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Showing posts from December, 2015

Considering the alternatives

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I’m pretty sceptical when it comes to unconventional medical treatments. I take the approach best expressed by Tim Minchin – “Do you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? Medicine.”
When it comes to cancer, alternative medicine abounds. A range of concoctions purport to offer an easy pathway to greater longevity and better health. Charlatan Belle Gibson made outrageous claims about beating cancer merely through “nutrition, patience, determination and love – as well as vitamin and Ayurvedic treatments, craniosacral therapy, and a whole lot of other treatments”. The US-based Cancer Tutor website claims that purple grape juice and carrot-and-beet juice are both “excellent cancer treatments with very high cure rates”. Advocates of Gerson Therapy say that cancer can be cured with 13 glasses of juice a day, a range of supplements and coffee enemas. Really.
Cancer patients are particularly vulnerable to the lure of such quackery. I think part of the reason lie…

So I'm going to be a dad

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“So guess what? I’m not the only one in this couple with a mysterious growth inside me!”
That’s how I considered telling my parents and parents-in-law that we were expecting a child at the same time I was battling cancer. But that’s not how it happened.
Instead I was lying in my hospital bed with my wife Melanie holding my hand. I was still groggy as I recovered from a biopsy and had a great big tube coming out my side to drain my chest. Days earlier a mysterious lump had been found in my upper chest, and while we waited to find out what it was we all feared the worst.
It happened to be my birthday and I was happily receiving gifts from the people gathered around the bed. It came time for Melanie to give me a present, and she handed me one that she’d very carefully selected – a book, “So You’re Going to Be a Dad”.
I enthusiastically unwrapped it and held it up for my parents and parents-in-law to see. As I began to utter the magical words waves of emotion lashed the shores of my mind…