the treatment room to get the doctor a cup of coffee. I heard low humming coming from underneath Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door. I ignored it. She said she would be meditating, which was fine with me if she did it quietly. I made Dr. Wong a cup of coffee and brought it to him, placing a schedule of inmate patients on his desk. He took the cup of coffee from me and sipped it.

“Thank you, MTA Taylor,” he said. “That is a good American cup of coffee.”

“You’re welcome, Doc,” I said.

The pill line ended about half an hour later. Inmates began arriving for their medical and psychiatric appointments. I let them in, individually checking their identification and medical ducats to the schedule, patting them down for weapons and contraband. I checked their blood pressures and told them to stand on a scale to check their weight. Afterwards, they waited together on a long, wooden bench in the clinic area. I opened Dr. Wong’s desk and placed the first inmate’s medical file on his desk. I opened Dr. Teitelbaum’s office door to hand her the file of her first patient. She was still humming lowly to herself, her eyes closed.

“Your patients are arriving,” I said, placing the file on her desk.

“Five minutes more, Mr. Taylor. I am not quite done with my calming ritual.”

“Fine,” I said, “let me know when you’re ready.”

She closed her eyes again and began humming to herself. I left her there, closing the door behind me. Ten minutes later, her office door opened. She was holding the file I had given her. She looked at the inmates who were waiting on the bench.

“Mr. Williams?” She called. A black inmate in his mid-thirties stood up. He looked at the psychiatrist, then looked at me. He raised an eyebrow.

“For real, Taylor?” He said.

“This way, Mr. Williams,” Dr. Teitelbaum said.

The inmate shrugged and entered the office. Dr. Teitelbaum closed the door. I opened it again.

“Doctor” I said, “the door has to be open at least enough for me to hear what’s going on. For your protection.”

“That is unacceptable,” Dr. Teitelbaum said. “There is a such thing as patient confidentiality.”

“This is a prison,” I said. I motioned toward Inmate Williams. “He is an inmate, and I can’t leave you alone with him.”

Her face turned a bright shade of pink, but she took her seat behind the desk.

“Very well, then,” she said. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Let us continue.”

I exited the office, leaving the door open about a quarter of the way. More inmates were arriving for the medical and psychiatric lines, and some already seen by Dr. Wong were wanting to leave. I patted down a couple inmates to make sure they left with only what they had arrived with, and let a couple more inmates in. I entered the treatment room where MTA Ford was busy transcribing new orders from the medical charts.

“How’s the Mad Hatter doing?” He asked.

“Just seeing the first inmate now. I guess we have to wait and see,” I said.

It did not take long to learn how Dr. Teitelbaum was faring with the inmate. I heard Inmate Williams cussing loudly and Dr. Teitelbaum shouting in her unmistakable voice. The inmate shouted back. Dr. Teitelbaum released a hysterical scream. MTA Ford and I ran from the room, ordering the inmates in the clinic to get down. They lowered their selves to the floor. I pulled a canister of pepper spray from my duty belt and entered the office, shouting for Inmate Williams to get down. He complied, immediately leaving his chair and sitting on the office floor. Dr. Teitelbaum was standing behind her desk. Her face was red and glistening with perspiration. Her magenta hat was in her hand, and her red hair was in disarray.

“Are you alright, Doctor?” I asked.

Dr. Teitelbaum stared up at me. Her lips trembled. Her round face quivered with indignation.

“What is the meaning of this, Mr. Taylor?” She shouted. “I will not be interrupted during a therapy session!”

“You were screaming at each other,” I said.

“This is therapy, Mr. Taylor,” she said. Her entire body was shaking. “Do you not understand? This is therapy!”

Inmate Williams held up his hands.

“I didn’t do anything to her, Taylor. I swear it, man. She’s a crazy lady.”

Dr. Teitelbaum twisted her hat, staring angrily down at the inmate.

“I am not a crazy lady,” she shouted. “I am the psychiatrist!”

Leaving his office, Dr. Wong walked up behind me. He looked at Dr. Teitelbaum. He saw the inmate on the office floor and examined the psychiatrist, who stood, shaking visibly, clutching the magenta hat in both hands. Dr. Wong shook his head.

“This,” he announced gravely, “is simply unamerican.” He turned from us, entered his office and closed the door behind him.

Dr. Teitelbaum lasted a month or so longer, the need of the department to fill medical positions outweighing the need for competent providers. She never got any better, though her shouting “therapy” was ended by order of the chief psychiatrist. I was in the clinic on her last day. She was wearing her now infamous magenta hat and was attired in yellow and orange, rather than purple. We made it to the end of the shift without major incident, and I was sitting in the MTAs office. She stuck her head into my office.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Mad Hatter

Why is Turmeric Good For You?

As you may already know, the bright yellow curry spice, turmeric (also a member of the ginger family), has been praised for its medicinal and healing qualities. Numerous research studies have pin-pointed Curcumin as the vital anti-oxidative element contained within the spice. Asian medicine has championed the health benefits of turmeric for a long time and the scientific research to date supports many of these beliefs. The super spice has hit the news headlines more than once for its ability to help in treating arthritis, dementia, and even skin problems (when used on the skin).

More positive evidence…

Turmeric is once again under the spotlight and this time is attracting more attention than ever before in Europe and America after scientists showed that the chemical curcumin can kill cancer cells. Reported in the British Journal of Cancer, a recent study undertaken in the lab by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre, has shown that curcumin can destroy oesophagus cancer cells. Curcumin caused the affected cells to die by triggering lethal cell death signals. Not only that, but the cells also began to digest themselves within 24 hours of being treated with the chemical!

Westerners are often reminded of the dangers of obesity and high alcohol intake. It is surely no coincidence that the occurrence of oesophageal cancer has more than doubled since the 1970s. With (oesophageal) cancer becoming an increasingly common cause of death, this latest research offers a potential lifeline, which could see the chemicals found in turmeric being developed into new cancer treatments.

How can you use Tumeric to your benefit?

Unfortunately it seems that it is not as simple as dowsing all of your meals with a generous portion of the yellow stuff (warning – it has a slightly taste bitter which can overpower a meal). Evidence suggests that consuming curcumin either as turmeric or in extract form, does not mean that we simply absorb all of its health related benefits. In fact, studies show that very little curcumin is absorbed during our digestion because it is unstable in the liver and intestinal wall. So what can we do about this limitation? Well, apparently its absorption can be increased by adding Piperine (black pepper extract), which can also increase the uptake of many other nutrients in foods and supplements by our bodies. For those who rather not sprinkle black pepper all over their food, it is available in supplement form which could be taken alongside meals.

The story does not end there. As is so often the case in life, moderation is the key. Whilst it seems that more is better than less when it comes to using turmeric (with black pepper), animal studies have shown excessive exposure to curcumin can cause negative side effects such as hair loss. Some human subjects taking high doses of curcumin in clinical studies have reported mild nausea, diarrhoea, and even iron deficiency in particularly vulnerable patients!

So go ahead, embrace the positive scientific results that promote curcumin (not forgetting the black pepper too) but as always, it’s best not to overdose!

To find out about more natural foods that can give your health a boost, read my article ‘Food For Your Mood [http://www.lmdfitness.com/nutrition/food-for-your-mood/].’

Luke M-Davies – A fitness enthusiast who has trained for over 12 years and believes everyone should take ownership of their health and achieve their fitness goals – no excuses! By making healthy living more realistic, and for me that means ‘rule free’, I know how to stay lean and fit for life not just for summer!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Why is Turmeric Good For You?